The Power of Choice

power of choice

As a young girl I didn’t realize that my thoughts created my reality.   Years later, as I look back in time, I was often a victim.   Yes, there were circumstances that contributed to this way of thinking, but I was in the dysfunctional emotional triangle.

It is so easy to fall into the triangle of dysfunction.   There are three roles:

  • The Victim: thoughts of poor me, why do they treat me this way, life is always hard, actions that demonstrate feeling unworthy, and the world is against you.
  • The Savior: thoughts of I can save them, they need my help, I need to rescue the situation, actions that demonstrate a sense of urgency at every corner, helping put out fires and acting like superwoman/man in every situation.
  • The Persecutor: thoughts of why did they do that, they caused the problem, it was all their fault, at every corner this person plays the blame game.

Do you see a theme here?   Emotionally driven reactions.     When we are in this triangle we cannot see the situation for what it is.     I was in this triangle for most of my life.   How exhausting hey?   But when you are use to a state of drama in your life, that’s what gravitates towards you on a continual basis.

This leads me to the power of choice.   We all have the power to choose a reaction, and a state that is different.  I have heard people say that I have always been this way, that’s just me, can’t change.   I will respectfully disagree, because we all have the power to choose a different response.   The power of choice is an amazing thing.

There was a moment in my life where everything shifted, and I realized that I had the power to move forward or the power to become a victim of my circumstances.  This occurred when I almost lost my life.    My injury was one that 10% of those people that have the injury survive and live a life where they are able to function normally.   Odds totally against me right?  WRONG.

My choice was to believe in something beyond all of our understanding, to trust in Him completely and move forward in His grace.    Looking back it was a scary time, so much unknown.   I am not free from physical pain, but I choose to believe in the best outcome.  My fracture in my neck never healed or fused completely, but I choose a life that is full.

Every moment of every day I choose to see the good.   There are times where the old habits catch me a bit, and I fall back in for a few moments, but I pull myself back out.    The power of choice is an amazing thing.

YOU my friend have the power to choose the good before the bad, to move forward in your life and create your own silver lining in every circumstance.    What you put out there in life comes full circle.  Do you choose to project the good?   Because I am telling you once you remove the drama, and the emotional dysfunction, life becomes sooooo good.

 

May you be blessed my friend, and know you have the power inside of you in every moment.

~Ness

Broken and Restored


imageFour years ago today, my life changed forever. (Jan 11, 2011)    Yes I have grown stronger, I have realized that life’s simple moments can be changed in a blink of an eye. 

Forever changed.

Fear does creep in now and then when I hear a crack, or when I endure chronic pain that makes me cringe.   A coping mechanism I did not use before fully was prayer.   This is a piece of me that has changed. I pause, and reflect throughout the day when I need strength, and lift it up to Him.  

I find it hard sometimes, as life overwhelms me.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be here, and present.   Overwhelmed with His love for me.  

Forever changed. 

Some of you may be reading this and thinking what does she know?  She is a bit over the top?   Or maybe you understand this because you have been through an experience that has taken your breath away?   This is what I know, God is in all we do, all we say, and every step we take.

Every night when I lay my babies to bed, I reflect on what could have been and what is.   They have been through a whole lot in their little lives already, they realize much more than I. They have been through much more than I ever experienced by their age.   Sometimes I feel sad about that, but I realize it has built them to be so compassionate.   

This Christmas, together we wrapped 60 little gifts full of Christmas crackers, sugar-free candy and an ornament for the elderly.    These little men of mine, gave a hug and a smile to people who really needed it.   I sat back and was in awe of who they are, and who they will become.

She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. (Proverbs 31:25)

I gain strength from my children, I gain strength from extending a hand, and showing love.  I see this in my children, and I couldn’t be more blessed.  I thank God every single day for saving me, and allowing me to experience a deep love for this life and for the ones I share it with. I don’t know if I could laugh quite yet without fear for the future, but I do know one thing that God has my back.   When pain surfaces, He is there to hold my hand. 205806_10150112578786010_545796009_6912721_5012368_n4 years ago, I did not know what was going to happen next; I have not only survived I am living a life that is full. 

