Saturday, December 2, 2023

Are you following Christ or a church?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 2, 2023

When the leaders you follow are using your faith to control you, it is time to examine your own spiritual path and walk away from them.
The word to describe whatever faith you may belong to, sadly, all too often, is not what comes out of the leaders of it. Over 90% of the people I helped since 1982 were offended when I asked if they were religious. I had to use what they believed to help them heal spiritually, and it was an important question to ask them. The last thing I wanted was to convert anyone. After they explained how they used to go to church but felt betrayed, they said they still believed in God and Jesus. The problem was they didn't find either one within the walls of the building. 

They were spiritual but somehow ashamed to admit it. I told them some scriptures they hadn't heard during a sermon and they were empowered to release the shame and embrace how beautiful it was to be what they were.

The Christian faith is being used by far too many to manipulate what they want people to become aware of. They condemn those Jesus embraced and loved. Yes, He preached against committing sins but did not support judging them or hating them. The instructions He gave those who chose to follow Him were about love, compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. They were to live their lives the way He taught them to, not attempt to force anyone else to do anything. They were accountable for themselves and in control over no one else. After all, to preach otherwise would be a lie since God gave all souls free will to make their own choices. 

What we see today is no different than what happened throughout history. What happened in Salem happened in other parts of the world because leaders lied to the people they were supposed to lead.

I hear people scream about their religious freedom being taken away from them. The opposite is the truth. They want to control others and remove their freedom from them. That is not what this country or the Christian faith was built on. The founding fathers looked back at the history of the witchcraft trials and attempted to prevent one faith-based group from controlling others. If we lose that freedom, then all others are in jeopardy too.

I chose to not attend church services after decades of dedication. The reason is simple. I didn't find what I was looking for in them, but discovered far more than I imagined praying to God on my own. That is the power Jesus told us about when He was asked to teach the people how to pray. He began with the words, "Our Father." That gave us permission to pray directly to God.

Those manipulated by their religious leaders are no different than the others throughout history. They used it to do far more than simply control their followers. They used it to gain power and wealth, feeding off the "faithful" while preaching hatred of others. There was nothing hateful about anything Jesus preached. There was nothing hateful in His actions. Considering as the Son of God, He could have wiped out the Roman army but showed compassion to a Roman Centurion, mercy to a man possessed by demons, and healed people without judgment, hate was not in Him.

So how we've arrived in this time and place allowing it again. We are in a spiritual battle between powers. You do not have to be Sam and Dean Winchester hunting down demons or Nick Burkhardt fighting evil because they could see the others for what they were inside. So can you. You can see it in what they do, more than what they say. You can see it in how they treat others, not in how others treat them.

I am not saying that "religious" people are not spiritual as well. It is possible. Spiritual people do not need another human to hear their confessions. They go directly to God. Spiritual people do not need a prayer circle held by a church group but can be part of one no matter where they are. We do a lot for others and ask for nothing in return. Most of the time, we don't even tell people what we're doing. I give to charities all the time but do not seek a deduction on my taxes. I pray for people without telling them. That is how I choose to live my life.

What I've seen going on in far too many churches when they go against the faith they claim to have is all too familiar. They are preaching hatred, judgment, and lies, and liars are saying that what Christ said is nothing more than "liberal talking points" while at the same time they claim to be serving Him. They want to control the lives of others and then whine about not being able to rule over them. I guess it makes sense to them since they've already proven they only care about themselves. When you think about how low the percentage of people attending church is now, it is easy to see how a spiritual life is preferable for many of us.

If you want to know about the spiritual life, this is a good place to start to discover just how much power and beauty are within you.
What Is Spirituality?
Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.

Some may find that their spiritual life is intricately linked to their association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Others may pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. Still others seek meaning through their connections to nature or art. Like your sense of purpose, your personal definition of spirituality may change throughout your life, adapting to your own experiences and relationships.

I am a solitary spiritual person and a Christian. I want to live my life the way Christ taught, not the way the church has manipulated the beauty of His message. That means I must accept people as they are. If they need help, it isn't up to me to judge them. Only God knows what they really are inside, just as He will judge me for not helping when I can do it.  I know I can only control what I choose to do and they are free to make their own choices. 

