A Soldier’s Fearful Battle to Survive

++++I am very excited to announce we have a new guest blogger. Michael Thorin is joining us each month on the third Sunday of each month. He has some inspiring thoughts and ideas to share. His first post is about PTSD, and how he found his way out of the fog of this world. 

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I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 106,000 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

+ WE HAVE A WINNER IN OUR PROMOTION.  THE PERSON WHO HAS THE 105,00O REGISTRATION WILL WIN SOME NICE PRIZES. 

We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don‘t miss out. 

_____________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book.

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“Where Were You? Where Are You? Where Are You Going?”

This will be written from my perspective on how I chose to cope with PTSD, and how my decisions brought me from a wrecked marriage, anger and depression to a life full of love, joy, and comfort.

Where Was I?

First off, I served 3 months in Afghanistan as a medic for OEF, and then a year and a half in Iraq as a scout. I was assigned to a gun truck platoon performing convoy security and route recon operations on the most dangerous roads in Iraq.

This time was spent dodging bullets, getting hit by IED’s, and essentially being targeted over 90% of the time. I saw things and did things that had no effect on me at the time. I was simply numb to what was going on around me. I had become callous as my family was back home growing more and more emotional, while I lost my emotions to a darkness to the fog of war, and its’ effect on my body, mind and soul.

Where Am I?

Yesterday I was preparing a devotional, and I was hit with a wave of emotions. The devotional is simply related to the effects of PTSD, and how the VA approaches its treatment of PTSD. My wife had forced me to receive treatment in 2014, or she was taking the kids and leaving me.

Something snapped. Since I had gotten home at the end of 2006, I was miserable. Worse, I made my wife and daughters lives painful and miserable as well. I received treatment and still could not get rid of the nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, lack of trust, and my inability to feel any semblance of emotion. I was essentially a zombie with an attitude and a short fuse.

I was broken.

During my time of PTSD counselling, I found one thing very interesting; the counselors could provide self-help techniques for me, but they could not offer me what I needed: redemption and forgiveness.

What I found interesting was that all of the techniques could bring you back from the bad, but could never help you resolve the bad. While I was receiving tips, I was not receiving forgiveness, and this is what I believe to be the root of the problem.

One of my biggest problems was my inability to feel emotions for what I had been through. I thought I should feel guilty, but I didn’t. I thought I should be upset, but I wasn’t.

What kind of a person was I? Where are my emotions and why does nothing in my family concern me?

I was no longer worthy of my family’s love, and I was determined to drive everything I loved away from me, because no one could understand what I was going through. I began having fits of rage and anger.

I needed forgiveness, pure and simple. I needed to know I was still worth something, and that I wasn’t too far gone to become human again. The only way I could feel forgiven was to seek forgiveness from a higher power. The second person I needed forgiveness from was myself, and then my family. I needed to right my wrongs there and then, or I would not be able to go on with my future in peace.

My choice was relying on my Christian faith and realizing that I was worth so much that Christ had hung on the cross, beaten and torn, for me. I was worth forgiveness, and I believe I cried for an hour when that finally hit me.

Where Am I Going?

While I was fumbling through some pictures to prepare the devotional on PTSD I spoke about earlier, I found one that made me stop and thank God for the miracles he worked, and how blessed I was to have not taken the “easy” way out and gave myself a chance at life, a chance to be as close to normal as possible, and that was the answer.

I was no longer beyond saving. I was no longer worthless. I was no longer the guy that could not rectify what he had seen and done with what he was “supposed” to be. I was finally human again, and not an emotionless robot.

This picture made me realize the importance of forgiveness and redemption; they are invaluable tools in the fight against PTSD and veteran suicides.

I hung in and persevered through my faith, and continue to grow and see miracles and blessings in my life, and the lives of those I care about and love. Had I given up, I would have never experienced the miracles of seeing my daughters grow, and then give us two beautiful grandchildren.

My miracle is that I am still here to enjoy my family, and had I given up in the dark days, I would have never been around to see the brilliance of these good days. As I sit here writing this blog I can’t help but shudder at the thought of my never getting a chance to see these two miracles.

