A very dear friend of mine came to Christ recently and I'm thrilled to have had a small part in that. He had been struggling for many years - including those during his last deployment- from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). So much so that he nearly took his life... until the Holy Spirit erased his discomfort and spoke to him. The message was along the lines of not being finished with him.
Through this transformation my friend and I spoke about how a ministry was emerging through him as he begins to understand and is quickly becoming an advocate for those who just as he once did, suffer quietly. He shared with me how he envisioned something that embraced the missing element of dignity in this silent and invisible ailment- one that for most evokes an overpowering sense of shame and requires a tender and loving approach while dealing with a very serious issue.
Through this conversation we shared of the lack of resources presented by the VA for such cases. Veterans with PTSD do not want to meet with non-veterans and/or clinical counselors. They want and need a personal relationship that is safe. Once we began thinking of the potential of this ministry, we could see people all around us who might be potential candidates. My friend and I coordinated a meeting with eight other veterans from a variety of denominations, each of them knowing and understanding PTSD. Two of these men were pastors and others were lay leaders. This first gathering was a beginning. There was excitement about doing something and there was alignment...but it was just a beginning.
We had another amazing meeting with a veteran with PTSD who is a psychiatrist and counselor. Through this veteran's second career as a counselor he shared how he wants to address the PTSD prevalence in our community amidst the bureaucracy of the VA and its lack of making known such a pressing and rapidly increasing issue. Everywhere we turn there is interest. God's calling is heavy on us and this ministry and we cannot wait to see the lives transformed through this gathering that will help veterans become #MadeNew through Jesus Christ.