Red Friday – Mighty Oaks

After living through a few strong tropical storms and hurricanes, one of the most amazing things to me were the oak trees my in-laws had planted when they bought the swamp property over 50 years ago.  Those trees are huge now, provided so much beautiful shade in hot summer, a strong limb to hang our hammock, home for squirrels and birds.  Shelter.  It was a peaceful place. And a place where beauty is seen in the rough exterior.

When we were slammed with wind gusts up to 99 mph during the quick and intense Hurricane Charlie, I thought for sure those trees would break. Some of the limbs did, but even stripped of their leaves, those oaks withstood all 4 hours.

When the next  year we were pummeled by a much longer, and strong Hurricane Wilma, again, I expected to see at least some of those trees come down, as we could hear the massive cracks of pines, palms and paper trees snap like twigs.  But again, once the 100 mph+ winds died down and we walked the property inspecting the damage, not one of those oaks were lost.

There was a small “grove” out back of 3 smaller oaks, and it was funny the day I looked outside after Charlie and they were all leaning the same way, but still standing- funnier after I noticed them leaning the opposite way after Wilma, and still standing. As far as I know, they are still standing, leaning in the same way (unless Irma has them leaning yet another way).

After the wild fire that roared through when American boy was about 9, the huge and biggest oak out back that sheltered a trailer full of my father in law’s old tools, Michaels’ and my stuff… survived the fire, while all our other trees were gone. Scorched. And everything we had stored out in that trailer was gone. Ashes. Same with everything else we had except our home and chickens.

The oak was scarred, battered, scorched and once again naked of leaves, but how my heart smiled for joy to see those first shoots of green a few months later.

The Mighty Oaks- not so special to look at, and mostly pretty rough yeah- but wow, survivors and strong as can be.

So what do oak trees have to do with RED Friday…

Last week we featured a few videos for PTSD Awareness month.  We saw how a few Vets’ lives were changed by a special organization called Mighty Oaks Warrior Foundation.  PTSD has a lot more awareness than it used to, and there are more organizations, programs and help than there used to be too.  From service dogs, to drug therapy, support programs, and other not so conventional ideas and techniques which some have found helpful. Which is great.  But what separates Mighty Oaks from most of the other programs is the focus on Jesus Christ, whole healing, soul healing, and these special folks realization that there is a real purpose for their lives after transitioning out of the Military.

The founder, Chad Robichaux and his wife Kathy share some of their struggles as Chad came home from Afghanistan suffering from PTSD

He and others who lead the organization know from first hand experience how real and sometimes debilitating PTSD can be. It doesn’t just destroy the person who has it, but can ruin relationships as well…

Again, the Organization’s Mission statement says it all:  “Our mission is to operate on a standing commitment to assist veterans, active duty service members, and their families who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress and Combat Trauma, by discovering a new life purpose through Christ.”

What’s great about this organization too is that there are programs for women as well- both Military Veterans and wives of Veterans as well as Marriage programs and a Military Resiliency program aimed at helping current duty Service members avoid PTSD struggles through programs aimed at  mind, body and spirit before deployment.

These folks know too well the statistics of Veteran suicide.  No matter how much they do, they know they can’t help everyone…

This is enough to break even the toughest hearts.  Hopefully these mighty Oaks will continue to grow and from help from others, provide the Christ centered stability, shelter and peace for more of our wounded warriors.

God bless all our Troops and Veterans, and those who continue to serve by helping their brothers and sisters as they come home. Let them all know of your “Reckless Love” Lord…

Have a blessed and safe day all, and please get your RED on.