Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. ~Joel 2:25
I’ve always liked this verse. Probably because I’ve always thought of it as it is described in the pin above: “God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing.” I’ve seen God’s work in action over the past few years while healing from botulism and the associated dysautonomia.
On October 2, 2011, I became very sick with a denatured version of botulism. It was awful. I was basically in the hospital for the first month and then bed ridden for about 4 months after that. At that point, my nerves had been badly damaged, and I had every symptom you could possible think of: headaches (tension and migraine), body pain, a feeling of acid running through my body and veins, practically zero cognitive function (at one point, I couldn’t even think well enough to make a grocery list), brain fog, confusion, anxiety, depression, racing heart when going from sitting to standing, severe insomnia, difficulty breathing, ear pain, ear ringing, sinus pain, teeth pain, mouth ulcers, skin rashes, extreme food sensitivities, extreme weight loss (I got down to a measly 95 lbs and I’m 5’6″!), muscle twitches, involuntary muscle movement, shaking, numbness in different areas of my body, vision disturbances, facial twitches, trouble with digestion and extreme stomach pain, dry mouth, trouble swallowing….oh my gosh, I had well over 100 different symptoms. I could have died in the first 60 days, but God had other plans for me.
After I could finally get out of bed on my own, I still was in bad shape. It was difficult for me to do anything. The neck and head pain was constant and debilitating. It took about 9 months for my nerves to finally start to heal and regenerate. You would think this is a good thing, and it is, but as nerves heal, they cause just as much, if not more, pain and disruption as they do when they are being damaged. The feelings I had in my body weren’t like anything I can describe, and in all honesty, suicide was on my mind due to the depression that was caused by my autonomic nervous system being so out of whack. I didn’t feel like I could take anymore and was tempted to give up.
At about 13 months, the nerves really started to kick back in…the problem is that when the nerves regenerate they don’t know what to do at first and they freak out about EVERYTHING! The sensitivities went into overdrive. I had to eat the same thing everyday for about 8 months (steamed broccoli, boiled chicken, eggs, spinach, cucumbers, baby springs, and a bit of olive oil…no herbs, no salt, no anything! I had no appetite at all because I was so sick, so it was hard to choke anything down anyway) I had a hard time using anything on my body like lotion, essential oils, different soaps, etc. Dysautonomia takes a good 2-5 years to resolve according to my doctors – BUT resolve it will!!! God is good!
I am now almost three years out from when I originally got sick, and I am running again. I am taking classes towards going for my PhD in Mathematics. I am eating a BIG VARIETY of foods. I am laughing, loving, and I am enjoying life. I have hope, and I know that Papa is going to heal me 100% completely! To go from not even being able to take a few steps without collapsing in exhaustion and pain to doing all of these things is nothing short of a miracle — I am blessed! I still have symptoms, but they are getting fewer and farther between and much milder. Looking back at how far I’ve come, it is amazing. It is extraordinary the beauty that God is capable of making out of our trials and suffering.
Through all of this, I leaned solely on God for recovery – no meds, no procedures, just GOD. I couldn’t have taken any meds even if I’d wanted to because of my sensitivities – I’m sure He was responsible for that, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This whole experience taught me to trust Him completely and to rely solely on Him and not on my own understanding. I couldn’t have survived the whole ordeal if I had tried to do it on my own. It’s only through His grace and love that I am doing so much better.
So, why am I talking about all of this? The moral to this story is simply this: No matter what you are going through – a physical ailment, emotional turmoil, anxiety, depression, loss, etc. – NO MATTER WHAT, HEALING IS POSSIBLE. Not only is it possible, it is promised! Some of the verses that I would repeat over and over again in my head when I was laying in bed wondering if I would ever get better were:
- Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10
- And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. ~1 Peter 5:10
- And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. ~Matthew 10:1
- “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
There were many more, but these ones really helped me.
I am living proof that there is nothing that God can’t turn around and make beautiful. Have faith, keep your eyes locked on Him, and know that He will supply you with all the strength you need to get through whatever is set in front of you. Know that it is okay to cry and grieve — He’s there with you catching your tears. Know that it is okay to have whatever feelings you have – He understands completely and is right by your side, ALWAYS. There is nothing beyond His reach…talk to Him, sit with Him, cling to Him, and know that He LOVES you and will make beauty from your suffering. TRUST HIM! God bless you! ❤