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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So Tired of my Pain

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We just past 94,325 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it. We have a new promotion going with prizes. The person who is our 95,000 follower will receive two nice prizes, which we will not name. (This is called a hook in writing.) The number of followers rises fast. We are averaging close to 30 new subscribers each day. We only have 675 more followers to go, so don’t hesitate! Click on the icon right after the title of this post to subscribe to be eligible for the prizes. 

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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 will be reaching out the many military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and the many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. Doug wants to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Doug Is also seeking military who would be willing to do an interview. It will be part of the book. Sharing by actual soldiers will help many others. Look for updates here.

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My last post I was whining to you about having a hip problem. I was all set to have hip surgery. NOT! The ex-rays came back and it shows that there isn’t a bone on bone problem in the hip. I have minor arthritis, and a pulled muscle in my groin area near the hip area.

Believe me, I am very relieved that I won’t be needing another surgery, I have had six major ones in my lifetime. However, the pain from the pulled muscle is pretty intense. I can hardly move, I am on a Tylenol regiment, and I will be seeing an orthopedic surgeon just to make sure.

Woe is me! That is an approach that I do not try to use in my life, but the constant barrage of ailments tends to lead you in that direction. I have had a series of ailments since August of last year. It is almost like I am commissioned to have this in my life.

I have been spending a long time trying to figure out why I am so fragile. I am coming to the conclusion that God wants to use me to help others. Sound far fetched? 

God is in charge my friends. My ailments are not an accident. My woes, are allowed so that I can use my faith to share with others about how God is my fortress, and heavenly Father.

People are always amazing when I talk to them about my problems and yet, I still seem happy and have a positive attitude.

It is hard, at best, to go through all my trials and storms, but let these afflictions be a plus for you. Let them be a way to help others. Use them to show that you have enduring strength through God, and accept His wisdom.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all….never, ever, give up!

 

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Have a Family Talent Show

We have a winner! We past 83,000. The winner was notified, and we will start a new promotion. The next winner will be the person who is our 86,000th subscriber. As you found out here, it goes fast. We average over 50 new subscribers a day. We just passed 84,500.

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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I just got back from a weekend with family at the Oregon Coast. I had all three of my children in one spot for the whole time. This hasn’t happened for many years.

It was a time of much fun and catching up. My oldest son and I even got in a speed walk around the area. It was very hard on me, but seeing my son walking next to me took all the stress away.

One of the nights we had a family “talent show.” There were thriteen of us there plus two dogs. Even the two dogs performed.

Each of us got up in front of the family and did something we had made up in the few minutes after we knew we were going to be “on stage.”

Some of the family did some pretty weird things. One family member showed that he could use a tooth pick to pick his nose using only his lips. Another family member was able to curl her tongue up in away that no one else could do.

The two dogs did neat tracks that got lots of applause.

One of the granddaughters did a seal sound imitation that was near perfect.

It came to my turn. All I could come up with was to tell knock, knock jokes. I told four or five of them and got a big ovation from the grandchildren, who all love knock, knock jokes.

The last knock, knock joke even had one of the grandchildren’s name in it.

Knock, Knock

Knock, Knock, who?

Hannah

Hannah who,

Hannah a partridge in a pear tree.

My granddaughter Hannah loved it.

The “judges,” gathered in another part of the house, and we all waited anxiously.

Finally the head judge, announced the winners. Each person who performed got an award. (Good idea.)

They got to the big award, and announced, “And the winner of this year’s talent show is….Grandpa!!”

The five grandchildren screamed in delight. That is who they wanted to win.

This shows it pays to love your grandchildren. They return the love in very unusual ways.

Before one of the meals, my son said we need to say grace before we eat. Our granddaughter Kiara, (Key-R-uh) who is only six years old jumped up and down that she wanted to do it. My son wasn’t so sure about that, but he allowed her to do it. It was one of the most beautiful prayers coming from a little child I had ever heard. She prayed for the family. She prayed for the world, and blessed the food in a special way.

I guess you are wondering why I bored you with my weekend story.

