Article written by Scott Stevens, Pastor.US Army 1990-1995, National Guard 1995-1998, Disabled Veteran

With the holiday season there are a lot of causes for celebration, family get-togethers, and joy. Yet, for some, this is a season of pain, regret, and reflection of the loss of loved ones or friends who are no longer with us.
When I was in the military, holiday seasons were always tough when you were deployed or when you were away from your loved ones. When we had time and while everyone in the military was in the same position, you developed a new family and created memories and shared meals with people you never would have “back home”.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8…
“To everything there is a season, and atime to every purpose under the heaven;
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.”

There is a season, time, and purpose for everything under heaven. This tells me, that each season we go through in life, shapes us for the next season and we build relationships during those times that last forever in our memories.
Many of my Army buddies survived and are doing well, yet there are a few who got injured, developed sicknesses due to exposure, and have mental trauma that they just cannot understand or process. Some have died and others have taken their own life, and that has a heavy toll on those who served and are left behind.
Holiday depression and stress can manifest into sadness, stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, financial stress, and the inability to be with one’s family and friends without feeling something or someone is missing. During the holidays and around strangers, parties, house guests, and family obligations, some feel overwhelmed and increased tension. Many military personnel, in my experience as a counselor and pastor, have symptoms of headaches, excessive drinking, overeating, and insomnia. If you need someone to talk to, pray with or just to listen to you, reach out to a Church or a Spiritual group. WE care and will always leave a light on for you!

Most importantly, GOD is up 24/7 and will always listen, love, and carry you through. One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible is when Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Many of us CARRY heavy loads and feel worn out with all the “things” and memories we carry, yet God promises us “rest unto your souls” if you put your trust and faith in Him. If you feel led, repeat this short prayer after me: “Dear Lord, I am lost and feel overwhelmed with my hurt and pains of the past. I know I have messed up many things in my life, yet I believe in You, that You died for my sins, and can cleanse me from all my past hurts. I want to be better and need a personal relationship with You, thank You for dying for my sins and making me whole again. Thank You for being my friend and companion in this hurt-filled life. Help me find good people who love me, care for me, and will listen to my concerns. Thank you, in Jesus’ name, Amen.” is my email If you would like to learn about Jesus, find a Church, or just need to talk!