The Truth Will Set You Free

Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage, you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently.” ~Maya Angelou

Maya is one of the greatest souls to ever walk this earth, I had the privilege to see her read poetry in Dallas many years ago. I giddy in a packed room listening to every lingering word that she spoke. She had a presence about her and a different pace in how she articulated that set her apart. In her lifetime she shared many amazing and painful events in her life. Her transparency is only one aspect of her tremendous courage. I can’t begin to imagine the tasks she tackled and triumphed personally and professionally. For damn certain she was called, equipped and she did it scared!

I know why the caged bird sings…

When you are locked in your head and trapped inside yourself you feel like a caged bird. I didn’t know how good it would feel to release my truth into the world until I did it. I was terrified but I realized letting in free nothing had power anymore. No one could hurt me worse than I felt and so I literally had nothing to lose.

I responded to a project found on Accidental Impacts for a journalist from The New Yorker. Out of the thousands that could have been chosen, Alice Gregory selected a few for her research. From the floor of my closet I spilled my heartbreak, regret and bad words to a complete stranger. When I gave every detail, fear and frustration about “the accident” I felt a weight was lifted. I felt slightly freer.

Followed by crazy anxiety that maybe my details crossed a line or perhaps this would become a big mess, but to this day I do not regret sharing my truth with the world and being a small voice of an emerging community calling out from the shadows of guilt and shame.

Went and picked up this copy for $10 that was later ruined by spilled coffee

Link to the full article here.

Link to episode where I follow up with Alice. Episode Season 1 Episode 18.

The second crazy thing I did that started this whole crazy ride was another project, a new podcast concept called “What Was That Like.”

Again I did something I have never done before and I was so very scared to show my wounds to the world because at that time they weren’t scars. I had not even felt the reality of the first anniversary. But keeping it in was also destroying me, so I did it scared.

Graphic credit Scott Johnson

I didn’t realize that speaking out would help me find a community that has blessed my life incredibly. I am thankful for every sacred story shared with me and the pain that bonds us. I care deeply for complete strangers from all over the world. I am grateful. Humbled. These “projects” were catalysts for a calling God was calling out in me.

Hebrews 13:21

May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen

Mulling Over Moral Injury

When someone puts words to your feelings there is instant relief. It identifies the “thing” you struggled to communicate yet it is as real tears you cry to express it. I felt this when David Peters explained moral injury. From a clinical view I feel it was almost text book.

The phrase moral compass describes the innate pull to know right from wrong and choose right. I feel confident, not arrogant for saying I had and have a moral compass. Not perfect but I tend to navigate towards what is “right.” I also try to apologize and take responsibility when I have wronged someone.

The accident left me feeling like I was no longer a good person, my soul, my spirit injured…moral injury. Thankfully with God’s grace this is not a stamp marked across my forehead yet it lingers. God’s word says that I am not marked by my sin or experiences, it does not define me, or you.

Here are some of my take-a-ways with talking to David.

  1. The first thing was his name. I won’t over-spiritualize this but David was the name of the man I was in an accident with. I vowed to the Lord I would not fear that name every time I hear or speak the name David but instead I would pray for his children. So secretly the whole time I was also thinking of them during this podcast recording.
  2. It amazes me that through this painful experience God has made connections with complete strangers. How a teacher from Central Texas can have common ground with a retired Army Chaplain who has served our country overseas and yet there were several instances of true understanding behind actions and thoughts. (Connection to song, hating our cars, triggers, taking chances that would be “fair” if something happened to us like cosmic law)
  3. Crushed- it is a strong word. Crushed in spirit. Crushed dreams. Crushed identity. When we crush something you might feel it is destroyed but not through a biblical lens. The crushing of grapes is a transition that leads to wine. In my humble opinion wine is the best part of grapes. I am glad that this was brought up, take time to meditate on this topic. Here are some additional verses: 2 Cor 4:8, Proverbs 15:4, Proverbs 13:12, and James 1:2-4
  4. Speaking of grapes, let’s talk communion. When your heart is heavy, this practice always comforts and puts things in perspective. David said during his time of disconnect and anger with God he could still be fully present and connect with this sacred practice. Unknowingly, my interviewee had no idea that I too am fond of the breaking of bread and drinking the cup. I am always moved by this remembrance of what Christ did for me, for all. Often I weep as I pray over my wafer and tiny cup of juice. This was the first thing Chris and I did as husband and wife. A precious memory. If you feel burdened by your past or current state I urge you to grab a cracker and splash of juice. Give thanks for what Christ did for you on the cross, ask for forgiveness and cleansing. Ask for renewing of your mind and praise Him for bearing the burden of sin. Thank him for his love. You will be changed.
  5. Silence. This is something I take part of more after the accident. Before I did not enjoy silence in fact it made me nervous and I would fill up space with awkward or irrelevant noise, humming, conversation, anything to fill the silence. Now I need it to recharge. It gives me time to sort out thoughts. I am often over-stimulated with just the daily grind. What struck me is that both my first guest Dr. John Knox ( the Chaplain who helped me immediately after and during the recovery) also talked about the ministry of silence. David referenced the book of Revelation 8:1-5 where heaven was silent before Jesus return. The calm before the storm. The enormity of what will happen when Satan is defeated. The preparation.  Silence really is golden. If you struggle with silence as I did before my accident I challenge you to reflect on why, embrace it, make peace with it and take emotional inventory of how you feel afterwards.

