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“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” Joel 2:25

God has really been impressing upon my heart His promise of Restoration. So many of us with mental illness go through these horrible times in which is seems like all our hard work, our planning, our preparations go out the window when our illness shows up in life and derails our plans. It is demoralising to watch all our hard work, our finances, our dreams and aspirations go up in smoke.

Oftentimes it is made worse with ultimatums and disappearances from our friends and families, just when we need them the most. Something happens to us, we have no control over it, and we are blamed for our behaviours which are just as foreign to us as to those around us. It feels very much as if a great army of locusts has descended into our lives and eaten everything in it’s path.

I very much believe that God does indeed have a plan for me, to give me a hope and a future, (Jeremiah 29:11), and I believe he has given the same promise to you. But lying in bed, trying to hide from our own minds, this promise doesn’t seem relevant to us at times. That future seems like it will never come, and God’s promise doesn’t seem like it is for me. Don’t believe the lie, God’s promise is very much for you.

God’s promise of restoration in the Old Testament doesn’t seem applicable today. In fact it is hard to connect with the people and events that happened 3500 years ago. Yet the entire Old Testament is like one giant analogy for our lives today, and we are so lucky that God’s people wrote all of these horrible events down so that we can see today that his promises were fulfilled, that He delivered His people time and time again. Today, He wants to do the same thing today for us.

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” Joel 2:32

When we call on the name of the Lord, God hears our plea. He very much wants us to rely on Him, and will purposely put obstacles in our path that we can not possibly take on by ourselves. The obstacle of mental illness is much the same as any of life’s obstacles, we can not successfully do it alone. While He may not deliver us entirely from mental illness, He does help us through the hard times, walking with us.

I believe God will restore the years I have lost in fighting my bipolar and the effects of the medication on my life. I am faithful, and He has proven himself in my life. In full surrender I have given my life over to God, and await His guidance and leadership through our times in prayer. Much of my restoration has happened through learning  what is truly of value in this life, and it is not what I own or the job I hold. What is the most valuable is the relationship I have with God and the faith and trust I have in Him.

This illness is a thorn in my side, much like the one Paul wrote about. I feel blessed that we will never know what the great apostle suffered from, only how he dealt with it. He prayed to God to take it away from him, but God never did. Yet Paul’s ministry transcends through time, and his letters give us the blueprint for christian living. If that man can suffer and still succeed, it gives me hope that God’s plan for me is just as great. I will continue to hold on to the promises God has for me and persevere for His kingdom each day.

I pray for you to, dear reader, that God meets you where you are at. His blessings are real, just as His word is. Profess aloud His promises, and know that He does have a hope and a future for you as well, and that He does have a plan of restoration for you.