As expected, I’ve had another traumatic hospital experience that’s prompted me to write this blog post. I wish that I wrote my best blog posts during times when I’m on the upswing in my faith and filled with overwhelming hope and good news; but if I’ve learned anything over the last four years as a quadriplegic, the hardest times have been the most fruitful times in terms of my spiritual growth.
Tag Archives: Bible
Why does God allow difficult things to happen? I do not know the answer. Every time I read the news, look at Facebook, or talk to friends, I hear bad news. I often get sad and sometimes I get angry, but it bolsters my belief that I have to keep my mind set on things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2). I do not know the purpose of me being paralyzed, but I do believe that suffering is part of our journey.
For the last few months, I have been fighting to believe that God is good at all times. I am facing a drastic change in my living situation. I will still be in a facility but it might be a different facility and it will definitely mean living in a double room with someone I do not know. These changes terrify me.
The idea of persevering wears me out. I get very scared that I’ll have to live in this body for several more years. I wonder if I can handle it. I know perseverance builds character, and character builds hope (Romans 5:3-4), but some days I just don’t feel like I have the energy to keep exercising my character muscles. I get so weary. Even as I began to write this post I felt so discouraged, but something told me to push through. I sat and looked at the screen wondering what I was going to say. Then Psalm 23 came to mind.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. — Psalm 23:1-2
It’s so easy for me to forget where my strength and peace comes from. In my flesh, I am incapable of dealing with the worries and troubles of this world. The weights that we all carry on our shoulders zap our strength and dehydrate us. Only God can refresh our soul.
Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. — Psalm 1:1-3
I have low blood pressure as a result of my injury. If I don’t stay hydrated, I can pass out sitting in my chair. It can be very dangerous. In the same way, if I don’t meditate on the right things, I experience a spiritual drought. There is no fruit in my life, my leaf withers, and I don’t prosper emotionally. It’s a bad place to be. I find myself in this drought when I am more focused on the troubles of this world and the worries about tomorrow. I find myself in this drought when I allow myself to be guided by negative emotions rather than by God’s strong arm. God is my only hope for contentment and peace. And for this reason I can persevere one more day.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. — Psalm 73:24-27
Last week I spent three days confined to my bed because my wheelchair was broken. Being confined to my bed sucks the life out of me. When this happens I have too much time to think. Because I can’t move I get anxious and paranoid and feel like I want to jump out of my skin. I get deeply depressed.
It’s inevitable during these times that I question God and his plan for me. I feel like this is so unfair and I don’t understand. If he would only give me a hint of why this is happening. But I just seem to go from one day to the next confused about my life circumstances. Dazed and confused. And very, very angry.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. — Hebrews 13:15
It is important for me to continually praise God even in the midst of suffering. It is important for me to share with others my praise of and trust in God. What is happening to me has a greater purpose than what I can see. One day I will praise God for these life circumstances. I have to hold on from day to day and focus on things above and not what’s happening here on earth. Easier said than done!
The day this happened, I prayed diligently for God to do something to help me to connect with him. I definitely felt like I couldn’t get my life together enough to stay focused on what was important. I’m not saying God “did” this to me. But I do believe he allowed it and it has a purpose. No matter how it came about, I don’t want to go back to my former way of life. I was miserable and confused. But I don’t want to be paralyzed either. I’m still miserable and confused.
…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. — Philippians 2:13
The Lord said, “Surely I will set you free for purposes of good… — Jeremiah 15:11
God has a good purpose in all of this. For this reason, I can praise him. One day I will be set free. There will be no more pain. There will be no more sadness. There will be no more confusion. For this reason, I can praise him.
Since my injury occurred a year and a half ago, I’ve developed fears which have resulted in deep-seated anxiety. I fear that as a disabled person I’m an easy target to be taken advantage of. I currently have a dispute with my last facility about overbilling. Unfortunately, I can’t walk through their doors in a power suit, armed with paperwork, and give them a piece of my mind. So instead I get worked up and frustrated to the point that I can’t think straight, all the while laying awake at night.
I also fear going to sleep at night. I’m afraid something will happen to me while I’m sleeping and I won’t know that it’s happening. It may sound outrageous to some but it feels like a real possibility to me. I’ve laid awake entire nights worrying and watching my door.
All of this anxiety boils down to two things: lack of power and lack of control. I truly have no physical power as a paralyzed person, but I do have the full armor of God which doesn’t require strong arms, legs, and hands to put on; it only requires control of a few simple things.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. – Ephesians 6:10
I first have to recognize who really has the power. This Scripture teaches me that God has mighty power. The devil wants to use these anxiety–producing thoughts to make me lose my faith in the mighty power of God.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:14 – 17
The Belt Of Truth – the Bible says in Proverbs 3:5 that I can trust God with all of my heart (and with all of my situations) and he will make my paths straight. It doesn’t say the paths will be smooth and easy, but God will lead me straight to him. The Bible also says in 1 Peter 5:7 that I can cast my anxieties on God because he cares for me.
The Breastplate of Righteousness – righteousness is what I strive for every day. I’m not perfect but it’s my goal.
The Shield of Faith – do I believe in a powerful God that is sovereign, loving, and protecting? Yes! This faith is what extinguishes the flaming arrows/negative thoughts. I sometimes recite Scriptures out loud to reinforce my shield (probably to the chagrin of my neighbors).
The Helmet of Salvation and Sword of the Spirit – which is the word of God. I stay in the word of God every day as much as possible. Even when I was able-bodied and didn’t make time the way I should have, I read at least one Scripture to hold in my heart.
God’s armor is not heavy. It actually makes the world much lighter. I’m thankful that God has a plan for all situations and his directions for steering clear of the evil one are concrete.
NOTE TO READERS: I also understand that sometimes counseling and medical advice is needed. I thank God for that as well.
My greatest challenge as a quadriplegic has been feeling worthwhile. Before my accident, I gained all of my confidence from my job, my outward appearance, and what other people thought of me. After my accident I felt so lost. For the first six months or so I didn’t even look in the mirror. If I did look, I hated what I saw. I remember seething with bitterness when I saw other women all dolled up the way I used to be. Everything the world offered me for self-confidence was gone.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. Psalm 118:8 – 9
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings… Psalm 17:8
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! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands… Isaiah 49:15 – 16
What the world offered me before for happiness was false and fleeting. If I’d only known that God was the only one who would never let me down. If I had only known that no boyfriend/prince would ever make me whole. Not only am I the apple of God’s eye, my name is engraved in the palms of his hands! No worldly love will ever complete me or match the depth of God’s unfailing, everlasting love.
I can’t say this struggle has left me. I find it challenging to even write about this now because my injury is still so fresh. But I know the Scriptures are truth and I am fighting to find my true worth in God alone.