Traumaversary 9

“Based on what my siblings have said, I think I was bullied the most,” my gentle student told me as we both looked out my entry window watching the sun sink below the horizon behind the thick, chunky cloudscape.

“I’m so sorry you had to go through that.”

“It’s okay; it made me a better person,” she responded almost immediately.

“Hey, I broke my back nine years ago this week, and I grew a lot and am a better person because of it, but it still really sucks.”

Just because God can redeem and grow you through some kind of garbage in your life doesn’t make that garbage event a good thing. I had a beautiful moment with this precious student and I told her that I hope she’s healed in some way from the pain of the bullying just as I hope that I will walk again someday. Then we had a subsequent beautiful moment taking in the sunset and talking about how God can do all kinds of miracles like make individual daily sunsets and heal people.

I woke up the next day still disabled.

If you’d like a more uplifting post, check out last year’s. If you’re new to my blog and want a nice narrative of my accident, I think I told it well in year five. If you’re into Lee Pace’s eyebrows, year seven has an ode to them in my annual reflections on breaking my back.

Every year I spend the days leading up to my traumaversary thinking about how I’ll reflect and share publicly what God has done and how I’m feeling and then schedule the post to release while I’m adventuring doing something purposefully beautiful that I’d never done before my accident. I’ve got the adventure lined up, but this post has been much harder to write. I spent the past four hours talking to Caylie, who is one of my favourite people on the planet, and a solid hour at least was reflecting on my understanding of my disability with relationship to how I know and speak about God. Caylie isn’t satisfied with easy answers; it’s one of the many reasons why she is one of my all time favourite people. I won’t let people say that God inflicted me with a disability or that he’s punishing me until I learn a lesson and can finally earn my healing, but Caylie pushed me to articulate what I do believe God is doing through my disability. God has and is redeeming this brokenness, but that does not make my brokenness the thing to celebrate. I’m celebrating God at work.

At one point early in the conversation, Caylie remarked it would be quite poetic if I was miraculously healed on the anniversary of my accident – and we’re both praying for it. We also will not be theologically shaken either way. What a beautiful story it would be to wake up tomorrow and be able to dance miraculously; what a beautiful story I’ve had of nine years of growth and God’s faithfulness in my darkest moments.

I suggested last year’s post as more optimistic not because I don’t have hope today, but I will admit to being in a prolonged place of confusion with the healing process. I compared it multiple times today to the period Joseph was in prison: he had a vision of his brothers bowing before him at age 17 and spent decades waiting for the fulfilment, many of those in prison. Two and a half years ago, multiple people started telling me about dreams and visions they’d had of me walking again (two of them even involving the same other person telling me to stand up and walk) – which is within my worldview of God as healer and active in the world today though kinda a weird story. But hey, to the girl who thought she’d live in Oregon forever but found herself moving to Europe, breaking her back, and spending a sabbatical in New Zealand, what’re a couple of weird dreams including me wearing yellow jumpsuits and walking? I won’t over interpret the idea of wearing a yellow outfit, but I do often wonder about the convergence of spiritual promptings that began two and a half years ago. And I wonder about why I’m still in a wheelchair.

Though I can’t explain it, here I am, writing this from my wheelchair asking you to partner with me for my five annual birthday prayer requests.

Pray for God to be glorified.
It’s what I care about most. It’s always request number one.
Pray for physical healing.
This seems obvious, but sometimes it’s not. I’ve had an email sitting in my inbox for a week from my friend Barb who is one of the most incredible prayer warriors I know listing out the fervently renewed prayers for my physical healing that she prayed, and it has been one of the biggest encouragements to me this week.
Pray for clarity.
Honestly, that confusion thing has no effect on my faith, but it is annoying. I would like some answers about what’s going on.
Pray for stamina.
One of the biggest impact on my life post accident is the fatigue because daily living requires so much more, and I still have a lot of other life to live. Pray that I will have the energy to teach my classes well and represent Christ well to my students and peers.
Praise God for the amazing story in progress – with the expectation of healing.

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