As the New Year is unfolding, I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am to have a relationship with God, and how grateful I am to be in this wheelchair. Nothing about my former way of life is appealing to me. I put together this comparison of what it was like then and what it’s like now.
I never felt whole. I always felt something was missing. I acted the victim to get attention. I got into dysfunctional relationships just to feel loved. I had some secrets that I would take to the grave because I felt so ashamed.
I had very few close friends. Most of my friends had to be able to drink and party like me, or I wouldn’t have anything to do with them. I couldn’t stop abusing alcohol and drugs. I held onto the hope that situational changes would make me happy: the perfect job, the perfect man, the perfect body… Worst of all, I had no peace. I had nowhere to turn except to substances that would numb my mind of the emptiness. I knew there was a God but I didn’t know how to reach him.
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.
1 Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
I finally have peace. My life seems to make sense. Most people would see my life in this wheelchair as a depressing existence; I see it as an opportunity. Not every day is perfect and I’m certainly not giddy-happy 24/7. I have times when I experience deep depression because my circumstances seem too much to bear, but I don’t question God and his purpose for me. I believe my life is exactly as it should be. I learn so much from hard times.
Because of this injury, I have reconnected with childhood friends who have stuck close to me during this arduous journey, have been generous towards me financially, and continue to show me support. A handful of these friends are so dear to me and are now like family.
John 15: 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends
Because of this injury, I have made some dear friends who are my caregivers, or that I’ve met in support groups, or that read my blog. I feel so close to some in my blogging community. Most I’ve never met – and yet we share with each other our most intimate life struggles through our blog posts. We encourage and challenge one another with what we write.
Proverbs 27: 17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Because of this injury, I have reestablished friendships with other Christians. I am part of a fellowship of believers that I can say anything to, and not be judged. I have people to hold me accountable but not act preachy. I am part of the congregation that is so incredibly diverse – some of the Christians I never would have interacted with or met were it not for our beliefs.
Psalm 16: 3 How excellent are the Lord’s faithful people! My greatest pleasure is to be with them.
My family has made great sacrifices for me because of this injury. When I have a need they respond immediately with dogged determination. They have stuck by me through thick and thin. They’ve shown up to the ER or the ICU in the middle of the night. At least three times they were told I was barely hanging on for life. They experienced suffering and sadness when I experienced suffering and sadness. We are closer now than we’ve ever been. They have protected me and persevered with me on this journey.
1 Corinthians 13: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I wouldn’t change anything about my life. It is perfect.
Psalm 16: 11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.