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Tag Archives: Encouragement

Released and Set Free

I want to share a few thoughts with you. You are not the culmination of the mistakes you’ve made in your life. You are loved with an everlasting love. Even if you find yourself in deep despair you cannot be separated from the love of Christ. No matter how low you go spiritually, God is with you. Even when you’re gas tank of faith is approaching empty, God can still work in your life. God loves you. Take a deep breath. Take time to absorb the verses below. Let me share with you about my own life. Maybe you can relate in one way or another.

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Life to the Full

One of my greatest challenges since becoming a quadriplegic has been feeling like I’m making a difference in this world. I was always one of those people that thrived on feeling needed. I enjoyed working and was always a very productive employee. If you praised me, I worked all the more diligently. I thought life was all about doing and not so much about being. Now that I am sitting still, living a full life has taken on an entirely new meaning.

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Life and Peace

Today is a better day. Some days are just easier than others. This morning I woke up and my mind just felt less burdened. I somehow felt lighter. When the nurse came in to give me my medications, I was a little more talkative than I have been over the past few weeks. I was more giving. I was more kind.

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Apart from God, I Have No Good Thing

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.

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Spiritual Rehydration

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

The Beauty of Affliction

We all have a journey. I’ve been fighting mine as a paralyzed person because it’s felt so hard. I’ve been trying to tell God, this is too much for me. I kept thinking that he would make it easier because of my diligent prayers and the prayers of so many others in my life. And yet in many ways things just got harder. There were more visits to the ICU and more physical pain. There was more emotional turmoil and a deep depression. And I just couldn’t understand why he was allowing these things to occur.

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. — Psalm 119: 71

Suffering and affliction can bring about a desperation for God. I’ve learned things when I’ve suffered that I never would’ve learned when things were going along nicely. It’s my most painful moments that make me desperate to hold on to Jesus and believe his words. I want to know him in a way I’ve never wanted to before. I thirst for a close relationship with him. When I feel the worst inside, I think about him grasping onto my arm as if I were hanging off the side of a cliff. It gives me comfort and peace.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. — John 16:33

There was a time in my life when I knew the truth about God but chose not to live according to it. I drank too much and got into dangerous relationships. Nothing could fill my empty soul. I finally reached out to a support group and was able to get sober for almost 3 years. That’s when I began to reach out to God once again and sought the fellowship of Christians in a bible-based church. And if you know my story, you know that I fasted one day, fainted in my kitchen, and woke up paralyzed.

I have often questioned why this happened to me when I was on my road to recovery. My road to reconnect with God and people. Why such a tragedy? Why now? It seems like when I was on my way to getting my life fixed, it suddenly became broken. Snapped like the C4 vertebrae in my neck. In a split second – the blink of an eye – everything changed.

I have contemplated this idea of my life being broken during my “upswing” for a little over two years. I have come to this conclusion: Is my life really broken? Or am I being healed?

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. — Psalm 119:67-68

Unbroken Spirit

I have been in such a dark place for almost 3 months now. I don’t know if it is the approaching of my two year anniversary as a quadriplegic or if I’m just being tested. It seems like everything is weighing down on me all at once.

My biggest frustration has been uncertainty. There’s been turnover with my caretakers so I’ve had a lot of temporary caretakers in the interim. What this means is that there are miscellaneous strangers bathing me and taking care of the intimate details of my personal care on a daily basis. It’s felt so humiliating to have so many different people seeing me in such a vulnerable way. Some days I feel like a sack of flour being flipped back and forth on the bed. It’s as if I’m just some inanimate object without feelings. I find myself asking God, am I really going to have to live here the rest of my life? All of these life experiences are too big for me. I can’t take this another day. I’m drowning!

I want to beat myself up for not being strong. I feel like I should be in a different place emotionally. I should be out in the community doing inspirational talks and inspiring the masses. I should have written a book by now. I should be something more than what I am. And what I am feels like not much of anything. A little pile of dust in the corner waiting to be blown away by the simplest movement of air.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9

As much as it pains me to write this, there is something perfect about my life circumstances. There is something to be learned. There is something for me to share with others. In the midst of the madness that I feel from day to day (and I can assure you that I feel on the edge of my sanity quite often), there is something valuable. A jewel.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Corinthians 4:7

I know I am not the only one that suffers. I have had so many friends share with me the hardships of their lives and it helps me to remember that in the midst of all these painful struggles, when we feel the worst about ourselves, we are perfect in God’s eyes. We are all being made holy. When life feels so dark and unfamiliar, there is power in the most unlikely places. Thanks be to God. For I will not be broken in the midst of my pain.