Trapped in this Tower

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“Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair.” We’ve all heard this story, heard this line, and know the ending. Rapunzel lets down her hair and the prince climbs up her hair and rescues her. I never knew I would relate to this story so much. What do I mean?? Well I feel as if I’m stuck in a tower of my own. I’m looking out the “window” for my prince saying “Prince Prince I’ve let down my hair, Please come rescue me from this tower.”

I live in a 4 level house, it’s not a real big house, but there are 4 floors and I am stuck on the top floor (that’s where my bedroom is). Why am I “stuck”?? My TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), my Chronic Lyme Disease, and my POTS (Postural Orthastatic Tachycardia Syndrome) cause me many limitations. Even though I am learning how to walk again, I have certain limitations. One of the limitations is stairs. I can get my legs to move in a forward motion to walk to the bathroom, but when I try to walk down the stairs my brain freezes up from my TBI  and I can’t move my legs or figure out how to take a step down the stairs. The part of my brain that controls motor skills (like moving your legs down stairs)  is injured. It’s like trying to walk on a broken leg… if you use any injured part of your body it doesn’t work like it is supposed to.

Usually the only time I leave my room (my tower) is when my brother or dad carries me down the stairs and out to the car. Other than going to my doctors’ appointments, I live in my room… well two rooms, my room and my parents room (since their room is also on the upstairs floor). Every time I leave my room and hobble over to the bathroom with my cane, I look down the stairs feeling trapped on the 4th floor. I imagine Rapunzel looked out her window and saw everything she couldn’t get to.

What if Rapunzel tried to leave the tower on her own??? She climbed down on her own, and wasn’t strong enough to hold herself up so she fell and hit the ground. She got down the tower, but,  is now injured. She is hurt, and the only medical supplies to help her injuries are inside the tower. So now she has to climb back up that tower, in pain, with the motivation that once she gets back up to the tower there are medical supplies that will help heal her.

This is how it feels for me. When my brother or dad aren’t around to carry me we have to be creative and figure out how to get me down the stairs. The problem is that getting up and down the stairs by myself takes a lot out of my body and puts a lot of stress on my brain injury. The only way to help my body recover is to get my to my bedroom (my tower) and stay there in the dark and quiet. This is the only thing that helps relieve my symptoms. So how do I get down my “tower” by myself???

If I sit at the top of the stairs, I can scoot down one stair at a time. My mom stands there helping me and encouraging me that “I can do it.” As I do this an exhaustion hits my brain and my body, and I get out of breath, feel spinney, and get confused and fatigued.  I usually end up stopping and taking a break every stair or two and lay my head on the wall trying to catch my breath and encourage my self that “I can do it”. But harder than getting down the stairs is trying to figure out how to get me back up the stairs when no one is around to carry me.

Essentially I “crawl” up the stairs.. but  going up is a lot harder than coming down stairs. With every step I crawl up my brain gets even more fatigued. I start breathing hard, and my breathing starts hurting. My mom has to help “push” my body up one stair at a time. I often get stuck halfway up the stairs and just lay there with my head on the stairs thinking “how am I going to get up the rest of these stairs??” With my mom’s help I can get up, but my nerve pain throughout my body (back, arms, legs, hands etc) goes up. I feel exhausted, and can hardly move once I get to my bed.

Thankfully being in my bed, in the dark and quiet, helps relieve my elevated symptoms. This takes at least a few hours. It’s boring and it’s lonely being trapped in the dark and quiet by myself to get my elevated symptoms to go down. Thankfully, I’m not completely alone in my tower. Jesus is there with me in spirit. I talk to Him about  the pain I’m in, and ask for His help and grace to get through it. I talk to Him about my frustration with my body “Why do I have to be trapped in this tower??” He listens to my frustration and brings me comfort. I’m so grateful for His kindness. I’m so grateful He meets me there in that dark, quiet, lonely room and brings peace to my heart.

I think most of us feel “stuck” in our own “towers” at some point or another. Your tower may be very different than mine, but I understand that it can be just as frustrating. You may be stuck in a season of life that you can’t get out of. You wish this season would just pass by so you could get to the next season. Maybe you’re “stuck” going to school and you wish it would just be over, the homework, the classes, the same old boring, stressful assignments. Maybe you feel “stuck” at the same 9am to 5pm job. Every day is the same thing over and over again. Maybe something more traumatic has happened to you , a season of emotional pain and grief and you wish it would just be over. Maybe you have big dreams, but those dreams seem so far away and out of reach- you wish you could reach out and touch those dreams, but you’re stuck in a season that you have to walk through before you can accomplish those dreams.

Stuck, stuck….stuck!!!! I know, it sucks :-/. But one day you will be in a different season. One day I will be able to walk down those stairs again with no symptoms. One day. But when that day comes and we look back at those seasons we felt “stuck” in, what will we think??? Will we wish we had handled it differently?? Will we wish we had embraced that season and tried to absorb all the lessons we could learn through that season?? Will we wish we would have let God grow our character in the ways we needed to grow?? Will we look back and wish we could go back so we could redo that season?? Will we wish we had changed the way we treated others, how we treated God, how we treated ourselves???

