When you’re in a valley, you can’t leap out. You can’t jump out. You must walk out of the valley. Healing from combat trauma is often merely the beginning of a long recovery process, so it’s important to help group members plan for their future recovery as they exit REBOOT.
Weekly Challenge: Write down your story to share with the group. Describe what your life was like before you joined the military, during combat, and since you returned home. Finish your story with where you are today and where you believe you are headed. Further instructions are provided in the following chapter.
This week, we talked about walking through the valley. In Psalm 23, David encourages us to keep walking through the suffering in our lives. We are not to stop and set up and camp there and live out the rest of our lives thinking "this is all there is". We are, instead, to take purposeful, intentional action toward our goals and the future we desire.
We discussed how when David gets to vs. 4 of the Psalm, the way he describes Jesus changes. Up until this point, Jesus (the shepherd) was referred to as "He", implying some distance between us and Him. But when he gets here, the word changes. "He" becomes "You", implying a greater sense of intimacy with Jesus. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for YOU are with me; YOUR rod and your staff, they comfort me" Jesus draws near to us in our greatest times of need. Even if it doesn't always feel that way, He is there.
We took some time to write down several goal actions we would like to take as we graduate REBOOT. These are practical things that we can do to continue to walk in healing and purpose. Write them down, post them somewhere you'll see them, and share them with others to hold you accountable!
Next week, we will share our stories. Please DO this challenge! Here are instructions:
1. You'll be writing about your life and trauma. For spouses, just think about how your service member's trauma has affected you or any trauma you have personally experienced.
2. Pick a comfortable place to write and give yourself some time.
3. Pray beforehand, "God, nothing I experienced, nothing I did could ever surprise you. I want to bring You into those dark and painful chapters of my story. Help me open those doors for You. Shine the light of your presence into those black, horrendous places, and set me free."
4. Your story will be in 3 parts:
My life before my/my spouse's combat experience (or trauma of any sort)
My life during my/my spouse's combat experience (or trauma of any sort)
My life since my/my spouse's combat experience (or trauma of any sort)
You may choose to answer questions like:
5. Don't stop yourself from feeling your emotions. Your feelings have been stored with the memory--intact. They can be rather vivid at first, but if you continue to allow yourself to feel your emotions about the event, your feelings will become less intense and less overwhelming.
6. If you feel overwhelmed-- remind yourself that this is a memory and you are not actually in any danger as you recall the event.
7. Take breaks if you need to.
9. Handwritten is best (but type if you need to)- Don't wing it!
10. Don't worry about grammar or spelling.
11. Call a trusted friend or fellow REBOOT family member if you need support.