All in all – things couldn’t have been much better for fifth grader Jonathan Friesen.
He was the teacher’s favorite, and a bit of a grade school star! But then he entered a season where the twin illnesses of Tourette Syndrome & Epilepsy would lead to what he describes as his ‘lost years’.
In those dark times he discovered a love for writing, a passion that would eventually bloom into a new career as an author and speaker, and give him a platform to speak into the lives of thousands with a unique voice he may never have found otherwise. He explains how that process of healing began.
“It was a time where there was a greater clarity and greater acceptance of me. School was such a hard time. It’s one of the only times in our lives where we are all thrown together with human beings of our own grade, and our own age. It’s this unreal situation of trying to impress each other.”
“Then you get out in the world and realize – ‘OK! I guess we’re not all competing with each other out here!’ It’s it was a strange realization. I kind of had to really learn some things – and I had to learn them wrong the first time. I believed that I was – in the pecking order – I was at the bottom. To look around and realize, ‘No! I’m where I am.’ And to get to know me as me.”
And that refreshing frame of mind coincided with healing for his physical condition as well.
“Actually my Tourette tics started to go away – and not completely – but they started to go away and dramatically decrease, simply in that self-knowledge that this is who this is who I am. And it’s OK to be that person. And that alone did a wonderful thing.”
Jonathan explains that faith and the love of his grandma were instrumental in bringing about this life change.
“There aren’t a lot of people who would have a best friend who is their ninety five year old grandmother but I think that she was mine. And I would drive down to to Kansas, and I would sit in her kitchen across the table and she would just listen to me. I would tell her how miserable I was!
But she would just listen and and say a couple of things, but the message I received from her was just how loved I was. And how confident she was in me going forward. I got so much hope after being in her presence. Such an incredible woman of God. And she – more than anybody else – gave me this sense of being Jesus with skin on. You’re not in the middle of something. You were at the beginning. I was something. And all this stuff that you have gone through that for you has been very painful. It was there. And now you have the opportunity to do something positive with it – which was a real twist for me to think that. I’m not just escaping something. It’s actually something that can be used going forward.
So really, my grandmother – she’s since passed on – I owe her quite a debt.”
Learn more about Jonathan’s work and check out his library of books.