As expected, I’ve had another traumatic hospital experience that’s prompted me to write this blog post. I wish that I wrote my best blog posts during times when I’m on the upswing in my faith and filled with overwhelming hope and good news; but if I’ve learned anything over the last four years as a quadriplegic, the hardest times have been the most fruitful times in terms of my spiritual growth.
John 15: 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
When I read this verse, it reminds me of the early days after my injury. It was the first time in my life I realized that I could do nothing.
When I think back to almost 4 years ago, I remember the terror I felt when I woke up lying on my kitchen floor unable to move. After lying helplessly for almost 3 days , I was raced off to the ICU where I had surgeries to repair my broken vertebrae and insert a feeding tube and trachea. Because of the apparatus in and around my throat and larynx, I was also unable to speak.
I’ve spent the last three weeks without my computer. The first week was okay, even though I had nothing to do besides watch TV. The second week I started to become anxious and depressed because I didn’t have what I consider to be my lifeline. My laptop is the only way I can read the Bible, write my blog, and communicate with people through email, texting and phone calls.
I am amazed by the perseverance of women in my life who allow tough times to strengthen them. I know a young woman who lived through the midst of the Civil War in Liberia. Rape and molestation were rampant. She became pregnant when she was 14 years old and her parents abandoned her. She had to overcome bitterness towards those who treated her like nothing more than an object, and anger and resentment towards her parents. At 29 years old, she reflects on her past with hope and forgiveness. She wants to help other women to overcome the pain and suffering that she has endured in her own life.
Why does God allow difficult things to happen? I do not know the answer. Every time I read the news, look at Facebook, or talk to friends, I hear bad news. I often get sad and sometimes I get angry, but it bolsters my belief that I have to keep my mind set on things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2). I do not know the purpose of me being paralyzed, but I do believe that suffering is part of our journey.
I want to share a few thoughts with you. You are not the culmination of the mistakes you’ve made in your life. You are loved with an everlasting love. Even if you find yourself in deep despair you cannot be separated from the love of Christ. No matter how low you go spiritually, God is with you. Even when you’re gas tank of faith is approaching empty, God can still work in your life. God loves you. Take a deep breath. Take time to absorb the verses below. Let me share with you about my own life. Maybe you can relate in one way or another.
One of my greatest challenges since becoming a quadriplegic has been feeling like I’m making a difference in this world. I was always one of those people that thrived on feeling needed. I enjoyed working and was always a very productive employee. If you praised me, I worked all the more diligently. I thought life was all about doing and not so much about being. Now that I am sitting still, living a full life has taken on an entirely new meaning.