Saturday, June 15, 2024

I didn't need to belong to a church to seek His help

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 15, 2024

It is hard enough to encourage people with #PTSD to seek spiritual healing but when they hear people claim to be Christian but show no relationship to what He taught, it is making it close to impossible.

I help anyone in spiritual pain because no matter if they believe in Jesus, or a higher power, it helps heal PTSD. Even the Department of Veterans Affairs noticed the importance of adding spirituality to treatment. Read Addressing Religious or Spiritual Dimensions of Trauma and PTSD
Spirituality and post-trauma mental health may influence each other, in both positive and negative ways. This has less to do with people's dispositional spiritual identity and more to do with how they spiritually cope with adversity. Given that trauma often leads to a need to find meaning, and that spirituality often provides such a meaning system in people's lives, it follows that trauma can introduce a need to reconcile difficult events with beliefs.
Changed relationship to or conception of one's deity. That is, a traumatic event can cause people to experience changes in the way they see a Higher Power, such as feeling abandoned or punished by them, feeling angry at them, or questioning how a loving, all-powerful deity could allow horrible things to happen to the innocent. When religious meaning systems are very central, then individuals may either shift their pre-existing beliefs (e.g., "There is no Higher Power.") or their sense of the situation (e.g., "I must have done something wrong to provoke this punishment."). If people see an event as likely caused by punishment from a Higher Power or evil forces, they may have a sense of predictability while also feeling that the world is more cruel than previously thought. A changed relationship with one's faith can also be made more difficult if a trauma occurs during a stage of psychospiritual development in which there are already normative doubts and questions (e.g., early adulthood; 13).
No matter what caused PTSD in you, this is an important part of your healing. The problem is, when people claim to be Christian yet spew out hatred, judgment, lies, display anger, and cause division, they are not what they claim to be, it shuts off seeking it. Understandable if people do not know what Jesus said was the way to treat others and what a "personal relationship" with Jesus means.

Here are just some of the things you need to know.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
It is great if you belong to a church and feel welcomed there but do not need to go to a building to talk to God. You can do it wherever and whenever you want. You don't need money to put into the church funds. You do not need to follow their rules or confess your sins to another human, You can follow the rules Jesus laid down if you believe in Him, or whatever the higher power you believe in. There is a huge difference between "religion" and having a spiritual relationship as a Christian or any other faith you have.

If you are suffering you need to know it was not caused by God but He understands your pain. The Beatitudes
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
He went to the mountainside to preach...not into a building.

You do not have to take an oath to a group of people that will force you to do what they say.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Notice that it says the earth is His footstool? That was what He told Isaiah when he wanted to build God a temple.
Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool: What Temple can you build for me as good as that? 2 My hand has made both earth and skies, and they are mine. Yet I will look with pity on the man who has a humble and contrite heart, who trembles at my word.
If anyone wants you to hate someone else, He preached against that. If they hate you and claim to be Christian, they are not. They just claim to be.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
There is so much in the Bible of what He said that proves too many you see on TV and at political rallies claiming to be "Christian" have no relationship to Him at all.

Do not be deceived by them because that type of person would be the first to tell you PTSD came from God instead of God is there to give you what you need to heal. I can't count how many times I've heard people say "God only gives us what we can handle." They don't realize they just told us it happened because God was punishing us. He didn't. I know He saved me many times, forgave me, took mercy, and comforted me. I didn't need to belong to a church to seek His help. You don't either.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Isn't it better to do what we can to heal than it is to wait it out?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 14, 2024

I recently realized that people can only understand someone else's pain if they have experienced it. Otherwise, they dismiss what it feels like for you to go through it especially if it is nerve pain

A vertebrae moved and has been hitting discs and nerves for years. The last time I had to have shots into the nerves was almost five years ago. I managed the pain by being careful but it came back with a vengeance. Part of me wanted to just wait it out but it got worse. Some of my friends can understand it because they remember when they felt that level of pain. Others suggest I get more exercise to get rid of it. Some even suggest drinking more alcohol. I went to my doctor.

