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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What Image do You Feel You have?

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 104,985 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 15 away from the next goal . Some one, this week will be the winner. It goes very fast so 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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I mentioned in my last post that I would be sharing some endorsements for my new book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life. I am not doing this to flaunt my own self image. I am doing it to show you what might be in the book.

I am so honored to have these following endorsement for a book that will be reaching out to our veterans who may be suffering from PTSD, TBI, depression, being homeless, wounded, etc. I hope it gives them a better self image.

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Many of my fellow veterans are suffering from wounds, mental anguish, and loneliness. This book is an ideal book to reach out and help veterans. It shares thoughts and ideas on how to cope in this not so friendly world. I personally know Doug Bolton the author, and I highly recommend this book.

George Woodruff
WWII and Korea veteran

Carollton, Georgia


Although ‘Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life’ wasn’t written for men only, it brings honesty and openness to veterans, and military personnel about feeling ok to express fears and emotional challenges in a difficult world.  US Army Retired Veteran, Mr. Douglas Bolton brings his personal stories to life in a way we all can relate to and gives a big “you’re ok” for revealing our shortcomings and encourages us to open up and talk.  A must read for those seeking healing and forgiveness from ourselves and those wanting a fresh look on life.

Steve Durgin, Founder & CEO with Victory For Veterans Foundation.

Huntington, Beach California

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In the current conditions of our military, there is a need to find realistic affordable sources to reach out and help our veterans and current military. Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of life, is that source. Doug Bolton spends many chapters on showing the veterans and military ways to cope in this not so friendly world.  Sadly, he feels and knows of the pain from his volunteer service and sacrifices for our great country first hand. Being a seasoned registered nurse and a battlefield Air Force flight nurse, I have seen many young men and women coming home sick, injured wounded and highly depressed. This book is a must for many. I highly recommend this book without hesitation to all those who have served and currently serving.  I am also advocating for the loved ones and families to read this read, as well.

Colonel Dona Iversen

NYC, New York

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Learn from the best, Douglas Bolton, U.S. Army Veteran who has written a great book for all veterans, active duty service members of all branches, military families, friends and non-veterans. It provides a thorough understanding, knowledge, and the real stories among those who have served and their families that complement today’s American Veterans.  Signs of Hope for the Military: In an Out of the Trenches of Life can make a big difference in today’s understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its effects.  As the daughter of Vietnam Marine Veteran that suffered all of his life with PTSD and then finally ended his own life, it will make a big difference in your life as you read the personal stories.  This author does a great job of creating a sense of urgency by calling it a “must-read,” and ends with a powerful “call to action” for the reader.

Bella L. Burroughs

Daughter of WWII Veteran

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There are several more, which I will share in further posts. Again, I am so honored to have all these incredible people take time to say something about the book. It gives out a good image of what the reader might see.

If you are floundering and seeking hope. If you don’t feel your self worth is enough. If you feel you would rather stay in bed than face life. Has your image as you see it not been good? Know that God is with you. Know that He loves you. Know that He will hold your hand and see you through the day.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Rediscovering the Heart of Mercy

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 104,550 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are in a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. We are only 450 away from our next goal . It goes very fast so 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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+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor recently. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂

There will be some incredible interviews with veterans in this book. Up to twenty different veterans agreed to let me ask them some very personal questions. Some answers will have you in tears.  Some are actually humorous. 

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Glad to have back Linda Clare. She speaks from the heart, and sometime it is gut wrenching such as today’s post. Learn from a mother who has addicted children. 

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Rediscovering the Heart of Mercy

Linda S. Clare

When my son, who’s been a meth-addict most of his adult life, burst into the kitchen, the pot of water for spaghetti noodles was already at a rolling boil. He was boiling mad. Only a kitchen island lay between him and his younger and shirtless brother as they traded insults. The kitchen knives gleamed ominously in their block, as if waiting for one of the boys to snap. It was the hottest day of the year and the most violent behavior I’d ever witnessed from my meth-addicted son.

What they were fighting about, I didn’t know.

I kept my gaze on the boiling water, as my middle child threw food, shoved the toaster off the counter and ranted at his brother. We’d had trouble with fist fights before—mostly late at night when younger bro was drunk and his older sib was high—but this time was different. Meth can induce psychosis, but in the past, he’d always stopped short of attacking me. This time, if he pushed the pot of water off the burner, his brother and I would have serious burns. I prayed the knives would stay in their slots. I was petrified of my own son.

The cords of his neck bulged as he literally foamed at the mouth. We each told him to leave several times, but he wouldn’t back down as he screamed obscenities. No amount of pleading or negotiating seemed to help. My husband finally locked himself in the bathroom and called the sheriff. It was a pretty bad day.

For decades now, I’ve been astounding my friends and relatives by my repeated failures to use Tough Love effectively to drive my three grown sons to recovery. I know I can’t change their minds, and believe me, I’ve tried. Pros call me an enabler and codependent and it’s true. I can’t seem to “kick them out to the streets” so that they can hit bottom, any more than I can take my misbehaving pet to the pound. If I’m responsible for “crippling them” as one friend put it, I am guilty of lots of other no-nos too.

Part of my reasoning has always been that my addicts/alcoholics also have mental health issues, which complicates everything. But more importantly, until now their violence stayed in the realm of sibling rivalry. This time, psychosis and violence teamed up like the New Testament demon who caused that poor guy to fall into the fire. To keep calm, I tried to remember Bible verses.

Over and over again, Jesus asks us to love. To forgive seventy-times-seven. To turn the other cheek. Show mercy and we will receive mercy.  No condemnation. Love not punishment.

How do you show love, forgiveness, or mercy to someone who is psychotic? He wasn’t even making sense. He ran out as the law arrived.

