"Passion for life enhances life regardless of circumstances, but it must be allowed to flow naturally from the well of balanced living. I did not want this disability to suppress my passionate spirit. I knew God had given me my zest for life, and I had to trust He would never desire to take that away. I had to be completely willing and open in order for the Holy Spirit to move in me, and through me. This process enlightened me as to the importance of patience and the wisdom of waiting for direction." [Excerpt from my book WORTHY IN HIS EYES: Part Six: WORTHY: BY GOD'S SAVING GRACE ALONE...Chapter One: PASSION] © Kathleen M. Pritchard
Here we are.....at the last section of my book. This written journey from the early years of my accident to where we are now, at the last section, has been refreshing. I still find that I don't like trudging through the mud of those earlier, very difficult years again yet they are the very reason for my growth and for who I am today. I'm not sure where I'd be if I hadn't acquired my brain injury yet it's not something I think about anymore [unless speaking or reviewing my book].
I truly love my life and embrace every day with gratitude for who I am. I am thankful for God's guidance every step of the way and only because of this journey have I come to clearly understand and experience His provision, faithfulness, comfort, strength and unconditional love.
I do not want to imply that I am not still being molded, or grown. I still stumble and I still let God down at times. But I DO know that my life has purpose and worth simply because I am God's child. I DO know that I am forgiven and cleansed when I lay my sins before Jesus..right then and there. Through that cleansing, I am free to embrace life again without the ball and chain of a heavy soul.
I have always had a passionate spirit. I saw my precious Mom live this same passion for life despite extremely difficult circumstances. She was an awesome example and I am so grateful to have grown up under her "wings."
Each and every dawn presents two options for the day ahead, regardless of what the "schedule" holds or what "unknowns" pop up. As I've said many times before, God always gives us choices. The tough times during the early years after my accident were the training ground for learning how to make decisions. Some worked while others did not. But this process cultivated the passion already inside of me! I craved to be strong in spirit again and I knew the only way to achieve that was to let God refine me...His purpose had not changed.
Once I began to realize this, it became my focus. I fought hard for it at times...when life was overwhelming...but I'm so glad I did. I refused to be consumed by hopelessness and God gave me the strength to defeat it. Without leaning on Him and trusting Him completely I do not believe I'd be where I am today.
Life is unpredictable--for anyone, but especially for someone with a brain injury. Yet I challenge you to embrace it moment by moment. If you just coast along day to day, I encourage you to explore various activities you think you might enjoy. Then test it out. See if it's an activity that makes you happy, calls you daily to participate in and grows you by increasing certain skills [old ones still intact, or new ones to nurture].
There have been many things I have explored doing in recent years. I love each one and have learned much. But within the past 8 mths. or so, Kip and I have become "aspiring birders" as a result of joining a Christian Birdwatching Group worldwide [thank you CBW!!]. We have always loved nature, photography and wildlife including birds but the challenge to really learn about individual birds, identify them and learn their behaviours has been the best brain-gym I could ever imagine. It has also become something I am very passionate about.
I was encouraged to post a particular bird on eBird [Audubon and Cornell Lab of Ornithology's worldwide data base.] This was the beginning of an passionate desire to make a difference in our part of the world. This is something I can do, and do well. Sure it takes me a long time to record my observations, but that's because I want to give as much information as I can...with as much accuracy as I can. I sometimes get tired trying to keep it up, but it's such a GREAT tired because I know it's making a positive difference! On top of that, I am personally learning soooo much about various species of birds that I marvel at, and praise God for His miraculous design of these feathered beauties which bring joy, beauty and song to our world and our lives.
It has been almost 15 years since my car accident. My brain injury and I are learning to be comfortable with each other now...for the most part [Kip knows that better than anyone else!] I have tested many options along the way and all have taught me something, whether workable or not. I have been grateful for strengths and gifts which God has kept intact and I have enjoyed learning new things. Yet my passion for life and the mystery of what God has in store for me each day is what drives me, fulfills me and satisfies my thirsty soul.
