Sunday, November 4, 2007

Link & Article: Bridges to Healing

I am leaving the country for a week this evening but when I return next Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m., I must immediately proceed to a 4 hour training session. The training session is the first session in a series regarding the affects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among America's returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq. Volunteers will be trained for lay counseling so we can assist U.S. troops in dealing with PTSD and overcoming its adverse effects. This is a national ministry that's associated with Military Ministry and is called "Bridges to Healing." Bridges to Healing is striving to reach out to returning veterans and their families who recognize the affects of PTSD in their lives and are courageous enough to seek assistance in their effort to successfully assimilate back into normal life and society.

In the first orientation meeting I attended with a few members of my church's congregation, I had the privilege to listen to the testimony of the two people in the video clip below, Bruce and Andy, and meet them as well. Bruce and Andy's stories presented in this video clip pale in comparison to their in-person testimonies. However, the video clip is a good introduction to their plight and the phenomenon known as PTSD.

I am currently reading a book that I have a hard time putting down called "ZVI" by Elwood McQuaid. It's a story about a Jewish Holocaust survivor and his journey to the Promised Land after WW II. I just read a passage from the book that led me to think about this new ministry in which I am partaking. These returning veterans need a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11-12 comes to mind as I know it applies to all persons who earnestly seek His face. We know God is consistent and we can trust that Jeremiah 29:11-12 certainly applies to individuals when we sincerely seek His face. As individuals we decide on which side of God's promises we land - He is a kind and merciful God - but His ability to deliver us depends on our heart's attitude toward Him. If our attitude is one of mistrust and unbelief, the healing process is slow and may never be completed.

Regarding this new ministry, Bridges to Healing, I intuitively know that we have to convey to these veterans that they have a hope and a future when they choose to trust the LORD. They have to learn to embrace the LORD, and their hopes for a future, to make their current existence tolerable and even enjoyable, and they must do so in faith.

Below is an excerpt from the book "Zvi" that presents an appropriate objective for the new ministry in which I am about to participate - admonishing them to look ahead. In this excerpt, Henryk is describing his time spent in Germany in 1945 as he awaits emigration to Palestine. He is struggling with the emotional fallout of his recent past of having survived Hitler and the German occupation in Poland and then realizing his family has perished at the hands of Nazi tyranny. He is now among a disheartened group with the same experience...

"Physically and psychologically, it was a constructive time for all six hundred Jewish transients. An optimistic mood was the prevalent theme of life during their stay in Germany. They were constantly admonished to look ahead. For the first time in years, these people had a future. Whatever had befallen them in bygone days, there was assuredly something to anticipate now. Most of them had come out of the war heavily scarred by their experiences, and it took a while for them to progress from abject despair to any form of expectation. But gradually the transformation began to take place. One saw smiles on faces more often. Some who had been secretive and reclusive began to communicate openly with other members of the group." - ZVI, by Elwood McQuaid, page 90.

I don't know the ending to Henryk's story but I do know many like him survived WW II and Nazi tyranny to become successful in society and in family life. I desire to see that kind of courage and tenacity manifest in the returning U.S. troops, especially for those who know God or desire to now lean on the one and only true God in their effort to cope with their experiences.

The two people in the video clip below are on the road to healing, but they will tell you that their healing is still a long way off and is entirely dependent upon God and their desire and ability to recognize Him and His provisions. Bruce and Andy, and many like them, realize God is their Healer! God is faithful to lead all of us down the path to healing, but we determine whether we are healed sooner than later and it's contingent upon our desire to let go and let Him direct our steps. The LORD leads us through the valley of the shadow of death, sets a table before us in the presence of those things that haunt or taunt us, anoints our heads with oil, and causes our blessings to overflow... surely His goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives when we allow Him to lead.

"...For I am the LORD, your healer." - Exodus 15:26

God bless you all... I'll be in touch when I return!


Ann said...

I'm weeping... I will pray, we all need to be reminded!
Thank you

Deborah said...


Thank you for your prayers for these veterans of war! I attended the training session this morning and heard another veteran's testimony in conjunction with the training. Oh, my goodness... most of us cannot imagine what it must feel like to have seen and heard the things they have seen and heard!

Ann, I will be so candid as to tell you and others that I suffered PTSD and its symptoms for 10 years before G-d healed me. My PTSD was not combat related, but the symptoms that manifested were life altering to say the least; therefore, I cannot imagine what my own reaction may have been if I had been subjected to the sights and sounds of war!

I am participating in this ministry (1) because I believe G-d is calling me to do so, (2) I am a veteran who has a heart for my fellow veterans, (3) my step-dad was a Vietnam veteran and upon his return, our family imploded/exploded and did not survive for lack of knowledge and resources, and (4) I am a walking, talking survivor of PTSD and its insidious symptoms who can testify to G-d's ability and desire to heal! Everybody's experience is different, but this I know: no one, no words, no counsel...
n-o-t-h-i-n-g... helped me until I completely surrendered to G-d. That meant trusting Him: accepting every word He has spoken and every promise He has made, and then choosing to believe it even when emotion and intellect demanded I reject it!

G-d bless you, Ann! Welcome to - I like your blog and will be visiting it often!


Ann said...

Hi Deborah-
It's good to hear from you. Thank you so much for sharing your story! G-d is so good, he uses us right where we are! We'll be praying!

Jungle Mom said...

I read this book as a teen ager and have not forgotten it.

Bar Kochba said...

I answered your comment on my post. Check it out if you want.