“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
What does it take for a person who has experienced trauma to become whole again? For the nearly 90% of Americans who identify themselves as spiritual or religious, trauma recovery often includes faith. This is because faith is the context in which we are able to make meaning of our experiences, and reconcile the realities of our challenges with the worldview that we hold.
Faith is the larger puzzle in which the pieces of our story fit together, creating a picture of our lives that makes sense.
As we mentioned in an earlier post, PTSD is a mental health condition that can affect anyone who is exposed to a traumatic, frightening, dangerous and perspective-shattering event. This can range from war, sexual assault, natural disaster, accidents and/or the treat of death to harm to one’s self or a loved one. The consequences of these types of experiences for someone with PTSD are feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anxious or angry that then not only jeopardize one’s ability to cope with the aftermath, but also affect their ability to continue living in ‘normal’ day-to-day scenarios.
When you're at a crossroads, feeling confused and psychologically wounded, you must rebuild your life and identity. More often than not, though, this process of rebuilding requires help from something outside ourselves.
This is where faith comes in. In these times, your faith can act as your north star, guiding you through recovery and providing you with reserves of strength.
The National Center for PTSD says that 86% of those surveyed believe in God. Furthermore, a majority of those with a strong foundation in faith described religion and/or spirituality to be the most influential source of strength and direction in their lives.
Psychologist Dr. Doug Henning says that our faith can support us during difficult times, noting that it "plays an important role in establishing a sense of meaning for coping with life’s stressors and traumas.”
As humans, we tend to like control - we want to know what situation is happening next so that we can prepare ourselves; a proper protocol of action. Real life, however, has a way of diverging from the plans we have in our minds! Faith gives us a way to grapple with unexpected occurrences. It allows us to surrender to a higher power and trust that, even though we may not understand why certain things happen, we can trust that our faith will help us cope with the aftermath, and rise stronger as a result.
For those with PTSD, faith can be more than a coping mechanism - it can be a consistent, reliable, 24/7 counselor, ally, confidant and self-loving advocate to help recovery from painful traumas.
SkyRose Ranch exists from an understanding that faith is crucial to recovery from PTSD. The Ranch is not only a productive working ranch, but also a place of healing for our partners at the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs. The Mighty Oaks' curriculum is comprised of intensive, peer-based programs that are designed to challenge veterans to overcome their past experiences and optimistically move forward in life, deeply rooted in (and connected to) their life’s mission. They are biblically based, and premised on the knowledge that God has a plan for each of us.
We're proud to partner with these warriors, who take their time at SkyRose to find peace amongst the beautiful landscape and brotherly community they encounter there. For a limited time, when you purchase SkyRose Cattle Company Natural Beef, our founder will donate the cash equivalent to these programs for active duty and veteran military heroes struggling with emotional and spiritual challenges resulting from their service.
If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD and struggling, know you are not alone - your faith can sustain you. And if you are having a hard time reconnecting to your purpose and system of belief due to combat trauma, the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs can provide you with community, support and mentorship. Apply here.