God bless you as you venture along your own journey of life. Involve God in every step you take. Challenge yourself to explore options of learning something new....something you can super enjoy on a daily basis.
Don't just endure life. Passionately embrace it!
"You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done." Psalm 92: 4 NLT
Praise God from sunrise to sunset!!
"It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening." Psalm 92: 2 NLT
May God's grace wash over you and fill you with peace and a newly discovered passion for life.
"The quest for solid, workable solutions demands effort, time and patience. Ideally, a lot of prayer is involved, coupled with a willingness to heed God's guidance. Searching for workable answers to problems requires personal investment on my part, yet the victory of overcoming a problem is so rewarding that I am finally coming to a point of understanding how character is truly developed through the challenges. Continual efforts to work through, then beyond problems prevent me from becoming stagnant. Beyond that, I am then in a healthy position to reach out to others who experience similar challenges." [Excerpt from my book Worthy In His Eyes: Part Five: CREATED TO BEAR FRUIT...Chapter Five: PROBLEMS X ANSWERS = VICTORY] © Kathleen M. Pritchard
Life's challenges don't always work out the way we hope they will, regardless of how much faith we have. Sometimes we can be misguided as Christians, placing harsh judgment on our own spiritual walk...or anothers...because valley after valley of struggle and heartache are experienced. I'm sure all of us have asked this question: Why do I have to endure these tough battles?
If God permitted life to coast along with no problems or challenges, how could we possibly grow? We would never understand the power of love when it reaches out to us through someone else during a difficult time. There would be no "need" for compassion toward others. We would never "need" God. How often would we really commune with Him in an intimate manner? How many times a day would we even give Him a second thought? We would never experience His faithfulness, comfort or unconditional love. We would never have a "need" to ask for or extend forgiveness--from/to each other, or from God. We would never experience the joy and hope we have through Christ for eternal life--a place where tears and heartache do not exist.
It has taken me quite awhile to come to this realization. I don't always "remember" or readily accept tough situations or frustrating limitations but I am learning to step back now...to look at, and explore possible options/alternatives and ultimately workable solutions. This requires a personal investment on my part. Some efforts will not work, but I am learning this is not failure--it is the opposite. Each time an effort is genuinely made to conquer a problem, whether that effort works out or not, I have jumped a small hurdle successfully. That option has been tested and it becomes clear that it's not a workable solution. So I toss it away, and test another. Being proactive in this way keeps my head clear without the baggage of tools which are useless to my progress. A very good thing.
God is fully capable of "fixing" every problem/difficulty that crosses our path. Sometimes He will choose to do so, other times He will choose not to because He wants us to grow...to learn...to trust, [especially Him]...to become stronger in character....to understand the gifts of compassion and wisdom from others so we can pass along those same blessings to others.
Fulfilling God's plan for our lives through a genuine desire to serve Jesus Christ is all He asks of us. To seek Him when problems arise, to praise Him when blessings abound, and to ordain Him as our ultimate Guide as we tread along life's pathway. "Well done, good and faithful servant" are the words I want to hear from Him when I stand before Him one day....victory in any other form could never be as sweet!!
May your week ahead hold opportunities to grow. Don't be afraid to try whatever you feel may be a solution for a particular problem or challenge. Most of all, don't get discouraged if it doesn't pan out--change your focus to checking it off as a successful indicator of what will not work. Toss it away and don't go back to it for doing so will only hold you back. It didn't work. Let it go. Then reach into your box of options for another tool and test it's usefulness to the max. There will be valuable tools which will become instrumental to the success of your life's journey. Discovering them and using them will empower you to move forward....with confidence.
Above all, bring everything to the Lord and ask for His wisdom and guidance. Trust Him through the "yes's" and the "no's." Doing so will enable you to discover the richness of life He has planned for you!!
