Conversation Shows My Motivation to Write

After reading the timeline I wrote regarding the years after my first health struggles and remembering the timeline I wrote from childhood to my first health struggle, my therapist said, “You have overcome so much in your life. What’s next for you now that you have overcome so much?”

Me-“I don’t know. Maybe Jesus will take me home to heaven.”

Therapist-“What would you like to see happen?”

Me-“I would like to finish and publish my book about Jesus Understands Trauma. I think I can get it translated into Spanish and Portuguese. I would love to share about it in Ensenada Mexico and in Brazil and maybe here in the USA. I would like to continue teaching and helping refugees/immigrants.”

Therapist- “Those are great goals.”

Me-“But at my age I am not sure how much time I have to do them.”

Therapist-“You could have many more years.”

Not verbalized to her my thought-“I don’t want many more years of pain, Maranantha Lord Jesus. Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

Even this morning was another morning of waking up in pain and wishing I could stay home all day. But I will go teach three classes today. Each day is like that for me living with chronic illness. But there are more people to reach with the love of Jesus and I do hope to follow what 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God

That is my motivation behind the book and my desire for future ministry.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Startled At The Coffee Shop

Yesterday afternoon I was enjoying time at a coffee shop with Ukrainian friends when it happened. We went to a coffee shop with a nice outdoor seating area and enjoyed our last afternoon of warm weather before the sudden cool down arrives tomorrow. We were having a wonderful time of fellowship and coffee to celebrate the birthday of the husband when a car sped by on the street, gunning it, that had no muffler.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

The noise was loud and came suddenly. It startled the wife. She jumped a little from her seat. Then she laughed but perhaps not because it was funny as much as to release the emotion of it all. It was more of a nervous laugh.

She had just left the war of Ukraine in March making her way with her family through sounds of war to safety. Sudden loud noises are a trigger for many refugees.

Without letting her know what I was doing, I did a few things to help bring her back into the present. I held up my hand and asked her jokingly, “how many fingers do you see?” Then I touched my nose and asked if she could do that and she did. Then I waved my hand and asked if she could do that and she did. She did not know why I was doing comical little things like that, but they brought her back into the present moment.

We continued on with our fellowship over coffee and I learned more about Ester the girl who received a violin. She told me that she plays music by ear as well as with written music. She told me she learns better by ear. I used YouTube to show her the song You Raise Me Up because it has beautiful violin music. I explained that the war and fleeing the war was a trauma but Jesus is raising her up. My friend Clark, Director of the Youth Symphony in my city and a viola/violin player, suggested that after she has practiced and feels ready that she could play with the symphony. We also talked about the two of them playing a duet.

Her mother was blessed to hear all of this. She recovered from being startled shortly before that. Such moments can bring healing to the souls and spirit of refugees. We will go out for coffee again this evening after our afternoon class. Hopefully no more loud noises.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Can Help Us Overcome Trauma

In a conversation about trauma the other day, I was shown an illustration of balls in jars. The first set showed the balls getting smaller with the caption, “some think grief/trauma shrinks in size.” The second set showed the balls staying the same size and the jars getting bigger with the caption, “but we actually grow beyond and around the grief/trauma..”

I thought about the illustration and want to modify it.

After his resurrection the scars were still there on Jesus’s side, wrists, and feet. There was still evidence of the trauma he endured on our behalf when he died on the cross for us, but through his resurrection he had overcome the trauma of the cross. He overcame on our behalf too.

My modification to that illustration would come from a principle from Philippians chapter 3.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord

While Paul was directly addressing how his past earthly successes he considered to be nothing compared to having Jesus, there is a principle here- knowing Jesus surpasses everything.

In my life trauma has come in three forms, which my upcoming book Jesus Understands Trauma goes into. Those three areas of trauma did not disappear. What has happened though is that the more I grow in my relationship with Jesus, the less hold those three areas have over me and on me.

Yes the scars are there, but knowing Jesus, having a relationship with Jesus, has diminished the role those three areas of trauma have in my life like the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus says- the things of earth will grow dim.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Look On Her Face Priceless in Photos

Yesterday evening after my Friday late afternoon group at the Ukrainian church in my city, I met the father, mother, and daughter of the family I have written about. We went for coffee and sat outside to get to know each other better. It was a wonderful evening of fellowship.

