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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It’s Great When Loved Ones Care for U

We have a winner! We past 86,000. The winner was notified, and we have started a new promotion. The next winner will be the person who is our 90,000th subscriber. As you found out here, it goes very fast. We average over 50 new subscribers a day. We will get there pretty fast. We just passed 86,775.

If you haven’t already subscribed please do by clicking on the icon right after the title of this post.

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

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Have you had one of those days? You wake up in the morning and the sunrise is beautiful. You are think that this will be a great day. Then on the horizon you start to see small clouds coming. They don’t look like much, but an hour later they are starting to turn dark and many more of them. Not much longer after that the storm hits, and you wonder what happened to that beautiful day.

You and I face that often. we think life is great, and then something happens to darken our path. It could be that pink slip you received at work saying you are laid off. It could be that doctors report that doesn’t look good. It may even be a loss of a loved one unexpectedly.

I have faced many storms in my life. I have shared many of them with you in the past. I am not here to cry on your shoulder. I am here to say, I know your pain. I know your disappointment. I know the moments that tear at your heart.

One thing we do is to know that people care.

I just had something happen a few minutes ago. I am recovering from a broken back. It has been a very slow and painful path I have been on.

I was just getting up from the couch after reading the newspaper, when there was a very light knock at the door. I opened the door, and Ran, the father of my daughter-in-law, stepped in and gave me a very carefully light hug. He knew what I was going through.

He didn’t stay more than five minutes. He just came to give me support. His vehicle was still running. He just stopped long enough to brighten my day.

Having love ones who care that much for us helps us through the storms. Having someone who cares enough to take time to help, lets us know we do count in this world. It helps me to have hope in a not so friendly world.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up! 

 

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Trial Under Fire

“This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.” Zechariah 13:9

 

A trial by fire purifies. We normally do not invite this or look forward to it as a tool of God’s purification. It is a call to intimacy and dependence on our heavenly Father. Satan’s desire is to drive us from God during our adversity, but God’s heart is to draw us unto Him, as life heats up. Indeed, fiery trials seem to never let up or give up. 
 
One after another they crash against our faith. Like hurricane force gales and floods they wear us down and sometimes overcome life’s levies. Anguish and pain may currently overwhelm you. Life is not fun right now. People you trusted let you down. Your health is fragile. Your job is in jeopardy.  You are in a trial and you feel you’re on trial.  

However, the refining fires of heaven burn away pride and replace it with humility. Fear evaporates and is overcome by trust. God removes anxieties and replaces it with His peace. Refining fire is hot but you are not alone. Like Daniel’s three Hebrew friends, there is a fourth one with you in the fire—Jesus. He quenches the fiery darts of hell. 
  
“He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25).
 
Christ’s care provides a cup of refreshing water for your parched soul. It is for the love of Jesus that you persevere. Be patient. Allow Him to complete His work of refinement. You will love deeper and forgive fuller. Hope is on the horizon and is already here, as Christ in you is the hope of glory. Hang on to your hope in Him and be made whole.
  
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
 
The unlimited access to God is one of the many privileges for the follower of Jesus. You can call on His name and immediately you have His attention. Pray without ceasing. Cry out to the One who knows you the best. Let your lover—Jesus—love on you right where you live. Pain can polarize your relationship with Godor it can galvanize it in intimacy. 
 
Let ingratitude be replaced by contentment. Stare into the face of Jesus for He is kind. He understands your plight. He is walking with you and is working through you. Allow God to channel His fiery trials into your character refinement. People will come out and watch a fire burn for God’s glory. Trials are His time to shine, and He shines the brightest when the impurities are the least. Only Christ is left—He is all you need—He is all you want! 

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6). 

How does Christ want to refine my character during my trials and temptations?

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Letting Go in order to Save

It was so dramatic that the cable news networks just kept replaying the video. A mother and her baby were trapped in a burning building. Some people saw the mother leaning out of the second story window with her baby in her arms, desperately trying to save him from both the smoke and the fire. The news video showed three people standing directly beneath that window, ready to catch the infant. It was an agonizing choice for that mother. If she held onto her baby, if she let him go; either way she risked his life. Finally, painfully, she released her baby and dropped him toward the people waiting underneath. It was breathtaking to see one man catch that little guy in his hands. It just so happens that he plays softball and he’s a, guess what, a catcher. That baby’s fine today, because a mother made a hard but life-saving choice.

In a later interview, a tearful mother explained the decision she had made about her son. She said, “I had to let go of my baby to save him.” That’s a choice many parents have had to make over the years, and maybe a choice you’re facing right now. The only way to save your child may be to let him go…to let her go. And that’s not easy for many of us, because we’re far more prone to try to control our son or daughter than to release them. It may be because we love them, but it may not be the most loving thing we can do. It’s often in what we do to hang onto a child that we actually damage or destroy that child.

The Bible gives us a beautiful example of releasing the child you love in our word for today from the Word of God. Hannah has shed tears for years because she cannot bear a child. Then God responds to her cries and sends her a son named Samuel; who will one day be God’s man to lead His people. We can only imagine how much Hannah must have wanted to hang onto this precious son that she’d waited for so long. But listen to her prayer in 1 Samuel 1:27-28; a prayer that might change things in the life of your son or daughter. “‘I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.’ And he worshiped the Lord there.”

A mother who deeply loves her child loves him enough to release him into the hands of God. When we choose instead to try to control our daughter or son, we start using approaches that are more likely to ruin their life than to run it. We nag. We shame. We manipulate. We know the child we wanted, and we do whatever we can to shape him or her into that child instead of celebrating the child God gave us and nurturing who that child is; not trying to re-create him into something they’re not.

God can do with our surrender what we could never do with our control.

When we hold onto our child, we create a rebel or a robot. When we release our child to the God who gave that child to us, we cooperate with the great plan for which our child was created. Almost every religion in the world has some kind of ceremony where a newborn child is given back to the Creator.But it also had to be a day to day activity in the life of a parent

If your child is struggling, you may need to make that difficult but life-giving choice, “I have to let go of my baby to save my baby.”

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