It should be your story as well. We all should be having precious times with our families. We all should love each of them equally, and then the same amount of love will come back like it did for me.

Never take any of your family members for granted, from the youngest to the oldest. Each of them need your attention. Each of them have some love problems from time to time, and need your love to see them through the dark times.

Plan a big family get together soon. Have fun things happen like we did. Hug every one there sometime during the gathering. That one hug could be the turning point for that person.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Tired? Depressed? Maybe it is What you Eat, or Lack of Exercise

* We are pleased to have Damon Eddy back with us for a guest blog. He is sharing a new twist on what may be causing us to battle depression, anxiety, self-doubt, low self-esteem, etc. Think about what he says and take action. I know you will better off in the long run if you do!!

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An Apple a Day. . . . . . . .

So often in our lives when things seem to not be going the way we hope we tend to blame others.  We blame our significant other, our job, the economy, tax structure, political party, or the guy that cut us off in traffic. . . . you get the idea.  We look towards others and have a TENDANCY to not look at ourselves.  However, sometimes we do look at ourselves and too often leave one important component out when we “self-evaluate”, our HEALTH. 

You might be asking the question, ‘What does health have to do with my problems with my marriage or my job.’  You may think, ‘I will exercise when I have time and the way work has been and the kids have me running here and there, I just don’t have time.’

If you are choosing to not take seriously the importance of living a healthy life and are taking very seriously the ability to generate what seem to be very good excuses than life is going to “seem to not go your way.”

So, let’s get to how this lack of healthy living may affect your life. . . . . .

Your kids want to play catch.  You’re too tired to play.  You’d rather sit on the couch, grab the remote, and check out.  Your mind is saying you should, but your body is saying no.  It’s too tired.  You just don’t have the energy.  Your wife tells you she is taking a class at the gym.  She’s excited.  However, you immediately make her feel guilty by responding with, ‘Wow, I wish I had time to work out.  Must be nice.’  Now, those you may be thinking are small things but not really.  Your kids aren’t getting the best from you as a parent and you are making your spouse feel guilty for taking initiative trying to somehow make your lack of initiative justified.  Not good. . . .

Let’s move onto a bigger issue.  How about the possibility of leaving your family earlier than you wanted, dying.  In my life I am personally aware of this tragedy watching my mother slowly die from cancer over a 3 year period to initially die in my arms one morning in our front yard.  It is ROUGH and has made me think weekly how I want to make sure I am making an effort to fight off what may be trying to take over me.  We never know when our last day will be on this Earth, but we should attempt to not race to that day by mistreating our bodies.  When we take care of ourselves, we can then take care and be a blessing to others.  If we have no energy, lying on a couch, hospital bed, or, worse, lying in a grave, how can we then reach great destinations, much less have the incredible joy of watching our loved ones reach theirs. 

Understand that I am not saying we should become a fitness junkies.  I am however saying we should eat healthy and exercise properly.  It needs to be a part of our lifestyle.  No more excuses.  It needs to be a priority.  Too many good, motivated people leave this fact out of their lives.  The result may be a shortened life that still had so much to give or one that was “lacking” because they lacked the energy to do, to live with VITALITY.  So many talented and kind hearted individuals don’t do well in their marriages, their jobs, parenting and other areas of life because they simply do not feel well. 

So, here are some action steps:  1) No more excuses  2)Clean out your pantry and refrigerator of “junk” snacks and replace them with healthy snacks (if you have kids you may be thinking, ‘They won’t eat the healthy snacks’.  As mentioned above, no excuses.  Your kids will survive. . . ) 3)   Exercise at least 3 days a week for 30 minutes or more and then increase if you can.  You need however to at least start.

No more blaming and no more excuses.  Make your health a priority.  From there you will have the energy and vitality to shine bright for Christ. 

 

Damon is the founder of PlayYourPartWell ministries and a man passionate for men’s ministry. He is the author of “Walks with Mr. Smith,” which is an inspiring parable that he hopes will encourage change in people’s lives. He is the husband of an incredibly supportive wife and the father to four wonderful children. They currently reside in Colorado.

www.playyourpartwell.com

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