*trigger warning, some graphic details included*
I hope my friends and family who have been watching my journey over the last 15 years will take time to read this. It could change your life and others you know. Healed? from PTSD? How is that possible? First, how did it happen? Over 15 years ago I was widowed. My late husband was killed in a motorcycle crash after only 2.5 months of being married. His name Eric, the man who was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, who killed him, also named Eric. God sat me down one night and took me through forgiving him, which was a huge part of my healing and an amazing story I will share on it’s own. A part I never really shared was how he actually died. He was wounded in his upper thigh which caused severe hemorrhaging and shock. I rehearsed that fateful day over and over in my mind and continued to try to piece every detail together until I could get all the information. Including speaking to the other man who was also hit that day and survived, reading all the medical reports and sheriff from the case. I would also play back people from the court trials testimonies over and over in my sleepless nights. Last detail, I would mentally put myself in that place. “What would I have done?”
Last year I attended a “stop the bleed”’ training. During one of the practice scenarios, the trainer placed me in the exact scenario he died, a hemorrhaging thigh on the side of the road. It wasn’t until I kneeled down that I went into a PTSD episode. I started to shake uncontrollably, started crying and ran to the other room. “What in the world was happening to me?” I pieced a little together and told the team I was with why I was crying, and David, my husband who was also in the room. There was no way to continue until they at least knew that. The rest of the day was a blur and I could hear what people were telling me, but as we went into the rest of the active shooter training, I clearly was not comprehending instructions. I laughed off several things and tried to act silly when I was messing up, but I was completely embarrassed, and trying to hide the flood of emotions that kept wanting to surface.
Training completed, check. Go home, check. But wait, there was something looming over me. The next morning I woke up, no smile, no worship music… I didn’t want to read my Bible, I didn’t want to pray… I disconnected from friends. I was grumpy towards my husband, impatient with my children and short and to the point with my coworkers. The joy was gone… the warmth gone from my blood. I was heavy and didn’t even know it. I literally hit the biggest mental wall and kept banging my head on it over and over. I couldn’t see what was happening. I felt oppressed. My shoulders were pinched and tense all day for over a month. Did I put on the face of being “fine”? You betcha. I was like this about 1.5 months, until God gave me a beautiful dream.
I don’t know if the details to others will mean what it does to me but in my dream I walked into an indoor/outdoor garden like structure. It had beautiful vines hanging all around and pillars of white. I saw what looked like a pastor baptizing someone. I saw a woman nursing her child, no covering and my immediate thought was that I didn’t care but isn’t everyone else going to? As I looked on it was the most pure picture of love I had ever seen. I kept looking around and thinking I need David to come see this church. I was then OVERCOME with the most beautiful, warm, comforting and loving feeling. I could physically feel all the heaviness lifting off of me and immediately starting weeping in my dream, but the most happy weeping I had ever felt. In that moment the Lord said, “Joy in the Mourning” and I woke up. That day I was healed. I woke up with a smile. I felt lighter… people noticed I “was in a good mood” , to which I just thought, “I am always like this”.
But I wasn’t, I had come under what Satan has used over and over in my life, depression and the worst episode of PTSD I had ever experienced, lasting the longest it had ever lasted. You see depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts where part of my normal process of grief at the beginning. The trauma of loss itself is horrible… but what continues after that, and according to research can cause people to experience true post traumatic stress. Due to this overwhelming grief I had lived with off and on for the last 15 years is the reason that God in His divine time has called me to start this ministry called Joy in the Mourning. To care for women who have been widowed and others who have experienced deep loss. There is power in words, there is power in the name of Jesus Christ. The one who has broken every chain of ptsd, every chain of grief and pain. I can not wait another day to tell others of the overwhelming, overflowing love of Jesus Christ- He is filled with love, peace, joy and hope for our future. If 2020 has taught us anything, it has taught us that none of us knows what will happen from one moment to the next. We do not know when someone could die, or from what. I have walked alongside many others during 2020 that their loss was not because of Covid. I serve a God who can heal trauma, I serve a God who can turn our mourning into joy. I serve a God who wants to give us life and life more abundantly. Will join me in my dream to see others healed?