PTSD

Are You Really Listening, God?

Many of the population of military veterans I serve in my job as a VA hospital chaplain suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. One such veteran is very special to me, as he is a fellow chaplain. I asked him if PTSD affected his ability to listen to God. Without hesitation, he said, “Absolutely!”

First, he told me his ability to hear at all was affected. Distractions are much worse for one suffering from PTSD than for most of us. Even trying to focus on God still takes concentrated effort.

A career military man, he had trained most of his adult life for war. Though he admits it was a naïve assumption, he thought he would be immune to PTSD since he was serving both God and country. Surely God would protect him so he could minister to those whose only purpose was to protect their country. But that’s not the way it happened. He now suffers from severe PTSD.

Now, he asks, can he still trust he is hearing God correctly? Can he trust God to answer? Listening to God is now a challenge. He finished his conversation with me by saying, “But I heard Him this morning as I preached.” Thanks be to God!

Hope for the Hurting

Project HELP PTSD

During the 2014–2015 church year, we launched a four-year emphasis under the umbrella of Project HELPSM related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is not only a personal issue for many families but also becoming a significant issue for the church. From the effects of war on our soldiers to persecution of our missionaries to school shootings and natural disasters, post-traumatic reactions are often serious but seldom discussed by those involved for fear of being labeled or misunderstood.

Helping Preschoolers with Stress

Seeing images of natural disasters and hearing adults talking about them can create anxiety in young children. Over the past several weeks, we have all watched the tragedy of Nepal’s earthquakes unfold. Last week, multiple people were killed in a major landslide in Colombia. In the United States, we’ve recently seen multiple regions damaged by tornadoes and strong storms.

Preschoolers may experience stress reactions to these disasters even when they are not directly affected by them. Anxiety often arises out of feelings of powerlessness and lack of control. Very young children haven’t acquired the same coping mechanisms that adults, or even older children, have developed. Use these suggestions to help you talk to your preschoolers when they exhibit signs of stress related to seeing and hearing about natural disasters:

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