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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.

Praise God

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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.

Gentle Love

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I’ve had a rough few weeks. I have been battling God on the idea of whether or not I can handle this life journey as a paralyzed person. I have said repeatedly in my blogs that I believe my accident has a greater purpose. And yet each morning when I wake up I am frustrated when I open my eyes. I wonder how I can live through another 24 hours in this dead body. I get angry and I get afraid, but I look to God’s word for comfort. He always speaks to me gently.

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. — Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)

Psalm 139 is a love story. It describes how intimately I am known and loved by God. He knows how I feel. He knows exactly what I can or can’t handle. He knows when I feel worthless. He knows when I am deeply discouraged. He knows when I rejoice. This Psalm teaches me I am not alone in my feelings.

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, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. — Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)

Not only does God know how I feel at all times, I can never escape him. On my worst day, God does not leave my side. I cannot out run him (nor does he want me to). Over the last year and a half, when I felt like he was punishing me or he had abandoned me, he was right by my side holding my hand. He was guiding me back to the truth about his loving and unchanging character.

I often question God’s decision making and what he’s allowed to occur in my life. I often get angry because I don’t want to endure it. Sometimes it feels like his love hurts. And yet he still stands by me through all of these emotions. He knows I am resisting. He knows I am weary. He knows I am mad. But none of this changes his perfect, unshakable, all-knowing love for me.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)