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: paralyzed
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.
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.
Every day I think about where I am–a nursing facility–and I ask myself, how can I get through this day? When I sit in the dining room, there are people drooling, sleeping instead of eating, babbling nonstop about nothing. My room is at the end of a long hallway with rooms on both sides. As you walk down the hall there are people yelling for help from their rooms. I think to myself, this is not where I’m supposed to be!
1 Peter 1:6 – 7
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
2 Corinthians 3:16 – 18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Being here feels like a trial. It feels like suffering at times. Why quadriplegia, God! This is so different than how I lived when I was able-bodied. And yet there is hope for me. On a good day, I think the following–maybe I’ve been put here to be a light. Maybe some of these people just need me to smile at them each day and give them some hope. Maybe they need an advocate (especially the ones who can’t even speak).
The Bible says our troubles are light and momentary. On a very good day, I realize this period of time in my life is light and momentary if I look at it in terms of eternity. And I have to remember, things could always be worse.
1 Peter 1:3 – 4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
No matter what I go through, I have an inheritance. It’s guaranteed. It’s ironclad. No stroke of a pen on a will can ever change it. It’s all mine. And it’s something to look forward to as each day passes. On my roughest days when I am in severe pain or depressed or just tired of being imprisoned in this quadriplegic body, I think to myself, I am one day closer to receiving my inheritance. And no matter what happens to me in this life, or how many mistakes I make on this journey, that inheritance will never perish, spoil or fade. Now that’s something I can hold on to for one more day.