Reflecting on 4 years ago, I am amazed at how far he has carried me.

Dancing with the boys before the halo removal to “staying alive” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4j7lE5d0BI

Removal of the Halo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o23NLhgjZ0g

Getting the collar on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_5lk01G8y0

Reflecting on the past four years, I see how God is teaching me that tomorrow has more than enough worries, how I need to live in the moment and Trust in Him completely.   Sometimes I wish I could hold people’s hands and show them what I have seen.   I know God exists, I know there are modern-day Miracles, I know His love.   I am so thankful for being His modern-day Miracle.  

I still have a displaced c1 Fracture, and am living full, because of His grace. He wants me to live in faith not fear.   So today, as I pause and reflect on the past 4 years, I am broken and restored. When I look in the mirror and glance at the woman looking back at me, I am proud, thankful and humbled. So many emotions, at times I am overwhelmed.

She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. (Proverbs 31:25)

This is what He wants for me, I will try my best to live in the now, knowing that He has my future in His hands. He has guided me, He has carried me, and I will lean on Him.

Dear Lord God, thank-you for saving me, help me to trust in you completely.   Lord, be my eyes to see what you want me to see, be my ears so I can hear what you want me to hear, be my mouth to speak words of love and kindness, and be my heart to give it to who needs it.    Guide me in all I do, help me to discern what is real and what is not, protect me and my household.  I am not worthy.  Please forgive me for not trusting when I needed to, and for the times I give into the fear.  Help guide my mind, and strengthen my perspective. I pray for this in  Jesus Name Amen

Sharing our Stories for Good

image (2)We all have a story, but did you know they were meant to be shared for good?   We all have gone through experiences that have built us to be the person we are today.     He has built us for good…

Too often we build up a shield after we experience something to protect us from the pain. But let me ask you, isn’t He there to protect you? Isn’t our Father there to guide us, to help us heal, to aid us in letting go and giving it to Him?

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.” Matthew 5:14 (MSG)

Do you have a story inside that you know someone can benefit from hearing?   Have there been instances where you have felt a little nudge at your heart, asking you to share?

I will tell you this much, not once did I ever think in my own life that a girl who was bullied for most of her life and didn’t love herself, or a girl that was raped and physically assaulted, or a girl that fractured her neck and nearly lost her life was built for good.   Looking back on my life, I realized that all of these experiences built empathy, courage, and aided me in realizing I am not alone.  

Our wonderful Father uses this for the good of others.   But first you have to take the hardest step….

Forgive.

Then you have to…

Let go and give it to God.

He will use it in a way you would have least expected.       Today I want to share a story with you all where I know it is used for His good.   The courage, love and miracles in this story will amaze you. God is here with us every moment.   I am so thankful I broke my neck 3 ½ years ago on a family trip because I would never have seen how one can turn into many.

Here is Coffy’s story:

