by Carole Brown
Many military people dread Christmas due to various sadnesses, physical problems, financial setbacks, and loss of loved ones. It’s a struggle to move forward, to face each day let alone enjoy the season. PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a serious threat to returning home soldiers.
I wanted to share a bit today that is the real–the true meaning of overcoming and/or getting through each day.
Here’s a story example:
He started to scoot out onto the balcony when pain shot through his whole body, and he wanted to scream. He pulled himself from the window ledge and staggered forward two steps before falling on his face.
What had happened? Marshall’s screaming voice echoed outside his head, but the world had faded to mental darkness. His left leg had gone numb. He shook his head. He couldn’t lose consciousness. To do so might mean death. He hung over the rail and surveyed the climb he’d have to make. His stomach churned with nausea.
The pain and fear of facing the unknown, of knowing you’re injured…
Her gaze flicked to the bottom of the bed, then back. “You were shot.”
The memory of that night swarmed in. “How long—”
“Must you talk? You’re still pretty weak.”
She sighed. “Two weeks. You almost died.”
Facing the fact that you are injured. Learning what exactly that injury is. Knowing you’re at the mercy of the doctors, possibly your wife or family…
“Jerry. Lie still. You’re too weak to get up.”
Squeezing his eyes shut, he gritted from between his teeth. “I have to. It’s too dangerous for you to be coming here.”
“I don’t mind.”
“I do. Help me, and I’ll try it again.”
“I wasn’t able to get a doctor. Our family doctor is not to be trusted. You almost died. Medwin—my cousin—has a bit of medical training and he thinks a bone or bones was shattered in your leg. He did what he could but your leg still became dangerously infected. I thought—”
Vanda bit her lip. “I thought we’d lose your leg if not your life.”
“The infection’s gone?”
“Yes-s. But it still looks bad.” Her brow lined with another worried frown. Her gaze flicked to his legs and back. “I-I’m not sure you’ll ever completely recover from that wound.”
The reality of the truth: you won’t ever be the same as before. Through luck, carelessness and/or lack of training or funds or uncooperative military bureaucracy, life will never be the same.
ers who’ve given their lives for their country and come back injured severely—and their families—face extreme difficulties. It takes strong and determined companions to get through, to accept the fact that this new life will be a life long endeavor. There are no magic wands to change the facts of war.
Besides the horrific injuries many face, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with its moodiness, verbal abuse, feelings of wanting to commit suicide, embarrassment, rejection, etc. takes its toll on soldiers.
In A Flute in the Willows, I tried to show a bit of this in Jerry and the effect it had on Josie, his wife. Young and inexperienced, both of the Pattersons struggle to understand and deal with conflicting emotions. Josie’s father, experienced in war service, offers advice and encouragement.
“You’re going to have to be stronger than you’ve ever been in your life.” He warns Josie, and those words stay with his daughter over and over to strengthen and give her a boost to not give up on Jerry. In time her patience and love for Jerry win out.
“I’m here if you ever need to talk.” Knowing what military service is like, and having lived long enough to know a few things, Captain Ossie, Josie’s father, offers, but never intrudes on Jerry’s emotions. In time he heads to his father-in-law’s office to seek guidance.
- Families need to understand that their soldier is going through unspeakable damages. Love, offer help and listening ears, don’t talk when their loved one is moody, encourage and never, never give up.
- Friends who are there, offering hope and encouragement. Accept any help given and be grateful you have those kinds of friends.
- God. He is truly the only source who can pull a person through. Whatever comes, God is the strength, the supreme encouragement, the one who understands all, and the one who loves you unconditionally. Lean on him. Trust. Believe.
Both Josie and Jerry come through their own personal, and shared, problems, with God’s help, and understanding from others, that pull them through.
That’s what it takes for servicemen/women to overcome the worst of the nightmare of PTSD and injuries during the Christmas season–or anytime throughout the year. God, understanding and love.
Read about the Patterson’s struggles and how God helped them overcome
their troubles in the midst of danger and heartache.
by Tamera Lynn Kraft
Have you ever headed somewhere and realized you were on the wrong road? Maybe you made a wrong turn or maybe you weren’t paying attention while you were driving. Driving on the wrong road can easily be corrected, especially since GPS and cell phones have become a standard.