Feeling “stuck” or being disappointed in life is not an excuse to treat others poorly, or be upset with God. It’s not an excuse to be pessimistic or feel sorry for ourselves. Jesus told us, “In this life you WILL have trouble.” (John 16:33) He warned us,… so why are we taken by surprise when life isn’t easy, when our dreams die, when we aren’t where we expected to be???

The thing I’m learning is that life is sure to turn out different than we expected. But that doesn’t mean that God can’t use it, it doesn’t mean that good things won’t still happen, it doesn’t mean that dreams will never come true. Sometimes it just means that our dreams will come true in a different way than we planned. If we didn’t have God then our dreams would just die, our lives would just shatter, and our hearts would be hopeless.

BUT our God is “the God of Hope” Romans 15:13. Thank God that He wants to help us, He wants to give us hope, He wants to use us, and He wants to help our dreams come true… so He figures out how to use our trials to make us stronger. He figures out how He can use us in the middle of our trouble. He draws near to us when we are hopeless and we cry out to Him. He sees the gifts and talents He gave to us and He finds a way to use them through the life we didn’t plan. God can use you where you are right now. He may use you in a different way than you expected. Maybe your dream won’t come true the way you planned, but your life is still important!! YOU are still important.

Before I was in my car accident 3 ½ years ago I had dreams. I dreamed of starting teen centers around the world. Teen centers that would help young adults find their potential, that would help them find God. I love people, and I had a heart to reach out to people and let them know God’s love. I wanted to provide comfort, hope, and encouragement to others. So I was pursuing that in the way my mind perceived it would play out. I was going to school majoring in Psychology. I was planning to go to grad school and become a licensed counselor. I thought this would help me be more qualified to start these teen centers. But when my car accident happened, and awakened my Chronic Lyme disease, all of my dreams slowly died. They seemed so far away… would I ever be well enough to go back to school?? How could these dreams come true when I was now disabled, bedridden and completely dependent on others. How could I help others when I was dependent on others to eat, to go to the bathroom, to bathe, etc.

Well during this trial I cried out to God and said “God, I’m completely dependent on others. I’m stuck in a dark room every day and can barely handle talking to people for more than an hour. But my heart wants to help others. How can I do that when I’m stuck on my back??” Well the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to “Write. Write what you’re learning and that will help others.” So I started this blog and that’s what I did. I wrote. I wrote what God was teaching me and how His goodness was carrying me through this trial. Before I knew it I had more readers than I ever expected. I started getting comments that my articles were helping others through their difficult times. And before I knew it, my dream of “ Encouraging, comforting, and spreading hope” started happening. But in a COMPLETELY different way than I expected. God can make your dreams come true as well, but it may be in a COMPLETELY different way than you had expected.

For a long time I thought that this sickness I’ve been battling was a “pause” before I got to my destiny/calling. Then one day God spoke to my heart and showed me that THIS IS part of my destiny. I’m not saying God caused this sickness. It’s an imperfect world and I, like many people got a disease. But God saw how He could use this as part of my story.

You might feel stuck right now, but this IS part of your story. This season is part of your destiny. So what are you going to make of it :)?? You may have been dealt a different hand of cards then you planned, but what are you going to do with the hand you were dealt?? Don’t fold. Keep hope. And let God guide you on how to use this part of your journey :).

“May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.” Romans 15:13

Be Joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. This is the Lord’s will for you.

“In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

 

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5 Responses to Trapped in this Tower

  1. My girl, you always inspire me with your beautiful heart. I love you, always and forever.

  2. psalmsheb says:

    Oh, Fair Princess of the Stairs– you continue to encourage us all! XO

  3. Kirk says:

    Once again, Rachel, I’m amazed by your positive attitude and loving spirit. You’re a saint! Just sayin’…We love you!

  4. I was recently reading a google book found on the web Called The Hedge of Thorns written by a young man in the 1700’s exploring this very concept. God’s amazing protection for His children. A very interesting testimony from the life of John Carroll; I had never thought about the hedge of thorns in this way before.

  5. Alison says:

    I understand your dreams and the interruption. I also had visions of reaching the world like you. And I was also interrupted. The gift of being a writer is very precious. You may reach more people than what you originally pictured, and in deeper ways than what was in your plans.
    One of your amazing gifts, Rachel, is the ability to take something as complex as suffering, and use it to inspire others. What you do is not found in counseling classes. Yet suffering is one of the most difficult questions we counselors have to help our clients sort through. You seem to have a PHD degree on that topic. Your depth of understanding on how God can take the accidents, illnesses and devastation the enemy throws at us to take us out, and turn them into Gold, is wonderful. I pray for you daily, but I also remember you in your fight and it makes me feel less sorry for myself when frustrations come up. I spent several years of my life sick in bed and feeling alone. I remember crying out to God to stop wasting my time and my life and please heal me! But that is the season when I started to really understand Jesus. He was alone, sick, tortured and felt abandoned in his lifetime. In my quest to love my savior, it is those times of deepest pain that have helped me relate to him and what he did for us and how deep the love must have been that he had for us, for him to endure all of that. Feeling a bit of the crucifixion pain drives us into the deep and loving heart of God for mankind. If we are to carry His light and love to a dying world than it is important that we gain this perspective that He has. Understanding the pain on a deep level equates to understanding His love on a deep level also. I pray you feel His presence more and more and I honor your life and what you are doing with it. You are truly and inspiration to many!

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