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Remain in Him

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John 15: “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.

With the chaos of the ICU, I was unable to process the gravity of my situation. The real earth shattering shock set in when I moved into a nursing facility and found myself at the mercy of other people. I could do nothing on my own. People bathed me, fed me, took care of personal hygiene, exercised my stiff body, picked out my clothes, and many other embarrassing things that I won’t list here. I truly understood what it felt like to be physically powerless.

After four years of being a quadriplegic, I have accepted that I can’t do anything on my own physically, but I still seem to mess up when I try to handle my spiritual well-being. It’s a different type of control, but the same dilemma I faced as an able-bodied person: I realize that apart from Christ, I can do nothing. Oh – I know I can do a lot of things, but nothing that nourishes my soul. And apart from God, nothing else matters. I can have everything in the world, and yet none of it will satisfy me.

Psalm 16:  1 Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

Before my accident, I remember all the time I spent in vain trying to make dysfunctional relationships into happy relationships. I think about all the money I spent on various gym memberships just to try and achieve a look that the world defined as attractive. I am ashamed to talk about all my credit card debt, the people pleasing, struggling to move up the ladder at various jobs… Should I go on? As spoken by the words of King Solomon, it is a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2: 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself once again discontented, irritable and impatient. Especially with other people. It seems like I’ve just been in a bad mood for a long time, which explains why I haven’t made a post for a good while. The thought of it just made me grumpy.

After spending quite a bit of time contemplating and praying about what could be causing my angst, it dawned on me that I haven’t been in my Bible much at all, nor have I talked to any of my Christian friends about my dismal state of mind. And my prayers have been few and far between.

What I’ve been doing in place of meditation and prayer is filling my mind with Facebook and the news. Although these things are not bad in moderation, I was doing it ALL DAY LONG. (I don’t believe all news #fakenews, but I do believe much of it is bad news!) And for that reason I have been doing nothing more than numbing my mind.

I’m so thankful God is merciful and shines the light on the truth. I’m so thankful nothing is hidden in his sight and he never leaves me even when I get off track. I am so thankful that he is always holding on to me whether I go up or fall down. I think David said it the best:

Psalm 139:  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

What I am the most thankful for is that he is God and he knows exactly what I need and how to run my life. When I take the wheel, I seem to end up with nothing much to talk about. I pray in the future to always remain in him so I can gain so much more.

Amen.

About Terri Nida

In August 2013, I fainted in my kitchen and woke up paralyzed from the shoulders down. I am still trying to make sense of all this, but one thing I know is that God is with me and he loves me.

21 responses »

  1. Terri,

    Thank you for honestly expressing your spiritual struggles.

    One thing I have discovered looking back over my faith journey living with bipolar disorder is that when I am more manic, I do all kinds of things to hold onto God (and other things). When I am depressed, it feels like I have nothing to offer. It’s good to know at these times God holds onto us.

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  2. Barbara Goodman

    I love you, sweet friend!

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  3. Such profound thoughts we could ALL benefit from and as always, written in the most heartfelt, touching, and poetic way!

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  4. Dear Terri, In all of your journaling, I have never heard you say you feel sorry for yourself. You are one amazing woman who knows when to let your family and friends know when you are feeling down. Our group is talking of a time we can get together when you are up for a visit. We want to visit when you want us to visit – or maybe a couple of us at a time might be better. Love you bunches – see you soon. Please know I think of you every day. Love, Gretchen

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    • Gretchen – thank you for your kind words. It is so appreciated. I would love for any of you or all of you to come at any time! I’ve been feeling healthy for about two months now. Just let me know a date and time and will go from there. Love, Terri

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  5. Terri, what a blessing you are to me. Thank you so much! Just reading your post today the Lord has sorted out some of my thinking. Bless you good friend.

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    • I’m so glad it was helpful. I am thankful for you and my entire blogging community because on my worst days if I open up WordPress and read how other people are persevering, it inspires me to persevere as well. God bless.

