A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD
(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)
When my husband’s youngest sister died at 48 from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), his heart broke open before me. By the time we learned of her illness, she had cut off all communication with anyone other than her immediate caregivers. He never had a chance to tell her he loved her or to say goodbye. For my husband, her death compounded his already battered life with hope dimming.
“When is enough, enough?” He cried out to God. “I’ve loved you and served you. Will this never end?” Despite his pain, he continues serving a God, who is yet compassionate, loving, forgiving, and full of mercy.
The Plagues of Guillermo
I watched William (Guillermo in Spanish, as he often is called) suffer from worsening PTSD, multiple broken bones from falling on ice, being hit on the head with rebounding rebar, four surgeries to reconstruct his foot from a war injury, complications from gunshot wounds in Vietnam, shingles, losing a lung from a negligent VA doctor, and a host of other plagues. I asked God the same question, praying for relief for my husband. “Will this ever end?”
As I listen to the stories of young Veterans with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), impossible circumstances rise to the surface. Several Veterans tell me they will never drive, are unable to work, and are denied relationships because of the rage that strikes out indiscriminately. My heart aches at their predicament, knowing that they will suffer a lifetime of physical and mental complications. I pray for each, asking, “Will their suffering ever end?”
Our Sickness is Limited
In John 11:4, Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death.” His friend, Lazarus, lay dead in the grave. Jesus called him to rise and Lazarus rose. Only God has the power over death and sickness. Be assured, there is a limit to your sickness just as death did not conquer Lazarus.
The God of providence has limited the time, manner, intensity, repetition, and effects of all our sicknesses; each throb is decreed, each sleepless hour predestinated, each relapse ordained, each depression of spirit foreknown, and each sanctifying result eternally purposed.
“Morning and Evening Daily Readings”
Charles H. Spurgeon for the evening of August 17
God promises he will never give us more than we can bear. In fact, He tells us our burdens are actually light. When I see my husband suffering with chronic pain, another physical assault, and the badgering effects of PTSD, I wonder how much more he can bear. I question why his burdens are so much greater than mine. I wonder the same for the Veterans I get to know. Truly, the Veteran seems to bear more sickness and strife than most others. The warrior is strong even when his ailments include PTSD and TBI. A protective barrier surrounds his heart, which keeps the Veteran whole but often stands between him and ultimate healing.
Our God wants us to seek him when our burdens appear more than we can handle. He will break us of thoughts, behaviors, and sin that stands between Him and us. Then, He will heal, as only the God of the Universe can heal. The sickness we bear now will not be until death when we give our hearts to Him—when we seek Him. There is a limit to the sickness of what He will ask us to bear. There is no limit, however, to the love He offers.
I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5b NKJV
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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your sickness? How did you find relief? Please reply below.
About the blogger
Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.