You can't hurry God
A local author is hoping others learn from the struggles her family has endured over the past few years.
But the message from her book isn't one of despair and depression. It is a message of faith and hope.
Trisha Pederson has published "When Flowers Dare to Speak: A Journey of Heartache, Hope and Healing Through Traumatic Brain Injury."
The book, published by Tate Publishing, is a combination of journal entries, Bible verses and thoughts that helped Pederson cope with her daughter's serious car accident in 2006.
Pederson ties the story together in an effort to encourage others who may be experiencing similar trials or other life challenges.
"When you go through hardships, nothing else seems to matter except clinging to God," she said.
A few days short of Hannah Amundson Pederson's graduation day, the high school senior was in a serious accident that left her in a coma for weeks.
Hannah's brain injury, the doctors told her family, was the worst type possible. One doctor told the Pedersons that he'd only seen one patient in the past 10 years ever wake up after such an injury.
Pederson said she would pray to God that her daughter would be healed quickly, but the progress remained slow.
"God kept saying, "I'm not done here. A little longer,'" Pederson said. "When we want that quick fix, sometimes we miss out on so much more that God wants to teach us."
As Pederson learned to become more patient, and to listen for God's teaching moments, she said she was able to wait for the divine intervention she was hoping for.
"Sometimes God will walk us through the storm instead of delivering us from the storm," Pederson said. "We can have much to learn through suffering. It was a huge growth opportunity as a Christ follower."
As the Pederson struggled through the early stages of Hannah's recovery process, she began to create a detailed journal on the Internet-based Web site, Caring Bridge.
As she penned short entries about her daughter's progress, Pederson would cite favorite Bible verses that helped her and her family through the tough times. She also wrote about the things God was teaching her along the way.
Regular followers of Pederson's posts commented about the inspiration they felt from reading the updates.
By the time Hannah returned home more than three months after the accident, her mother had amassed quite an interesting journal of the family's experiences.
Included in that journal are detailed reports of how God worked his miracle, but on his own timeframe.
"We consider her a miracle," Pederson said of her daughter's recovery.
Pederson, who has dabbled in writing since she was 10 years old, was told by friends that she should consider writing a book about the spiritual lessons she'd learned through the accident ordeal.
At first she dismissed the idea, but eventually she decided to give it a try.
Pederson studied English and literature in college, but hadn't done anything with those skills in recent years.
"But many writers do write out of pain and suffering," she said. "I really felt like it was good therapy for myself, even if it didn't get published."
Pederson started out by writing just six pages of text. Then she sent it to a literary guild for a critique.
"I wanted to see whether or not it was worthy of print," she said. "They said to get the manuscript in print as soon as possible. So I kept writing."
Before she started writing each day, Pederson said she would pray to God for guidance on what words to use.
"I wanted to make sure I was writing what God wanted me to write," she said.
Six months later, Pederson was pretty much done with the project, except for some editing and final revisions. The book eventually found its way to bookstores in April.
"All along, I really didn't believe it was going to end up in print," she said. "I kept thinking, 'Nobody is going to want to read this.'"
But Pederson said those who have read the book so far have indicated that they were touched by its content.
"I'm quite shocked," she said about people's positive reaction. "It's affirmation that God wanted to see this in print and He wanted to get the message out there."
Pederson called the final product "detailed" and an honest reflection of the struggles the family faced.
"Brain injury is not pretty," she said. "The book is raw. I really poured my heart out."
Hannah is now a freshman at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn.
And while she suffers from some limitations from her previous injury, Hannah has done well in the academic setting.
"Brain injury is a fascinating thing," Pederson said. "Some areas of the brain weren't affected, while other areas were. We're very thankful and pleased with how she's doing. She continues to get better."
Pederson is already working on a second book, a Bible study publication which she hopes to complete in the near future. She hopes within a year to have the book in print.
"Writing may be a calling," she said with a smile. "I already have thoughts on a third and fourth book."
Pederson plans to publish with Tate Publishing again, but she is sending it off to other publishers in case someone else can provide a better offer.
Whatever happens, Pederson said she's happy she responded to God's nudge to write about her past experiences.
"I'm glad I listened and was obedient to write it," she said. "I feel all this doesn't have anything to do with me. It's all about God."