Hello friends and family, and God bless you all. Today is January 6th, 2022. Ten years ago, on January 6th, 2012, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. To say it has been a long road and a difficult journey over this last decade would be an understatement. It has been absolutely torturous at times, and many of the lessons I have learned along the way were learned the hard way, but the last ten years have also been filled with the Lord’s faithfulness and forgiveness. Jesus has been with me through every step of this broken road of suffering, and He has never left me nor forsaken me. My prayer is that this post will bring Him glory, and encourage others who are living with chronic illness and pain.
When Christians think of suffering, many of us immediately think of the story of Job. I wish I could say I was as faithful as Job was through his suffering. Sadly, I was not. When I speak of faithfulness, I am referring only to the Lord’s faithfulness to me. After being diagnosed with Celiac, I became angry and bitter. Even though I had walked with Him since October of 1996, I fell away from the Lord for a time, and that bad decision just caused more pain for me and my family. Thankfully, the Lord is gracious and merciful and He never gave up on me.
The Lord drew close to me, even when I shook my fist at Him and wrestled Him with disappointment and bitterness in my heart. He met me right where I was in my darkest hour and let me pour out my heart to Him. He held me in His loving arms as I foolishly fought against Him, and struggled to come to terms with my new reality. And finally, with His deep unending love and forgiveness, He lifted me up, helped me arrive to a place of peace and understanding, and graciously reinstated me to continue fulfilling His calling and purpose for my life. It was astounding and amazing when He called me to publish my testimony and start blogging in 2018, and I am forever grateful.
Those years from 2012 to 2018 were the hardest and most painful years of my life. So many regrets and so much time I can’t get back. However, they are also years the Lord strengthened my faith and caused the roots of my trust in Him to grow deep. I will never forget the miracle the Lord performed to save my life when I stopped breathing on April 28th, 2012. Talk about a faith builder! Many of you know what happened that day. If you don’t, please read my post titled:
I quite literally died that day due to anaphylactic shock, and the Lord brought me back in the power of the Holy Spirit. The mighty wind of the Spirit was all around me, and my wife heard it rushing through our room just like on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts! It was the most excruciatingly painful and the most miraculously glorious day of my life, and I am only alive today because the Lord had mercy on me. Thank You, Jesus!
The greatest lesson I have learned through a decade of suffering is that the Lord’s grace is truly sufficient for me. No matter what you are going through, please don’t give up. Dig deep into your faith and cling to Jesus with all your heart. Even if the pain is so bad that you are barely hanging on by your fingernails, don’t let go! He is there with you even now, and He will never abandon you!
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9
I have wanted to give up so many times. Those first few years when I couldn’t stop throwing up and going #2 eight times a day. The endless days, weeks, months, and years of burning pain in my gut that would drop me to my knees. The horrific weight loss down to 128 pounds, and the torturous pain of a damaged small intestine so bad I could barely walk. The terrible pain of starvation as my body struggled with digestion and a severely restricted diet. So many times I cried out for God to take me as I lay face down on the floor barely clinging to life. So many times I just wanted it to all be over.
Jesus never stopped comforting me. He never left my side even for a moment. Every day He picked me up off the floor, dried my tears, and gave me strength to press on. Even if I could barely sense His presence and all I could muster was whispering His Name to help me, He was right there with me. Even when horrible thoughts of taking one last walk in the woods with my pistol in hand plagued my mind, still He protected me and fought for me. Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I love Him with all my heart! Keep loving Him and rest in His love for you!
This life on earth can be so painful for so many of us, but there will be a day when He wipes all the pain and tears away. Don’t ever forget that! He is coming back soon, and He will make all things new! Jesus loves you so much! Run to Him, fall in His arms, and never let Him go!
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” -Revelation 21:4-5
I was 33 when I was diagnosed. I am 43 now. After all the pain and despair I have lived through the last ten years, I am still standing victoriously in the Lord by His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love.
Since having the emergency gallbladder surgery last April, I am no longer suffering the excruciating gut pain, and I have even stepped out in faith to enjoy going out to eat at a few restaurants. I still have to be careful about cross contamination, but there are many options for those of us who can’t eat gluten, dairy, eggs, or soy, and it has been a huge blessing. We took our kids to Disneyworld on January 1st, and I was even able to enjoy lunch and dinner at the nice restaurants at Epcot. I hadn’t eaten out since being diagnosed, and it’s something I never thought I would do again. Even now as I still have days where I struggle with pain due to intestinal and colon trauma, I have hope that things are getting better and the Lord still has good plans for me.
Nothing is impossible for God. Keep hope alive and never stop believing He can do all things! His love is greater than any suffering on this earth!
Grace and peace to you all!