Lately I’ve been thinking about all I have to be grateful for, even as I sit in this wheelchair. When I think about what my life was like before this injury occurred, I am even more thankful for my current circumstances. This paralysis has given me a chance to finally live authentically, a chance to have a truly meaningful relationship with God, and an opportunity to have deep and abiding relationships with others.
Colossians 1: 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
I have definitely been rescued from the dominion of darkness. During the worst years of my alcoholism, my world was so miserable and emotionally exhausting. I couldn’t wait to get off work during the day so I could go home and drink. I would enter my townhome, close all the blinds, put on some pajamas, and drink to oblivion. Most nights I would have no contact with anyone. No phone calls, no outings or social life, no deep relationships.
You would have never known during the workday that anything was wrong. I dressed up and wore fake happiness masks. I was an imposter. I was an empty shell. Every night I would go to bed lonely and every morning I would wake up lonely. Even though I had some extended sobriety before my injury occurred, I still found it difficult to open up to and build friendships with others. I have a lot to be grateful for today.
2 Corinthians 4: 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
Our bodies are nothing more than jars of clay – they can be easily broken. Even when we are hard-pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, or facing any other challenging circumstances in our lives, there is still a reason to praise God. It doesn’t mean life is perfect and that we’re all the time happy. It means there is always a reason to praise God.
When people see my broken and crumpled body in this wheelchair (my jar of clay), they might feel sorry for me or think my life is miserable; that is so far from the truth. With the power of God’s spirit living inside of me, I’ve had a greater impact sharing my faith with others than I ever had previously. Writing my blog not only encourages me, but I believe it encourages others who may feel like no one can relate to them. Sharing my faith in this facility has a greater impact because people see my trials and yet they see I don’t lose my faith.
I hope everyone who is reading this knows a wheelchair is not needed to make a difference; even being hopeful in Christ in this unsettled world surprises people. Many of those without a relationship with God often know there is something missing in their lives, and they may lay awake at night wondering what their purpose is supposed to be. I know I did. Their souls are like an arid desert, longing for just a drop of good news. They are thirsting for something and they’re not sure what it is.
John 4: 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
When I am spiritually hydrated, through the word and prayer, I am grateful. My eyes shine brighter and I want to tell people why I persevere and am hopeful even in my situation.
I’ve been studying the attributes of God and these are some of the reasons we can feel grateful.
God Knows Us Intimately
Luke 12: 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid…
Isaiah 49: 15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
God is Ever Present
Proverbs 15: 3 The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
Psalm 139: 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 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.
God Is Our Shepherd
Psalm 23: 1 The Lord is my me shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Isaiah 40: 11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
God Is Our Comforter
2 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.
Psalm 86: 15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
God Is Our Healer
Psalm 107: 17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. 18 They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. 19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 20 He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
Psalm 147: 3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 4 He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. 5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
God is Our Counselor
John 16: 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth.
Psalm 32: 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
There are so many more reasons for me to be grateful. I have food, a roof over my head, technology that allows me to do things without the use of my arms, and most important, deep relationships with close friends. It doesn’t mean I am peppy and full of glee all the time – it’s a decision on a daily basis. When I think back to the days of my alcoholism, I was completely self-centered and selfish. My life was empty and full of regrets. In this wheelchair, I am grateful to God for all the things I do have today. My life is not empty and I am forgiven so there’s no need for regrets.
John 10: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.