I will restore to you the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
    my great army, which I sent among you.

Joel 2:25 ESV

Over the course of the past decade, I have recited this verse both quietly to myself and aloud to others.

As my health deteriorated I repeated it more and more.

These last 5 years it has been a lifeline.

On April 18, 2017 I was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), a rare disorder of the esophagus (if you want more information about this condition, I have a page on this blog dedicated to it). Even though this is a new diagnosis, it’s not new to me. Since I was 19 years old, I have had difficulty swallowing foods. It started off as a rarity and gradually moved toward becoming my new normal. Over the years I have slowly become afraid of food and lost desire for it due to the pain it inflicted. After dealing with this on a regular basis for years, sometimes the mere sight of food can trigger a panic attack. I went to countless doctors over the years. They didn’t know how to help me. They diagnosed me with acid reflux and told me to change my diet. They labeled me anxious and told me to control my thoughts. They called me depressed or obsessed, and said shift my focus to something more positive.

Being sick is awful, but being sick and having those who are supposed to be the experts tell you that there is nothing wrong with you is literally the worst. You aren’t just a liar and a person crying wolf. You become a person trapped; living without the smallest morsel of hope. How can something get better if there is technically nothing wrong?

I’ve watched my life be stolen from me, moment by moment. Being powerless to stop it, I sometimes silently watched. Other times I screamed until my voice was hoarse and sobbed until I couldn’t physically cry anymore. As I watched my own life go up in smoke, I felt alone and without hope. I’ve lived in this desolate place for a number of years. Waiting for any sign that something was about to change for the better; expecting nothing good to develop, but desperately praying to be proven wrong. On April 18 I got my first sign.

I’m learning how to live again one day at a time. Each day I believe a little more that God can take my wasteland and turn it into my promised land.

I’ve lost time to illness. Years to be exact. I’m not who I once was.

Yet, glory to God, that isn’t the end of my story. There is life after destruction. Even now after the swarming locusts have wreaked their havoc, there is hope. Restoration is coming.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
    and praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has dealt wondrously with you.

Joel 2:26 ESV