new things stuck places

Rising Up Out of Paralyzed Places

12:47 PMHeather

Sometimes you don't realize you are about to enter a stormy seasons until the winds are beating against you and the rain is pouring down. Sometimes there are no watches or warnings or signs of what is coming until you are right in the middle of it.

And so it was, in hindsight.

The first domino fell, and I felt the sting of pain. I didn't recognize the ripple effect until I felt undone. I didn't realize how fragile I felt until I was talking myself into social settings, from school functions to church events. The things that were regular rhythms of life suddenly felt daunting and hard. The social anxiety that I felt was not immediately recognized for what it was -- a sign of a depression that had taken root. 

I'm sure my husband was much more in tune to the downfall, as I began to cry more often and more readily. I was filled with loneliness and battling old rejections. There was some great splashes of anger and frustration. I felt utterly lost, unsure of my identity and relationships and purpose, in the middle of that shifting season of life.

I know my family must have adored who I became during those long months, entrenched in a wrestling that I could hardly find words for and no longer felt safe enough to share with anyone besides my long suffering beloved. The dark cloud of it enveloped me.

Like a toddler being held during a temper tantrum, I fought against it. Against feeling forgotten, ignored, rejected, and uncertain. I fought against the pain, and while I retreated into days spent at home alone, I began to sit for long stretches with my Bible and prayer journal. Like Mary when her brother Lazarus had died, I threw myself at the feet of Jesus. 

And like Mary, between my tears, I saw a mind blowing truth about Jesus. 

He wept. He wept with me. 

Looking long and hard within the gospels, I, for the first time, saw the character and nuances of who Jesus was. I began to see the truest things of God. And slowly, the sobs that had wracked my soul began to quiet.

Gently, I began to see that I needed to lean into this painful process of being pruned. I needed to lean into the hard, and see this season as a birthing process. I gradually gained confidence that if I could just lean into the brutal process, like labor, then something new could be birthed within me, through me, for me.

Leaning into it, day after day, two words came to me last October. On the heels of reading the book Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, they came to me one morning as I prayed about my one word for 2018.

But two came.

Rise up.

It was an echo of the sentence from Lysa's book that kept repeating in my brain.

"It's impossible to hold up the banners of victim and victory at the same time." 

Rise up. 

During my struggle to make sense of the angst I was feeling, I found myself in Luke 5.

Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven..."  He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. EVERYONE was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today." 
Luke 5:18-20, 24-26

Paralyzed places. Yes. Finally, a way to describe it. That is exactly how I had felt for over a year. 

Paralyzed by friendship shifts and changing seasons. Paralyzed by sadness and insecurity and feeling alone. Paralyzed with old wounds coming to bear again with new pains I felt. Paralyzed in a season where I felt stuck. 

I came to accept that I needed to be willing to just lean into it and stay there, day after day, with my Bible and prayer journal. I was being tucked away for a process requiring patience. I was certain that I needed to not rush things, allowing the lessons to come so that the new things could follow. 

After months of the quiet and pain and paralysis, like the man on the mat, it was time to rise up. 

Paralyzed places are painful places, but they are not meant to become permanent places. Even those enduring a physical paralysis are pressed into rehab and physical therapy and working muscles that have not seen movement.

So I share with you the song that is gaining strength within me.

It's time to rise up.

It's time to step out in faith and dare to hold high the banner of victor instead of victim. 

Maybe you are paralyzed by unfulfilled dreams or a traumatic event. Paralyzed by a loss of friendships or relationships. Paralyzed by a changing season. Paralyzed by loneliness. Paralyzed by even just the mundane, day-to-day demands that feel insignificant.

Whatever the reason is that you feel paralyzed, I invite you to join me in the journey to rise up.

Join me in getting out of bed each day with the directive to rise up, and not just out of bed. 

Take time every day to reach out for the hem of Jesus' garment, as surely as the woman seeking healing in Luke 8. For that is what time in the Bible and prayer actually are. It is an act of discipline to set aside the demands of life and reach for the truths of heaven.

It is a time to gather fresh manna that will sustain and fulfill you, like the Israelites during their forty years in the wilderness. 

It is critical and crucial to lay our paralyzed selves out, surrendered before God, and ask for healing. This is the daily process that I am finding will lead to the ability to rise up.

For paralyzed places may be places we dwell for a time, but they are not places to linger. 

Though he may hide us away to draw us near him in our seasons of pruning, it is always so that we can rise up and bear more fruit. 

Victor not victim.

I will press through the cold ground of paralysis and hibernation, and I will burst forth to bloom. 

New things are coming.  

Winters always lead to spring.

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