This long war started on Sept. 11, 2001. Many service members are returning from the wars with multiple combat deployments and possibly a number of issues. One of those issues may be a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a debilitating psychological condition triggered by a major traumatic event and is common in war veterans.
I returned from Afghanistan a day before Thanksgiving in 2009. I was overjoyed when I met my 6-month-old twins for the first time. They were born while I was in-country, and I only had a handful of opportunities to see them on Skype. Other than that, my unit was the "tip of the spear," in Operation Khanjari, the largest helicopter operation and insertion of U.S. troops behind enemy lines since the Vietnam War. Communication with my family at home was limited.
It was around the New Year celebration after returning home that I realized I had problems. The fireworks were startling me. I tried to brush it off, but within a few weeks my emotions were like a roller coaster. One minute I could be joyous and laughing and then the next minute something would trigger me into anger and outbursts. Then I hit an all-time low as the emotions went from one extreme to another, and I exhibited self-destruction. Some things I experienced were even bizarre, and just when I was ready to give up on everything, I decided to call on God. And because of my children, I had to get help.
If you are a veteran, whether you experienced combat or something else traumatic happened to you while you served, I want to encourage you to apply these four things to your life:
1. Get help. If you have accepted that you have issues or problems reintegrating into life from your time in service, it is OK to reach out for professional help, whether it is counseling or psychiatric services or group sessions with other veterans. You can also ask around and find great Christians in these professions who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit. At the same time, find a church that encourages and lavishes grace on you, where you can serve the community. Also, if you haven't done so yet, go to a Veteran Service Office and have them look into the benefits you earned.
2. Get to work. Don't sit around all day. All that does is increase depression, anxiety and other symptoms. After World War II, our veterans were put to work to build bridges, roads and public parks. They had the GI Bill to pay for housing and schooling. If you have benefits available due to your time in the service, use them. Utilize the programs such as the Post 911 GI Bill or Vocational Rehabilitation that the VA offers, and set yourself up for success. You earned it. Doing this will help you interact with other people and feel confident about your accomplishments.
Also, get to work applying biblical meditation and Scripture memorization to renew your mind according to Romans 12:2.
3. Get prayer. Besides applying prayer in your daily life, go to a group that can pray over you. I was re-entering ministry after my time in the Marine Corps and felt that I needed to get prayed for. There was a loving group of people I knew who believed in the power of God. I was comfortable with them, and I knew the prayer would remain biblically grounded. They would be in agreement with me for healing and declare prophetic destiny. During that time, God did an incredible work, as we had visions of Jesus being with me on deployment as well as Him working as a doctor on my mind and emotions. It was a wonderful time, and through it, I was healed of severe migraine headaches that could paralyze me for hours at a time.
4. Get filled. If you have been through trauma such as combat, ask God for the baptism with the Spirit. It will equip you to be a better witness for Him. If you have received this blessing, then ask for more fillings where God will confirm His presence in your life. Ephesians 5:18 says to be filled with the Spirit. The Koine Greek word for 'be filled' is plerousthe, and literally translated means, "be being filled." This connotes the on-going and continual need for us to walk in the Spirit daily but to also be filled by Him every way that we can. If we ask for the Holy Spirit, He will give Him to us. This is the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49). Through this, seek the face of Jesus and walk in power that glorifies Him. The anointing is all about Jesus.
These things take time, but the end result is well worth it. You not only have helped yourself, but you can then go and help others. Just as you watched out for your "battle buddy" when you served, you can help your brothers and sisters fighting PTSD and bring them to the hope that you found.
Jared Laskey is starting Destiny Open Bible Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He served in the Marine Corps from 2006-2011 and ministers living to see Jesus awaken this generation to the power of His Holy Spirit. You can follow him on twitter @jaredalaskey, or contact him through his website, firebornministries.com. He has recently co authored a book called Veronica's Hero which tells the true story of how a Marine Corps family faced tragedy with faith, soon to be released.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.