It is amazing how those solutions are what people offer when we say we are dealing with #PTSD. They can't understand it even though most of the people you know have gone through something horrible that causes them emotional pain. The truth is most people could understand it if they wanted to but remembering causes them pain all over again. No one wants to go there.

So what do we do when no one we know has experienced what we're going through? The same way we address other causes of our pain. We go into therapy because it helps us. We talk to professionals because they have been trained to understand it and treat it. We take their advice. Sometimes we need medication to help us and we take it. What we don't do is listen to people who have no clue what we're going through or what we need to heal.

Without medical testing, no one can see our pain or know the cause of it. It is the same with PTSD. Tests help the mental health professional diagnose and treat it. If we don't seek them and wait to "get over it" it gets worse. If we suffer for our silence. Isn't it better to do what we can to heal than it is to wait it out?

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

You are the only one able to change what you believe

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 5, 2024

Why do churches contradict what is in the Bible? They tell us to not seek the dead as in this passage, Leviticus 19:31 "Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." Then tell you to pray to saints. I found this answer from St. Paul's Seminary.
"Catholics believe that canonized saints, who are individuals recognized by the Church for their exceptional holiness, continue to be a part of this communion even after death. When Catholics pray to saints, they are reaching out to these holy individuals, seeking their intercession and guidance in their relationship with God.

It should be noted: the Church teaches all people in heaven are saints. But some are officially designated as having lived lives of heroic Christian virtue and are thus worthy of imitation and veneration.

Seriously? What about all the other people who dedicated their lives to helping people because they were serving God but for whatever reason, the "church" wasn't interested in them?  The "church" tells people they need to give their money to the church while Jesus said to give it to the poor. They tell you to confess your sins to another human, but Jesus said to ask God for forgiveness. They tell you if you don't follow their rules, you are wrong because their way is the only right way. That isn't what Jesus said. They won't tell you the word "church" that Jesus built was not a building but an assembly. They won't tell you that Jesus didn't pray in a building but prayed outside and spoke to the assembly of people choosing to listen to Him.

They tell you the words they want you to use in prayer. It sounds like a good thing however, Jesus said to pray to Our Father. Add this from Matthew 6 to that, "5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." 

I wanted to know why the church has to perform the ritual of baptism. I was baptized but I heard it was done in case babies die as infants. I also heard it was because the baby was conceived through sin. There are many explanations but none of them made sense to me. Why does the church baptize babies?
Why do children need baptismal grace for salvation? Because they inherit original sin from the moment of conception.
"The Catholic Church has been baptizing babies ever since Christ commanded His apostles to baptize all people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (see Mt 28:18-20). This has always been the practice of the Orthodox churches and of many Protestant denominations as well.

Parents bring their babies to the waters of baptism by professing a belief in Christ on behalf of the child and promising to raise him or her in the faith. For adults who are to be baptized, the Church also requires them to profess their faith in Christ."

Because baptism confers saving grace, the earlier a person comes to baptism, the better.
As adults, it makes sense because they made the choice willingly knowing their spirits needed to be cleansed. After all, no one is without sin or beyond being forgiven by God. 

This all brought me back to Genesis 2:7. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

It seems as if the church wants to venerate some people because of the power of their souls, but at the same time, they want to ignore the power of the souls/spirits in their care.

What makes you unique is your spirit. It isn't just your genes that came from your parents. It is why you may look like people in your family but are not the same as they are. Consider the expression people use to explain someone with wisdom beyond their years as being an "old soul," defined as," a person, especially a child or young person, who demonstrates a maturity, understanding, or seriousness that is typical of someone much older"

What if the church doesn't give you a reason to explain baptism? If it is a sin to be "fruitful and multiply," why would God command it? "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” How can they say a baby was born with sin?

