Peace

I hope that by sharing my story, those who know me and see me as ‘normal’ will help drop the stigma that goes with the word seizure. It makes me vulnerable to share this, because the moment I tell this… I am open to people’s limited views and preconceived ideas, but if you read on, you may learn things you didn’t know. Recently I’ve read some of Lisa Genova’s work, who I highly recommend as an author. She writes on the topic of Neurology and the neurosciences in a novel format telling stories of people who’ve had challenges with early onset dementia, autism, or those who’ve suffered with a brain trauma. I think there needs to be more awareness about neurological problems that people experience. People need to know that highly intelligent people can have neurological conditions and not be looked down on or outcast from society. They are still contributors to life!

There are people who doubt that God exists, those whose lives have been fraught with hardships or sorrows. Or those who haven’t had “enough proof” to believe. They don’t see how God could allow bad things to happen to good people; therefore, in their minds… God must not exist. I have been through horrific things in my life. What I am about to share is one of the less horrific things to me. It is my hope that people will realize that we all have things we deal with that are hard in life, but there is always hope.

When I was younger, I did have doubts in my faith, I’ve been there before in my life. But I don’t live there any longer, because I know who I am in Christ. I am Chosen. I am Loved. I am His beloved. God has given me peace. The way you get to the same place in your life, is by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Then you need to read the Bible daily, and ask that the Holy Spirit reveal the truths in it to you. 

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.” I Corinthians 2:10

There are some things about me only few know. I don’t want sympathy and this is why I don’t usually share my story, but I feel others might benefit if I share some of the things I’ve gone through in my life. When my son was a toddler, I had dizzy spells for several weeks. I went to the doctor and was given pills for vertigo. After three months, I couldn’t walk a straight line across my living room. My doctor decided I should get a CT Scan of my brain and said he would have the results in a week. The very next day he called to say he wanted me to have an MRI and had already scheduled an appointment for that afternoon. They’d found a mass. I saw a neurosurgeon the day after the MRI. The neurosurgeon told me it was an inoperable tumor, the size of a dime in circumference and three inches long in the deepest portion of my brain. He said he couldn’t biopsy it without doing severe damage, and he wanted to monitor it through multiple MRIs. My family panicked and while I didn’t exactly like the report, I prayed about it. God gave me the most indescribable peace. I felt like he told me “Don’t worry, I’ve taken care of it.” I have walked in that faith and that peace ever since, no matter what circumstances have arisen. This was about eighteen years ago. There wasn’t any change until I had a near-fatal car accident in 2001.

I was traveling to my son’s school when I was t-boned by a woman who was doing 85 in a 50 mph zone. Out of eight windows in my Volvo, only two were still intact. The frame was bent, both axles were broken, and the front passenger seat was in the driver’s seat with me. I was unconscious for four hours. I woke up in the ER with several doctors and nurses working on me. They gave me pain medication and I passed out again. I had a concussion, and a head full of glass where I had broken the windshield. I was wearing my seatbelt. Five months later, I required spinal surgery to replace three discs in my neck, and knee surgery from my knee slamming into the dash. My doctor told me the only reason I was alive was because I was driving a Volvo. I told him it was because God spared me.

Volvo Nov 01

Nine months after the car wreck, I was trying to return to my landscaping business. I had planned to start with a light day of spraying roses for a client. My son, was with me and we stopped for breakfast at a McDonald’s drive-through. As I pulled in to pay, I put my truck in park, which I never do. The next thing I remember, I was on a gurney being loaded into an ambulance. One week later, my son described in detail what happened, he had been so traumatized by the events he couldn’t talk about it before. I had lost six months of memory and I had dysphasia; I would think one word and another word would come out of my mouth, beyond my control. What my son described was a grand mal seizure. I had never had any type of seizure in my life! I later found out that the car wreck had shifted my tumor into the area of my brain that triggers seizures. My speech straightened out after a couple of months, but I never regained the memory I lost. I keep a calendar of those months and two years surrounding that time-frame in a file in my desk, because it is still mixed up in my memory. 

