A lot of people are curious about what my injury was. You’ve heard I injured myself breakdancing, but that is not actually the case. So I am going to share a little bit about what happened, maybe more than a little bit.
On November 7, we were celebrating my daughter’s fourteenth birthday, and I was jumping double Dutch. I jumped rope, walked on my hands, did the centipede, did handstands and headstands. In the process, in one of my handstands, my shoulder gave out. I fell and landed on my head. It was funny because I ended up with a myriad of things on my head. We all laughed and rolled. I was fine. There was actually nothing wrong with me at the time. I even did the centipede after that. We were just goofing off. We had the music up really loud. My family was over. We were simply having fun and laughing.
I went to bed that night. I slept on my stomach. When I woke up, I noticed that my head was off the pillow, turned very far to the right. When I tried to sit up—I even tried to move a little bit—the room began to spin. It immediately made me want to throw up. I was so sick. When I tried to sit up, stand, or walk, I couldn’t get any grasp on a solid foundation. It felt like I was being tossed back and forth and spun around. It was ridiculous.
I did what I needed to do, but I basically stayed in bed until 2 o’clock that day. Somehow, miraculously, I finally rose from bed, yet I wasn’t really with it. My family said my sentences did not make a lot of sense. I scrambled the words within the sentences. They said, “We don’t know what she is saying.” Something was messed up in my brain, but I managed to collect myself somewhat. I lay on ice packs and sat around the rest of the day.
Then I went to a parenting and marriage group we had been a part of. I sat on an ice pack and didn’t really talk to anyone. I certainly did not feel like engaging with people, but I was present. I left and went home, dizzy again. I was making it through—barely.
On the third day, I went to a chiropractor to get some help. I wasn’t feeling horrible, but he said my cranial arteries were swollen and were crammed up at the back of my skull. He didn’t know what else. We took an X-ray and discovered my C2 disc had spun around. He took my head and tried to pop it back into place. I went to a manual therapist to help me get enough relief to feel I could move a bit. But what I realized was the day we tried to pop my neck into place, it actually injured me worse. I felt worse afterward than I ever did before.
I wasn’t in great shape. I was probably one or two weeks out from feeling better because of my chiropractor visit. Whatever happened wasn’t good. I quit going there. The manual therapist helped me move. I prayed, “Lord, help me. I don’t know what to do. I can’t live with this dizziness. Dizziness, go, in Jesus’ name!” I realized I was operating in a whole lot of fear. I was afraid of passing out. I was afraid of dying. I thought maybe I’d pass out and die. I don’t entirely know.
Thankfully, a friend of mine said, “Hey, why don’t you try this guy? He doesn’t pop your bones, but he might be able to help you. He is a Christian.” So I went to see him, and he does without all of the X-rays. He came in and said, “Your C1 has turned one direction, and your C2 is turned 10 millimeters in the opposite direction.” You know how your mom or your grandma says, “Get your head on straight!” or “Is your head on straight?” He said my head was literally not on straight. He said, “You cannot, in one turn, put it back on straight. You have to do it over time. Your body couldn’t handle that much change at one time.”
Over the course of going to him for a few weeks, we slowly started turning my C2 back, one millimeter at a time. Sometimes, I thought it was going backward, but it wasn’t. Sometimes it would turn a little bit. He told me, “You know, Sheri, this injury didn’t happen with breakdancing. That is not what happened. Something inflamed or aggravated it, but this is not an injury from your breakdancing. This is probably a thirty-year-old injury.”
So we went through my past and talked about what I had been subjected to. I realized I had a major concussion when I fell on something upside-down and landed on a metal pole when I was a kid. I fractured my jaw and could not eat solids that whole summer. In my early twenties, I was beaten up and punched in my spine. A lot of people don’t know that about me. I’ve had a hard life. I started thinking about all these other things, too, like my teeth hadn’t been good all through my twenties. I didn’t realize there may have been a bigger issue.
We looked at each of these isolated issues. Oh, concussion, get over that. Oh, fractured jaw, get over that. We’ve got this problem in your spine; heal from that. That’s mental. There are so many mental issues when you’re hurt physically. Many of you probably know I was molested when I was a kid, and there are mental issues that come with that. I have been trying to overcome all of these issues, dealing with the physical issues one at a time, not realizing maybe there’s a bigger issue.
All my life, I’ve needed a back rub. I’m one of those people who wants the deepest tissue back rub. Use your elbow; punch it in there. My back would hurt all the time. I would need a massage, and I would sit in the bathtub. The minute I finished a deep-tissue massage, I felt like I needed another one. I continually needed these knots rubbed out of my body. Mentally, I figured, “Well, you know, the consequences of these things in my past are simply revealing themselves in my back. It’s something I’m going to have to live with.”
I’d ask for prayer periodically. I know I’ve been healed temporarily of the pain, but I wasn’t healed from having those old injuries as a part of my identity. They were deeply woven into who I was. Even though I knew who God said I was—I was a masterpiece, a new creation—for some reason, I had never divorced my old identity with those back and bone issues. I should have laid them down and let them die at the cross when I crossed over out of death into life and became a new believer. But I didn’t do that. I don’t know why. I think because they were so physically strong, they were already part of who I was. The physical pain can really make you believe something is real and is never going to go away.
As I discussed all this with the doctor, he continued to speak life over me. Recently, I asked, “Hey, is there anything spiritually that could be causing or delaying what is going on with my body? I am really sick of this.” He said, “Yes, fear.”