Is it because the truth terrifies them? Imagine if they told people they baptized babies to cleanse their spirits because their spirits for the sins committed in past lives. Wouldn't that cause parents to want to see their babies baptized to give them a fresh start instead of telling them they needed to do it in case their baby dies as an infant? Many cultures believe in reincarnation and so do individuals.

This is from the National Library Of Medicine regarding past lives.
One of the mysteries puzzling human mind since the origin of mankind is the concept of “reincarnation.” It is derived from Latin and literally means “to take on the flesh again,” in other words, “to take on the fleshy (physical) body.” Discussion of the subject appears in the philosophical traditions of India and Greece from about the 6th century BC. What exactly is reincarnation? It simply means that we leave one life and go into another; it is all for the sole purpose of soul development and spiritual growth. The soul may take the form of human, animal, or plant depending on the moral quality of the previous life's actions. This doctrine is a central tenet of the Indian and Greek religions. However, reincarnation implies that the person remains essentially the same, while occupying a new body. Reincarnation is also known by other terms like “rebirth,” “metempsychosis” (Greek word), “transmigration” (English equivalent of metempsychosis), “disambiguation,” “palingenesis” and so on."
I hope this is making you think about the power within you. Do you think you've been here before? Maybe the expression, "I must have done something wrong in a past life," means more than just words now. The more I think about the power of spirits, the more questions I have. 

I wanted to make some points when I wrote The Scribe Of Salem. Unbeknown to me, I made a point I had no intention of making. It was pulling readers into a world they didn't know they lived in. Magic and miracles are all around us but we attribute them to luck instead of seeing there is much more to our lives than flesh and bones. It is the spirit within each of us that guides us and helps us. 

If you believe the spirit within you guides you, then you will yield to it. If you don't, then it doesn't matter what your spirit is trying to tell you. If you believe that surviving the cause of PTSD was an intervention from God, then you have hope He will help you heal. If you believe that He caused the event as punishment, it is impossible to hope for His help. Why? Because most people believe the spirit inside of us was created by Him. No one can change what you believe no matter how hard they try. You are the only one who can do that. The power is all yours.

I tried to change what people believed about having PTSD. Most of the time it worked and they realized what they were led to believe was wrong. Sometimes they wouldn't listen no matter how hard I tried, how many facts I gave them, or how much time I spent with them. They refused to change what they believed. I had to give up until they decided to listen. Sadly some of them never did.

All of us survive our own horror stories and battle demons trying to take away who we really are.  All of us need someone to help us heal by knowing the pain we carry because they once carried their own. We are the only ones able to accept their help or walk away.  

That is what all the characters of The Scribe Of Salem went through trying to save Chris Papadopoulos and help him do what his spirit was sent here to do. Sure it is about fighting PTSD but there are too many things missing in books or movies about it. Yes, it is about a conspiracy and secret societies because when people think about them they tend to believe them to be evil. I flipped it all around. Just as I flipped the Salem Witch Trials around and the beliefs of the people willingly allowing the trials to go on as long as they did.  

My hope is you will flip things around too and find what you have been looking for, or at least imagine it to be possible. You are the only one able to change what you believe.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Bring Forth What Is In You

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 27, 2024

Memorial Day always brings me back to why I started to do this work over 4 decades ago. Back then, the only information I could find about #PTSD focused on veterans, like my veteran. He's a Vietnam veteran. It is because of veterans like him coming home with the unseen wounds of war that we learned about what surviving does to survivors of all traumatic events.

If you read anything about men and women being willing to die for the sake of this nation, know this, those who survived never stopped paying the price for it. No one was forced to fight back then and no one was warned about what it would do to them other than losing their lives or limbs. The wound they brought back home needed to be healed but no one knew how to treat it.

