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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Investing emotions

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

Growing relationships require regular investments of emotional energy. Because humans have the capacity for emotional engagement there is a level of feeling and understanding that machines or animals can never attain. God’s creation—created in His image—is able to engage in intimate encounters. Emotions are meant to move people toward the eternal.

Marriage especially demands growing emotional intelligence to thrive and not merely survive. The Lord has created an emotional vacuum within a husband and within a wife that only their spouse can fill. It is folly to seek to meet this very real need with work or the children, for false substitutes only stunt emotional maturity in marriage. One flesh means to forge an alliance and an allegiance between our mind, our will and our emotions.

“It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

Are you becoming one with the one with whom Jesus joined together in holy matrimony? The wedding of passion is only a step into life’s foyer. You have a lifetime to explore the multiple rooms of feelings within your marriage bond. You make emotional investments into your marriage, as you begin to understand his or her needs. Are attention, security and communication her top three needs? Does he deeply desire respect, encouragement and affection? God gives you wisdom so that you can really come to know your spouse. As when you take the time to invest money and save for the future, so you wisely prepare when you take time to invest emotionally into your marriage. Emotional deposits today will bear the fruit of becoming one tomorrow. Otherwise, you will grow old apart, rather than together. First, by faith, become one with Christ and second with love, patience and understanding, become one with each other. Emotional investments today pay the dividends of oneness tomorrow. Your oneness in marriage illustrates your faith in Christ.

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love you have for one another is increasing.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3

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Don’t Despair-Mighty Mouse Will save the day

 * I am again sharing and excerpt from my book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.”  This is the conclusion of Part I of my book. It is a good one to help you plan for a wonderful New Year if you follow and believe what it said:

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Don’t Despair—Mighty Mouse Will Save the Day

I used to love the cartoon “Mighty Mouse.” The song always got me pumped: “Mighty Mouse is on the way. Mighty Mouse will save the day!”

You probably have had some down moments in your life in the year 2010. Here are some thought to help you start out the new year with a positive note:

I have some mighty answers for you. It is the Doug Bolton “Top 20 Countdown” that will help you save the day and love God. With apologies to David Letterman.

20. Do you have trouble getting to know someone? Is it hard for you to make friends? Remember: Strangers are family once you get to know them.

19. The world is divided into two categories: the ones who will accomplish a great deal, and those who won’t accomplish anything. You will be the one who will accomplish much, if you allow God to help you.

18. No one is going to love you more if you are fat or skinny. They will love you because of the person you are. 

17. When you hate someone and want them to hurt, you hurt yourself. Spend more time trying to help others feel good about themselves, and you will feel good about yourself too.

16. You do not need to let stress control you. You do not need to be a workaholic. It is OK to rest. Jesus takes over when you can’t cope.

15. When you feel depressed because of losing a loved one, remember God knows your pain. He saw His only Son buried.

14. When someone is trying to degrade you, it is time for selective hearing. 

13. You just took another breath while you read this. Thank God for it.

12. When you marry, you need to stay together even when the skin starts to wrinkle and the excitement fades.

11. God’s goal is not to make us happy; it is to make us His. It is not to give us what we want; it is to give us what we need.

10. If God doesn’t come to your rescue right away, maybe He is waiting until you give away your pride.

9. Don’t apply labels to people until you have examined the contents.

8. Everyone is unique even down to the fingerprints and DNA. God has a plan just for you and wants you to use the talent He gave you. Yes, you!

 7. The greater the future you have, the greater the attack will be from the prince of darkness. Pray for God’s protection, and Satan will be fish bait!

 6. While you can’t control someone else’s heart, you can control yours.

 5. Don’t say, “Thanks, God, I can take it from here,” and then not check in with God until the next crisis. Pray without ceasing.

 4. All the great hitters in baseball fail two out of three times.

 3. The most common command in the Bible? “Fear not.”

 2. Practice makes perfect. Study God’s Word each day and learn more of His love for you.

 AND the number one reason you will conquer depression is … (Drum roll please)

 1. God made you in His own image. Shouldn’t that make you think He wants everything to go well for you? Trust Him to provide all your needs—emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The teacher blood left in me now has an assignment. Start your own positive list of thoughts to help you fight off depression. Read it every day and add to it. 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

You made it through a life that was a swamp full of alligators and horrible storms! Now we move on to more sunny days. We move on to where there is hope. We move on to the light at the end of the tunnel. We move away from those alligators that will be made into shoes if they don’t leave you alone.