Since the editing process I have listened to the episodes again and not for any vain reason but to really hear and absorb all that we can learn from one another. What stood out for you?

Please check out my friend and fellow CADIs book, Christ Walk Crushed: A 40-Day Journey Toward Reconciliation. If you missed the podcast here are links to the series.

XOXO,

Jenn

Overcoming P.T.S.D. and Unresolved Trauma Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

My Why, the Bridge Between Heartbreak & Healing

The why I had an accident involving fatality will drive you bananas! I would say the questions of which there are no answers can drive you [email protected]!#* crazy!🙊 There isn’t a good “why” so I focus on “what now?”

The why I share openly my heart and experience, that list is simple.

LOVE ❤️ Link to Inaugural Episode

I love God who created me, who hears me, who goes before me and weaves a tapestry of life I am blessed to journey! That does not exclude the bad, ugly and heartbroken events on this journey. I share how my hope in Jesus and belief that my sins are forgiven because of work on the cross by my Savior. I share His love because it is for all and covers all.

I love my family and friends who challenge me and support me despite my flaws! Documenting my feelings is a place I can keep my thoughts so that people love me can walk this journey with me.

I also share so those that have traveled this awfully lonely path do not feel alone. I have a deep empathy and reservoir of love to give those that are hurting, those that walk this road as an accidental killer (CADI).

“Meet me on the bridge from heartbreak of the soul and path to healing” `Unknown

Waco, TX

I think a lot on the topics of love and grief. Sometimes I feel they are polar opposites but yet they are connected. We grieve because we love.

***Change in subject 🤪

I have always been drawn to the life of Moses. Possibly because Katy and Haven always wanted to hear “the baby Moses” story from their children’s bible. Over and over again.

There is connection there, he was raised in unique circumstances.

He was an accidental killer

He was timid but obedient

***another change in subject stay with me***🤣

When we were in Washington DC at the Bible Museum ( worth the visit I promise!)  there is an interactive walk through of Moses life. So moving, very well done!

I had an ah-ha moment.

What broke Pharaoh’s spirit…grief. What gave Moses the courage to do and say and act as he did…love for God and God’s People!

Moses saw his community (Jews) hurting and it stirred him driven by love. He also made mistakes driven by that same powerful emotion. 🔥

I get stirred up for my people, but it’s driven by love. I make mistakes but it’s rooted in that same place. There is so much value in community! When you have a support system treasure it! Protect it! Be willing to part the seas, trudge mountains and wander deserts for it! 🙌🏻

Dear CADI,

You are loved! You are worthy of love, BIG love, you have a chance to change your world! You have experienced earth-shattering pain and still breathing. Your healing is a gift! 🙌🏻 The acceptance of this means love wins, the accident did not defeat you!!You have overcome, so walk in that light not worried of what the world thinks of you because you know you are a survivor! Now find your why and live it to the best of your ability! Let questions that can’t be answered fall off your weary shoulders, embrace healing and go spread some love!

Love big and boldly!

xoxo,

jenn