I wrote about the transformed life of Christians in my posting on 29 April.  I want to discuss that a little more and how my own life has been transformed.  As you may know from my previous postings, I am a retired soldier and a war veteran who has been suffering from PTSD both from the trauma of my wartime experience and from the trauma of my childhood experiences.  I have spent many thousands of hours by myself in some place in the woods at various places where we lived, trying to grapple with those traumatic experiences.  I would often be inebriated in order to be able to withstand the pain of those experiences coming back up to the surface.  The first few years, I would simply sit there in the quiet, safe from any human interaction, listening to music, thinking, sometimes writing about my experiences in a journal, sometimes crying when the overwhelming pain was pushed to the surface perhaps by stress during the day, anniversary memories of the painful things that had happened, or just the inexplicable occurrence of overwhelming pain maybe by some trigger that reopened the wound on my heart and spirit.

After a few years of this, I began to feel drawn back to God.  I was no longer angry at Him for what happened to me, and I began to turn to Him for the healing that I needed and which only He could give.   Of course, I needed someone with more “skin” on them at various times for talk-therapy as I worked through the painful experiences in the first few years.  This talking out of the experiences is necessary for all trauma survivors.  You need this to slowly, carefully bleed off the wound as you try to grapple with exactly what hurt and why.  You need to understand the experience and need to talk about it if you want healing.  Then you need to tell the story again and again until it no longer hurts so much.   For me, the therapy sessions with some wonderful people, such as a sweet, wise lady at West Point/Highland Falls, New York, were critical.  It was also helpful to journal about these experiences – any method of retelling the story until it no longer caused pain.  And, it was critical for me to have those few precious hours every day after work in a place where no people could get to me, thus giving me a feeling of safety and security, a safe place where no further pain could get to me through people who were largely responsible for my pain.

At a certain point, though, I realized that the therapists and psychiatrists couldn’t help me with all the pain.  This is when I started turning to God.  The last few years of my therapy were handled almost entirely in prayer to God.   Once I was no longer angry at Him and didn’t blame Him anymore for what happened to me, then I could finally turn to Him for the help I needed that only He could give.  Again, the people who helped me were critical for the healing process, but there was a limit to what they could do to help me, and when I realized this, I began turning to God, spending all those hours alone in the forest praying to Him.  When I realized that He didn’t care whether I was inebriated when I prayed to Him, this was such a tremendous breakthrough for me.  So long as I had a clear enough mind and a willing heart, the alcohol was not a hindrance to my prayers, nor were they rejected by God.  He knew why I was drinking, and He did not judge me for doing so.   So in my “safe” state of inebriation, I was able to talk about the trauma, discussing with Him just as I had discussed with my "people" therapists exactly what was on my mind with all naked honesty.  I found, too, that I didn’t need to have my eyes closed.  I could be walking around in the area of the forest where I had chosen for my safe place for that day.

The interesting thing is that, bit by bit, as I lifted my prayers about my painful experiences up to Him, the pain diminished a little more every day.  In addition, He started turning those experiences to the good.  It was just like the story of Joseph in the Bible (Genesis 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, and 50).  In that story, what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good so that He could work a great work that would save many people from the famine, especially the tribe of Jacob/Israel (Genesis 50:20).  In the same way with me, what Satan and people who had traumatized me meant for evil, God meant it for good, transforming those experiences into wisdom, building His Power and Love up in me, and using me for many good works to thousands of people over the years who have come into my path.  From my trauma, I had developed such a tender heart that I was able to minister to so many people that I would not have otherwise been able to minister to.  Moreover, that pain has motivated me to be a much better father for my family since I did not want my children to suffer as I had.  And the pain also made me a much better military leader during my career in the Army because I had a deeply compassionate heart for all those that I have led over the years.

I pray that, if there is pain in your heart and soul, that you would begin turning to God and allow Him, bit by bit, to take away the pain and transform it to something good and beautiful in your life. 

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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