Wow. 15 years. As I say those words it almost doesn’t seem real. On July 29th, 2000 my family was in a near fatal car accident, resulting in the full paralysis of my right arm and daily chronic nerve pain. This week marks the 15th anniversary of the accident and I have been reflecting on how that day drastically changed the course of our lives. After taking a little break from my #alifemodified series, I thought this would be a great way to launch back into the series. I will warn you.. this a bit longer than my usual posts.
If at this point you are feeling a bit lost and are not familiar with my #alifemodified series, please feel free to catch up on a short snippet/recap of the story of the accident on the first #alifemodified post.
Over the years, I have noticed how having a disability has changed the way that some people approach me or…share with me rather. Many times after learning that my arm is paralyzed, they share with me openly about the hardships in their lives even if they have only met me minutes before. I am honored that people feel comfortable sharing and that I have the opportunity to listen. And I can understand why, at times we just want to chat with some that might be able to relate to the pain we are experiencing and I think that has a large part of why people open up more freely.
When we are hurting, our culture says “hey! it’s a problem, how can put a quick fix on this!?” But in that moment, many times the last thing we want is for someone to fix it…(even though many attempt, but fail) we want those that are close to us to be simply be present. To embrace us, cry with us, and acknowledge that season or situation is hard and it’s okay to mourn, to feel sad, or be angry.
Because the reality is.. being present during a season of difficult or pain can form bonds and deepen relationships in ways no other experience can.
With paralysis, I suffer from severe chronic nerve pain daily. Over the years, I often found it was difficult to truly talk to people about it because there was no way for them to fix it, and they just ended up feeling really upset and helpless so most of the time I wouldn’t express the pain I was feeling since I didn’t want to make my friends feel helpless. But God placed an amazing woman and mentor in my life. My dear friend Debi is one of my favorite people. She is so loving, giving, funny, wise and gives the best hugs! She also endures the extreme pain of Fibromyalgia every day. So now…when I am in a lot of pain.. I pray for Debi and her pain and that she would have a better day today and for the pain to subside so she can rest and she does the same for me. When I see her, we can share each other’s burdens and truly express how we are feeling, how our pain is that day and just simply be there for each other. As much as I want to… I can’t take her pain away. But I can be present with her. I love her and I listen…and embrace her.
Last year Debi sent me this devotion/passage from a book that connected with my heart and expressed what I was feeling regarding how we handle hardship and pain and the purpose that God can bring through it and I would love to share it with you as I reflect on this anniversary.
“My promises are of no avail to you except as you apply and appropriate them by faith. In your daily walk, you shall be victorious only to the degree that you trust Me. I can help you only as you ask. I will meet you at every point where you put action alongside your prayers. Only as you walk will the waters of adversity be parted before you. Overburdened as the world is with trouble and sickness, I need those who have proved My sufficiency in everyday, personal experience to lead the suffering to the fountains of life. I need those who have found Me as burden-bearer to help bring deliverance to the oppressed. Never begrudge time given to chronic complainers, but recognize in each encounter the opportunity to speak a word that may lead to their liberation. No case is too hard for Me. Never be taken by surprise when I use you to change a pattern. Do not judge a man by what he appears to be, but see him as what he can be if he gives himself unreservedly to Me.”