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Finding Gratitude

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: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 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: 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? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 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. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 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, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 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: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. 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: 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.

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.

20 responses »

  1. So grateful for what you’ve shared and what you teach me! Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Thank you for your example, leadership, words of wisdom and the scriptures. You are helping us who are battered by the world to see God!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Love you, Teri!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Terri, you inspire me. Thanks. We care for our severely handicapped daughter (she is now 37 years old having 35 surgeries) who loves the Lord. Truely a broken body does not mean a broken spirit when Christ is involved.

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  5. Hi Terri: this is so powerful and true. Thank you for taking the time to put it all together. Your testimony, enhanced by the Word of God, a great combination.
    Your life, your love of God, your desire and willingness to share Jesus with others, is truly an inspiration.
    Thank you Terri. I am praying that many who are living the lifestyle you lived earlier in your life, will by some means be guided by the Spirit of God to read your post, or connect with you in some manner, so they can see and hear the truth of the Gospel, and see a life that has been changed and resurrected by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    God’s Blessings Terri, as you faithfully serve our Lord Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Thank you, dear sister, for sharing your testimony of God working in and through your life. Gratitude really should undergird our walk with the Lord. Thank you so much for this post Teri, I really needed it. 🌹

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Such an inspiring post Terri. Hearing your perspective on life now vs. the life you used to live is testament to the transforming power of our Lord. God is so good to us even when outward appearances say otherwise. Keep spreading the news!

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Priscilla Baxter

    Thanks for sharing your insights and love to the world. I’m truly blessed to love and be called your friend but mist of all Sister in Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. You are such a blessing and encourager to me, Terri. Another great post.

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. Teri, thank you for sharing your miraculous life again in today’s blog. The thoughts you shared were beautifully written. I know it takes time and effort to put it all together. Please know how important and impactful it is for me and many, many others! We love you!

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. Surely you know, Terri how encouraging this lesson is for me on this particular day. All of your posts are full of meaning and insight but this one has helped me most of all. You speak truth about yourself and most importantly about our wonderful God. I love you dearly.
    Betsy

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  12. Thanks for sharing and I appreciate the verses you choose to share. You’re right, reading and applying God’s Word gives a new perspective and brings life.

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. God causes all things to work together for His good! Thanks, Terri.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Those are some good scriptures Teri. Always enjoy reading your posts.

    It is amazing that (as you stated) your outside was well, but your inside broken.
    Now thanks to the grace of God, your outside is broken, but your inside well.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. Those are some great scriptures Terri. Always enjoy reading your blog.

    It is amazing (as you state) that once your outside was well, but your inside broken. And now your outside is broken, but by God’s grace your inside is well.

    “Our bodies are nothing more than jars of clay – they can be easily broken.” We are all broken in some form or fashion and eventually we all face the same conclusion.

    It has been written that God is attracted to our brokenness. Thank the Lord He is.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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  16. You are lovely, Terri. And this is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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  17. Reblogged this on JoyfulSurrender.com and commented:
    This is a beautiful reminder that circumstances do not determine our joy.

    Liked by 1 person

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  18. I know these words are from your beautiful heart, Terri. I always loved working with you, still love visiting with you and happy you are part of my life. Gretchen

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. Thanking God for you today Terri and for your incredible witness for God.

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. Wonderful to get back to reading your life (and eternal life) affirming posts again, Terri!

    Liked by 1 person

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