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Resurrected Life

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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.

 

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.

42 responses »

  1. Wow, Terri, such an inspiring post. His grace is sufficient for every trial we face. Happy Easter, my friend.

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  2. Thank you,Terri, for sharing your story this morning. I had heard you speak at a woman’s evening a while back, but I didn’t remember all the details about your former life. It was very brave of you to be so honest and transparent. Such a great inspiration for so many of us, including the teens who heard you speak.
    Our sister, Nancy Acree, is facing a very serious cancer surgery this coming Friday. (She is the one who signs for the hearing impaired at church.) This is the 6th cancer she has had. She also has been an inspiration for so many because of her faith. These coming days are going to be really rough for her. I know, because many years ago I had a similar (but much simpler) colon surgery. Mine was not caused by cancer, however, and I healed completely. I guess I am telling you this because I know that she is frightened that she will not make it, or that her life will be compromised so that she will never be the same. I hope and pray that she continues to rely on God for her courage and strength like you, whatever is the outcome.
    Thank you again for your example of living a resurrected life.
    Love,
    Pam Schlegel

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  3. Powerful words Terri! Thank you for sharing. I was at Charlotte church today, so missed you at home church family. Glad you posted, Rosemary…..

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  4. Happy Easter Terri. Thank you for the important reminders!

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  5. Terri, You have shown us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. I so appreciate your faith and how you are making a difference in so many people’s lives.
    With much love, Diane Marie Mitchell

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  6. First of all – I like your picture. Second of all – wow! I’m moves by your words. Real, of course. That’s the only way we do right? So honest. Were you very nervous? I know you have spoken before. Proud of you!

    >

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    • Hi Deb – happy Easter! I wasn’t nervous. I felt like I was speaking to friends and hopefully to someone whose heart was open and needed to hear the message. Love you.

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  7. I’m sure there was not a dry eye in church. I went through the CR program in church 20 years ago and that really changed me forever. I’m so grateful. Thank you for what you shared.

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  8. Terri, thank you so much for being willing to share how God has changed your heart through your suffering. So many people have been given so much and can’t see God work. I appreciate how you, through your blog, allow us to see that through our weakness, we can experience His strength.

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  9. Karen Gilliam

    Terri, thank you for being so vulnerable at church with your story of how your life has been resurrected! You could have heard a pin drop! Your story is a true faith builder, and challenges me to not take stock in the things that are temporary, but to focus on the spiritual life with God here on earth, and in the days to come when we are joined with our Savior in heaven. Your impact at church, with your blog, and with the people at Hillcrest is inspirational!

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  10. What a blessing and an honest light for God you are, Terri. I wish I could articulate myself the way you just did. My pastor used to show us on a very large chalkboard a very long line/timeline he drew that spread from one end of the room to the other. He went to the far left-hand corner and made a dot that none of us could barely see as opposed to the very long, very visible line stretching across the wall and told us this dot represented our time on Earth and how short it was. It was moving to see that speck against the long, long timeline that represented eternal life and when I think about people like you who have made such a difference to so many people in such a short time, it really makes me want to better my own life and get help in stepping out of my own depressions and get back closer to God. Thank you for letting God’s light shine through you, Terri. A lot of times I feel mine is dimming through faults of my own but just when I feel extremely down, I read something you write and I feel as though God calls me back to Him through you much like a beautiful lighthouse gently guides people back in the right direction towards God who is the source of our earthly and eternal hope and away from dangers like alcohol and anger and despair and depression that we can so easily get caught up in. Thank you so much.

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    • Crystal – thank you for your kind words. I like the demonstration your pastor used! How inspiring! We are working our way through this life together, as broken people. Take good care of yourself.

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  11. Terri, Thank you for sharing. I was not there to hear you share (out of town). Your amazing story is an encouragement to me. Your faith and gratitude for our Lord and Savior remind me with God anything is possible. I am extremely grateful you are my sister in Christ, you inspire me to always look to God and trust his guidance.

    Love your sister in Christ,
    Jennifer Overman

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  12. Paulette Sheffield

    Thank you for sharing this message. I wish I had been there to hear it in person! Your words are so inspiring. You help me to slow down and reflect on what is truly important in my life instead of focusing on the meaningless material things. God, family and friends are what it’s all about!

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  13. Althea Frimpong

    Terri, I love your post!! If only everyone could come to know the joy and peace that can come with loss. I believe it is only when we have lost everything, that we recognize where true wealth and happiness is. Thank you for being such a great soldier in the Army of the Lord. None of us are finished yet, and we need the encouragement of others who are in the fight to get up everyday and keep moving and trusting the Holy Spirit’s leadership in our lives.

