Studio pic
This picture was taken about a week before the accident..


Hello, everyone! I realize it’s been a while since my last update, but my mind’s been moving a little slower lately due to medication changes (here’s Ivan’s take on our newest brain stuff 🙂 )

Anyway, as the calendar creeps ever closer to our first accident-anniversary (“accidentaversary” for short!), I want to share something very important with you: I’m not trying to get my life back anymore. For almost a year now,  “getting my life back” has been a recurring and important theme. It’s an umbrella-like phrase that can cover just about every recovery goal significant to me, my caregivers, my therapists and doctors, and even our extended friend-family-church community. But the more I think about it, the more I find that phrase falling short of what I think we all mean to say.

It’s true…my life before December 3rd, 2016, was extremely rich and varied: an artistic and demanding musical upbringing culminating in two years at a conservatory in New York, three years in the health sciences (including research projects presented at the national and international level), traveling around the country with Ivan as part of a choir and orchestra, and through it all the blessings and challenges of growing up as a pastor’s kid. Each of those experiences shaped a unique piece of the adult puzzle that is me, and I wouldn’t trade any one of them for the world.

But working hard to “get my life back” implies that I want to go back to the way things used to be, and honestly…I don’t want that at all. You see, I’m not even remotely close to the person I was one year ago. I know myself differently, I know my family differently, I know Ivan far differently, and I think I know God “most differently” of all. And all those “differently’s” are very good. So good that I wouldn’t risk losing even one of them for anything. Obviously, I haven’t exactly enjoyed many parts of this year, and it saddens me to know that my struggles affect way more people than just me most days. BUT this is what it took to get us to where God has placed us now… and at least on my end, it has been worth it. So if “getting my life back” means going back to the old me, the way I was eleven months ago, I think I’ll pass.

Instead, the phrase I feel expresses our future hopes best is “building a better life”.  While I want to honor all the significant aspects of my first 23 years, I have an equal desire to treasure and foster the new knowledge and sensitivities God has been cultivating in me, Ivan, and the rest of my family over the past year. I sincerely hope the near future will include continued physical, mental, and emotional healing..for example, I would like to be able to play my violin again. But regardless of what the end of the story is for me, Ivan, my parents, Anna, or anyone else…I’m glad that we can’t “get our lives back” exactly as they were before. I’m proud of the people I’m watching God transform Ivan and the rest of my family (and hopefully me!) into. And I’m absolutely certain that the new life we’re building will be better than the old one, in all the ways that matter most.

6 thoughts on “No, I actually don’t want my (old) life back.

  1. Oh gosh this is encouraging to read Grace. And you know what? In my years of rehab work I have actually known many people to arrive at a conclusion like this and it is so wonderful. It is such a sign of your faith that God continues building the beautiful mosaic of your life. I send all my love in Christ to you and Ivan.


  2. Grace, you were beautiful before and you are more beautiful now. Challenges can teach us thing we couldn’t learn any other way and that we wouldn’t give up, even though they were accompanied with pain. Im so happy for your wisdom and peace. Love you!


  3. Grace and Ivan,

    You are wise way beyond your years, and the light that God is shining through your lives is an encouragement to all who see it. May we all seek to build better lives on the foundation of His grace, truth, healing, and forgiveness!

    Grateful for you,
    Samantha Elliott


  4. So encouraging to all of us who face change. Especially when we don’t expect or can’t understand. Each step you take builds our faith in God. Thanks for letting us in.


  5. Our Father has ways to get things done in both very easy and not at all to understand ways. Reaching and experiencing peoples mind is one gift, reaching the (rock) bottom of their hearts is a different one. Please do not take this as a cheap silver lining… or a judgment of either. God’s call on us is beyond that includes may ways. — Regarding returning back to…: I know that there are still steps in store to be walked on the new life’s path – steps that were core of the life ‘back then’… and they are in good company of many great ‘recycled’ steps already re-lived in a grander scheme.


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