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: quadriplegia
The past couple of months have been a bumpy ride for me. I’ve had a lot of health issues that not only make me feel bad physically, but wear on my faith. The worst problem I’ve had has been low blood pressure. I’ve actually passed out in my wheelchair a couple of times. If my blood pressure drops, it is necessary for me to lean back in my wheelchair so my feet are above my heart. Sometimes my pressure will correct itself within a few minutes. But sometimes the whole day is wasted over nonstop periods of dizziness and headaches.
I want prosperity. Like most of you, I didn’t win the lottery so I’m not talking about that type of prosperity. I’m talking about the inner prosperity that only comes from God. The type that can be realized through perseverance. Through prayer. Through steadfastness of faith. Through holding on when you feel like the odds are stacked against you.
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.
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.
… I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7 – 8 (NLT)
Sometimes I feel so lost. I wonder how I can add any value to this world in my current condition. As selfish as it sounds, I’ve laid in bed for two or three days at a time in the darkest funk wishing I were not part of this world. On those days I refuse to get in my wheelchair and go out of my room or even outside to get fresh air. At some point I will finally ask myself, how did I get here? And the answer is always the same: I’ve relied on my flesh to cope in my world and not on the Spirit of our mighty God.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. – Galatians 5:16 – 17 (NLT)
What does my flesh want? To feel sorry for myself. To be isolated and sit in the dark. To just give up. Even when I was able-bodied I felt these things. When I’m relying on myself (my flesh) I am doomed and enslaved by darkness. Through prayer and faith, I can be set free and live in the light.
Without God, I would never be able to endure my life circumstances. None of us would be able to endure our life circumstances, whatever they are! When I don’t take time to pray, look at Scripture, and spend time with my sisters in Christ who can challenge and encourage me, I am destined to fall into a deep depression and become bitter towards God. The reality is, I have no power and God has all power over all things. Why am I not relying on and trusting in him?
Today I felt weak. I slept very little last night and I didn’t want to get out of bed. But I’m sitting in my wheelchair and I’m talking to you about my weakness and God’s strength. Even as I started to write this blog, I got a bad headache and felt distracted and discouraged. But I prayed and I pushed through. I’m not trying to toot my own horn because we all have our own struggles. But today God’s power was made perfect in my weakness. In that I can boast.
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 – 10 (NLT)