During the class, I asked Ester if it would be okay to share the photos from when she received the violin. I asked her to think about it, but she told me yes. I asked to to think about it a few times and suggested she tell me the next time she sees me, but she used Google translate to look up how to tell me I could share the photos. So today I am sharing them.

Yesterday evening we talked about how trauma like fleeing a war can cause creative people to have a block in their creativity. Ester being a singer and able to play both violin and piano is a creative person with a gentle spirit. When she received the violin, it broke through that block.

She is practicing her violin and after class she stopped at the piano to play a little. I suggested I could get some sheet music from my friend Clark who gave her the violin. My idea is that they can play during worship at my church together one Sunday morning in the future.

This is Ester receiving her violin. Look at her beaming smile.

This is Ester with her parents.

I wanted a picture too. 🙂

It is amazing how Jesus can do wonderful things to bring healing to our souls. Please pray for Ester as she welcomes the joy of music back into her life and also for her family. They have only been here seven weeks.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Update On My Book

My pastor asked me three questions after reading my draft of my book Jesus Understands Trauma. They are not easy ones to answer, but I realized they need to be addressed. I had a bit of writers block until Sunday. A new friend I met at the coffee shop asked me how my book was coming Sunday afternoon. When she asked, it sparked my writing.

Photo by Judit Peter on Pexels.com

Yesterday in my session with my therapist Dezirae I shared about the questions my pastor asked. When I read the questions to her, she said, “I like your pastor.” We had a good discussion about the questions.

So my book that I hoped to publish in September will be published hopefully later this month. You might be wondering what those questions were, so here they are:

“why doesn’t God take trauma away and heal me right away? Why linger? – why does God allow trauma, pain, abuse to happen? – how should I think, relate to, forgive my abusers?”

I know my answers to the questions but it is writing them that takes time to process. Side note- I am so glad I can do it on a computer because it is so much easier. 🙂

So the process continues. Prayers appreciated.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

September Is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

My young friend Ty’s grandmother texted me yesterday to let me know he showed up at school yesterday and came home after school. It was a sigh of relief for me. He has a lot to deal with in life and has been seeing a therapist since his parents died when he was in Kindergarten.

I have taken mental health issues for teens and for everyone seriously for quite sometime. That increased in September 2011 when a young woman from Vietnam, who had been part of my weekend group, completed suicide. I will never forget how deeply it affected her family and the other young people who were part of my group at the time. The following weeks, I spent a lot of time checking on them. That experience prompted me to go through suicide prevention training, which has been put to use twice.

Darkness seeks to envelope people with feelings of hopelessness and despair, Darkness whispers thoughts of suicide into the thoughts of people who are struggling. But Jesus brings hope and life. Jesus said in John 10:10


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jesus wants to help all people to have life to the full. He brings healing for our minds, souls, and spirits. We can cry out to Jesus in our darkest moments. We can also ask for help. It is okay to ask for help.

In the USA, it is a simple number to call or text for help- 988.

In Canada- If you’re in crisis — Call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to: 686868 for youth; 741741 for adults

In the UK- 116 123 – 24 hours a day or text SHOUT to 85258

In Australia- 13 11 14

I would like to share two videos that speak to this. One says to stay another day. The other reminds us that our story isn’t over yet. Remember with Jesus we can always have a new start to our story.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Update on My Upcoming Book-Jesus Understands Trauma

I started counseling in the beginning of the year with the thinking of it helping me stay on top of depression. Living with chronic illnesses that all can cause depression is why I have depression. After hearing my pastor encourage people about seeking counseling, I decided to do so. I had no idea that what was about to happen would occur.

Photo by Andre Moura on Pexels.com

The first three sessions were mostly my therapist asking me questions and getting to know my back ground. At the end of the third session, she told me, “my diagnosis is PTSD, Dysthymia, and General Anxiety.” My reaction inwardly was, “crap I am a mess.:

My PTSD is actually Complex PTSD, Complex PTSD is repeated exposure to trauma or traumas over a period of time including childhood. It is something I was not concerned about dealing with because my focus has been on serving Jesus and letting the rest go thinking when I get to heaven, there won’t be any problem. But is it telling that I do not have any pictures of myself before the age of 20.