Just sharing my story with the hope of help for my 6 children and I. My name is Coffy. I am a 39 year old single mother of six, ages 1 ½, 3, 4, 6, 10, and 12. I was born and raised in San Francisco, however I moved to San Mateo County after having my 2nd child. As anyone I have had my struggles, but I continued to fight to rise above them. In 2012, my younger children’s father walked out on us while I was 7 months pregnant with our fourth son. I thought to myself, “How will I ever make it without him?” I hadn’t been working; we had no money! I was devastated and in a dark place but I immediately started looking for a job. Soon after delivery, I was employed and on my way to being self-sufficient and a provider for my children. Life was looking AWESOME….I pulled it all together even when I thought I couldn’t! I was paying for my son’s’ to go to a Christian private school and my daughter goes to a College Prep School. I was so proud of myself and all my children. I never thought, not for one second, my life could get any worse than it was when he left me…Boy Was I Wrong!!!Thursday, February 20th at exactly 6:47 a.m., all our lives were changed forever. While turning onto a freeway entrance, my children and I were victims of a hit and run. The guy who hit us caused our truck to flip violently across the freeway as he drove away. After the 4th or 5th flip, I lost count. My children’s screams, “Mommy, Mommy, Help Us!” is all I could hear now.” “Hold on Babies, Mommy’s Coming, Mommy’s Coming…Mommy’s Coming! (Please Lord, let me get to them!)” Now we’re skidding and I see a glimpse of what I thought was light which I believed to be a clear path to slide until we stopped. It turned out to be a burial of white concrete bricks and I thought to myself, “Oh God, no please, we’ll blow up!” Simultaneously, the Lord flipped our truck away from the bricks. We flipped three more times and finally came to a sliding stop on the roof. Everybody was screaming. My head was pounding and my left arm was burning and wouldn’t move. At the time, what I didn’t know is that I would later hear the Doctor tell me my neck was broken from the C5 to C7 on both sides. Spring into action, “Go, Go, Go”, I keep telling myself, but I can’t move. My legs are pinned under the dash, I’m losing feeling in my left hand…my left arm is burning and my left leg is tingling. I started to silently pray and then I hear my 12 year old daughter scream out, “Our Father who art in Heaven” My sons are now praying. God is so good he allowed my feet to pull free! Now I go for my seat belt. Not thinking to brace myself, I unstrapped it and my head crashed to the roof. My daughter screams out “Your head is bleeding” totally dazed and more than confused I was able to shimmy backward out the window. I kept saying out loud, “Stay Awake” and “Lord be with us. Please let me get them out first”. It was the screams of my children that kept me up. My four year old hops out quick; the rest are in shock. I’m crawling on the ground trying to get to the baby, but I’m losing consciousness. I feel someone grab me it hurts… I scream, “No, I gotta get my babies out of here” and I hear, “We’re going to help you.” I stop and look up, he picks me up and suddenly there are people everywhere and before I knew it they were all in action. I keep going in and out of consciousness I hear 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 we got them all!” I started screaming, “No, 6! There are 6…6 I look up and my daughter was trapped, not only were her feet and legs pinned under the dash, now the truck was smoking. I screamed, “Please, my Daughter, my Daughter!” I try to get up and run, but I fall. The closer I get they yell out; “Get away from the truck!” I scream out, “Please help her! You got to get her out.” They are holding me back as I dig my nails into the cement trying to pull myself to the truck. I’m almost to the truck and he picks me up and says, “I have to get you away from the truck; it’s smoking.” Then I hear, “I have a fire extinguisher.” I lose my mind and drop! Crawling, clawing, and pushing away, I make it to my daughter. She looks at me and says, “Mommy, I can’t get out. I’m stuck!” I don’t know what to say to her. With every, bit of faith I had I say, “No baby, you’re free, just push yourself out of there!” All praise be to God, because she pushed and they pulled, and I heard, “We got her!” Not one of them was physically hurt except for a scratch on my daughter’s shoulder, however mentally their lives have been changed forever. They are now tormented with PTSD and flash backs, both in their sleep and while they are awake. I on the other hand went through an eight hour surgery to repair my neck and nerves. