PTSD, and the Power of Forgiveness

The thing about PtSD is it doesn’t always succumb to self-care. It’s not influenced by peer pressure or suppressed by management techniques. Sometimes he is going to have his way and only the power of God can stay his hand.

Last year was one of those years – Drip, drip, drip, drip. Trauma is big – it’s huge, but the smaller losses of life can act like Chinese Water Torture. Drip, drip, drip…

Dave’s job loss leading to losing our dream home, someday we may actually get to retire into gentleman farming, mountain property; moving here, newly diagnosed physical ailments and an suddenly “empty nesting” house has been big. Struggling just to put food on the table at our ages is bigger. This is the time in our lives we thought we would have just enough money to quite struggling to keep on top of bills– maybe visit our grown children once in a while so that our rapidly emptying nest didn’t feel quite so empty. And we did for a year or two. Thanks IBM. Thanks Economy. Blah, blah, blah.

I thought I was implementing some self-care last year.  I thought I was giving myself enough space to handle the changes. Pressure to build the ministry enough to pay my expenses and maybe, just maybe, the possibility of a small future paycheck got me rolling. The desire to work well within my church affiliation and bring order into disaster response chaos was a hallucination. The church – it’s always the church adding to pain and confusion – always the church hurting each other more than other folks. If I had a nickel for all the people who tell me about the pain they have experienced by the church…I am part of that church; I add to that pain. God help me.

It was a good time to build my work within the disaster community with three major disasters in fifteen months. “Jamie, do you think you could…?” “Jamie, there is an opportunity for…” “Jamie, have you thought about…?”  People all wanting to help me make a difference – all desiring to see me succeed. (I like to believe that anyway.) Add to this I quite simply feel the pain of others tragedies and above all else want to make a difference. I want to help them.

And I hurt now – the new physical pain is real. Menopause was real. The results were real. Why now? Why all at once. Seriously God?  Are you kidding me?  The image portrayed by C.S. Lewis  picturing God as a “Cosmic Sadist” comes to mind. Blah, blah, blah.

Somewhere in the midst of these minor (sarcasm) life changes I got overwhelmed. A few friendships got strained or worse, more kids left for college, or moved away and PtSD  (Partially Trained Sadistic Demon) tried to set up camp again on the powerless stage of change. Pain built, anger rose, and he refused to succumb to the management techniques, peer pressure, or self-care. “You need to turn the baby.”  “We don’t turn, the Lord delivers”, was the reply. Where the hell did that come from? What does that have to do with anything? Why now?  I hear her voice. (Yes I said hell, PtSD is not polite) Cosmic Sadist, Cosmic Sadist. Powerless again.

“Come to me Jamie.” “Come away.” The voice of unconditional love beckons me to forget what others think or say. He beckons me back to where the voice that is telling me, “We don’t turn the Lord delivers” dissipates into the reality of His plans and purposes despite our poor choices. “But Jesus, I blew it again all year and the icy cold winter days reflected my pain filled heart. I listened to the wrong voice and lost control. I lost You.” “Jamie, it’s OK. I got your back. I always have your back. You did what’s required, you did your best, and you asked for forgiveness. The rest is up to them. Let it go.”

It was a long year – 2012 – but I learned so much about myself it was a good year. It was a great year! Being conformed to the image of Christ. Thank you Jesus. That’s all I want. Mr. Partially trained Sadistic Demon is getting more well trained with every passing year until maybe I’ll be able to give him over to his true Dark Master to be turned lose on some poor unsuspecting traumatized individual. It’s OK though, cause Jesus may have their back too.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37


Note: As I walk this journey I am learning more and more how forgiveness begins and ends with us and what Jesus is saying when admonishes us to forgive others if we want to be forgiven. We wrong each other – we always will. We hurt each other ALL THE TIME. (Don’t think that’s true? Look at the divorce rate or estranged families.) As I walk in forgiveness and beg it from those I have wronged, Sadistic Demon cowers in fear and the power of a Living God breathes for me.

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