This wheelchair has made me a better person. I’m surprised to be saying this out loud because a year ago the thought of it would have made me mad. It’s taken a lot of work on God’s part to get me prepared for this way of life. And I’ve had to make choices to be obedient, to believe God has good in store for me, and to pray my way out of rebellion and bitterness. Most of the time, I haven’t wanted to make the right decisions to be righteous, but prayer makes a world of difference. Prayer is the true testament of the power of God in our lives. God can change our hearts and our minds if we ask.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 3 … a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep, and a time to laugh…
Sometimes our lives have to be torn down before they can be built up again. At the time of my injury, it felt like everything that was important to me (mostly material) was taken away. Looking back now, I’ve learned my happiness never came from “stuff”, or highlights in my hair, or a fit physique. I’ve gained so much wisdom about true happiness and it all has to do with how much I love God and how much I understand He loves me.
Sometimes we have to weep before we can find a reason to laugh again. The first year of my injury I cried often. The sheer magnitude of what had happened to me was enough to make anyone cry, but on top of that, the facility where I lived was absolutely terrible. For one thing, the staff was disrespectful towards the patients. I won’t go into all the other problems I faced in that place. Looking back now, I know it simply made me stronger as a person and in my walk with God. Smiling and laughter come much easier to me these days because I’ve worked hard to forgive those who intentionally hurt me.
Acts 20: 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
My goal in life is not to accumulate more stuff. My goal in life is not to find the perfect husband. My goal in life is not to climb the corporate ladder and pad my bank account with increasing salary amounts. If I do get all of these things, Amen! In the meantime, I need to complete the task that we’ve all been given — to share the good news of God’s grace. There are so many people that don’t know about God’s grace and the joy and fulfillment they can gain in their lives. And I’ve been given much grace, even in my position, why would I hold back in telling others about it?
Romans 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The fact is, I’ve been called according to God’s purpose, which makes me eligible for all his good works.
1 Corinthians 1: 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
I recently read a book titled Cartwheels in the Rain: Finding Faith in the Wake of the Unthinkable, by Joe Dubowski (https://www.amazon.com/Cartwheels-Rain-Finding-Faith-Unthinkable/dp/1577822587). His daughter was one of six students fatally shot by an armed gunmen at Northern Illinois University in 2008. Although this is a journey Mr. Dubowski would never have chosen, he is now a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. He experienced God’s comfort at an unthinkable and devastatingly low point in his life, and now is able to comfort others experiencing deep loss and grief. He absolutely inspired me with his courage and will to go on living in a way that honored his daughter, Gayle. I highly recommend the book.
I look back on the last 4 1/2 years of my life and realize now that everything had a purpose and led to the healing of my hurt and empty soul. Although I do not believe that God caused me to be angry or in denial or sad at the beginning of my journey as a quadriplegic, I know now that he’s using those very emotions for the good. Everything in our lives can be of use to God. Even the times when we are at our weakest point.
2 Corinthians 12:7 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.