SURVIVAL and HOPE
This page will be a work in progress much like our support page. On this page, however, you will likely find things that have nothing specifically to do with PTSD or TBI. On this page we will share the strategies we use to get through all of life’s struggles.
After searching and researching and asking questions of everyone and every entity I could find, it all really came down to trusting God and walking in faith. The most important thing that I’ve learned in the past year is that I just can’t do this by myself. I tried to do it myself until the day that I reached a crisis too big for anyone to handle. My wounded warrior was 600 miles away, suffering a life-threatening crisis, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I’ve never been more scared in my life and I have never felt so hopeless. It was, as always, at that point that I called on the Lord to step in and help. This time, however, it was different. I was relying on Him on a deeper level than ever before. I can’t really explain how this felt. I’ve had plenty of experiences where I thought I was in THE most difficult place and there was NO way out, or at least that is what I thought……. until this day arrived.
I wasn’t just going through the motions of asking God to help me. I was begging as if my every breath depended on His help. There was NO WAY OUT, and yet, somehow, God did provide the open door. It was at that moment that I realized that I had learned the difference between thinking God could help me and believing God could help me. If you are confused by what I am saying, then you probably just THINK God can help you. If you are chuckling to yourself and nodding your head in agreement, then you BELIEVE God can help you and you have lived through an experience that has taught you the difference.
The beauty of learning the difference between thinking God will help and KNOWING God will help is that when you figure it out, a burden so big is lifted that you will feel like a totally new person, even if your life still seems to be full of turmoil. I’ve grown up going to church, and have heard the Bible stories about Paul for a lifetime. Paul tells us to rejoice in all circumstances, even the dark times. I could never quite wrap my mind around anyone being joyful about living in prison, and to be honest, that would be a stretch for me, but I have learned to trust that God knows best. Paul’s teachings make a lot of sense to me now. God knows what I can handle. He knows my limits. I trust that He will never give me more than I can handle and with everything He allows to happen in my life, He will also allow me to learn a valuable lesson, if I am willing.
So each day, in all circumstances, I ask the Lord to show me the blessing in the situation and to show me what He wants me to learn. It’s a true joy to see a blessing in the midst of a difficult experience. Prior to asking for this, I just focused on how badly things were going during a trying time. It is so much easier to get through something if you can see at least one good gift coming from the experience. It’s a lot harder to ask for the lesson God wants us to learn. At first, it is pretty hard to take because in learning a lesson, we typically have to learn that we were wrong about something. Our natural reaction is to place blame anywhere but on ourselves. The beauty of learning the lesson is that we can move forward and we don’t have to make the same mistakes over and over. I feel as if I’ve become wiser from the lessons learned in the past year of my life than from lessons learned in all the other years put together.
So remember, even if the very worst thing that you can ever imagine happens to you today, God is there with you. He will give you what you need to make it through the trial. He will teach you something valuable and He will bless you in a mighty way.
Music is a language that we all understand. There are certain songs that make us clap our hands and stomp our feet. Some songs bring us to tears. Songs bring back memories from the past. Music is used in advertisements, and very effectively I might add. The music in a film or television show will cause you to become nervous, frightened, happy, sad, and quite possibly have you running for a box of tissues. Our world would be a sad place without music.
Listening to contemporary Christian music has been a big part of my survival this year. Songs are often prayers written to music. Lyrics often teach us scripture or tell a story of struggle and teach us of God’s love. I am thankful for those that have been gifted with the ability to share their trials and the lessons learned of faith and trust through song. I’ve got a playlist on my iPod called “Survival”. I am constantly adding to the list and it takes me about 5 hours to play through the list in its entirety. I won’t list all the songs here, but I will, from time to time, share a song, the artist, the lyrics, and perhaps why the song speaks to me.
If you aren’t familiar with contemporary Christian artists, i would recommend K-Love or Air 1 Radio. These stations are broadcast nationwide. Both have websites which you can visit to find out where you can listen locally to their stations. These stations are even broadcast overseas so if you are deployed, you can likely find a way to listen, as well. If there is no station in your area, you can listen online.
Here are a few songs found to be personally uplifting and encouraging.
BEAUTY WILL RISE…..
As the mother of one struggling with PTSD and TBI, the past year has been one of my most difficult to survive. Though my wounded warrior still draws breath, he is no longer the person who left home six years ago to join the Marine Corps. As I adjust to what is the “new normal” for our family, I have found that the album, Beauty Will Rise by Stephen Curtis Chapman has not only spoken to me, but carried me through days where I thought I would not be able to go on.
This album was born out of Steven Curtis Chapman’s tragic loss of his five year old daughter, Maria. “Steven is unflinchingly honest in his exploration of grief and loss. He asks the questions we all ask when horrible things happen to the innocent, yet throughout the album hope shimmers, faith becomes more real and even more precious, and the peace that surpasses all understanding” is communicated. To find out more about the album, go to www.stevencurtischapman.com/music.htm