What you will find here

This is a place to examine plans filled with hope; plans which promise a refuge from chaos; plans which will shape our futures. Veterans with and without PTSD, Pentecostal Presbyterians, Adjudicated Youth, and Artists-Musicians-Writers: I write what I know. ~~~ Evelyn

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When the World says, "These drugs will take an edge off your depression."

Jeremiah 31:13 (New International Version, ©2010)

13 Then young women will dance and be glad,
   young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
   I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Anti-depressants are the most widely prescribed drugs in the US today. Everyone goes through ‘doors of despair’ and ‘bubbles of grief’.  Sometimes properly prescribed anti-depressants can help you walk through these horrible times.

One of my favorite songs is “It Won’t Rain Always.”  No one is a stranger to sorrow.  It is a normal part of being alive.  You need to experience it; embrace it; feel the scope and sequence of it; and release it and go on with your life.  Once you intimately know sorrow, grief, and despair, you become stronger.  You realize it does not last forever.  It passes naturally and then you can be filled with gladness.

When the world says, "These drugs will take an edge off your depression,"
God says, "I will turn your mourning into gladness."

Heavenly Father, there isn't a part of me that doesn't hurt.  Everything aches, everything weeps, everything sobs in the darkness of my heart.  If I could just make it all go away, nothingness would be better than this.  But you whisper to me in my grief that all this blackness will be changed into glory.  I'll be happy again.  I'll smile and the smile will feel good and someone will love me again.  You'll do this for me, God, I know you will.  I trust you.  As dark as it is now, you will make it light.   You'll turn this mourning into gladness.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Comfort the People

Trilby Jordan (Author), Roger Summers (Composer)
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. ejr

Saturday, March 26, 2011

on Leadership - by Abraham Lincoln

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When the World Says, "You can't teach an old dog new trick"

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here!

When a soldier is subjected to trauma, the soldier's brain tissues thicken.  The thicker the brain tissue, the less able it is to learn and adapt to new situations.  So the way a soldier reacts to the traumatic situation is (supposedly) the way the soldier will react to any similar situation, since the brain can no longer learn a new way to deal with it.

Well, seems to me, if something changes a brain, then the brain can be changed again.  Right?

Stroke victims retrain their body parts to function.  Athletes change their muscles and their mental acuity.  It may take a little more effort, or a new strategy, but brains are brains.  If one thing changes it, another thing can change it, as well.  

I'm not saying the brain will go back the way it used to be.  Nothing goes back to the way it used to be.  But you can be a new creature. 

There are many different strategies available to help change the way you react when you live with post-traumatic stress disorder. A popular one now is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  Recognizing when your body is reacting due to PTSD rather than rationalizing the present situation is vital to finding new ways to react.  Opening up to and training family and friends about your condition is also very important.  Never use it as an excuse for your actions, though. You are not an old dog.  You are still in charge of your body and your mind.  Keep yourself out of situations that you will not be able to handle. Seek out help.  If you are not improving by using one method, find a new one.  What works for one person may not work for another.  

When the world says, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," 
God says, "Behold, I make all things new."

God, it's happening again.  My face is clammy, my heart is racing, my stomach is in knots and I'm going to throw up.  I'm not even sure what set it off this time, but I think it was someone's perfume.  Smelled of almonds and that made me think of C-4 and that made me remember.  And God, you know what happens when I remember that time.  So now God, I've admitted to you why my body is reacting.  I can take a calming breath now.  I can wiggle my toes and unclench my jaw.  Now that I know it was just something here and now, I can relax.  I can remember I'm here and now.  I'm in a new place.  I am a new person.  In you, Christ, I have become someone that isn't terrified all the time.  In you, Christ, I have become someone that isn't angry all the time.  In you, Christ, I have become someone I like again.  Someone new.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Psalm of New Beginnings

Earlene Rentz (Composer)
SATB, Piano
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. ejr

Saturday, March 19, 2011

on Leadership - by Albert Einstein

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When the World Says, "I can't help you."

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

   28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

Probably three out of ten of the letters I get from veterans say about the same thing: "No one will help me."

Veterans face the same battles as civilians -- finances, health, family, employment.  But veterans sometimes are more prone to nightmares, homelessness, debilitating anxiety, loss of friendship, physical, emotional and psychological wounds and the subsequent disabilitiess.