Asking for forgiveness is not that hard, accepting that we have received forgiveness is another matter. I found that my comfort in Christ was the only reason I can write this blog. It is simply a miracle. Reach out and find forgiveness, and you should also forgive yourself. It makes life work, or at least it has not failed me yet.

Where do you want to go with your future, and who will you rely on to get there?

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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Michael Thorin

Fultonale, Alabama

 

 

 

 

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Do You have a Heart Murmur?

I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 106,000 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

+ WE HAVE A WINNER IN OUR PROMOTION.  THE PERSON WHO HAS THE 105,00O REGISTRATION WILL WIN SOME NICE PRIZES. 

We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don‘t miss out. 

_____________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book.

__________________________________________________________________________

I am very excited to announce we have a new guest blogger. Michael Thorin is joining us each month on the third Sunday of each month. He has some inspiring thoughts and ideas to share. His first post is about PTSD, and how he found his way out of the fog of this world. 

___________________________________________________________________

Heart murmurs…

 

* are extra heart sounds caused by turbulent blood flow, sufficient enough to produce an audible noise, ranging from very faint to very loud.

* are due to functions and activities of life or of living matter (physiologic conditions) outside the heart.

* are a treatable and preventable condition. If not serious, medication will improve the condition. If more serious, surgery may be in order.

 

But what if it is spiritual rather than physical? Are those heart sounds, from faint to loud, due to conditions outside the heart?

 

Israel had this heart problem. What was it? Murmuring and complaining. And God was grieved and disgusted with this whiny bunch.

 

God once said to Moses and Aaron, “How long will this evil congregation murmur against Me? I have heard the complaints the Israelites murmur against Me.” (Num. 14:27 Amp)

 

What were the outside conditions that caused their murmuring? They deplored their situation. Israel “grew impatient along the way, and they began to murmur against God and Moses. ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?’ they complained. ‘There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this wretched manna!’” (Num. 21:4-5 NLT)

 

David said that “they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in His promise. They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the LORD.” (Ps. 106:24-25 ESV)

 

The results of too much whine? The book of Numbers should be a red-flag warning to all of us. Because of their murmuring and complaining, God implemented numerous forms of punishment, among them…

 

1) fire

2) plagues

3) fiery serpents

4) death for the entire congregation except for Joshua, Caleb, and those under the age of twenty.

 

God chastised Israel, saying to them, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness of [mind and] heart [in gratitude] for the abundance of all [with which He had blessed you], therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord shall send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and in want of all things.” (Deut. 28:47-48a Amp)

 

That was the Old Testament, you say. But has God changed?

 

The English translation of The Received Greek Text says in 1 Corinthians 10:9-11a, as Paul exhorts, “Neither overtempt Christ, as some of them tempted, and perished by serpents. Neither should you murmur, as also some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer. And all these things happened to those as examples, and it was written for our warning.”

 

All these things happened as object lessons for us – to warn us against whining, complaining, and not being grateful because of life’s adverse circumstances – that we might not receive God’s discipline. He may use different methods today, but His righteous anger has not changed.

 

Is a murmuring heart a treatable and preventable condition? Yes! To maintain spiritual health, we replace the whining that destroys the proper functioning of the heart with the remedy of praise and thanksgiving. However, if we do not work on our heart condition, God certainly will, using His own special type of surgery.

 

If Proverbs tells us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Prov. 4:23 NLT), and Jesus said, “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech” (Luke 6:45 TLB), then we need to heed those words, for “He who watches over his mouth guards his life.” (Prov. 13:3 Lynn’s Version)

 

All Israel had to do was step through the portal of thanksgiving, but their murmuring, disobedience, and impatience slammed the gate shut, barricading the entrance to God’s promise. For forty years, they lived next door to that land of milk and honey, but almost all of them never lived to set foot on it.

 

The wilderness takes its victims while they are yet wandering in their complaints. To live in the Land of Promise, you must step out of the wilderness of murmuring.

 

Does your heart pour out too much whine or pulsate with praise and thanksgiving?

 

~Lord, my prayer is this, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Ps. 19:14 NLT)~

 

Blessings, Lynn

 

lynnmosher.com

 

Heart murmurs come in many forms. What kind do you have?  