Now we know better. We know there is a price to pay for surviving. Mental Health professionals have seen it firsthand by brain scans and learning from their patients. They focused on the mind. Physical therapists learned how to help veterans control what it did to their bodies with treatments such as Yoga. They focused on the body. Sadly, the problem was that the spiritual aspect of what was also inside their patients needed to be addressed, but wasn't.

The military has relied on Chaplains to care for the spiritual needs of service members. The Veterans Administration has recently focused on the spiritual healing of veterans with PTSD. Have you ever heard about the price far too many clergy members pay for what they do? The truth is that 35% meet the criteria for PTSD. They treat civilians so it is easy to see how military chaplains can pay the price as well as them. 

The most important thing that keeps getting missed is, that everything you need to heal is within you but the chaplains don't seem to know it is also in them.

The Gnostic Gospels Frontline
Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
You were created for a purpose. If you decided to be willing to pay the price to serve others, everything you needed, was in you from the beginning. Courage and compassion were in you along with the ability to make peace with what you had to endure and heal from within. Otherwise what gifts you have within you will allow PTSD to destroy you.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
If you believe you are paying a price as if God judged you for whatever wrong you think you may have done, it blocks your ability to heal. If you know there is nothing you cannot be forgiven for, it frees your ability to use what He put in you.
Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14
As for Chaplains, you were sent with everything you need to heal within you. Isn't it time to bring forth what is in you too? Once you do, you will become the healing power as a minister to their spirits.

It is time for all of you to come out of the dark and realize you are not alone. Have the courage to open up about your struggles and then use your compassion to help others heal.

Kathie Costos author of For The Love Of Jack His War My Battle, The Warrior Saw, Residual War, The Scribe Of Salem, The Visionary Of Salem and the 13th MInister Of Salem.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Can voices in your head be a good thing?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 20, 2024

Everyone has voices in their heads. Sometimes they can come to life as we remember things people we love said to us. Unfortunately, the voices can also come from memories of terrible things people said. When you have #PTSD those voices can become the loudest ones we hear. How do we drown them out with the ones we need to hear?
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” ― Thomas Aquinas
As an author, I don't just hear the voices of people I know. I create the voices of people I wish I knew. They said the things I needed to hear when I was falling apart. My painful memories are poured into them as they confide in someone they trust. Instead of having their pain dismissed, they are comforted the way I wish I was back when the pain was often too much for me. The hope I write about comes from memories of strangers coming to help me, not just heal, but thrive.

One of my best friends told me the night before one of most memorable conversations he was suicidal. I could hear hope in his voice, so I didn't panic but I felt great sadness for him. I asked him why he didn't call me. He said he didn't need to because I was the voice in his head. That is how powerful it is to have a good voice in your head especially when a bad voice is shouting.
“Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.” ― Thomas Aquinas

We tend to push people away from us when we need them the most. Do we fear they will judge us as being weak or fear they may believe we deserve suffering? Is it safer for us to hide our pain as we can wait it out and magically go back to the way we were before, or is it because we fear we are beyond being helped? While Aquinas was correct, the fact is, it doesn't have to drive compassion out of hearts unless we turn it into a contest.

If we think our suffering is so much greater than someone else we may not feel compassion for them. If we notice how much we have in common, we realize the words that would comfort us and dare speak them to comfort someone else. We may never hear those words spoken to us before they come out of our mouths, but we hear them when we say them, thereby comforting us in return.

Writing The Ministers Of The Mystery series was healing for me because I wrote all the things I wished I had heard someone say to me. Above that, I shared the suffering I feared to share with people I know. As you read The Scribe Of Salem, The Visionary Of Salem, and the 13th Minister Of Salem, you'll find yourself surrounded by friends you wish you had, hear what you wish you had heard, and find power in what you can do for others. You'll find out why you may have felt God wasn't interested in your suffering and then find your way back to Him directly by your spirit.

When you finish reading them, I hope they inspire you to deliver the voices of hope others need to hear and become the good voice in their heads too.