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks. I lost the use of my left side for the first 9 days. Slowly, I began to learn to walk again, however I can’t feel my leg. I’ve also lost feeling in the left arm and hand. When I was hospitalized, I got tired of repeating this tragedy, so I shared a piece on Facebook for family and friends. It was also at the recommendation of the doctor who was concerned with my mental health. When I could talk I made a call to a lifelong friend to get some help. He found me a lawyer who shattered all hope. He told me I had no case since I had no plate number or information on the other driver. He had nothing to go on and that since I only had liability, unfortunately, I would be walking away from it all with only my injuries! I was so devastated. How can this be? We’re the victims. How could you not help us?”Based on the disappointing news from the lawyer, I decided to advocate for myself. I called CHP to get a copy of the report. When I received the report it made no sense to me. I took it to victim services who told me it was the first time in their career that they had ever seen such a shallow report. She also raised the point of why there was no follow-up after the accident. I mean after all, there were cameras at the intersection where the accident occurred, as well as, all through the parking lot in front of the airport. The cameras were never checked. That car was next to me at least 60 seconds before the light changed and no one even bothered to get the plate number and now it may be too late to retrieve it. I also showed the shallow report to a Daly City Police Detective who said, “Where’s the rest?” and after reading it completely, he looks up and says, “It’s amusing that the last sentence of this report says no injuries to report! Are they serious? Your neck is broke!” That confused me even more. No injuries to report, wow unbelievable. Something is definitely wrong here. Someone messed up big time. I’m so lost I don’t know what to do. I’m not looking for pity. I’m looking for help! I’m looking for justice! This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. My children and I have no quality of life. I can’t get my three older children to school, so they stay in San Francisco at my dad’s in a studio. I am a prisoner of my home…. I can’t pick up my son, nor anything over 5 pounds. Nor, can I do anything for myself physically. Here I was an IHSS care giver and just yesterday I had a visit from an IHSS worker and I am now a patient. That broke me down to the core of my soul. If I wasn’t strong willed, I’d give up. But that’s never been me; especially with regards to my children. This is not fair. My children and I just put our lives back together. I’d been working only a year. All of my focus was on continuing to build myself up so I could be a strong single mom. I had not one sick day out all year! I was striving to be a productive person my goal was to give back to the people and community that gave to me as I have all my life. On February 20th that was all taken away from me and my children. No matter what, I will continue to fight my way back to get as close as I can to being 100% of who I was before the accident. Therapy brings mind blowing pain, but without it I won’t have any function of my arms which only rise to my shoulders. If it’s God’s will, I will regain full use and feeling of my left side. I just want to reiterate, I’m not looking for pity. I’m looking for help to get justice and a peace of mind for my children as well as myself. As if the accident wasn’t enough….just as I’m starting to try to adjust to life as a broken neck survivor, Murphy’s Law hit me harder than ever! May 13, 2014, 1:37 a.m. I am awoken by my care giver who is my mother. I’m confused as to why she is shaking me with such force then I hear her say, Fire! I say, “What”? She says, “We got to get out of here.” I’m dizzy from my meds, but I get up! I go to run to my children and I hear they’re outside already. I break down as I watch the flames melt the paint and make its way violently through what was my house. I’m in shock. I see the flames tapping at the window where my son lays his head Dear Lord…is this really happening? I should be making my way out of the house, but all I can do is focus on my life and the events that are occurring. Am I really going to lose my house and everything I tried so hard to give my children? We just moved in six months ago! Before I know it, I’m on the curb watching my house and the two houses next to it where the fire started burn to its leisure. I stood there until 3am and watched my house burn praying that we have something left. We stood there with no shoes half-dressed freezing, my children traumatized crying to my mother as they trembled and I stood there in a neck brace not able to comfort either one of them physically not even hold my baby. My 4 year old starts praying, I break down he says mom, we’ll be OK. God will take care of us. I’m amazed at his courage and draw strength from him. I’m told we cannot go back into the house until the next day…I’m devastated. I was given a referral to the Red Cross for temporary housing and shelter referrals. Wait what…did he just say shelter?! Lord why….why is this happening to us? So here we sit all 8 of us in a 1 bedroom shelter with 1 bed and 1 bunk bed. Don’t get me wrong, I thank the lord for putting a roof over our heads; and I also think of all that was lost some things can’t be replaced. Feb. 20th I lost myself to a broken neck. I’ve not yet found myself. May 13th, I lost my children’s home and most of our belongings. Yes, I did sift through the rubble to see what I could save, but with the damage not much was salvageable. It’s now September 10th and we are still at the shelter. I have 80 days left to find permanent housing or I lose my Section 8 voucher. Which leaves my children and me in the shelter until our time here is up. We have nowhere to go, Lord please help us! My girlfriend started a fund for us 2 days after the fire. A prayer for my children and I is all I ask for. If your heart compels you to do more…..God bless you.!  https://fundly.com/for-coffy-fam-a-little-help-to-bounce-back