I told him I had been set free from fear and anxiety. I used to be such a worrywart, so afraid and anxious. The peace of Christ transformed my life and my heart—until we started having these dumb earthquakes. When the ground is shaking beneath you, it’s kind of scary, you know? I thought I was on a narrow road—a holy-roller, faith-believing, Bible-thumpin’ Jesus freak—but I was scared.
He said, “You know, Sheri, at the end of the day, fear is rooted in the fact that everybody is going to die. We are going to leave at some point. We are going to die at some point. Do you really trust and believe where you are going afterward?” I mean, talk about a punch in the throat. I thought, wow. You’re really addressing the root cause here. That kind of hurt. Ouch! You throat-punched me. Do I really believe that in death I’m going to be okay? Even if somebody leaves me, I’m going to be okay. But if somebody I love dies, am I going to be okay? You know, he really went to the root issue.
I realized that one of the greatest holds the enemy has tried to put on me since I was a little girl was that everyone would leave. Eventually, everyone would leave. My dad left when I was three. I kept going over all the loss I’ve had in the course of my life. Friends leave. Friends don’t stay the same friends. I’ll tell you right now, they don’t. It’s hard to remain a strong friend and presence in someone’s life when they are hurting and they are not normal and can’t do the normal things. I feel I’ve dealt with that issue.
I have realized that in the last year, my husband and I have been extremely busy. Our work has kept us busy, which has been great. But he is gone a lot, working late night hours. I go to the gym in the morning, and then we kiss and pass ways. He goes to the office, and I work with the kids. Then he goes to the gym, we pick up the kids, we come home, and he puts the kids to bed. That’s what we do.
So we really are passersby unless we have our set-aside date time. I think, at some point, because of the busyness, I didn’t feel pursued by him the way I wanted to be pursued by him. I would kind of nag him and be like, “Hey! I’m your wife over here. I would like to be pursued by you. Don’t forget about me.”
Deep down, I had started to feel that if he didn’t pursue me, maybe he, too, would leave me. This didn’t hit me until my doctor said it. I said, “Wow. Am I afraid my husband will leave me, too?” I’m honestly not afraid he will. I know this man. He’s stable and fixed. But I think there is a part of your flesh that, if it is not fully dead to its own desires and surrendered to Christ, puts hope in man. When this hope is deferred, it makes the heart sick. I think this happened to me, and then old familiar fear set in.
At the time, my back and neck wouldn’t hold my healing because my sternum wasn’t flexible; it was stuck. As my doctor spoke, I realized that when I was younger, my sternum locked up, and the timing of that injury was associated with someone rejecting me—once again!
BOOM! There it was! Fear of rejection reared its ugly head! The lie had been exposed! It was as if fear of being rejected was holding me down.
It’s as if God said, “Hey, I’ve got a new level of freedom for you today because today you are going to be delivered from a part of your identity you’ve carried for a long time. Today, it is under your feet. It has been under Jesus’, but today it is under yours.”
I feel like somebody needs to hear this today. Maybe you have a fear of losing something or a fear of being left. Maybe you have a fear of dying or a fear of losing a loved one. This fear is real. Even though it’s spiritual, it can actually inhabit the cells of your body and change your DNA. It can change your body and release physical poisons into your body to make you sick. It can manifest itself in your physical body in such a way as to tear you down and destroy your life.
I want to encourage you today. Know that I am praying for you. I want you to pray for yourself that God would reveal to you anything you are holding on to or are fearful of and He would give you comfort and assurance so you know you are safe in Him and it’s okay to let it go because your past has been erased and the new has come.
The greatest thing about this injury for me is knowing something has been a part of my body for a really long time. We talked about this, and my doctor said, “When we take a picture of your spine now, anyone who looks at it will never be able to see the markings of your old injuries. They are completely erased, and you are made new. You will be stronger and better than you ever were before.” I praise God that it has been brought into the light and daily my spine is being restored, from my brain stem all the way to my tailbone. This impacts every cell in my body, over three hundred million nerves. I am grateful.
I haven’t been sick. I simply haven’t felt like sitting in a coffee shop and engaging in idle conversations because I am in a battle for my life, trying to keep my hope up and remain encouraged. I have been constantly in the Word of God, which builds me up and reminds me who I am, what I have, and who God is so I can stay stable and fixed under Him.
I haven’t been able to do some of the things I used to do, like push-ups or bending over to pick up socks dropped on the floor or bending over to do burpees. I can’t do them, and I still feel well, so I don’t. I do what I can do, and I know I am eventually going to get there and be able to do such things again.
I am no longer afraid because in this world we will have trouble, but we can take heart in the overcoming power of Jesus Christ. Everything He provided on the cross, He said yes and amen to. To every promise of God, the answer is, “Yes and amen.” It’s never “no.” It’s never “wait.” It’s never delayed. It’s always “yes and amen.”
I want to encourage you to rebuke any fear you have. We all have it. We are human. It creeps in. Uproot all of it quickly. You are an overcomer. Look to God’s promises. If you don’t know what those are, ask me. I’ll help you. Jesus wants you to know. He died so you could have them, and there is no reason for you to miss out on them. Eventually, you are going to be able to find them on your own.
Listen to His voice. He is a good shepherd. You know what? If you are His sheep, you can hear Him. If you are not His sheep, just say, “Hey, I want to be Your sheep.” It’s that simple to make Him your Lord. Just say, “I want You to be my Lord. I want You to be my guide, my friend, my family, my support system, and the one who guides me and helps me in everything.”
He has been my shelter of the Most High who has made me stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty. I am thankful. I hope this encourages you. I hope you can see where I have been and what I have been doing.