Hi everyone! It’s the end of June, which marks the end of our third year San Jose. Our life is radically different than I imagined when we made the hot (un-scenic) drive from Southern California three years ago. I imagined completing occupational and physical therapy with Kaiser NorCal’s elite therapists. Once my traumatic brain injury finished healing, I thought we’d explore our new city and integrate with the communities at Valley Christian Schools, Ivan’s new job, and Hillside Church, where my dad is a pastor.
We found an adorable apartment five minutes away from my parents’ condo so Mom could help me while Ivan was at work, and I picked up therapy right where I’d left off in Riverside. So far, so good! But as most of you know, our “ideal” fresh start lasted only a couple of months. I developed a perplexing (and as yet unresolved) seizure disorder in October 2017, which transitioned into a hybrid seizure-migraine disorder last summer.
But as I reflect upon our journey over the past three years, I’m struck by how many blessings God has showered upon us, blessings we certainly would have missed if our lives in San Jose had gone according to plan:
- Ivan started his doctorate. He’s always wanted a terminal degree and hoped to begin one after finishing his masters, but we thought he’d have to delay that dream indefinitely when my accident transformed us into a single income family. But God opened some amazing doors soon after he started working at VCS, and he’s close to beginning his dissertation.
- I went back to school. Although my seizures make it extremely difficult to leave the house, they don’t impair my mental function. We decided to invest in my remaining abilities, and I enrolled in an online BA in English since I love literature and would like to write a book about our accident story. That program went really well, and I’m currently working on an MFA (terminal degree) in creative writing.
- I’ve laid the groundwork for a book about our accident story. The thesis for my MFA is a book-length manuscript, so I hope to get professional feedback on a first draft of my book. Using our story to share the hope Christ offers to those going through trauma has been on my heart ever since I started the blog in 2017. My degree is 4.5 years long, so the book is still a long way off, but it’s exciting to realize I could begin working on it soon.
- We’ve developed an unusually close bond with my parents. Most people think of their twenties as a time to enjoy independence and even a little recklessness, but it’s been the opposite for us. From midnight phone calls, to meal drop-offs, to Mom baby-sitting me after seizures (I wish there were a more sophisticated description of that one), they’re only a text or a five-minute walk down the street. Are there times I envy the twenty-somethings who do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want? Absolutely. But I’m so thankful to the Lord for parents who never tire of providing the physical and emotional support we need, no matter how much or how often we need it.
- We’ve experienced unconditional love from our Hillside and VCS communities. Therapy taught me to compensate for my original TBI deficits, but we still haven’t integrated with VCS or Hillside due to my subsequent neurological disorders. That hasn’t kept them from embracing us, though. Whether through online interactions, short visits, meals, or other creative outlets, we’ve felt connected with them since we arrived in San Jose. Every time we’ve faced a crisis – and there have been more of those than I’d like to count – we’ve received an unbelievable amount of love, prayers, and gifts. We’ve also been humbled to realize that much of our support comes from friends we’ve never met in person.
So I may be writing this hunkered next to the window for natural light (our overhead lights trigger migraines), but I realize how many good gifts we’ve received after moving to San Jose in 2017. It’s hard to believe it’s already been three years, and yet in many ways it feels like we’ve been here much longer. What I know for sure is that we couldn’t have made it this far without God’s blessing, my parents’ commitment, and our communities’ support. These are unprecedented times for our nation and the world, but even amid global transformation I want to pause and commemorate God’s faithfulness in our lives. And as always, many thanks to our blogging family for your love and support!