My entire life was falling apart. My wife struggled immensely, being married to this different man; and I hated myself. At a point, I even hated God because He messed up everything. We both wanted to end the marriage, and I wanted to end my life! Every day was full of misery, and life was not worth living. I couldn’t handle the dreams, the smells, the memories, and the pain. I avoided my baby, so he would not know the pain I felt. I rarely even spoke to my wife. When I left Iraq, all the doctors and books said it would last from a few weeks to a couple of months. I could not even be around groups of people. I secluded myself from everyone I loved, and I hurt so many people—most of all, my wife.
Due to my wife’s and an old Vietnam vet’s persuasion, we started going to church. Things got a little better, and I got involved with ministry. I became a youth pastor, but no one knew how bad my PTSD had gotten. I learned to hide it pretty well. Everyone thought I was getting better, but my wife saw through my act. She knew it was worse now since I now lost my temper in a matter of seconds. I was struggling to control what I thought I had mastered. I was embarrassed that a couple of years later I still dealt with this pain. The memories were vivid and more frequent. I had no control, and I became scared that I would hurt someone. I devised a plan to kill myself when my wife and kids would be away. She knew something was going on and forced me to talk. I eventually told her, and she made sure to take any harmful things out of our home.
She knew the importance of a deep relationship with God, and she actually led me spiritually. Saying that, she told me that she would only do it until I was ready to resume leadership, she depended on my being the spiritual leader; and, through the work of God and my wife’s persistence, I became that. She never babied me, and she always had high expectations for me. Her assertiveness and strength combined with a renewed love for God helped me in the first stage of recovery.
I fully surrendered to Christ, but now I had a huge issue. I shared the love of Christ on a daily basis. I told teens and adults alike about His love, protection, healing, and deliverance; but I still struggled with my PTSD and traumatic brain disease (TBD). I still took daily injections for migraines. Thankfully, I stopped taking all the other meds because I hated the effects. I loved God, but I still had all the same issues, I prayed for others’ deliverance, but I still was without mine. Through scripture readings, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to Hebrews 6:1; and it starts by telling us:
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God.
I read and studied that scripture for over a month in search of the meaning. I knew there had to be more than just salvation and trying to live right. The Bible tells us about inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven, being like Christ, and having his peace, joy and love. I had none of that. My walk consisted of trying not to sin, but nothing beyond the elementary teachings.