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. 

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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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God, I will Abide in you later. I am Busy Now

I want to update you on the tremendous run we are having on getting new RSS feed subscribers. It has been one week tonight since something wonderful started happening.  We started getting a huge run of people signing up for the RSS feed for this site. The total as of 8:30 tonight for the one week alone, is 1,332 people that have signed up.

Remember that is for one week, and there doesn’t seem to be any let-up in sight. We are enjoying the ride, and if you haven’t signed up for the RSS feed you can do it tonight by clicking on the icon that says RSS feed. You can also follow us through the Networked Blogs by clicking on the “follow,” button under the area for that on the side bar. Join us so that you won’t miss any of the great posts that have been coming lately.  

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I had the privilege to do a devotional at a Men’s Breakfast this morning. The topic was about getting moving in our quest to serve the LORD.

We all become Christians the minute we accept Jesus into our hearts. We then have to build on that day, and grow into more mature, and stronger Christians.

We have to do the learning. God won’t make us think like Jesus. If He did, we would be robots, and God doesn’t want robots to love Him. He wants real people like you and me deciding to think like Jesus on our own.

We have to bring every thought into a spot of controlled abiding in Christ.

John 15:4 says, “Abide in Me….” We need to do that in every thing we do- in money matters, in our thinking, in everything that makes our life the way it is.

Jesus always abides in God. His inner abiding is pure and unblemished. He never chose His own circumstances like many of us do.

We decide, ” LORD I will abide in just a minute, as soon as I am done with this one thing, or maybe later this week. I promise, I will do it then.”

We need stop putting ourselves before the LORD and GET MOVING!! As the famous slogan for Nike says, JUST DO IT!! We need to abide now.

We all know that in the beginning it is difficult, at best, to abide in the LORD. We face up hill struggles. We still have the past sins we are trying to cling to. However, if we persevere, and stay strong in trying to please God, we will slowly abide in God without any conscious effort.

Until that day, read the Bible. Pray for knowledge and wisdom. It will come as you grow, and you will hear God say. ” You have been a good and faithful servant!

Remember… Never, ever give up!

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Athletes Wear the Cross and Don’t Know What it Means

 

One Cross + 3 Nails = 4 Given

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever

believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

 

Have you ever thought about the cross? It was just a piece of wood. It came from an everyday tree. It was shaped for one purpose: death! Think about the cross you may be wearing, or the one you see during your church service. Have you ever really thought about the pain this one piece of wood caused?

History knows about the cross, and some people have despised it. The cross is worn by millions of people. It is often gold-plated and worn as jewelry—usually not to symbolize what it really means, or to show our faith. But the cross really means dying. A cross was used to punish the guilty. It displayed the offender in front of others so they would “learn a lesson” and not do the same thing. Bottom line: It was a torture device to show the power of the leaders during their time.

People try to ignore the significance of the cross, but they can’t. It is the piece of lumber that makes the biggest claim in the history of man. After all, when Jesus was here on earth, He hung on that cross, claiming to be the Savior for all mankind. He even had the nerve to claim He was God Himself!

Jesus was a carpenter and knew how hard it was to toil each day with his hands and a hammer. He had calluses on His hands even though those hands touched a blind man’s eyes and caused him to see. He used those same calloused hands when He touched a leper and he was healed. He knew what hard work was, and yet He had a tender touch that healed hundreds of people.

This is the God of love brought down to earth in the form of a man—a person with flesh and blood like you and me. Full of hurts. Full of sadness. Full of fear. Didn’t He cry out to God to “take this cup from Me”? Wasn’t He whipped, slapped and spat upon? Didn’t He slowly and painfully walk with that cross on His shoulders knowing that He would soon be hung on it and go through tremendous hurt and suffering? From the cross, didn’t He ask God why He had forsaken Him? Wouldn’t you have a little fear?

So we have the cross ready for the crucifixion. How about those nails? They weren’t tiny nails you’d use to build a birdhouse in the backyard. These were spikes—large nails about five inches long. They crushed the bones and caused pain that was beyond description.

Imagine your fear as they placed your left hand on that cross and get ready to pound that nail through your hand. The mallet comes down, and you scream in pain. But before you can catch your breath, they are nailing your right hand down.

Now that they have you securely part of the cross, they put your feet together, one on top of the other and slam another spike through both of them at once.

Do you feel the pain? Do you get the picture? Can you now relate to the sacrifice that Jesus had to go through so that you wouldn’t have to?

He was hurting, He was in great pain, and He cried out to God, just like you and I would, but He knew what He was doing had to be done for you and me.

He even had to look down and see the soldiers gambling for His clothes. That must have made Him feel even worse. They were at His feet, but they didn’t even know He was the Savior. He didn’t scold them. He didn’t cry out in anguish. He wanted them to know the One whose clothes they were throwing the dice for would come back to give them another chance.

Think of His arms spread out across the cross. Open arms. Arms that will hold you and show you love when we are in heaven.

Think even deeper about a mother watching her son die. Having Mary watch Him die had to cause Jesus another level of pain—perhaps even worse than any whippings or the nails driven through His hands and feet. He gave her one final look and then He said good-bye, handing her over to John’s care. Think of what Mary went through right at the moment He said, “It is finished.” Her son was dead, and she had to watch Him slowly fade away from her.

One final gesture. One more time of showing us how much He loved us. One last effort to tell us to seek Him so we can be with Him in heaven. After all, He died for us so we wouldn’t have to feel the pain. It is that simple. He went through all the torture, pain, aloneness, fear, for each one of us.

The next time you see a cross around someone’s neck or see one on top of a church, think of what Jesus went through so you can have eternal life. Try to see Him on that cross, with the crown of thorns on his head and the crimson blood flowing down His face. He is looking at you, and wants you to know that it is OK. He wants you to know that He did this for you, so that you will have eternal life. It should give you a much stronger feeling of what the cross stands for.

 

This is love: not that we loved God, but the he loves us and

sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:10

 

Further adventures

Take time each day to thank God for sending His only Son to die for you on the cross. Start out every prayer time, or devotional time, praising God for what He has done for you. The whole meaning of Christianity started with the cross. Think about how the love Jesus flowed out for you through His blood on the cross.

 

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny how some people wear the cross and never know what it means?

(Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.)

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