by Heather Tabers
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 ESV
For months, I saw the shadows. Something was looming in the darkness, just out of sight, yet within the distance that a soul knows it is not alone. I tried not to think about it, hoping it would go away. Yet the feeling of being followed, stalked, haunted did not leave me.
Then it happened. I stood in my kitchen, preparing the evening meal for my family when I spun around to find myself nose to nose with the gun. I knew immediately that the shadows I had ignored were that of this intruder. In a matter of seconds my mind reeled with every thought and my heart flooded with every emotion. I feared for my safety. I felt protective over my children. I was angry with myself for not stopping the intruder from entering. I felt guilty for not being more proactive in guarding my home. I wondered if my words or actions had lured this perpetrator into our home.
My eyes scanned the room for an exit. My fingers scurried across the counter top trying to find something to use as a weapon. But my feet did not move. They couldn’t. Fear bolted them to the ground and no amount of inner coaxing could make them move. I grimaced as the enemy gripped the gun tighter, placing his finger on the trigger. I steadied myself as I expected the shot to be fired, but instead the enemy merely whispered, “Boom!”
He looked me in the eyes, laughed his evil, meniacal laugh, turned and quickly vanished into the darkness. For weeks, this intruder reappeared, disrupting the joy and comfort of our home. Taunting me. Mocking me. Shouting at me. Threatening me. Scaring my children. I crumbled in fear every time he returned. He slipped past my security alarm. He danced around the floodlights that were posted around the perimeter of our home. I shut our curtains and turned off our lights, but I knew he could still see me. He seemed to loom in corners that I didn’t even know existed. At the very moments I began to feel safe, he reappeared to throw me back into an existance of sheer panic.
I began to question my own sanity as the intruder came back time and time again. I became overwhelmed with wondering when he would return. I almost wished he would just pull the trigger so this nightmare would be over. I stopped looking out my windows to enjoy the sunshine and instead was searching for signs of his next visit. The places in my heart that were once full of love and anticipation were replaced with fear and anxiety. How could I continue living this way? Sure, I could move out. I could run away. But this house was a gift from my father and I had absolutely no desire to let such a deranged attacker take this most precious gift from me.
After one terrifying attack, I knew what I needed to do. I prayed for the strength to do what needed to be done. I watched and I waited. And when the enemy returned, I remained calm. I looked him in the eye and I told him that I wasn’t afraid. The enemy threw up his hands and he left. The next time he returned, looking meaner and madder than ever, I told him that I had been expecting him and I asked him to leave. The following visit I asked him if he would like some lunch. With each visit, he lost power.
I must warn you that the intruder is still on the loose. He still shows up at my house and while I never invite him in, I don’t let him trap me with fear anymore. But unfortunately, I am not his only victim. The enemy is not a man, but is Satan himself. And he haunts us through the shadows of PTSD as he breaks into the homes of our marriages. Homes given to us from our Father. The enemy is not your warrior husband. It’s not even the war that he fought which came home with him. The enemy is Satan. And PTSD is his weapon of choice.
But God promises His children in Isaiah 54:17 that no weapon formed against us will prevail. So when the gun is pointed at you, there’s no need to fear. God alone has all authority in heaven and on earth. As His children, we have that power in us. And when we claim that power in His name, there is nothing the enemy can do to bring us down.
PTSD is real. It’s destructive. It’s paralyzing. It’s marriage ending. It’s life altering. It’s heart breaking. It’s all consuming. It’s terrifying. But it doesn’t have to be. If your husband has PTSD, seek help. Don’t let the enemy cast fear and destruction into your home a minute longer. You cannot stop him from intruding. But you CAN change your response to him, rendering him disabled in his plot to steal and destroy. Find a Battle Buddy that will help you draw upon God’s power so that you can have life and have it abundantly.
About the Author:
Heather Tabers is a stay-at-home mom of five beautiful children and the wife of a three-time combat vet. She lives with her family outside of St Louis, Missouri, where she enjoys baking, writing, raising her family, and retreating into a good bubble bath. She is the National Military Director of Women At Rest Ministries and she has a passion for ministering to military wives.