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Hope’s Battleground is Upon Us

I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 105,100 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

+ WE HAVE A WINNER IN OUR PROMOTION.  THE PERSON WHO HAS THE 105,00O REGISTRATION WILL WIN SOME NICE PRIZES. 

We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don‘t miss out. 

_____________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book.

__________________________________________________________________________

I am excited to say Linda Clare is back with her monthly guest blog. This one is her best in my opinion. As always she speaks directly from the heart and doesn’t pull any punches. 

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Hope’s Battleground

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I Timothy 1:7 KJV

The day the doctor pronounced my mother legally blind in one eye, we both cried. That same day, a close friend, also in her mid-eighties called me, worried her only son’s fourth heart attack meant he might die before she does. I was still reeling over my own son’s recent psychotic episode—a meth-fueled outburst I’d never witnessed from him before. All the while, more mass shootings rocked the nation as gunmen took aim at innocents.

A man had shot and wounded US Congressmen during baseball practice. Whether from personal loss or mass shooting, that day we stood with our arms wrapped around one another, grieving in unison. Each fresh sorrow strained our shoulders. Spring would never come and our hearts would always be frozen, stuck in the numbness that presides over tragedy.

That day, hope got whupped by fear.

Fear like we’d never known—until. Until the Twin Towers fell. Until Dad got cancer, until the long-awaited baby died in his crib. Until. Now fear stormed our psyches, bullied optimism into the corner.

In airports, we’ve learned to be afraid of bombs in shoes—from now on we’ll glance about nervously at the stadium too. Fear will follow our days and lie down with us at night. We’ll worry our sons and daughters will die before we do and terror will stalk us if we go blind in one eye.

Life is so much scarier than in the good old days, some say. Now just going to the mailbox or heading out to ball practice might end it all.  But as the world grows more and more dangerous, we must not lose sight of life’s most dangerous thing.

Love.

Love is the most dangerous way to live. It runs into burning buildings. Real love swoops you up the day you come home and find your suicidal spouse sitting with a loaded gun. Love risks getting hurt, and doesn’t make blanket assumptions. Love hopes all things.

Love knows that if we cannot resurrect hope, our fears will surely come true.

I saw this up close and personal the night my son went berserk on a meth high—screaming obscenities, he threatened to shove a pot of boiling water off the stove and onto me. After the cops left, I went for a walk. I needed to pray.  I walked and sobbed.

I cried for my lost son, whose meth addiction has gone on so long that it seems intractable. I wept tears of rage for my failure to do as the cop admonished: kick out my two grown sons. Most of all, I cried because I was afraid. Afraid I couldn’t trust God anymore. Afraid God wasn’t there.

Over and over in scripture, my faith tells me not to be afraid. Christians are supposed to trust God, even when it makes no sense.  That day, I was terrified, not of the prospect of my son living his entire adult life as an active addict, but of something deeper. Love was excruciating. Hope had left the building.

I stumbled along, raking in gulps of air as my nose ran and my throat ached. I kept my head down in case neighbors saw me mumbling like a crazy woman.

At that moment, I feared God didn’t exist.

Living in fear instead of hope has chilling consequences. When bad stuff happens—like blindness or heart trouble or when a nut job with an automatic rifle shoots up a ball field—fear orders us to assume the future, too, is loaded with horrible events.

Fear said to me, “Don’t trust anybody. Keep your fists clenched, ready to fight. Lock the doors and sit in the dark. Don’t make eye contact with strangers, in case they’re ready to blow themselves up and take you with them. And by the way, your addicted sons are hopeless.”

Fear laughed. “There is no hope.”

My heart turned leaden. The beautiful mystery of an aspen tree’s leaves left me. Every prayer I’d ever aimed at heaven seemed stuck to one side of the sky—the way the wind pins trash against a chain link fence. What if the whole story—heaven, the God of Love, Jesus—is just a myth?

“God. You have to be there,” I said, “You have to be real. If you’re not, nothing matters.” My tears grew hot as I thought of my poor feeble-sighted mom, my worried friend, my struggling, addicted sons. How could a loving God allow so much heartache?

Fear gloated, but something else said, “Dare to love anyway.”