    Happy Resurrection Terri! Love you much, Althea

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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  14. Amada Terri, muito obrigada pela esperança que você sempre traz para todos ao redor do mundo. Me inspiro com história de vida e seu amor leal ao nosso Deus.
    Beijos de sua irmã brasileira. Te admiro muito, seja forte.

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  15. So beautiful, Terri. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. XOXO

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  16. Terri – I missed your sharing at church and thankful you sent it on your blog! It is beautiful! I heard you were awesome. I am so happy to know that this IS the real you and to know what you have had to go through to get where you are spiritually. Thank you for striving to make Jesus your true love. You have matured with the fruits of the Spirit and you will be able to see fruit in others’ lives more and more because of your walk with God. Love knowing you! – Gayle

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  17. Hello my friend! What a mighty God we serve! He had begun a great work in you before the day we had received your news in August 2013. When Jessica and I went over to your apartment after the “event” (it’s not an accident because God doesn’t operate like that), I knew God had something great in store for you to do. Your apartment was so peaceful. I didn’t feel the stress of the “event”. When I had walked in your bedroom, your Bible was on the bed (I believe it was spread opened, but I cannot remember for sure). I CRIED! That peace in your place was so powerful! Somehow I knew you were going to be ok. God had delivered you from the many things you mentioned you were going through and graced you even closer to your purpose. The purpose God has for you is a great one, I believe the purposes God has for all of us are GREAT, but not to the same level or intensity. Think about Job. God chose Him to be tested by Satan. Satan did not seek Job, God asked Satan, “have you considered my servant Job?” (Job 1:8). Ohhhhh to be “considered” by God. He knew what He put in Job and He knew what He put in you for a time such as this. Thank you my friend for accepting the call. Thank you for exercising your freewill to be a vessel for God and an earthly beacon of light for others. You are touching people all over the world. You are Christ’s hands and feet! Here’s proof: The comment below is from one of your Anonymous readers who had left a response to this blog, “Resurrected Life” on April 2nd at 10:02 a.m. It was written in Portuguese and I had translated it for you via the internet. I thought you would love to know what was said:

    “Beloved Terri, thank you for the hope you always bring to everyone around the world. I am inspired by a life story and his loyal love to our God. Kisses from your Brazilian sister. I admire you a lot, be strong.”

    See my love, you still have working hands and feet while you are here on earth. You can still see them move (spiritually), but not the way you are used to seeing them (physically). However, you will receive a new set when you receive your crown of Glory! What a day of rejoicing that will be!

    I love you more than you will ever know my sister, my friend!

    XOXO,
    Angie

    “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27, NLT

    “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” ~ 1 Peter 4:10, NIV

    “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:35, ESV

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  18. Terri, your words are always inspiring, because it is the Spirit of the Resurrected Christ speaking through you. I am certain many were blessed as you spoke at church, giving Glory to God in all things, because that is the way you are.
    Continue to allow God’s Blessings to flow through you Terri, because the more you allow to flow out from you, the more Blessings God can pour in.
    God Bless You Abundantly Sister.

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  19. Lisa and Tim stewart

    Terri,
    My name is Lisa stewart, my husbands name is Tim. He was in a motorcycle accident July 7th 2017. We, together, have been through so much. Of course my husband has questioned God. He has/is going through so much mentally and physically. He was diagnosed with an incomplete spinal cord injury. He is quadriplegic also. We really love reading your blog. It gives him hope and strength. He ask me tonight if there was a way he could meet you and talk with you. I feel like it would help him so much if it is at all possible. Thank you so much for your encouragement.
    Lisa

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  20. Terri, I am so happy that you got the chance to share your story. It reminds me of the passage in Revelations that says “they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the power of their testimony.” Your testimony has so much power each time it is heard. Each time it is read. And each time it is repeated. You are a true overcomer by the blood of Jesus and by your powerful story.
    Steve and I love you!

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  21. Such a powerful companion testimony to our mutual friend Bill’s (above). Thank your for sharing not only what’s happened in your physical life, Terri, but more importantly what’s happened in your heart and spirit.

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  22. Boy did I need your testimony today! For the first time in a long time my mind swirled down the “what if” trail. It always arrives at anger. So as I reorient in what is, and submit to God’s good and pleasing will, I thank you dear sister that our paths overlap.

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