Jenny asked me to share a little bit about how I have seen God at work in the midst of my paralysis. Wow. Where do I begin? It was thirty-three years ago, the summer after I graduated from high school, that I was involved in the car accident that left me a quadriplegic. Life as I had known it came to a screeching halt! Although I had faith in God, for the most part I had no idea what this was going to mean for my life. I discovered that going with God was to be the greatest adventure I could ever imagine!
In addition to a spinal cord injury, I sustained a mild traumatic brain injury in the accident, which was a blessing. With my memory coming back gradually, there wasn't the sudden blow of being able-bodied one moment -- to looking at life in the wheelchair in the next moment. While my days were positive – my nights were interrupted with nightmares. I couldn’t understand what was going on, because I knew God was with me. So why the difficult nights?
|Judy with her dad, "Dad taught me about the Father's love. He is my hero!"|
Through some words with a pastor, I learned that there were going to be many times that I would be frustrated and possibly even angry at God. It was okay to cry. God understands. He told me to imagine God so close to me that I could beat on His chest with my anger. God could take it! The conversation with the pastor totally ended my nightmares. In their place, I experienced God’s peace. Even though there was still a huge loss in my heart for several years, as I continued to share my thoughts and grow in my relationship with God -- even sometimes beating on His chest with my anger -- He healed my broken heart.
Over the years, God has taught me many lessons for life through my paralysis.
· He gives me courage to step out in the development of myself, even though life is going to be very different than I had planned. Never will I leave you…Heb 13:5
· He gives me strength to develop my talents and abilities, which moves me from being a back-of-the-pack wheelchair racer to a two-time Paralympian and national record holder. I can do all things through Christ…Phil 4:13
· He gives me purpose and passion to reach outside myself and serve others. As a Chair Corps Rep for Wheels for the World, part of the disability ministry of Joni Eareckson Tada, I traveled to Romania, Egypt and Jordan on wheelchair distributions, and organized drives that have collected over 1250 wheelchairs. One of my favorite weeks of the year is when I volunteer at Joni and Friends’ Family Retreat. For I know the plans I have for you…Jer 29:11
|On a trip to Egypt with a Wheels for the World distribution|
It has been my striving for independence, as a quadriplegic, that has actually brought me to dependence on God. I have experienced that He is intimately involved in the details of my days and that when I am going with Him, absolutely nothing has to keep me down. It is THE GREATEST ADVENTURE!
You can read more about Judy by visiting her Website: http://www.judysiegle.com.
Next month Turning the Tapestry will feature thoughts from Krista Horning.