Thank-you Father for this opportunity to know these people through You and your work in my life.

I pray for Coffy and all of your children, may they trust in You and Your works Lord.  May they give it all to YOU.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen ~ Vanessa

We are here today, gone tomorrow

our days are numbered

Over the past year I have seen a man fight for his life who has only had two years to see his child smile, I have seen a little boy the same age as mine fight for his life, and one lose his life.   These moments are tough for all of us, losing someone in our lives can be difficult and seems so unfair. These moments rock me to the core.   I just want to take all of the pain away, but that is not my job. Lean not on your own understanding. That is the voice that keeps coming to mind. My understanding does not see the full picture or plan, and sometimes miracles happen and other times this is all part a plan that we will only understand when we leave this world.  

I had moments where I did not understand the plan until much later and perhaps more is to come.  

When I fractured my neck, laying in a bed with my dad, brother and husband around me with a priest praying that I will be able to walk and to see my children again.   Three years later I am walking, and have a new normal and have a perspective that I am so thankful for.

Or the moment when I laid my head on my grandfather’s chest and heard his last heartbeat.  Letting go was difficult, but when one life passed another was given (the next day I found out I was pregnant with our second son).

Seeing my mother in pain, and wondering what was next.  Prayer, thanksgiving and petition make the difference.

But I will tell you something, these moments although frightening, and fear of the unknown rose up in my soul, I chose to lift up my worries and pray.   God is in control and I am so thankful for God showing me a different perspective in the pain.     All things in this life are for good. Sometimes it is hard to believe or difficult to see when your eyes are blurred by what is right in front of you.

The lovely web of life teaches us as we experience the moments that take our breath away.   We adjust and change the lens we look through, and we begin to ponder more about life and the moments.    

Life is short, and our time is numbered.   The bible clearly lays this out, and it also helps direct us on where we choose to focus our time and energy.  

Many times I hear people say “when I am retired I plan to travel”, or “when things are less busy we will get together”, or “things will get easier once we are past this stage in our lives”.

Looking ahead and saying” I will when….” “When” may never come. We are here today and gone tomorrow.

We need to focus on the now, make the most of our time here.   This means, living for today, surrounding yourself with love, removing the negativity, and making a choice for the good. And yes there are days when the waves seem to be crashing over us; during these times you can choose focus on what is important. Love and spreading it everywhere.

You have a choice. Where do you choose to focus your time?   Heaven can be on earth… Let go of the fear and live for today.

Be blessed my friend,

Ness

Everyday miracles happen… Do you believe?

Image for 3 year anniversary

Everyday miracles happen… Do you believe?  

I do…. 3 years ago exactly my life was forever changed.  The impossible, became my new reality and I needed to focus on what could be possible… A possible that I never really knew for sure could be a reality.

A shock that shook my family forever, a shock that shook my soul.   I am God’s miracle a C1 fracture survivor.   After heading into the pool headfirst, in 3meter deep water – I survived.   And better yet, I survived and feel I would go through it again if it brings me to the same place I am now.   My C1 fracture was a burst fracture shattered into a million pieces.   I was placed in a halo for 80 days and come to realize that this life is what we make it.  

I chose to trust in God, and to lift up my worries to Him.  Don’t get me wrong there were times where I felt like my breath was taken away. 

  • When my mom washed me for the first time,
  • when I couldn’t dress myself under the halo vest,
  • and when my hair started to fall out in clumps. 
  • Or even just being the mommy to my beautiful boys who looked to me for stability and strength.

I chose to LIVE! 

Returning home and leaving my boys, husband, dad, and brother and family in Disney, I was crushed.  I felt so much remorse and guilt.   As soon as I got home I did 11 loads of laundry.  I thought if I could teach my body to respond to normal every day activities I could strengthen it.   I did everything I did before – except drive.    I am so thankful for the ones who loved me through all of this.

In a halo for 80 days, people would look at me and feel sorry for me.   I began to see through their eyes how people who appear different are treated – it shows all over the expression on peoples’ faces.    Perception is everything, all most people want is to be treated as equals.  

Life came first, the broken neck came second.

Forever changed.

I had this vision, after my halo came off I would be normal again….The world normal – who defines it?  My hair would grow back, I could run again, and have no fear.  