All churches are not bad. I had a great priest growing up. I attended that church most of most of my life. One of my best friends is a pastor and a fabulous one. I worked with her for a couple of years and saw her spiritual power, especially when she sang. 

The thing is if you are struggling after surviving something that made you question God or your faith, you may be asking the wrong questions to the wrong people. Too many of us tried talking to a faith leader and left with less hope. Even more of us tried to talk to people we knew in church and ended up being judged by them as if what happened to us was our fault. They'd ask us questions wondering why we didn't do something or why we did what we did to cause it. Then the worst thing they'd say is telling us that God only gives us what we can handle. As if that was going to comfort us at all when they basically just said it was caused by God!

I found more comfort and support talking to other survivors after they were pulled out of the abyss. I found it astonishing when they wanted to help others the way they were helped. Such inspirational messages empowered so many others to do the same, including me. Had others not shared their stories of struggling to heal, I doubt I would have done what I did all these years.

Find what brings you comfort, support, and healing because #PTSD is a spiritual battle as well as a mental and physical one. Add spiritual healing to your to-do list and find a sense of peace that no one can take away. If you cannot find it in a religious building, remember you don't need to be in one. I think that is an overlooked message Christ gave. He preached most of the time outside and to Our Father. 

You can walk away from that building without having to walk away from God or the faith you have. Discover the power and beauty of the original messages. Examine scriptures fully to see the clues of what was in the beginning while discovering what were the contradictions within other scriptures. Acknowledge that humans wrote all of it, delivering the messages they were paid to deliver, and what they wanted known as much as they left out what they wanted hidden. The answers are there. The answers are also inside your soul. Well worth the time it takes to discover them. I know I was saved many times and helped by strangers. To me, they will always be spiritual beings sent to do what they could to help someone they did not know for no other reason than they cared. I want to live my life the same way.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Stigma around PTSD still exists despite ‘shock’

Stigma around PTSD still exists despite ‘shock’ around Ontario police officer’s death

Global News
By Dave Woodard and Don Mitchel 
Posted November 28, 2023
His death opened doors for his immediate family who used the episode to speak openly about his demons and reminded first responders they don’t stand alone in the stigma surrounding mental health.
A first responder from Alberta is making his way across Canada on foot. Now in Nova Scotia, he's hoping to encourage others suffering from PTSD to open up about their struggle. Shelley Steeves reports. – Jul 14, 2023
In a five-part series titled First Responders in Crisis, Global News is looking at some of the issues that continue to loom around mental health and first responders. We’ll explore what’s being done to help first responders and what has changed over the decade.

December will mark 10 years since a well-regarded Hamilton Police investigator took his own life inside Central Station, putting a spotlight on first responders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the job.

Family and friends of the late Staff-Sgt. Ian Matthews expressed surprise in the days following the Dec. 17, 2013, episode, including Const. Andrew Leng, who was a neighbour.

“He lived two doors down from me, and I watched his kids grow up with mine,” Leng recalled. “So I knew him as more than just a police officer, I knew him as a neighbour … as a person. When he took his life, yeah, it completely shocked me.”
learn more here

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Neurological Complications Following COVID-19 Vaccination

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 25, 2023
“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.” Phaedrus


What does this look like to you? Some sort of ancient drawing of a demon or the devil? It isn't what you may think it is. I was shocked when I discovered exactly what it is in the exam room of a neurologist. It is called the Circle of Willis.

The Circle of Willis is the joining area of several arteries at the bottom (inferior) side of the brain. At the Circle of Willis, the internal carotid arteries branch into smaller arteries that supply oxygenated blood to over 80% of the cerebrum.

This is the rest of the picture I saw.


 A search result showed that only 20-25% have an intact one.

