I was asked to talk in church today about what a resurrected life means to me. Here is what I shared.
There are two times in my 53 years of life that I distinctly understood what it meant to have a resurrected life.
The first time was in September of 1989 when some women sat down with me and showed me the real Jesus from the Bible.
Prior to that time, I had drank alcoholically for 10 years, and I was deeply ashamed at the way I behaved when I was drunk. I was immoral, angry at the world, and intensely bitter. I tried every way possible to better my life circumstances, but nothing worked. I was powerless. I ended up a hopeless and depressed woman.
Reading and applying the Bible absolutely changed me. It was like someone turned on a light in a dark room. I remember feeling in awe over how reading those words could affect me so deeply. I was changed and set free. It was at that time that I truly understood the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. I understood that God made the sacrifice of Jesus so he could have a relationship with me. My life was truly resurrected from the grave.
About 10 years after my life had been resurrected, I experienced some losses and became exceedingly sad and didn’t tell anyone I was hurting and didn’t ask for help. Experiencing the pain alone, I became a legalistic Christian and at some point decided it would be okay to have a drink or two. Being a legalistic Christian is exhausting and stressful, so this was simply a way for me to relax. For the next 10 to 15 years, I drank daily, lost jobs, lost my moral compass, and lost my passion for God.
In August 2013, I fainted in my kitchen and woke up paralyzed from the shoulders down. I was sober. In fact, I hadn’t had a drink for three years. I lived alone and so wasn’t found until almost 2 days later. As I was lying on the floor, all I knew to do was to pray and recite verses that I had memorized years before.
One of those verses was Psalm 16 that says: keep me safe, oh God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “you are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing.”
Within a week after my injury, while I was lying in the ICU, I lost everything. All my furniture, clothes, books and other belongings were taken and eventually given away. My car was sold, my job was gone, my love for running and working out and cycling, was over. I truly realized that apart from God, I had no good thing.
I’m not going to lie, it took time for me to come to terms with my life circumstances, maybe two years or more. The shock and raw reality of what happened to me was overwhelming. I was angry, confused, and lost. But I continued to hold on to God and I continued to allow women in my church fellowship to support me. I eventually gained acceptance.
2 Corinthians 5 says that when I get to heaven, I will shed my earthly body and get a heavenly body. I so look forward to that new body! In Revelation 21 it says there will be no more tears and no more pain in heaven. And I look forward to God dwelling with his people.
But while I’m still on this earth, I don’t complain about sitting in this wheelchair. I believe God is saving my soul through all of this. Although many people look at me and think that my life was over when my neck was broken close to five years ago, I believe it was a second chance for a resurrected life. No more do I have to rely on earthly things to make me happy – they can all go away in an instant. I know that from personal experience.
What matters in my life now are my relationships with people and my relationship with God. I am completely dependent on others for everything in my life – I have to be fed, bathed, and even turned over in the bed by other people. But I’ve made a decision I will not let this hinder me from sharing with others about my relationship with God. I do it wholeheartedly on a daily basis. I have nothing to lose, and others have everything to gain.
I am grateful that I am only left with God. What a beautiful opportunity it has been. I have hope today because of who God is, not who I am. It doesn’t matter that I sit in a wheelchair day after day and can’t do the things that I used to love to do. I have a new journey now – a new race to run. And I believe I am right where I’m supposed to be. Best of all, I understand God’s love more deeply than I ever understood it as an able-bodied person. I thank God for this.