Dancing with the boys before the halo removal to “staying alive”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4j7lE5d0BI

Removal of the Halo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o23NLhgjZ0g

Getting the collar on:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_5lk01G8y0

 But after the halo came off – the radiology results revealed the break was “WORSE OFF” “REMEDIAL ACTION WAS RECOMMENDED”…

I sat there reading the report and was in complete disbelief, fear and overwhelmed with emotion.   Without a C1 and stability, did this mean my spinal cord would be impacted? 

What did I do to deserve this?

What is next?

I was brought to my knees again.   The inner anger towards my actions….. The effects I had on others, and now my family.

All of these thoughts came flooding in….. This is what satan wants.  He wants us to blame ourselves, he wants fear and guilt to drive our thought process.  Because with this – we are paralyzed.

A couple of days went by and I got down on my knees –  I am so thankful for the love of friendship and family and prayers….

I had clarity again, I need to continue to Trust in God.  I asked Him for strength and chose to Trust in Him in all things, and would not live in fear. 

I had to be patient, I had to forgive myself (I am still working on this), I had to love myself. I was not in control of what happens…..

This journey of life, and the trials we face are our mercies in disguise.   They provide so much growth if you are open to it.

 3 years later…… I am blessed with abundance, and I am learning to forgive, let go and realize that all I have is TODAY.  I have chosen not to have a CT scan and do not know if my neck is healed (on paper).  I just chose to believe that God has and continues to heal me from the inside out.

I must live in the moment, and all I can control is my response to what happens in this life.

I am still learning and there are times when I fall short – but that is ok.  This is all part of this journey of life.

This past year I water skied behind our boat, and went on a ton of roller coasters….back at Disney (God gave me a redo.

imagesBXDVPZ48

 

May you be blessed my friends, because I know I am.

Nesscropped-new-face-image.png

(if you want to read more on what happened click here: https://nesschesters.wordpress.com/the-gift-of-being-fully-alive/ )

Got any rivers

                You think are uncrossable?

Got any mountains

You can’t tunnel through?

God specializes

In things thought impossible.

And He can do

What no other can do.

 

 

 

The winds roar and the waves crash almost sinking me

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” Psalm 46:1-3 (NLT)

Over the past two years I have felt many times like my ship was sinking.  Sometimes, I thought there was a hole in the sail, or water seeping through the floorboards.  At times the winds were so hard that I felt like I had to swim for my life.   It has been extreme chaos…

It started in 2011 when I broke my neck, then my dad injured his rotator cuff, my mom broke her ankle, my husband hurt his knee, my dog slipped a disk, my father in law had 7 bypass surgery, my friends went through some of the hardest times in their lives, my mom had her large intestine removed, my father in law got an infection in his replaced hips that has led to months in the hospital and is still slowly going through removal of the hips and waiting for the infection to leave his body, and now to my mom finding out she has breast cancer.

But although all of this has happened, for some reason, I am in a state of calm reflection.  I am in disbelief at times, but these moments have defined me.  They have been those moments that are bitter sweet.

I know is sounds very strange, and don’t get me wrong – there are moments when I am scared and cry.  But I have come to realize that I am not in control what happens in life to me or the ones I love.    It is hard to relinquish control when you are used to being a person that just likes things “organized” or “predictable”.   But this is life, we are not in control in what happens to us.   We are simply called to respond in a way that allows us to soften, to be there for the people that we love, and to support one another.  There is always going to be the rush of waves.  We can not do it alone, and that is what God wants from us too.  He wants us to ask Him for help and to trust that He will carry us through.

Yes my sails have gotten damaged, my boat may have pieces of paint missing, and at times I am drenched, but I know I will be carried through.   The one thing that I know I can control is my reaction/response, and that I do not have to come unglued through this.

There have been times while sailing, that the ocean was as calm as can be, and the sun reached out beyond the clouds to touch and warm my face.   Like this past weekend for instance, my mom and I were “material girls” in Vancouver. One of the best moments of my life.  The touring with this beautiful woman I have always looked up to.  She has always been my mom of strength, a woman who I adore and absolutely love the way she gives of herself and loves others.   As we enjoyed the experience together, both beaming eye to eye of the new things we had experienced together for the first time.  I thought to myself, “I love this”.  I am so very thankful for this amazing mom of mine, and I look forward to more moments like this.  I do think this was the first time I appreciated my mom in this way – while I looked at her I reflected on the choices she made, the impact she had on me as a woman.  And I was in awe.   In complete and utter awe.  I made my mind up that I would have more experiences like this with her.  I would also spend more time concentrating on the moments like this that take my breath away.

