10 years…a decade…1/4 of my life…these definitions of time…all rattle me a bit! Today is the day that these thoughts haunt me a bit and at the same time make me feel so very thankful. It is an unusual cocktail of emotions that the anniversary of me waking up completely paralyzed leave me with.
I write to remember. I write to reflect. I write to make all the swirling thoughts in my head and the emotions in my heart to make sense and be right.
I feel that my life is divided into before paralysis and after paralysis. It feels like two completely different worlds yet they are connected. I feel that I am two different people at times! The Alicia before…and the Alicia after. It really is a weird feeling.
As I think about the word “sanctification” and in its simplest form means “more of Jesus and less of Alicia“, I feel that perfectly sums up the transformation in my heart and life…physically, emotionally and spiritually. As crazy as it seems, becoming paralyzed has been the greatest catalyst for this work of sanctification that God is working in my life as I journey with Him on this earth.
- 10 years ago…I thought I was at a strong spiritual place. Paralysis taught me I was NOT and how very weak I was.
- 10 year ago…I thought I was confident in who I was as a wife and mom. Paralysis taught me my identity was not where it should be.
- 10 years ago…I thought I knew what my future would look like. Paralysis taught me to live today because we have no clue about our future!
- 10 years ago…I was concerned and worked up over little things. Paralysis taught me to let the little things because they are truly nothing in light of big things.
- 10 years ago…I thought I would be all better and back to normal. Paralysis taught me patience and how to live in a body that I have no control over.
- 10 years ago…I was content in being told what and how to believe about things and just recited so much of God’s Word. Paralysis taught me that puppets are not real and that I needed to know my Creator and His relationship in my life.
- 10 year ago…I hardly knew anyone else in a wheelchair. Paralysis has taught me of the sweet bonds of friendship that can be found in relationship with others who live life just like me.
- 10 years ago…I wasn’t sure if this would destroy my kids and if I could even help them grow up. Paralysis has taught me that a disability in itself has been a wonderful teacher to my children in how they view and love others with no reserve.
- 10 years ago…I wasn’t sure my marriage would make it or if my husband could hack this new life. Paralysis has taught us both that a marriage with a disability is really tough, but true love sticks it out anyway…and loves and forgives and learns and cries and gets angry and fights and loves and forgives and learns….all over again.
- 10 years ago…I thought my friends might go away. Paralysis has taught me that true friends love you no matter what.
- 10 years ago…I thought my work in ministry was greatly diminished. Paralysis has taught me that my ministry didn’t diminish but now expanded to understand a whole new category of life.
- 10 years ago…I thought I knew how to pray. Paralysis has taught me that prayer is crawling right up in the lap of Jesus as His girl…and just sharing my heart….whether broken, crushed, hurting, terrified or celebrating…and feeling His comfort.
- 10 years ago…I wanted answers to so many things. Paralysis has taught me that finding the answers to my questions aren’t necessary, but that looking unto Jesus….Who is the Answer…and just trusting His work in my unanswered questions is where contentment and peace is found.
- 10 years ago…I honestly never thought I would be here today. I never thought I could ever live paralyzed for one year….let alone 10! Paralysis has taught me many surprises and that yes, life does go on, and is good!
Less of Alicia? Yes!! I have SO much of Alicia left, trust me, and I know God will keep doing His work in my life, but I can most definitely see over the past 10 years of God removing me piece by piece.
More of Jesus? Oh I pray so! I definitely believe that being open to His work in my life leads to the Spirit of God having freedom to work. I believe that less activity leads to more time to dwell on Him, to abide in Him, to think on Him, and that my lack of movement has brought me running into His arms in prayer and need of Him. I think that is why so many people with disabilities in the NT were so open to Jesus. They knew they lacked and were needy and He was there for them! I am fiercely independent, but I am not without much need. He has been there for me and I believe that hearts of gratitude are hearts that follow after Christ.
The longer I am paralyzed, the more I feel paralyzed. Physically, I am aging with a severe disability and it is very much felt every single day. Pain, spasticity, and less function are daily reminders that our physical bodies, our outward man, does perish. But I LOVE this verse, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” II Corinthians 4:16 I truly feel this. I feel the outward man perishing. Every year it feels that my C5-C7 incomplete spinal cord injury is becoming less incomplete from just wear and tear and overuse. It has been lifestyle changing and I have had to deal with the emotions that come with even less ability as I know the reality of the next 10 years on my body. But…my inward man is so happy in Jesus. I am so at peace with my limitations. I can get frustrated…and agitated…and grumpy with constant pain…but the Lord gives me a good talking too, and off we go with a new day…new mercies…and His great faithfulness.
Yesterday, my family took me out on a special day to just enjoy being together and we celebrate life together. While driving and talking, one of my older children said, “I wonder what our lives would be like if Mom had never become paralyzed?” My youngest child quickly answered, “Miserable.”
Y’all….that is ALL Jesus!
Thank you sweet friends for your love, support and encouragement. May the Lord continue to work in this family to be less of us and much, much more of Him!