Depression and the many other mental afflictions do not go away in a flash. I still have bouts with them from time to time, but I quickly concentrate on the positive. I concentrate on God and all His love He has to share with me. I concentrate on my family, my children, my grandchildren. I concentrate on the good things that have happened in my life.

Because I do all that, I see that the pluses far outweigh the negatives every time. It is like the song says: “Count your blessings; name them one by one. Count your many blessings; see what God has done.”

If you can’t think of enough blessings, know that I love you with all my heart, and so do millions of other people who suffer with the many afflictions in their lives. We know your pain, and we are praying for you daily.

We are many, and Satan is only one stupid misguided angel. We can defeat him if we all work together. We are an unbeatable team when we have one goal. That goal is to live productive Christian lives in which we stand on solid ground, not on the shifting sands of our emotions.

* What follows is a lead in to the second section on prayer.

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The rest of the journey through this adventure guides you to a stronger relationship with others and God. As you read, place the thoughts in your memory banks so you’ll never face bankruptcy. Use them to build a foundation that is strong. Positive words are like building a home on cement. Negative words are like building a home on sand. Let positive words soothe your broken heart, broken dreams, and broken relationships. Use them to open your heart to love, open your mind to God, and open your future to everlasting life.

The next few pages share the importance of prayer and how it affects your life. Prayer has saved my hide more than I want to admit. My hide would be hanging on Satan’s prized trophy wall if God hadn’t saved me. Now Satan is grass and I am the lawn mower with God’s help.

I will be sharing some excerpts from the second section in future posts, if they relate to what we have for topics on this site. I am not trying to sell books; I am sharing from the heart of what I actually wrote on the subject.

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Sweating Blood can Really Happen

Jesus Really did Sweat Blood

 

Jesus really did sweat blood. It is called henatidrosis. Severe anxiety causes the release of chemicals that break down the capillaries in the sweat glands. When this occurs, sweat comes out tinged with blood.

Jesus was God’s Son, but he had the same emotions that you and I have.

Jesus smiled. Jesus Wept. Jesus was stern when he tipped over the tables at the temple. He faced fear when he was raised on the cross. Jesus knew anguish when the disciples turned their back on Him. Jesus was sad when the rich man couldn’t give up his wealth to follow Jesus. He was troubled when the disciples still didn’t understand Him near the end.  

Jesus went through the same emotions you and I face everyday.

You have faced situations where all you could do is sit and weep. The task in front of you was just too much to handle. It could be the loss of a loved one. It could a lost job. It may even be a lost home, or loss of your mind.

You have felt anguish when something you believe in is slowly leaving the minds of today’s people in this world. It could be abortion; the slogan, “In God we Trust;” the flag salute in schools, or the freedom of speech.

You have been sad when you see so many hungry children; so many homeless people; many that are losing their homes, or losing health insurance to take care of their children.

We are all troubled by the events in the world like Iraq, Afghanistan, oil spills, earthquakes, or floods.

But remember, Jesus also smiled. Through all the turmoil and sadness Jesus was strong and found good things to smile about. He smiled when the little children played while he spoke to the people. He smiled when a woman had so much faith she lowered her daughter down through the roof to be healed. He smiled when Lazarus came walking out of his tomb.

How could He have a smile going when He had something so horrific about to happen to Him just days later?

It was because He was obeying His heavenly Father and He knew that what he was doing was helping all mankind for eternity. He knew that His death meant life for others.

We can learn from the example that Jesus has laid out for us. Yes, there are days when we face our own horrific times. When the horrific things come knocking at you door keep your eyes on Jesus. Remember what He went through for you. Remember how He handled it.  

I know it isn’t easy for any writer like myself to imagine, but I have had my horrific times, and more than once. I have faced death. I was ready to check out of this hotel called earth. I have faced my share of defeats, and sadness.

How I coped was to keep my eyes on Jesus. What I was going through was minimal compared to what he went through.

If we can always look to Jesus in our troubles, the road may be rough, but we are not walking it alone. Jesus has already walked that road and He is there to hold your hands to guide you along.

Remember with Jesus on your side, who can be against you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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