Marine Shares How Coming to Jesus Healed Post Tramautic Stress Disorder: We can Honor our Veterans by Empathizing with Them; Understanding PTSD

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LISTEN NOW! After 8 years in the Marine Corps, consisting of 2 combat tours in Iraq, and 6 years of contracting, Michael Priddy returned home and found out the fight wasn’t over. “I had really destroyed relationships with the people that were closest to me, and I was supposed to care for the most; most notably, my wife and my kids.”

The realities being experienced within veterans is almost unimaginable. As Priddy shares, “The veteran suicide rate in America, is 22 a day. The divorce rate amongst combat veterans is over 80%.” Veterans are experiencing massive trauma and many are unaware of how to respond or what to do. “There is no way to heal without coming into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.” Priddy is now putting his efforts to his pedals as he is setting out on a journey of bicycling over 2700 miles, to ride from Sacramento, California, to Marine Corps base Quantico in Virginia. 

 

Steve Kaliszewski also experienced similar struggles and hardships in his return home after serving 2 combat tours in the Marines. He shares about the difficulty that veterans experience and the difficulty of trying to figure out how to live life again. No longer is it like it was before. After spending considerable time in team environments, understanding the values of selflessness and sacrifice, it is exceedingly difficult to then return home and empathize with many Americans as they complain and focus on what many do.

 

He shared what it was like to serve in Iraq during a summer deployment. In this environment, temperatures can peak in the 140s -50s. Literally. This still doesn’t stop the continual operations of carrying out missions in full gear and lengthy patrols. It also a time when he was able to be a part of a great team.

 

Coming home, he experienced an entirely different reality. There was no sense of urgency for those around him. He shared about one particular encounter, sitting at a red light and being filled with rage when the car in front of him didn’t budge when the light turned green. He couldn’t understand why there was no urgency. People would tell him that it would take a few months and he would be fine, but it was when he met a Vietnam Veteran that he was told,“this is going to take a lifetime.”

 

He didn’t know what to do with his life. He waited tables as a server in college, so that’s what he did. Now just a few months after returning home from combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq, he was waiting tables. His reality was about to take another turn when one of his customers began to yell at him about the food. He shares about he responded, “I almost killed her and I almost killed myself”. Overcome with emotions he didn’t know how to control, he simply shutdown and walked away. Not knowing what to do, he said, “God, I don’t know you, I don’t know where you are, but if you don’t come down here, if you don’t take this, I’m either going to kill somebody or I’m going to kill myself.”

 

It was at that exact moment that all the pressure in his life was immediately gone. “That scared me more than almost killing that lady, because I knew that was God; but I had no idea what to do.” There was another server that had been talking to him about Jesus and when Steve told him what had happened, the co-worker offered, “let’s go get something to eat”. It was at this nearby restaurant that Steve heard the message that changed his life. Jesus Christ had died for him and He had a plan for his life.

 

The reality is that many veterans are experiencing difficulties in every area of their life. Medical professionals have many different terms and diagnosis to label, but it is happening. What these men experienced was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. A simple understanding is this, “PTSD is a natural reaction to an unnatural reality”. War is not natural and it is surely not normal. Despite the extensive training for war, no one can be fully trained, yet veterans often feel alone in navigating the battle of returning home with few that truly empathize and understand.

 

When we hear these stories of what many are experiencing, it helps us to empathize, in order to connect and pray. Even though some may not be actively seeking the Lord, we can be encouraged by Romans 10:20. “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

 

When Yehuda Hayisraeli returned home to Israel after serving with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), he had suffered extensive head injuries from battle. His everyday life was greatly affected and he could no longer get around like he once did. After repeated attempts to receive the necessary benefits he was entitled to, he was repeatedly denied. When local residents heard his story, they immediately worked together to get the resources he needed.

 

By sharing Hayisraeli’s story using crowdfunding, they were able to raise more than $310,000 in a brief period that was more than enough to be able to make the necessary changes to his home. Because of this act of honor, Hayisraeli is able to enjoy his daily life with his family. 

 

Allow your perspective of veterans to be challenged, your understanding to grow, and your empathy for their sacrifice and service to increase. Hear the full story of how Michael is impacting those around him, hear Steve share about his time in the Marines, his journey returning home, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: honor, sacrifice, service, values, brotherhood, teamwork, cycling, Veterans Affairs, suicide, divorce, waiting tables, service industry, and repentance. John and Steve shared in this segment.

Courtesy of Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com 




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