"The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.." Psalm 37: 23,24 NLT
"I really love to laugh, and I have grown in self-confidence which empowers me to laugh easily at myself. I don't always say what I mean to say, particularly when I am really tuckered or at the close of the day...my "concentration" medication having worn off. Instead of saying "rag-a-muffin" I may come out with something like "mag-a-ruffin." My words are not always appropriate and it has caused moments of silence resulting in puzzled looks, including my own. I do not realize what has slipped out until a few seconds later, the processing of information finally reaching my internal "message board." After these honest malfunctions of the tongue, I often begin to giggle at what I've said. Although silence and odd looks may take place when this happens, others either join me....or the conversation ends." ;-) [Excerpt from my book Worthy In His Eyes: Part Five: CREATED TO BEAR FRUIT...Chapter Four: HUMOUR] © Kathleen M. Pritchard
Dedicated to two very precious people [S&D] in my life...our life. Thank you forever for bringing back that "twinkle in my eyes." Love you so dearly.
After 1 & 1/2 yrs. of undergoing many cognitive and neuro-psychological tests, my physician asked me, "Kathie, what is it that you hope for most now that you have this disability?" I had replied, "To see the twinkle back in my eyes again. It's gone and I want it back."
During those early years of massive changes, there seemed to be no room for humour. My days were filled with so much focus on the disability and how to adapt to it's permanent residence in my life, that I had no energy left to try to figure out the humourous side of things.
Yet, as my self-confidence began to strengthen and I gave the tough stuff to the Lord instead of trying to carry the load myself, humour started to naturally shine a spotlight on the upside of life. The first time I laughed out loud while being with some friends, I covered my mouth--shocked by the sound of my own laughter! This was the starting point and it felt great!
Gradually I began to experience laughter in most of my days again. Yet I felt that spirited "twinkle in my eye" remained elusive when I saw photos of myself. THEN, one day we had dear friends [who had moved away some time earlier] over for a visit. They knew us well prior to the accident and had remained by our side as cheerleaders and prayer warriors. When I was with them, I felt so at ease.....so "me." Teasing and laughter, just really great humour and friendship spilled over and I suddenly realized what was happening! They were the vessels God used to unlock that last part of me--that part I ached for so much!!! The "twinkle in my eye" was restored! Tears flooded my eyes that day---happy tears. I didn't want to stop hugging them for their huge part in returning that gift back to me.
This happened so naturally, without effort on their part, or mine. It was just "there" and I immediately knew this was all part of God's amazingly personal timing and love. That barrier was removed and today I have full restoration of my sense of humour :-) It may still take awhile for me to get a joke, but I will "get it" eventually--or I will not--no biggie--the world won't fall apart or be less enjoyable if I don't. It's all good.
My own light-heartedness has fully returned and I really love teasing others again. There's not a day that goes by without Kip and I sharing humour in some sort of form and it's awesome! I have realized that humour really IS good medicine for the soul, it's not just a cliche.
Without a dose of humour daily, life will become tougher and darker. Of course there are days when things are so overwhelming it seems humour has no place, no right to be unleashed. But I can promise you..even on those days..God's gift of spontaneous humour can brighten even the darkest storm. More than that, it provides an opening for more clarity, to see things differently because the intense focus has been lightened, if even just briefly.
Fun, light-hearted, positive, uplifting humour is an off-shoot of joy, and lasting joy comes from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It settles deeply into the heart of one who seeks Christ's Presence. Deep rooted joy is there when life is flowing nicely and it's there when the valleys get dark. Embracing this will make an enormous difference to each and every day of your life. God didn't create laughter without the desire for every one of us to experience it, and share it---He is so pleased when we use the gifts He's given us!
This is what lasting joy means to me: J-O-Y: Jesus Overflowing in You!!!
"..she laughs without fear of the future." Proverbs 31: 25b NLT
"A cheerful heart is good medicine..." Proverbs 17: 22 NIV
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