The world (in the guise of the VA, the church, the community, and sometimes even friends and family) seem unable or unwilling to help.  

Jesus said to give Him your burdens.  He promises to give you rest.  When was the last time you slept through the night?  Let Him carry your burdens until you can get back on your feet.  Trust Him to help you.  Trust Him to place the right people and assistance in your path to see you through.

No, the world can't help.  But God can.

When the World says, "I can't help you,"
God says, "Give me your burdens."

Carry my pack for me, Jesus.  Take this burden away from me.  I'm bent double by its load.  When you place people in my path to help, don't let me shove them aside.  Teach me to lean on you.  I don't have to be strong all the time.  I don't have to do this by myself.  Here, Lord, are my burdens.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Guide my Wayfarin Feet



Guide My Wayfaring Feet
Ruth Elaine Schram (Arranger)
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. ejr

Saturday, March 12, 2011

on Leadership - by Lao-tsu

To lead people, walk beside them.
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
The next best, the people honor and praise.
The next, the people fear,
And the next, the people hate.
When the best leader's work is done the people say,
"We did it ourselves!"


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When the World Says, “Will this nightmare ever end?”

Psalm 91:4-6 (King James Version)

 4He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
 5Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
 6Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

One of the side-effects or symptoms of PTSD is night terrors.  They can happen waking or sleeping.  They take over all five senses:  sight, hearing, smell, tactile and taste.  They are different from dreams or nightmares in their intensity and the inability of the dreamer to awaken.

Even awake, the physical effects of the night terrors linger – lethargy, irritability, emotionalism, lack of focus, over-excitability and unfiltered startle reflex. 

These effects worsen under certain conditions (drug and alcohol use, exhaustion, financial turmoil, etc.)

Eventually, the dreamer begins to ask, “Will this nightmare ever end?”  Sometimes they feel there is only one way to end it. 

God promises that the nightmares will end.  He promises that you will not have to be afraid of falling asleep anymore.  Hold that promise.  Believe that promise.  Wait for it.  The nightmares will end.  God said so. 

When the World says, “Will this nightmare ever end?”
God says, “Don’t be afraid of the nightmares.”

Dearest Father, 
Now I lay me down to sleep, 
As the terrors round me creep.
Hide me 'neath your loving wings,
Let me rest til morning sings.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Been in de Storm so Long


I Been in de Storm So Long
I Been in de Storm so Long

I Been in de Storm So Long
Larry Shackley (Composer)
SATB, Piano, Solo

Lorenz home site
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. ejr

Saturday, March 5, 2011

on Leadership - by Lionel J. Beaulieu

"The final definition of leadership has not been written.  Perhaps it never will be.  The final word has not been written for many reasons, one of which is that the concept of leadership cannot be studied in the precise way that many physical phenomena are."

Lionel J. Beaulieu

Thursday, March 3, 2011

THIS is what freedom means.

It shames and angers me what our Supreme Court Justices did in the name of “freedom”.  You want to see FREEDOM?? Watch this clip.  THIS is what freedom means.    I applaud these veterans and strongly encourage everyone to follow their lead.  A dignified funeral should be an honor our country bestows on each soldier who sacrifices him/herself for the greater good. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When the World Says, “Those were the days!”

Isaiah 40:7-9 (New International Version, ©2010)

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
   because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
   Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
   but the word of our God endures forever.”
 9 You who bring good news to Zion,
   go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[a]

   lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
   say to the towns of Judah,
   “Here is your God!”

Is there anything more boring than listening to an old person talk about how wonderful life USED to be?  How about when someone describes an event from half a century ago in meticulous detail, but can’t tell you one good thing that happened this week.

“Those were the days!” the world declares.  Yep: WERE.  Past tense.

Live now.
Enjoy now. 
Praise now.
Celebrate now.

The past is gone.  It’s nice to remember – if you learned from the experiences and pass on that knowledge.

But Be Alive Now.

When the World Says, "Those were the days!"
God says, "the word of our God endures forever."

Sweet Jesus,
I have about a century to live on this Earth in this body.  Let me not waste the time wishing for yesterday.  Let me make each day a “Glory Day!”  Stop these words from crossing my lips: If only.  What if.  I wish it could have been…  Let me shout “Here is your God!”  Let me be alive with every breath.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Don’t Look Back

Joseph Martin (Composer)
SATB, Piano
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. ejr