The policeman who responded was courteous but emphatic. We were to toss both these guys out on their ears—today—and go to court for a restraining order in case they weren’t happy about leaving. The cop advised my husband and I to go live our lives and to let our sons go work on their problems any way they could.

I objected, citing their clear need for mental health services, next to impossible to get without a pot of money at the end of the rainbow. Social services strained beyond belief are why so many mentally ill wander the streets unless they go to jail. Self-medication is often the result of untreated mental illness. But this cop insisted the mental problems would go away if my sons got clean.

I wasn’t so sure. Questions rolled through me: What would happen to him on the street? He has little in the way of education, job skills or ways to take care of himself. But if he stayed, what about the feud with his brother? More violence? I couldn’t let that happen.

My psychotic son finally left with nothing except the clothes on his back. He needs help desperately. The system has failed him and millions like him, abandoning sick people to die a slow death from drugs, alcohol, unemployment, homelessness, hopelessness. That day, I felt pretty hopeless too.

But my stance on Tough Love also got an education. I’m pretty sure God’s plan for my life doesn’t include getting scalded by boiling water thrown by a psychotic meth addict. If he is this violent, he cannot stay. If he refuses or cannot gain access to drug treatment and mental health treatment, I can’t trust that another episode won’t happen. I am so sorry. For now, this may have to be the only love, forgiveness and mercy I can offer to him.

This side of heaven we may never know why such things happen. Evil wants to scare the love right out of me and you and anyone who tries to thwart its agenda. I have to stay safe but I won’t stop loving my sons. Or praying for their healing. I pray for wisdom yes, and courage. Courage to do the right thing, courage to stick to my decisions. Courage to keep loving my sons and my God, when a pot of boiling water or a butcher knife might be the last straw.

Today, as far as I know, my son is still alive. The situation breaks my heart but it could lead him to seek help at last. I have no optimism of my own—down here in the pits, everything seems miserable. My heart is a gaping wound.

But a broken heart is tender, fertile ground, where God’s mercy can take root. Mercy then picks up the shattered hope I’ve dropped and lovingly pieces it together again. Pieces me together again. Because He lives, as the old song goes, I can face tomorrow.  Yesterday, hope took quite a beating. But thanks to the toughest kind of love I’ve ever had to give, today it’s coming back strong.

 

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What Does the Human Heart Crave?

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 100,030 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

In our current promotion the winner will be the person who is the 100,000th subscriber will win some nice prizes. It will go very fast. This is a huge milestone for us. 

* WE HAVE A WINNER!!! At 11:54pm last night we had the 100,000th subscriber! If you subscribed at that time, email us at doug@dougbolton.com to confirm you are the winner.+

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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 details about the new book. Look for updates here.

UPDATE!!  In the final stages of having the book finished. Much of it is already sent off to my editor. The countdown begins!!

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The human heart craves…

 

…peace

…a Savior

…forgiveness

 

…strength to cope

…a leader to follow

…shelter in the storm

 

…security for the day

…protection from evil

…joy in spite of turmoil

 

…provision for all needs

…power to fight the enemy

…recognition of achievement

 

…fulfillment for its emptiness

…to be loved, unconditionally

…safety from all that would harm

 

…soothing for the frustrations of life

…to be accepted, without reservation

…refreshment in those parched times

 

…courage to step out when fainthearted

…tenderness when the world is unlovely

…confidence and calm when fear attacks

 

…to be understood, without condemnation

…the right spouse, job, school, friendships

…comfort in times of stress, grief, and affliction

 

…a guidance counselor to find the designed path

…encouragement for those days filled with woes

…to be welcomed Home into the Everlasting Arms

 

…an intimate relationship with the Love of the universe!

 

And yes, there are times when the human heart is contrary and desires the wrong things, seeking in confusion. A right heart craves to beat in perfect harmony with the Heartbeat of the Beloved.

 

Crave the Love that is offered in that intimate relationship. Crave that oneness. Crave the Love that is above all others. Crave the Love that loves you beyond belief.

 

Don’t feel like it? I hear some souls sinking. But I don’t feel loved.

 

Perhaps you’ve been grieving over some loss in your life. Perhaps you’ve been wrongfully accused of something or hurt in some way. Perhaps you’re feeling very discouraged right now. Perhaps you have negative feelings about yourself or negative thoughts bombarding your mind.

 

Perhaps…well, whatever your perhaps may be, your heart is wounded. Your eyes spill over with stress-induced tears from a broken heart.

 

Well, I’m here to tell you that feelings change but the truth of God’s love does not. The truth is…God loves you with a love that can still any storm, win any battle, override any tension or discomfort, soothe any pain, comfort any hurt, calm any fear, encourage any heartache, and will always uphold you and share peace and joy with you.

 

You, the one He loves truly. You, the one for whom He died. You, the one to whom He yearns to be close. You, the Lord’s espoused, His intended, His precious companion for all eternity. You are His precious heart’s desire.

 

He rejoices over you with mirth and pleasure. He spins around in excitement over you with shouts of joy and songs of praise! (Zeph. 3:17)

 

This is the Love your heart is craving!

 

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.” (1 John 4:16-17a NLT)

 

No matter what circumstance is swirling around you, you are loved and you will be okay. If your life is falling apart right now, you’ll be okay. Even if all looks dark and dreary, you’ll be okay.

 

Let me encourage you… YOU. ARE. LOVED. Each. And. EVERY. Day. No matter what!

 

The only one you truly need to make you feel loved is the Lord. He will never leave you, nor abandon you. And that, my sweet friend, should fill your love tank to overflowing!

 

May your craving be filled with that special, tender fulfilling Love!

 

Blessings, Lynn

 

lynnmosher.com

 

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