When the news came this week of this new journey we will go on together as a family; I was in disbelief.  But not angry, not mad at God.   My first thought was “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry”.  But as I came to process what was happening, I realized, it was God that has carried me through thus far.  I relied on Him when I broke my neck, and asked for strength and He showed up.  I relied on Him when I needed to be supportive for my family members, and pray for them – and He showed up.   I relied on Him when my mother almost lost her life this summer as she went through a major surgery – He gave me clarity of mind to navigate through the medical system and gave me an amazing experience with my father.  An experience I will treasure for ever…A new found respect and appreciation.  He has brought my brother and I closer.  He has given me amazing friends that have come together and rely on one another.      He gave me a deeper relationship with my father in law and mother in law.  He gave me the most amazing relationship with my husband and children.  He gave me the power to forgive hurt in a matter of seconds…

You see, these experiences, the waves and the storms have opened my eyes and washed away the anxious heart.   They have built me stronger, and I believe this too will draw us even closer to each other and Him again.  We all have to sail the storm, but it is how we sail that makes all the difference.

We can not control the waves or the storms, but we can definitely bring an umbrella, and hold hands in the rain.

The Gift of Being Fully “Alive”

It has now been officially almost a year and a half since my accident.  A journey of a lifetime, and I feel so very blessed to have experienced it.   There were moments where I will be marked forever.  However,  I would go through it all again if it brings me back to the same place I am now.  I wanted to share a snapshot of this journey.

The Gift of Being Fully…..ALIVE

It was January 2011; we anticipated a long awaited inheritance gift of a magical family trip to my favorite place in the world – Disney World.  The trip happened really because we lost 2 of our grandparents suddenly in 2007 and my mom wanted to create a wondrous and magical moment for her entire family with inheritance money.  Six adults and five children headed on the journey of a lifetime.

The first day I felt so alive, like I was a kid again. We went to Sea World the first day I wanted to leave my most favorite place in the world until last. As I looked across the stadium watching the dolphins jump in the air, I looked across at my family and I said to God, “Thank-you so much for this balance, and for all of us to be this happy together for the first time in a long time”. That night as the kids went to bed, all of us adults sat by the pool, and began to unwind and relax. I was dancing, and enjoying the night. I felt free, I felt alive. Then it happened, a tragic accident, I hit my head on the bottom of a three feet deep pool. I came up from the water, and instantly believed I was going to be ok.  “Something” told me to brace my neck.  It was an odd sense at that moment, but I believe that God was holding me in his arms right then and there. Feeling and communicating like a child again, I called for my mother.  I heard a blur of voices around me, everyone was not thinking straight.  Except mom she knew what to do; she dialed 9-1-1.  The fear set in, and I told her not to call, knowing that my one action may ruin the trip for all.  The fire department came and stabilized my neck. The pain… I could not describe it, my head felt heavy and discomfort radiated through my back and neck.

The five minute trip to the hospital lasted forever, and the pain coupled with emotion left me breathless. Emergency response personnel surrounded me; I asked myself “was this really happening, was I in a dream?”   We arrived at the hospital and people were rushing around me.  I don’t remember how much time passed, but suddenly my feet, hands and head tingled.  I was losing the feeling.  I was frightened; my brother, dad and husband were horrified. I asked them to get a priest as I wanted to pray the scripture where Jesus tells his disciples that they could have the power of healing through the Holy Spirit. The priest arrived, could not find the scripture, but we all prayed together for God to heal me. This was the scariest moment in my life. The thoughts that raced through my mind I never dreamed I would think.  I began to rationalize I could live without movement as long as I could see my children grow up. I prayed to God to give me another chance. Then minutes later the feeling and sensation of touch started rushing back into my hands, feet, and head.