I sank down on the street curb; gazed up at the aspen’s shimmering leaves. I had no answers. Still, a strange sense of peace came over me as I thought about those I care for. “God, be there for them,” I finally said. “Be real to those who need love.”

Somehow I saw that hope takes its marching orders from the One who is Love. Hope says, go ahead, love your neighbor. Open your fist. Look people in the eye. Forgive them when they screw up. Be generous and compassionate and stop letting your judgments about other people splatter all over everybody. And even if you can’t quite do all of this, Hope says don’t stop trying. Keep right on loving, right on hoping.

It isn’t easy. If I could work miracles, I’d spit on the dirt like Jesus did, rub mud on Mom’s bad eye and she’d see again. I’d give my friend’s son a decent heart and I’d cure my son in his fight against meth. But even if I can’t work miracles, I won’t stop loving. Or hoping for a better tomorrow.

For a while, I let fear take over my life. I questioned the faith I live by. And Fear delighted in my weakness.

But Love answered, bringing with it hope I sorely needed. All sorts of disasters happen in life, but Love says don’t live in fear. Don’t assume the worst. With Love, we can hope for the best, trusting that we are all valued, watched over, loved.

I stood up and drew my sleeve across my wet cheeks. My tears were spent but I walked home surrounded by renewed hope in the Lover of souls.

If you get a horrid disease or you go blind or your child becomes addicted, that’s awful. I’m sorry. But as we grieve, look to love, not fear. And then we can get up and shine our love on somebody else’s hurt, another person’s tragedy. Tell them we love them and hand over a piece of our hope. Some may push us away, but we can’t stop loving, we won’t stop hoping. We’ll march out to the sandlot to play ball, even though there’s a chance people might die. Love smiles when hope beats the tar out of fear.

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How to Reclaim Your Rights

I am so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 104,825 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

I have a new promotion. The person who is the 105,000 will win some nice prizes. We are only 175 away from the next goal . It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 

_____________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book. 

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+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor recently. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂

Some incredible endorsements have come in. I will be sharing some of those in my next post on Monday. 

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Happy to say this is another wonderful guest blog by Taylor Wilkins, of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Taylor always hits the mail directly on the head. 

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Reclaiming your rights

Do you ever feel bad inside even when your external reality isn’t all that bad? Or how about the reversal of that– feeling good inside when everything around you is falling apart?

We have been created as complex beings! We have the ability to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste– while simultaneously experiencing internal senses such as imagination, memory, instinct, and so on. I believe the roots of all of these things are good. God created us out of his own nature when he made us. But something happened at the fall of man that twisted God’s perfect plan and spotless creation. God formed man out of clay and breathed life into him and the enemy immediately sought out to destroy it.

Unfortunately when the enemy made his first strike against humanity it was a successful one. He caused a ripple effect that echoes into our world today. It blows me away that one lie created this whole mess. It was the greatest and most strategic move in any villain has pulled off– but the story never ends with a triumphant villain! 

Where there is an evil villain an even greater hero is always near!

And like every good superhero story there has to be a damsel in distress! As Christians we are the princess awaiting the heroic prince. That’s weird for me to say as a guy, but it is difficult for me to find a more accurate depiction of what Jesus did for us. Now I could try to think of some other creative ways to explain this but I believe the best explanation comes from Colossians 2:

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

Colossians 2:13-15

Now Colossians 2 is the truth about our redemption, but one thing I know is that whenever God gives us the truth the enemy will feed us a lie to try and replaced the truth. Often times feelings begin to speak louder in my life than the story of redemption. The difficulty is when the feelings come they are real! They make me feel worthless, tired, frustrated and anxious. When Paul tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ I believe he is talking about the thoughts rethink when feelings start to overwhelm us. As Christians we have been given the kingdom of heaven. The truth is whether I’m feeling it or not God has made me royalty and his kingdom and because of that truth I have a greater hope for the future!

   Today this is a Sign of Hope, that no matter the circumstance you are in, or the breakthrough you need, God is for you and He has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 


Taylor Wilkins

Greater Salem Area Director
Fellowship of Christian Athletes
(503)754-3783
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do…” John‬ ‭14‬:‭12‬
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