Three weeks later, I had a second grand mal, and I was put on medication. People who have seizures usually have what is called an ‘aura’ or warning, that indicates a seizure might be about to happen. Before the first one, I didn’t have any warning, but I did before the second one and all subsequent ones. To me, it sounds like I have gone into a tunnel, noises are very muffled, or non-existent. My seizures are unique, because most of them are triggered by sounds. Only five percent of all seizures are auditory, they are very rare. They fall into a class called “Partial Simple Sensory” meaning my awareness to my surroundings is maintained. Sensory means that one of the five senses is the trigger, vision is the most common, touch, taste, and smell are equally second. In my case, it is hearing, the least common (sounds trigger them). Less frequently, I have Petit Mal seizures, where I do lose consciousness, without convulsions. I have not had a grand mal seizure since the first two, twelve years ago. 

A few years ago, I went to a celebration dinner for the people who voluntarily give of their time in the church I was attending. On the way home, we were sharing our testimonies, and I shared some of my story with the people in the car. I can’t work or spend time in places that have beepers, doorbells, scanners, loudspeakers, two-way radios, or drive-throughs because the frequencies they emit can trigger seizures. I found this out the hard way. I’m supposed to take it easy for a day or so if I have a seizure without loss of consciousness. If I have seizures where I lose consciousness, I cannot drive for six months. Because the type of seizures I have are so rare, even the neurologists know very little about them. I have done quite a bit of research on them and I was the one who figured out why that first seizure occurred in the drive through, it was the frequency of the radio at the drive-through. I later starting figuring out that certain frequencies were triggers, we have our doorbell dismantled, because it is a major trigger. One of the most unusual sounds that bothers me is when someone sneezes. Thankfully, I don’t have any more grand mal seizures, that would be awful when someone had a cold! Also, it is only when someone else sneezes, not my own sneezes! You have to find humor somewhere.  

Currently, I am on hiatus from driving, because recently I had a seizure that I lost consciousness. But even in that, I find peace. It is a time for me to step back and look at what is important. It is a time to weigh things out and spend more time with God. I can put my house in order, both physically and spiritually. I can taste, and see that God is good! I pray that you learn also to live in His peace.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The Three Unopened Gifts

After Christmas there were still three gifts left under our tree that hadn’t been disturbed. After our family left, all of the other gifts had been opened and the bright shiny wrappings had been thrown away, or put in storage, but these three gifts didn’t have any nametags on them, and they were left untouched. Oddly, nobody even asked about these gifts. They didn’t question who they were intended for. I suppose they thought they were gifts that my husband, Jonathan and I had bought for each other, and would open later, privately. But Jonathan and I didn’t need them; we already had them. We knew who they were for and what they represented, so they sat there under the tree, as a reminder.

3 gifts

You see, I put these gifts under the tree because I wanted them there as a reminder of what Christmas is truly about. It isn’t about presents, at least in a material sense, but it is about gifts, gifts that can only be given from a pure heart. If you were to open these boxes, you wouldn’t find anything inside… they’re empty. But they each represent a deeper meaning. They represent what Christ came to the earth to share with us, something that cannot be bought with money or credit.

The red box represents Love, it was the love of God to redeem man, that sent us a Savior (red = the blood of Jesus) in the form of Jesus Christ. This love is unlike anything or any love that man can offer. “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” 1 John 4:12-16 NLT “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 NLT

The silver box represents Peace. This does not mean we won’t have problems as we live out our lives, but we can know that God is for us and will be there for us to help us. Jesus told us that he gave us the gift of peace the world cannot give. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT

The last gift, with the wild bow, is the gift of JOY! No matter what we face in this life, no matter what we are going through, we can have joy! This doesn’t mean we have to En-joy whatever it is, but we can still ‘Have’ Joy! That joy comes from the Holy Spirit within us. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace…” Galatians 5:22-23 NLT The Joy of the Lord is our Strength to get us through every day of our life.

These three gifts are available to everyone! That is why there aren’t any nametags. I offer these gifts to you today. They are free for the taking. All you have to do to receive them is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It’s that simple. Just tell him that you are willing to put your life in His hands and trust him to make your life new.

You can pray this prayer: Father, I know I have sinned, but I want to put that life behind me. Please forgive me for my sins. I accept Christ as my Savior and I believe he died for my sins. Help me to do your will for my life. Help me to experience your love, peace, and joy. Thank you. Amen.