Hours felt like weeks. I was so sad, and had such regret. I made mistakes. I was disappointed in myself; I gave it all to God. I asked him for strength, I needed Him, I gave everything to Him. Here I am God, take me, and tell me what to do.  We found out later that it was a C1 fracture (burst fracture), the rarest of fractures. The statistics stifling, 50% of people survive, of that 50% many can never walk again. Fear crept in… Over a period of two days as the doctors considered next steps.  I could not eat, and lay in a bed unable to move the upper part of my body I contemplated what my life was going to become.  I wondered what did this mean for me? This is when I realized that fear is the enemy lurking, waiting, wanting to encapsulate us.  I prayed, help me God, I am on my knees, I need you.

Then it was relayed to me, the decision not to operate and to proceed with a “halo” to stabilize my neck.  Four pins/bolts were drilled into my head, I had my own halo.  I didn’t feel like an angel by any means.  The halo was to be on for 80 days. In some ways I felt like I knew Jesus through this.  I had my own burden to bear but my inner strength came from the second chance at life.  God saved me for a reason.

It has been three days, and I had not seen my children since the accident. I was so worried about their reaction to their new mommy in this new metal enclosure. It looked like a jail. My poor husband tried to be so strong and positive for me.  The children arrived, and the looks on their eyes, they are marked on my heart forever. Horrific and scared..I prayed God please give me the right words. This mama then got all of the strength she could muster up and said, “Marcus, Drew, don’t worry mommy is ok, she is not in pain (as I told my first untruth). Guess what? You can show me to your friends at show and tell – your mommy is a transformer – how cool is that?” A twitch of a smile began to appear on their faces. I felt sadness in my heart, I couldn’t hug them, and I couldn’t feel their touch skin on skin. I kept telling myself, this is just temporary. Then they left, and I told God – thank-you for saving me Lord, this life is a gift. I promise, I will be alive this time around.

That day, I had to walk with 8lbs on my body, I got up and my blood pressure dropped. Heavy, hurt, burdened… I prayed, and God carried me.  Two hours later I walked a few steps, and a few hours later I walked to the door. He marked footprints on my heart. Forever changed.

You see the thing I never really knew, is that He was always carrying me. What He wanted from me was to lean on Him completely. The months that followed had their ups and downs. There are things that we all take for granted, a simple hug, washing our hair on our own, bathing. I wanted the moments back. Then it was time for the halo to come off. There was so much anticipation. These moments were overwhelming…. Just being able to touch again my boys to my stomach was such a joy. 80 days without it sure make you realize how precious those hugs can be. Oh how we take these simple pleasures for granted.

Dancing with the boys before the halo removal to “staying alive”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4j7lE5d0BI

Removal of the Halo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o23NLhgjZ0g

Getting the collar on:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_5lk01G8y0

After the collar came off, a CT scan was needed to confirm healing. The radiology results revealed that break was “worse off, unhealed, non-union”.  The break had not been healed and the fracture clearly indicated that the bones were not in unison.  I was petrified, what did this now mean?  I couldn’t think straight. Two days of complete fear. I was paralyzed with fear.  I prayed, and again God was there. He told me to contact someone that could provide perspective.  My thoughts rested, due to God intervening.  This verse that rang in my ears was, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, to give you a future and hope.” Jeremiah 29:110  I made a choice from that moment on, to fully trust in God.  This is life – this is what God wants from us to really be Alive!  That was what He wanted from me.  He wanted me to trust Him completely. Up until this moment, I don’t think I trusted Him fully and completely.

And here I am today, a walking miracle of the Lord God. I am alive in so many ways; physically, mentally, and spiritually. I praise God for giving me a second chance.  He has given me a new perspective.  It’s a gift from God – to truly live in the present and to be FULLY ALIVE. I am so blessed from this amazing experience.

11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, (Ephesians 1:11)  God’s plan for me was to go on this trip and to come out stronger than I was before, with a brand new perspective.  I would go through all of this once again, if it brings me to the same place I am now.  Being fully alive, living each day to the fullest and serving Him.