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Kristen's Story

Our Father cares for His children; not just the highlights, but the tiny details. He is the Author of all life and is speaking a story greater than I could ever imagine--and He has beckoned me to be apart.

Out of the ten years of our marriage, not one has been un-eventful. It wasn't until our seventh year that we tipped the scales of being together more than we had been apart because of the Army and deployments to Iraq. Then, my husband battled severely with PTSD, it began small and subtle but saw it's height in admission to the VA hospital for suicidal intent.

He was released, but mainly because he knew all the right answers to say to the medical staff (because of being a medic), and because seeing the state of so many others in the psych ward gave him stamina to drive on despite the mental struggle. Miraculously, one night he desperately asked God to heal him, and He did.

We enjoyed several months of relief from the PTSD. One day, he came home from work with a migraine, and even after it was gone, he stayed in bed with his computer--I knew immediately the PTSD had returned, I was incredibly hopeful it could be different this time and perhaps it would not be as severe. But even though I had hope, my heart was sinking slowly into a depression.

November, December (2013), and January were difficult--really difficult for me. One day I got genuinely happy about something and my oldest son, almost in tears, said to me, "I love seeing you happy, Mom." His words settled on my heart like bricks--I wasn't happy (or joyful), and my lack of joy wasn't in a vacuum, it was effecting my whole family.

My husband was actually doing well--fighting with the ever-present help of the Savior against the PTSD that was not less severe. He had been honest with our community group and with me, and was facing the battle in a different way than before--allowing God's grace to be sufficient in his extreme weakness.

Haven, the leader's retreat, was on January 18th, and Brad Kilman came to lead worship for us. In preparing, he felt the Spirit wanted him to say to us (as a group), that God has the keys (not in a general sense--which is true, that Jesus is the "key" to an abundant life, to salvation) to the specific situation that we were in.

Immediately I began to cry, my spirit resonated before my mind and emotions even knew what was going on. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart gently...  Joy.

He has the keys to joy! Not just for me, but also for my marriage, and for parenting. I moved to the back of the room and got on my knees, and asked God to give me strength simply to ask Him to unlock the joy that He has placed in my heart, and He did.

He is faithful. I wept tears of gratitude to a God who knows my heart better than I do, who is concerned with the smallest of details in my life to write a story that tells of His glory.

Psalm 16:11, "You make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

-Kristen Fitzgibbon

(submitted 3.6.14)