Photo by rikka ameboshi on Pexels.com

However, my relationship with Jesus has brought healing and there have been aspects of Jesus’s earthly life that helped me to cope with trauma while I prayed to Jesus. So in May, I felt led to write about that. I asked my therapist if she would write a paragraph that I could include in my book’s forward-hopefully published in September just waiting for my pastor to finished reading the draft to write something for the forward. This is what my therapist wrote.

“Matt stepped into my office in January of 2022. He seemed sincere, honest, funny and well-spoken. However, after hearing of the heinous trauma he had suffered, I wondered if I was qualified to help him.  I was transparent about this and suggested a few Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapists. Matt was adamant that he had prayed and Jesus led him to me, he wanted to continue working with me. He put his faith in Jesus and in turn put his faith in me. Looking back I am pleased that he did, because it has been rewarding watching his healing journey. Matt continues to grow mentally and in his faith. His book, Jesus Understands, is a testimony to both. After reading the book I felt honored and humbled, but mostly comforted. Maybe because of Matt or through Matt I found solace in knowing that He understands and comes to our aid. No matter the suffering we have endured, if we put our Faith in Him he will show us the way. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” 

My hope and prayer is that Jesus uses my book to reach thousands who struggle with PTSD or Complex PTSD.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Our Disappointments Can Lead to God Appointments

Sunday morning I got a ride to church with my young friend from El Salvador. He has been coming to my Sunday morning group since last summer. When difficult times hit, I have learned God is still at work around us. Sunday morning proved to be one of those times.

Photo by NOHK on Pexels.com

My friend is a shy person, but he is always willing to help his teacher and he enjoys learning. Sunday morning as I shared in my post When The Teacher Becomes The Student, I woke up Sunday morning happy after dreaming in Spanish. That prompted me to teach about how dream can either be what happens when we sleep or our hope for the future.

Normally I have six or seven people come, but this past Sunday my friend from El Salvador was the only one. When that happens, I wait to see what God wants to do because it often leads to something significant for the one person.

My young friend opened up for the first time with me about what happened to him. In El Salvador he was attacked by gang members trying to force him into a gang. His dream was to become a math teacher in his country. That led to a conversation and time of sharing with him.

I shared with him about how Jesus understands trauma and that he can pray to Jesus anytime knowing Jesus will understand. We talked about how his dream of becoming a math teacher is not over. We talked about how he could volunteer to help other Hispanic people with math while he improves his English.

We had lunch together at a pupusa truck and talked some more. He also stayed for worship service with me for the first time. Now I am thinking I should get my upcoming book Jesus Understands Trauma translated into Spanish.

Our disappointments, such as my van dying, can lead to God appointments if we seek God.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Burgers with Friends and Book Update

Sunday after church, some friends invited me to go out for lunch. We went to a fun place called Honest Abes a local burger restaurant. They have normal burgers/cheeseburgers and also some interesting combinations. The one I ordered had BBQ sauce, bacon and cheese.

My friends have a ministry for people from the Middle East living in my city, so we have a lot of common interests. They had just returned from an East Coast trip to visit family and supporting churches. Our lunch was a time to catch up lunch after a summer of not seeing each other for a while.

When I shared with them about the books I am finishing, particularly the one Jesus Understands Trauma, the husband looked at me and said, “you will have a lot of people who want to talk with you.” My reaction was that I hope so.

Speaking of my books, I printed out the pages for Jesus Understands Trauma, so I can read over it for a final draft. That is my project this week. The finish line is getting closer. It will be published through Amazon and available through print or Kindle.

Having printed out the pages necessitates one thing. A visit to the coffee shop is on my agenda today to sit down and do some editing while empowered by coffee and hopefully a gluten free cupcake. A person needs brain energy after all. 🙂

So after my therapy appointment this morning, and perhaps a nap, it is off to my office aka the coffee shop.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.