A ‘Goodbye” card from Calvary Chapel Old Towne, our current church in Orange County. We


This is the beginning of an unusual week. Exciting, but still unusual. As Ivan wrote to you all last week, we are beyond grateful that God has provided a way for us to join our families – and new extended church family – up north…especially since our recent “hospital adventure” confirmed that life will probably be safer and easier if I can be physically with or at least close to a family member while Ivan is away at work. Praise God for providing for us step by step!

On the other hand, these two transition weeks (or “packing weeks” if you happen to be Ivan!) have also become processing and grieving weeks for me. I think for the first time since the accident, I have been able to think through what happened  and open my eyes more not only to God’s provision but also to what was lost. Let’s start with the good things: I have both my legs (yes, even that was at risk once), I can walk, I can move my left arm and hand, I can swallow, talk, eat, think, etc. My balance is getting better, and I can even go for short walks outside! My brain can tolerate listening to music again. I can take care of most personal care. It’s not hard to remember a time when I did none of those things. However, I’m still haunted by some things too. Obviously, we don’t really know why this happened at all. I don’t have feeling in my left hand, and as time passes it becomes less likely that I will. This has separated me from a lot that I love – most importantly violin (including 17 years of study and 2 years living in New York at a conservatory), but also cooking, or even many chores and normal “wife things” I used to be proud of. Church, school, and most social activities are off the table for now, and since the average traumatic brain injury (TBI) recovery time is 1-2 years, we’re barely a quarter of the way through that.  Dealing with TBI is a complicated daily struggle that Ivan and I – and my mom when she was here – have gotten better at but are still trying to figure out. Pertinent example: I think this  last week has taught us that moving definitely falls into the category of “what not to do with TBI,” but nevertheless, this is where God is taking us! And I know it will be fantastic when we finally arrive.

So, circling back, my first reaction to the sudden, recent introduction to grief was to try to “fix myself” back to my normal outlook. After all, these moments before Ivan and I dive into our new life should be filled with celebration and anticipation, not sadness, right? But I don’t think anyone can “schedule in” grief to a convenient day or two somewhere, and I’m definitely learning that I can’t just arbitrarily “fix myself.” God knew what He was doing by shielding my mind and heart from sadness before, and He knows what He’s doing by opening up my ability to think and feel more deeply now. Grief is part of life…it says that in the Bible more places than I can count!…and God designed humans with this potential for a reason.  I know we’re not even remotely close to the final paragraph of our story, and my prayer is that He will use this new emotional component to dig deeper into my heart (and Ivan’s too), and keep equipping us for the plan that’s being unveiled inch by inch. Besides, who says that grieving and celebrating are mutually exclusive? Even as my heart mourns for all the parts of my old self that seem gone, and the perennial “why?” of the accident that I wonder if anyone will ever know for sure….just typing the list of “good things” in the last paragraph reminded me of how much I’ve been given back that we had no guarantees for at the beginning of this year. God is good…and I know once we get to San Jose I’ll have more things than I can count to keep adding to my “good things” list. So stay tuned! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Before That Dive…

  1. Grace and Ivan,
    I thank you both for the beautiful posts and honest writing. You will probably never know the rippling effect of your journey as you share it. As I forwarded this post today, one of my friends from my childhood was very moved and comforted as she is grieving the loss of her niece. Grief is a God given emotion and we can feel joy at the same time for God’s grace and provision of us. We pray for daily strength as you make this big change and His peace that passes all understanding. Hillside and San Jose is blessed to have you both.


  2. Timing of events sounds right. God knows what needs to happen in the right order for healing. You have to shed something as you leave the locale. Your getting recall so you can leave it. God used both a wise elderly female neighbor and a college buddy both to speak truth to me years ago at a life juncture when access to my Mom was closed off. That’s happening. His timing is perfect. He can bring you all the way back. You will continue to shed once you’re in your new locale. It’s like transplanting the roots of any plant or tree. Think psalm 1. It could be your vitamin b 1 (plant root analogy). I can tell you from experience non physical trauma is the same. It’s His pleasure to remake you on the potter’s wheel. Know you two have the faith. The joy will come maybe in layers. This spring after years of patiently waiting He has opened doors and He is supplying the solutions to blocks in the way. With God nothing is impossible. Praying for you daily. Not going to forget.


  3. Amen, sister. Grief is neither convenient nor scheduleable. And you are right, God shields you from it until you are ready. You will realize that He knows you are strong enough, with Him of course, to go through this and so you will endure and ultimately emerge victorious. Please add to your good things list: 1. Awesome faith in our awesome Lord and 2. Friends who love you. I will miss you so much, but I’m happy for you both and your families!


  4. Grace & Ivan I know I continually say this but you both are amazing and God is taking you by the hand step-by-step in this journey in your life.
    All of us at CCOT are going to miss you as you change locations. But we are looking forward to having updates and will be continually be praying for you both as you are our forever family!
    We Know God is faithful!!!!
    The example of true living faith is seen in both of you every moment and has been inspiring to all who know you and even those that don’t know you.
    Your story will be told over and over again touching many hearts and a testiment of The Lord at work.
    We pray the transition is smooth ,
    we know this is what is needed and are thankful you have family to help in the healing and strengthening process.
    We love you and miss you
    Brian & Lori klunder


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