Neurologists know a lot of things about how humans work. The thing is, they keep learning new things. One of them is how the Covid vaccine works. We don't know what they know unless we figure out what we're seeing, then we search for answers. I need to be clear on this. I have gotten the vaccine and boosters every time. I've only had one experience that I can complain about, but last year I got the flu shot at the same time. I felt like crap for two days. This year I got a booster and then waited 2 weeks for the flu shot. Everything is OK. Most people do fine with it but some people should be careful, especially if they have a neurological condition.

My husband does. We asked doctors before he got it because it seemed as if every time he did, I had to call 911. Each time the EMTs got him to the hospital, the doctors found something wrong with him, so they passed off his reaction to whatever they found, dismissing the vaccination connection. It didn't cause his condition but because of it, it got worse. 

We asked his doctors, the pharmacist, and a neurologist if it was OK for him to get the shot and they said they didn't hear anything about complications. The thing is, they just didn't hear about them but they exist.

 Neurological Complications Following COVID-19 Vaccination
Purpose of Review
A variety of neurological complications have been reported following the widespread use of the COVID-19 vaccines which may lead to vaccine hesitancy and serve as a major barrier to the public health aim of achieving protective herd immunity by vaccination. In this article, we review the available evidence regarding these neurological adverse events reported, to provide clarity regarding the same so that unfounded fears maybe put to rest.

Recent Findings
There is a greater than expected occurrence of severe neurological adverse events such as cortical sinus venous thrombosis, Bell’s palsy, transverse myelitis, and Guillain–BarrĂ© syndromes along with other common effects such as headaches following different kinds of COVID-19 vaccination. Precipitation of new onset demyelinating brain lesions with or without detection of specific antibodies and worsening of pre-existing neurological disorders (like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis) are also a matter of great concern though no conclusive evidence implicating the vaccines is available as of now.

We didn't know what was going on with his brain until this year. We just knew it was doing something to him that wasn't causing the other physical problems, but it made it worse.

I am still going to get the boosters because I'm OK with them. He isn't. If you have a neurological condition, check with your doctor first before you get the vaccine. Listen to the experts you trust and ask them about what you found in case they don't know about it. Too many of them don't seem to know because all this is new to them too.

Monday, November 20, 2023

PTSD is a spiritual wound

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 6, 2023




We live in a complicated world. That's something we've come to accept as reality. While we acknowledge the existence of goodness and evil within others. We do not understand both live inside of us. We know there are wars around the world. News from Israel and Gaza have replaced what Russia is doing in Ukraine. People suffer for what rulers do while no one knows what to do to save the people. So why don't we see a war of powers all around us?

When we want to know the answer to something or learn something new, we believe it's all within a search engine such as Google. Google collects billions of information. How they do it should be the first thing we learn, but we avoid that primary question. It is easier to trust it knows all than to come to the conclusion we live in a delusionary comfort zone.

Apparently, the world once again managed to create a trap for those searching for more than others know. Outcasts have been forced into hiding since the beginning of time out of fear those in power would lose their control over others. Examples of this are found within clues scribes wrote leaving trails into the mysteries of the unrecorded. Google won't find the answers for you because these answers have never been written.

History is written by humans and as such they do not always know if what they are recording is all there is to know. Even more to the point, we don't know if they write all they know or just what they want to be known by others. There are clues to this in one of the most-read books but few dare to wonder because it will lead them to question what they have been told about the faith they live by.

Begin with the fact that there are other gods besides the God. Shocking? Hardly. It has been known since Moses gave the Ten Commandments and Thou shall have no other gods before me was right at the top of the list. God acknowledged them. He did not command people to stop believing in them but wanted none to be held to a higher place of honor than His. Had that fact been valued, there would have been fewer wars when one group of religious zealots was trying to obliterate all others for worshiping what they deemed as false gods. He was the judge among the other gods. If your eyebrows just went up, you're not alone.

In some parts of the Bible, consulting the dead was condemned, yet churches not only venerate dead Saints, but they also support praying to them. Scriptures are written to condemn those who see the future or what we call fortune tellers, yet venerate others because they are called prophets. There were 12 of them. So how can gifts of the spirit be an abomination as well as holy? 

