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.
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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.
It’s been a while since I’ve made a post. Frankly, I didn’t feel like I had anything positive to say so I just kept quiet. I am finally coming around as God has been moving my heart into a more faithful direction.
John 16: 33 “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.”
I love all of John chapter 16. I can so relate to the disciples feelings of fear, grief, and confusion. First Jesus tells them they may be put to death. Then he tells them he has to leave them, and yet they shouldn’t worry, because they will be receiving an Advocate. I’m sure they were wondering, what is an Advocate? Then he tells them again that he will leave them and they will be filled with grief. But later, he tells them he will return to them and they will rejoice. At the end of all these seemingly contradictory statements, he basically says to them: I’ve got this! In me you will have peace! Take heart!
I often question whether or not I should be so open and vulnerable about my spiritual struggles. It seems like the things that I write are so dismal and depressing. And yet I always feel compelled to say out loud the Scriptures that have moved me – that have literally shaken me – back into the light of our Savior. Which leads me to this next post.
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