God has a road He wants us to travel on. It’s called the highway of holiness. Many Christians today aren’t traveling on the right road, but it’s easily corrected.
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
The Highway of Holiness: According to this Scripture, this way of holiness is for Christians, for those who walk on that way. Only the redeemed walk there. If you are a Christian and are not walking on the Highway of Holiness, you are on the wrong road. You need a course correction.
Protection: No lion or ravenous beast is found there. In other words, God protects us when we walk in holiness. It’s dangerous to stray too far from that highway. When we do, we are wandering away from God’s protection.
Joy: In this society where everyone is urged to find happiness by doing whatever they want, this is something that isn’t taught any more. Even in churches, Christians worry about becoming legalistic when they walk in holiness. The truth is when you are walking in holiness, joy overtakes you and sorrow flees.
How to Make a Course Correction: If you are straying from God’s Word and the way of holiness, you can easily make a course correction.
Repent: Tell God you’ve strayed, ask Him to help you get back to where you need to be, and make the changes necessary to get there. Don’t justify what you’re doing. Confess it, and allow God to remove it from your life.
Yield: The more you yield to God and let Him direct your path, the closer you’ll be to the Highway of Holiness. When He tells you where to go, through His Word or in another way, obey Him without delay. Yield to what He is doing in your life. Remember He protects those who yield to His way.
Throw Away Your Checklist: This isn’t about a list of dos and don’ts. Too many Christians in the past have equated holiness to how long your hair is or how you dress. Your checklist doesn’t work because this is a heart issue, not a behavior. Yielding to God’s way and making baby steps toward Him does.
by Carole Brown
If you’re old enough, you’ve read/seen about Dennis the Menace. Nowadays there’s all kinds of books with characters that entertain.
But have you read about CHIPPER?
He’s a fairly new “KID” on the block, and the eight books (so far) in this series are filled with tons of adventures for kids. There are quiet lessons for children to identify with and learn from too:
- the results of childish rebellions,
- facing up to bullies,
- knowing when to say no to taunts and dares,
- being brave when you’re scared,
- being loyal and helpful to your friends
- and even a mystery!
Discussion questions and scripture verses for parents and children to enjoy are in the back of the book.
Check out Dan Brown’s The Adventures of Chipper Books here: Amazon
Oh, yeah, on Thursday (this week) enjoy the interview with Dan Brown and find out why he’s writing these charming books...
By Carole Brown
One of the best moments in an author’s life is when a book of theirs releases. And probably one of the top pleasures it gives those who love to encourage, is to share the reward of a new book out from a fellow-author-friend.
Today I want to share with you some new books that recently released and hope you’re intrigued enough to check them out! Here goes…
Coloring Journal. Author: Sharon A. Lavy.
Why should you buy this book?
- Throughout history, successful people have kept journals.
- Writing letters and keeping a diary is an ancient tradition that dates back to 10th century Japan.
- We now know that journaling has a positive impact on our physical and mental well-being, and modern psychologists contend that regular journaling strengthens the immune cells.
- Many artistic types swear that three pages a day of free writing by hand boost their creativity.
- Couple that with the accepted benefits of coloring for calming stress relief and we recognize the usefulness of providing a combination coloring journal.
- As you fill the following pages with your thoughts and your unique style of expression, please dwell on the goodness of the creator and His great love for us.
Remember, Sharon has a many Adult Coloring Books for your pleasure and relaxation. Do check them out here:
Sharon A. Lavy’s Amazon Books
* * *
Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing (Writing to Publish Book 1)
Why should you buy this book?
- Do you see yourself as a writer?
- Is your dream to publish?
Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing helps you create a map you can follow to make your dream come true. The examples, reflective assignments, and challenges walk each reader through the process of constructing a thoughtful and achievable plan. While the handbook offers examples of structure, it is in no way formulaic. The plan you design to be a published author is customized to fit your personality traits, your specific gifts, and your busy life.
Check it out HERE:
THERE you have it! Some books to catch your attention this month! Enjoy.
by Carole Brown
Normally, we would have pulled away immediately.
Our antennas would have been quivering with suspicions . . .
Why weren’t they?
But I ignored mine. It doesn’t matter what those reasons were. The big questions I had were:
- Why did I ignore the warning signs?