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  6. Paulette Sheffield

    I love this Terri! It inspires me, as I too can struggle with the ups and downs of my faith. I have always struggled with working at my salvation and using what I “do” as a measurement of my faith. I have a hard time believing God thinks I’m worthy..just as I am…just by my faith and not my works. I also love Psalm 139..I have memorized it and you noted one of my favorite sections!!! God is always with us no matter how high or how low we go. We can’t hid from Him and He does’t want us to hide.

    I love your writing and I love you!! I hope this week is filled with spiritual bliss and not so much #fakenews and real news. Focus on God, His Word and the people around you.
    Love & prayers,
    Paulette

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    • I love you, too! I’m so very thankful that we connected and have cultivated such a strong bond for being so far away and having never met! Thank you for always encouraging me with cards, paintings (which I absolutely love), gifts, and emails. Love, Terri

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  7. Thank you for being so honest about your faith and physical journey. It is amazing how God is always with us even when we are struggling. Terri, may you feel His presence in a special way today!

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  8. I definitely needed to hear this, I’ve been sick for the past few days and I was on the AGC blind-item website all day long yesterday literally from sunup to sundown looking at celebrity archives of info and feeling sorry for myself when I really should have been in the Word instead. I so easily get caught up in being envious over other people’s lives and fortunes and forget to thank God for what He has already done for me and for the good future He has planned for me. I was complaining to my friend recently about how many decades I have been in such a dreary situation when she reminded me this morning that I should wake up every day with eternity in mind and be always looking to thank God for the eternal, celestial life He has prepared for us and to always give thanks for how He will sustain us here in our brief waiting room so-to-speak although it seems like forever to me many times. It has been hard for me to separate who God is from the circumstances and trials I find myself having to go through many times but I think that’s what He always calls us to do. He reminds me through His Word and through knowledgeable messengers like you that even when we are faithless (or forget his goodness), He is still faithful to us; is still planning good things for us; and He still remains with us always. Thank you Terri : )

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    • Hi Crystal – I want you to know one of my favorite websites is Celebrity Net Worth! Sometimes when I’m bored I look up different celebrities to see how much they make and wonder why that couldn’t be me. I can totally relate to what you are saying. When we are sick, we are a sitting duck target for the enemy. I wish we could wake up every day with eternity on our mind, but I know for me, I get sidetracked quite often. Thanks be to God for his grace and mercy; for his everlasting love which is deeper than we can comprehend; and his forgiveness and understanding when we choose to numb our minds on the Internet. God bless and I hope you’re feeling better soon. – Terri

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  9. What a great post as usual Terri, and how true. How often do I too get caught up with meaningless things and wonder why I am not going too well emotionally. God keeps bringing back to me the story of Mary and Martha. He told Martha that only one thingis necessary and that is sitting at His feet. I am trying to remember that as I go about life, and your post reminded me of that. Thankyou.

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    • Helen, it is so good to hear from you. I’ve been wondering why I have been getting alerts about your blog posts, and I was thinking it was because I didn’t have you set up for an instant email every time you post. But I looked in my list of followed blogs and you are certainly set up so that I get an email. And yet I’m not getting it! I will have to look into this further. Thank you for your kind words about my blog. I look forward to checking out your site more often as your posts help me out tremendously. Take good care. – Terri

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  10. The Classicist

    Hi Terri,
    Thank you for posting this, I often feel like the lone ranger in my Christian walk. Many times I find myself taking one step forward and two steps back, only to feel worthless because of my failures. Our hearts are truly deceitful and desperately wicked. But Christ is always faithful. Thanks for this reminder.

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    • Dean – thank you for my blog. The one thing I like about my blogging community is that I always find several people who write about exactly what I’m feeling. It is often such a relief to be able to relate to others. Take care.

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  11. This is so good, Terri. I have found the exact same thing in my life. Reading God’s word and surrounding ourselves with positive, followers of Christ (people like you) is so important to our emotional and spiritual health. I’ve had a hard time waking up in the morning lately so instead of reading the Bible, I listen to the audio Bible online.
    Did I read it correctly that you laid on the kitchen floor three days before receiving help?
    I am praying for you, my friend.

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