When you read the clues it is easy to see that when people used their spiritual gifts to harm someone it was an abomination against the Creator. When they were using their gifts to help someone, they were honored for the blessings within them.
This is a partial list of those gifts.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit thereby:
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But all of these that one and the selfsame Spirit worketh, apportioning to every man individually as He will.
The answer is while souls were given gifts to benefit others, some made the choice to benefit themselves. They surrendered to the war of powers within them. Titles were given to the wicked and all with the label were condemned. Consider the title of a witch. Anyone called a witch was hated even though most were using their gifts to help others. Jesus Himself was accused of having His powers come from a demon.
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “This fellow doth not cast out devils, except by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.”

Accusations spread to all those who were with Him. The thing is, not all those with Him were known. Two clues to this have been overlooked. While the 12 famous ones were known by their names,  there were many more with them. Luke 10:1-23 has the first clue when it was known that 72 were sent to serve God and perform miracles. No one knows their names, their stories, or what happened to them afterward. Still, there is another clue. There were 120 gathered to vote on a replacement for Judas and Peter called them "brothers and sisters." This implies while we've been led to believe there were only men serving God with Jesus, women were held with equal status.

Who were they? What did they do with their powers? Where did they go? Historians don't know the answers because no one wrote about them. Really odd considering how vital they were to the spread of Christianity. This interview on Biblegateway with Rev. Dr. John Teter sums it up.


What do you mean, “I would like every Christian to see themselves in the anonymity of the 72”?

Rev. Dr. John Teter: We know very little about the 72 that Jesus trained for mission. All we know is that Jesus communicated with them personally to join his mission team. And we know they obeyed. I think it’s intentional that Luke puts this mission event in the very next chapter after the 12 are sent for mission. We see the 12 go and think to ourselves, they are the apostles and they should do that. But then when the 72 do the exact same thing we’re internally challenged that this might be our calling as well. Luke gives no details about the 72. We don’t know their age, gender, race, socio-economics, education, marital status, spiritual gifts, or even their names. In keeping them completely anonymous, Luke is inviting us to see ourselves in the mission.
Therein lies the mystery of what we do not know. Or do we? We know Christianity spread around the world in loving ways, as well as horrible ones. Unfortunately, people used the power of the name Jesus to control others and blamed evil acts on "God's will," instead of their own. Nothing those horrible people did had any kind of connection to what Jesus taught. 

He told His followers how to treat others. He did not command any acts against others. As a matter of fact, when a Roman Centurion went to Him for help to heal his servant, Jesus did as he requested without demanding the Centurion did anything to deserve it. Why? Because the Centurion showed great love for his servant and proved he believed Jesus could and would deliver a miracle.
The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
We have been led to believe things that are simply only part of the history of our faith but that isn't the only thing we have been misled about. Think about all the different faiths and how you now know there were many other gods since the beginning of time. Think about what you now know about the gifts of the spirit and how those gifts were used as intended by many more than the general public has been told about. Now think about how it was written that God is spirit and since we are made in His image, we are spirit, the spirit He created, sent equipped with gifts, and must pray to Him in spirit

What gifts were you sent with? What if you have them and don't know about them? What if you were sent for a purpose but suffer because you don't know what it is?

You may have heard that if you do not attend religious services, or attend the "wrong ones" you are not a believer. Now you know they are wrong. Jesus prayed outside. Some believe he did so because He was not welcomed in the temple. That may be part of the reason however, the reason is far more simple and loving. He preached and prayed outside with all the people that chose to listen to Him. He healed people without interrogation or demands they convert to follow Him. He became an enemy of the powerful because He told the people they should pray directly to His Father. That His Father was also their Father.

One of the biggest struggles people with #PTSD have is a spiritual battle. We wonder if God did it to us or saved us. Depending on our understanding, we either abandon our beliefs or draw closer to Him. Should we abandon what we believe, then God becomes an enemy, and angels protecting us are replaced with demons determined to destroy us. They feed off whatever negative emotions and thoughts we have to remove all hope our wounds can heal. Now you know the battle we fight is against spiritual forces. 

