Friday, December 17, 2010

Foggy, Hazy, Clearer...

After I graduated from college, I began to sense there was a need for me to get glasses. Sure enough, I got my eyes examined and I have been wearing glasses ever since. It was amazing how great things now looked!

A funny thing is, I did not know how out of focus things were until I started wearing my glasses. It was amazing how clear things became.

As it has been nearly 2-1/2 years since I sustained my TBI, I have begun realizing something: as my brain has healed quite a bit, it is interesting how much "clearer" my brain is now, compared to when I began my recovery. I used to think things were going quite well, actually I am finding I thought things were much clearer, though I was pretty much in a fog.

I guess it would be described like this: FOGGY: back in the early days of recovery, things were foggy. Growing up in the Seattle area, we had fog a lot. That can be nasty stuff. HAZY: Then things began to make more sense, I could understand more things, I could begin to interact better. CLEARER: Now things are clearer. I recognize my so-called "vision" is not a 100%, but it is clearer. I am processing and making decisions better, I am thinking through things more, and I recognize some of my deficits better (though that is an area still needing improving.)

Just as my vision improved with my glasses, my brain is adapting and adjusting to the new normal we are working with. I am grateful for the continued process God has me going through.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fanny Crosby

Why do we need to go through challenges,limitations, and struggles? I am not sure why we must, part of it may be due to the fact that we live in a 'fallen', imperfect world. I do recognize that our challenges can be used for good in our lives and in the lives of others. I suppose if we have questions such as these, they may be placed on the "questions to ask God" list when I see Him face to face.

On December 9 in the devotional book "Streams in the Desert" there was an entry that included something about Fanny Crosby, it said: "Joy sometimes needs pain to give it birth. Fanny Crosby could never have written her beautiful hymn, "I shall see Him face-to-face," were it not for the fact that she had never looked upon the green fields nor the evening sunset nor the kindly twinkle in her mother's eye. It was the loss of her own vision that helped her to gain her remarkable spiritual discernment."

Since sustaining my brain injury and other physical challenges I have, I have wondered, what is next? Recently I have concluded in my heart and mind that I am suppose to work with brain injury survivors and caregivers. I have come to understand that there is a great need in this area. There are thousands of us survivors who walk around with limited resources, helps, and support.

I would have never learned this, nor be a good candidate to serve in this area, if I had not walked through my own brain injury. To recognize that this is where I want to serve, to help bring exposure, and maybe even finances to is huge and has given me a renewed sense of purpose and mission.

Will I ask God about this when I see Him face-to-face? I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that when I do see Him and reach for the list of questions in my back pocket, that my questions won't matter as much -- they may even be gone. When I am in His perfect presence, my guess is that things will make a lot more sense.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Problem Solving

One of the areas of my life that had deficits from my brain injury was problem solving. It was a challenge for me to recognize, work through, and solve a problem I might come up against. That is not to say that I was an excellent problem solver pre-injury, but I became challenged in this area.

The problems did not have to be enormous to have struggles with problem solving, so when I congratulate myself these days on some of the problems I've solved, they can seem kind of silly to me. But they are not silly for me, they are signs of progress. I solved a problem with my shower curtain liner the other day. I solved a problem with my car's windshield wiper today. I solved some challenges as I attempted to make some Christmas cookies these past couple of days. A friend of mine helped to be the answer to one of my problems.

It is challenging at times to not be able to comprehend how serious my brain injury was, because that hinders me in appreciating the healing and strides that have been made. As I recognize problems that I solve, I have begun to congratulate myself; to give myself credit. Others may not understand and that is okay, but God and I do.

Sometimes my problem solving is recognizing I cannot do it and need to ask for help. Yes, that can be humbling, but people are more willing to help then we are to ask.

Problems will be with us always and to be able to work through those things are a tremendous gift.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hope for the Holidays

We often hear about "home for the holidays", which is a very nice place to be. Isn't it nice to have hope during this time as well? The Christmas season, as many of us have experienced on occasion, can be kind of frantic. Our hope often being that we make it through this season in one piece.

Over the past couple of years I have been learning more about hope. My hope is not based in my circumstances, but in a perfect, loving God.

What am I hoping for this Christmas? To continue to grow in my relationship with Jesus; to have a wonderful celebration with my siblings and family; that my heart would be filled with love, peace, joy, and thanksgiving.

May your heart be filled with hope this Christmas season. Yes, God loves us deeply and completely. Sometimes our circumstances may say to us "how can God love me?" The truth and reality is that He does love us.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.