Prayer to overcome PTSD

There are just the two of us over here, and all my husband has is me. When we work with the animals, there isn’t another man to handle them with him. It’s just me. After my ordeal with the steer at the end of January, I’ve basically been a bowl full of Jell-O when it comes to loading up the animals. After getting seven staples and three stitches removed, the memory has dulled but comes back to me at times when the situation surrounding the event reoccurs.

I’ve come to realize I may have a minor version of post-traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD.

Looking up the meaning of the phrase, it stated: “A condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.”

In comparison to what others have endured, my experience is minor. For example, the recent school shooting in Florida — a horror so unimaginable I cannot put words to paper describing the grief and shock. Also, as I acknowledge what our military, police, EMTs and all those put in place to tend and protect us endure on a daily basis, my experience pales in comparison.

It was something I experienced. From my own personal involvement, I share how I feel.

Just this past weekend, my husband told me that come Monday, we will have to get a steer loaded up for market. Immediately, my heart started racing. My palms grew sweaty, and my legs felt wobbly.

Monday rolled around. My husband had plans. He is proficient around the animals. A herdsman all his life, he knows how they act and what they will do. A brand new Fleet Farm gate was purchased and, inside the barn, gates and barriers were fashioned like a chute to take the place of the guy that was supposed to be helping. Ah, me.

I was delegated to the skid loader. Inside that piece of equipment, I have confidence. I know how to handle a skidsteer. No brag, just fact. Husband figured I’d be more useful to him inside the equipment rather than me and a stick sharing the same airspace as this really big steer.

Because the animals get water on the cow yard and occasionally my husband puts a round bale in the feeder there, they are used to freely going in and out of the yard and barn. This day, the steer walked right into the barn and into the pen and, quickly, my husband swung the gate and fastened it tight. Step one accomplished.

My job was now to drive right up into the barn with the skidsteer and hold him there, not allowing him to jump over the barrier, which Black Angus are well-known to try to do. Driving up inside the barn, I was left alone while my husband quickly ran to the truck to back the trailer up to the barn. I have to tell you, I was shaking.

The steer and I eyeballed each other. This big animal was staring at me, not three feet from my face. Once he sniffed at my window, his hot breath fogging a round patch.

I started praying: “Father, you have been with us our whole lives. You have never let me down yet. Based on your track record, you can be trusted, so I am gonna trust you to get us through this.”

After that prayer, I settled down. It was like a thick blanket of peace enveloped me. I was going to be all right. My husband was going to be all right. This animal will be loaded up without incident, and we will all be all right.

Backing the trailer up snug, my husband got out and told me to get myself as far as possible to the left. Backing up, going forward, backing up, going forward inch by inch, I got my skidsteer to the left. There was no room for error.

Husband opened the gate and got into the pen with the steer. I stopped breathing there for a moment. Lifting my bucket, I positioned the arm so that it blocked my window; in case the steer tried to knock into me, he’d hit the arm of the skidsteer instead.

His only way out of the pen was into the trailer, and into the trailer he went. Door shut. Locked.

Shutting off the skidsteer, I put my head down and cried (of course), out of complete and utter relief. Also, I felt a little more confident, a little less jumpy. “Thank you, Father God. Thank you. Thank you!”

Running to the house, I grabbed my husband’s wallet. Handing it to him, I gave him a bear hug, squeezing him tight. He was all smiles.

“You were magnificent! I’m so proud of you!” I told him in his ear. “We did it!”

Watching the trailer going down the road, I was so thankful to God for our safety, for calming me down and the fact that I was even able to help at all!

My husband’s creativity and thoughtfulness went a long way in overcoming my PTSD, one steer at a time.

(“I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you. Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.” Isaiah 41:9-10, The Message Bible)