- Was I ignoring God’s gentle touch to be careful here because of false security?
- Or was it God’s way of getting my attention for an area in my life that was just a bit too unguarded?
What matters now is:
- I’ve strengthened my spirit in being more guarded than ever in aimless trusting.
- I’ve determined that being a bit more pushy (in a Christ-like manner) can’t hurt–at least me. If the other person wants to be offended, after I’ve listened to that “still small voice” then it’s on them.
- I’ve learned to be even more careful to follow God’s leading, and finally . . .
- I’ve learned that I must keep and cherish the promises I’ve made to God.
Rebecca Waters left her position as a professor of teacher education in December 2012 to actively pursue her writing career. She shares her writing journey in her weekly blog, A Novel Creation. Rebecca has published several freelance articles including two submissions in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Standard Publishing’s Lookout Magazine, The Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, and Home Health Aide Digest. Rebecca’s debut novel, Breathing on Her Own, was released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
To learn more about Rebecca or to read A Novel Creation, visit her website at www.WatersWords.com
On Life Support in India
by Rebecca Waters
Thank you, Tamera, for giving me the opportunity to share on your blog.
This past April, God opened the door for me to travel halfway around the world to work with girls who had been rescued from brothels. Yes, girls. Some as young as nine-years-old had been coerced, kidnapped, or sold into forced prostitution.
For the girls we met, rescuers had arrived. Rescued girls are placed in a government -approved facility first. At age 18, they are dismissed from that group home setting. They often have little schooling and few possibilities for work.
During our time there, we visited in the homes of young women now 18-25 who are redefining themselves. Some had been rescued at age twelve or thirteen and placed in a government -approved facility first. After the girls leave the government system, a group called “Life Support” works with these girls, placing them in smaller homes. Money for this work comes through churches.
Up to six girls will live together in one of these homes. The home has a housemother and the seven of them become a family. The housemother makes sure the girls get to church, study their Bibles, learn practical life skills such as cooking and cleaning, and get into the vocational school or a college.
The team I was on visited one of the homes the second day of our trip. The girls, all smiles, served us juice and cookies. They showed us around their apartment and proudly showed us their bedrooms—three to a room. These girls were like any other girl of the same age. They love colors like purple and pink. They love to watch movies and listen to music. They like jewelry and clothes.
And they are learning to trust a Father in heaven who will never betray them.
I shouldn’t be amazed at their trust. Or resilience. Or joy. These are only a few of God’s gifts to them. And me. But the way God continually provides, the way God continually cares, and the way these precious girls respond to God? Yes, I am amazed. The simplicity of faith is always amazing.
Each team had visited one of the homes that day and later in the week, we took all twenty- seven of the girls to a resort for two days. I use the term “resort” loosely. It was much like an intense Vacation Bible School.
“Sit by me, Sister,” the girls would say as they patted a space next to them.
We sang songs of praise. Some were even in English. We made crafts. We listened to stories. We had a snack each day. We worshiped together.
Together, we made “shields” for each home. We talked about how God is our protector.
We each, side by side, made decorative soft pillows to take home. We talked about how God is our comforter.
We painted pictures to represent selected verses from the Bible about who we are in Christ. We talked about how God sees us.
The girls took delight in decorating our hands with henna. Their giggles reminded me of my own daughters painting each other’s nails at a slumber party.
The last event of our “resort” time was a puzzle activity. Each group sat on the floor and worked together to fit a puzzle together. It was a good reminder that the pieces of our life come together for God’s purpose when we come together to serve Him.
I sat on the floor. Our puzzle was complete and we were waiting for the last group to finish. I stretched my legs out and leaned back on my hands behind me. I had this incredible feeling. “You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now.”
Human Trafficking is a worldwide evil. I didn’t need to go to India to find girls who needed me. Maybe I needed to go to India to see how God could use me. And you.
Romans 8:37-39 (NIV) reminds us:
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Molly Tipton and her husband are looking forward to retirement, but Molly’s life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident. An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.
While two families grieve, details emerge that reveal Molly’s daughter was driving under the influence. As she prepares her daughter for the prospect of a vehicular homicide lawsuit, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and forced to deal with past mistakes.
If it’s true that time heals all wounds, what are we to do with our scars?
Purchase it in paperback or on Kindle here.