For those of you newer to the blog, I love having guest bloggers on my site sharing their stories of brokenness and finding God in the midst of these places. These are what I call Identity Renewed posts. I’m privileged today to have a blogging friend named Mara Rose on my site. We became friends over the blogging world last year, and we both experienced some traumatic health issues and the deaths of dear friends. Mara writes today about an accident that changed her life and God’s faithfulness in the midst of it. I hope you enjoy this post.
Finding God in the Midst of a Brain Injury
by Mara Rose
I stood in front of the bathroom sink unable to recognize the person in front of me. She was drunk. Her hair was disheveled and her eyes blood shot.
Who was the person in front of me? She had become a liar, manipulator, and unashamed rebel.
She looked lost. Hopeless. Unfamiliar.
It was hard to believe that I was looking at… me.
That very night, amidst an alcohol-induced sob fest, I surrendered my life to God. I had spent too much time running from Him, and knew I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. The faith had always been there, I just couldn’t always find it.
After God pulled me from that dark, desperate place, I felt hopeful and rescued.
I was 21 at the time I gave my life to Christ, still trying to shake the sinful nature of your typical college student—it was hard even with a new devotion to faith.
A faith that would carry me through one of the worst moments of my life.
One night at a friend’s party, I made the mistake of getting on a motorcycle with a stranger. The next morning, I woke up in the ICU with no recollection of how or why I was lying in a hospital bed (read more about the accident here).
Pain slowly crept from limb to limb. I realized that I couldn’t move my left arm—it was covered in blood and scratches. My stomach churned as the shock sank in. What the heck happened to me?
During our short bike ride down the street from the party, the motorcycle tipped on a curve and we lost control. When I hit the pavement, my skull sustained most of the impact, and I suffered 2 skull fractures, permanent hearing loss, and a partially torn rotator cuff (yet to be repaired). Without the helmet, my injuries would have been much worse… or I might not be here at all.
It’s hard to survive a life changing accident and walk away the same person. I am renewed. God took my old life of sinful emptiness and filled it with His love. He gave me a second chance. Who wouldn’t be thankful for that?
In many ways, I returned to life as normal, but with a renewed sense of purpose. I returned to college that summer and completed a very challenging Geometry class in just 4 short weeks. It challenged me because I knew that my brain was having a hard time processing information. But I pressed on… quitting wasn’t an option.
Doctors are still amazed that I was able to finish my senior year and graduate college despite living with a brain injury. The truth is that without God’s strength and guidance… it would not have been possible.
At the time of my accident, doctors still didn’t know a whole lot about traumatic brain injuries and the long-term effects it would have on my brain. Almost 9 years later, I am left picking up the pieces and dealing with the consequences of a traumatic brain injury.
What changes happen in the brain after a serious trauma? A person might experience concentration problems, short term memory loss, slowed ability to process information, trouble finding words, headaches, problem solving difficulties, mood swings, and more. I am learning ways to cope with this long-term injury and how to adapt.
I’m thankful that my injuries weren’t very serious, but I still have to deal with long-term symptoms. Physically, I look the same. Mentally, I am different.
Even years after the accident, my faith and identity are still being renewed.
Mara Rose is an up-and-coming author and Christian writer. She has endured years of chronic pain and strives to be a light for Jesus even on the darkest days. Mara works full-time, specializing in web content and marketing, but understands the exhausting process of finding the right job. Through the trials of life and career, she hopes to offer relational insight and encouragement. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Jonathan, who serves in the military and is an OIF Veteran. You can read more from Mara on her blog, wordsbymara.com, or on Twitter @MsMaraRose.