We also have to battle false beliefs other people have about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some think that we are weak and can't handle what we survived. Others have the idea that our suffering came from God's judgment against us. They see the changes in us as evil taking over. Sometimes we may think that as well. Should we view our survival in a secondary place from the trauma itself, we can view the event as punishment. If people are telling us something like "God only gives us what we can handle," then they reinforce that thought. The truth is, God gives us what we need to handle it and everything we need to heal is within us. 

Just as the spiritual gifts are within you, so is your ability to heal what was done to you. You have the ability to defeat the negative emotions already there but you may not know you have them. PTSD is a mental, physical, and spiritual wound that enters you. 

Change came the second you survived whatever did it to you. You may think that only veterans fight PTSD, but the truth is, that survivors of all different events fight their own battles. Trying to fight them alone doesn't work since you are not just fighting what you believe, you are fighting what others believe because they do not know what they need to know. That's why it often feels as if we're beating our heads against the wall with no way out.

So what do we do? We learn all we can about what we need to know and then find others like us. We don't try to fight this battle alone. Try to use the way the members of the military fight enemies. They do not try to fight alone. When they are outnumbered, they call in reinforcements. They call for everything they can so they survive. They do not deny they need help. You need to do the same. We all do.

We try to explain it to others in our lives because they are just as confused as we are. They look for easy answers as to why we are not the way we used to be. We need to give them the right answers by letting them know we are struggling with the changes we went through from living our normal lives to surviving what we did. We can also give them hope that with help, we can change again from struggling into being a survivor of it as well as defeating PTSD itself.

While we cannot be "cured" we can heal the wounds we have and change again only this time for the better.

That is what I tried to answer in The Ministers Of The Mystery Series. The Scribe Of Salem, The Visionary Of Salem, and the 13 Minister Of Salem explores people sent to help heal the world and fight against those using their gifts for their own sake. Different causes of PTSD are included with victorious characters going on to help others because someone helped them heal. After all, that is what love does when we are shown the way. You can be assured that when you accept help and heal, you will seek to help others heal too because you know what it was like when you did. You know they're suffering and want to make sure they know your victory!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Veterans Day: Until you come and sit awhile with me

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 11, 2023
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me
Today is Veterans Day, well officially anyway. The thing is, we tend to forget that for them they are veterans every day of the year. They leave the service to our country after fighting her battles but their service never leaves them. They pay for it with their bodies, minds, and spirits. 

My husband is one of them. As his caregiver, I've seen what he goes through for over 40 years. When we were young it was hard, but we got through all of it together. We never imagined as we grew older, it would get harder, but it did.

I usually post on Veterans Day about them and families like mine. Today, while it is not so popular to do so, I want to post about those serving our veterans because they made the choice to focus on them.

We feel blessed to have had Department of Veterans Affairs employees helping us because we couldn't have made it without them. Yes, there are problems and horror stories within the VA system. For six years we experienced that first hand when his claim was tied up. That wasn't ten years ago, but over 20 years ago when before social media and when reporters didn't care enough to report what was going on. We were never alone in fighting for what he needed from them. He had great doctors who listened to him and when he couldn't fight for himself, they listened to me. They did all they could. No matter what state we lived in, we were not alone.

We are going through one of the worst times we've seen with an undiagnosed medical condition. It has been fighting for both of us. He requires my care 24-7 when he isn't in the hospital. That's why I haven't been posting much or even working on the next book. I can't do book signings or interviews to publicize the first three because I cannot leave him alone. At least that's why I tell myself but the truth is, I am drained physically, mentally, and emotionally. So is he. Even if I could find the time to focus on what I want to do for myself, I wouldn't be able to do it.

What I can't imagine is doing any of this without the VA Doctors, nurses, and other employees helping us. We feel blessed to know they are moving mountains out of our way and going above and beyond what their jobs are. Why do they do it? Because they have dedicated their lives to people like us.

I am a VA caregiver and found support, and understanding and have someone standing by my side so I can stand by his.

So on this Veterans Day, thank all veterans and families but also thank those who stand by our side every day of the year! You raise us up and give us the hope, support, and understanding we need "when troubles come and our hearts burdened be."