How Do We Do It?
I am often asked how we’ve survived the past several years. The trauma of my brain injury, Phillip’s job losses and the continuing ups and downs of James’ bipolar disorder have stretched our family to the limits but instead of us blowing apart, by God’s grace we’ve pulled together. The key words there are indeed God’s grace. He deserves the glory. Without him we surely would have crumbled. Whenever I pause and look over the past 10 years of our lives, I am brought to my knees in awe of a loving God who has never left our side. His faithfulness is so evident. He has shown up when we needed him the most, when we least expected it, in creative ways, through unexpected provisions and through wise and loving people who have walked with us through our most difficult days. When life’s storms come, and they do indeed come for all of us, it is essential to find wise and godly pastoral counselors who can walk with you to the other side. For the past 5 years, we’ve had the gift of Dr. Rudy and Lynn who have walked with us – and even carried us. The Lord Jesus has used them to comfort, steady, strengthen, teach, grow, advise and counsel us. They’ve directed us to doctors when necessary and always pointed us to Jesus. They’ve reinforced our foundation on the scriptures so when a really deep wave came, our foundation was strong and able to withstand the blow.
Gifts From God
I remember the first time we met Dr Rudy. It was about a year after my brain injury and I was still in the dense fog of confusion that came with it. As we sat in his
welcoming home, he gently helped our then young kids understand why I was so different. In words they could understand, he helped them grasp that while it was going to take time, I would slowly come back to them. Until then, they needed to hold tight to their Daddy and also to Jesus. He told them it was ok to cry. It was ok to be sad. He said it even ok to be confused because what was going on was indeed confusing. The kids gentle tears on the way home, as they held hands in the back of the car, were evidence that he ministered deeply to their aching hearts.
The brain injury that rendered me so helpless had wounded them as well. Dr. Rudy saw them – like broken little lambs – and his words that day gave them permission to finally grieve. This was the first day of a relationship that has lasted for over 5 years now.
As we drove to Lynn’s office, James was screaming at the top of his lungs. He was hearing voices again and seeing scary torturous things all around him. Again and again he hit himself with such force I could hardly stand it. Without warning, he reached out and grabbed my arm and pulled it causing the car to veer drastically across two lanes of traffic. James screamed, “I just want to die”. If there had been a car on the wrong side of us, we would have. Once at Lynn’s office, James was agitated and spilling over with energy. With soft words Lynn sat on the floor and spoke oh so softly. Gentle moment after gentle moment she began to unwind the explosion of energy that was James. Soon, because of her tender loving kindness, James was weeping tears of release. He didn’t really want to die. He just wanted the crazy to be quiet and peace restored to his soul. By the time we left, my sweet James had returned. Lynn, through God’s amazing grace helped my sweet son find peace again!
Time and time again, story after story, wave after wave, Dr. Rudy and Lynn have been steadfast in the raging storms in our lives. Their counsel has been Biblical, solid, wise and sure. When needed, they have been consistent in referring us to medical doctors and have always deferred to James’ psychiatrist for things they consider, “above their pay grade”. This is exactly the type of support all families in crisis need. Dr. Rudy and Lynn believed they came to Colorado to help a small church ministry. We believe the Lord brought them to Colorado to help us. We are humbled, grateful and utterly astounded that the Lord, in his love, would do something so beautiful for us.
Before Life’s Storms Come
When the really deep waves come in your life, and as I’ve said before they do indeed come for everyone, make sure your foundation is strong and sure.
- Study the scriptures and learn the heart of God and His character.
- Memorize scriptures that speak to your heart.
- Work on communication within your family – play games – have family night – talk around the dinner table.
When Life’s Storms Come
- Understand the Lord is STILL with you and has given you an opportunity to trust him. Choose to trust Him even when it is hard.
- Understand struggle brings out weakness. Be understanding of your frailties and the frailties of those around you. Give GRACE.
- It’s ok to be broken. SEEK OUT HELP from wise and godly counselors.
- Say yes to offers of help – you do not need to always be a pillar of strength.
- Cry, yell, weep, ask all the questions you have. Brokenness leads to closeness with God. (Psalm 34:18)
When Life’s Storms are Over
- Not every storm ends the same. Some end with relief – others in sorrow. Jesus is there to hold you no matter what.
- The end of a life storm doesn’t mean healing is over. Sometimes healing is just beginning. Be good to yourself and allow yourself the time you need to heal.
- Take time to find yourself again. Life storms reshape us and change us from the inside out. It’s OK to feel different and be different. BLOOM. GROW.
- Ask the Lord to show you the beauty from the ashes. He’s promised them. Make sure you see them. :0)
I’m over 5 years out from my brain injury and I’m beginning to see the beauty from the ashes. I know I am now a far more sensitive, loving and compassionate person than I ever was prior to it. I am also far more concerned with justice, the disenfranchised and those who are treated unfairly. The Lord used my suffering to shape me into who I am today. I’m grateful and oh so humbled by those changes. I believe, at sometime, our family will look back on these years that James struggles so much with his bipolar disorder and we will see the Lord shaping us all as well. Though it is too painful to see now, I have hope we will someday understand more clearly what the Lord is doing. And, the beauty from this painful time will emerge from the ashes too.
Learning to trust the Lord Jesus, when everything is falling apart and no answer is near indeed stretches you but it also builds spiritual muscle and depth of faith. The Lord knows this, and faithfully uses life’s storms to grow greater dependence, and beautiful trust in Him. Friends, I promise you, there is nothing on earth that will satisfy you more or grant you greater peace than a relationship with the living God that brings rest during a life shattering storm. I promise you – I’ve lived this reality and I know it is true.
As I close, I want to thank Dr. Rudy and Lynn for always being there for our family. Your commitment, service, love, compassion, wisdom and unfailing love has helped us heal. Your trust in the Lord Jesus has taught us how to lean on Him even more. Today, I honor you because I know your hearts and I know the integrity in which you live life. I know the Lord will continue to use you mightily as you minister to those He brings to you. We love you!!!
Dr. Rudy and Lynn can be contacted at http://www.healing-center.org or (719) 684-6978