The Tribulation Soldier Story
SNEAK PEAK – “…This time, I woke up after five days on the breathing machine and I’d suffered terrible delusions like real-life nightmares due to the medication and being sedated. When I came to my senses, I was convinced that Sharon had left me and that my family had abandoned me. I couldn’t move because of the muscle loss, I couldn’t see or speak and I had no mobile phone to contact anyone. For the next fifty hours, I remained wide awake, and absolutely lost…”
Read on below!
AUGUST NEWS – “…This is quite a large article as a preface summary of how the Tribulation Soldier came to be and the first in a short series of articles in the coming weeks. Hope you enjoy!…”
The Tribulation Soldier Story
HOW IT ALL STARTED SERIES #1
I’d always known that I was destined for the Christian Ministry despite losing sight of it for a time, falling away from God in my teenage years. When I did return in 2002, my life was a huge mess, but in the midst of that, I was told again that my future lay in the Christian ministry. After seven years of having my life straightened out and training for the ministry, that calling began to come to pass as we were set forward in our first overseer role as Youth and Young Adult Pastors. However, the basis of our long term ministry moved forward in 2005 under very difficult circumstances.
It was around that year that I fell suddenly ill with a disease called Ulcerative Colitis and what followed was four years of pain, two major surgeries and as many trips to the emergency room, I couldn’t count. In the end, I experienced that complete healing, but I’d be with a colostomy bag for the rest of my life. Early in that surgery season though, there was double trouble when the church where Sharon I had been saved, baptized and married suffered a major split. We weren’t in an overseer role at the time, as that didn’t happen until 2009, so we had no real say, plus I was housebound and could do absolutely nothing.
It was a huge shock as it would be for any Christian and it made what we were going through all the worse. In many ways, we felt displaced for a time, but we had to focus on that particular season, to get through it and get better. So I looked to God for a long term study and he duly responded with a teaching I’d looked at before called the First Principles of the Oracles of God. Being a working man, I’d never had time like this to study, so with this teaching and many others, I filled in the time between surgeries, hospital stays and those hard days, formulating doctrines and teachings. It might sound a little dull to some, but those were amazing times and for the most part, it kept my focus off my condition.
I knew that these teachings were extremely important, but little did I know the full extent, in that what they provided and still provide, as the very basis for each and every teaching or sermon I’ve had the pleasure to share. When I was eventually healed, I was given a gift at the beginning of our public local church ministry, with an opportunity to preach and teach the First Principles over a twelve-week Sunday night teaching season before National Overseers, Pastors, Elders and Christians from many different backgrounds. We were then encouraged to write and record the season and make available through a website created online, as the Christian Back to Basics. Now I’d never dreamed I’d write books, but there I was creating these eBooks and in this mix, was the Tribulation Soldier Series.
So, in 2005 the foundation for the Tribulation Soldier Series was laid and continues to be the foundation of the eBooks, yet I was still a little hesitant in writing Christian Fiction. I had to say, I loved writing the teaching eBooks because doctrine for me, was like two plus two equals four and I loved and still love the doctrine of the scriptures. However, I never thought that writing Christian Fiction would become such a passion. I love it, and as a Christian Pastor, you use fictional individuals and situations to explain Christian Principles. But this Christian Fiction, meant that I could teach about anything, in any context through the life of these fictional characters and it was then the real passion took hold.
Now despite a lot of hard work, the Christian Back to Basics eBook and Audios was never hugely successful and was a huge learning curve both writing and operating online. And I have to say it was a little frustrating, however, this very teaching morphed into the Tribulation Soldier and now I could see a whole new format for sharing the same foundation. It wasn’t just teachings which could be woven into the storylines, but situations like dating and marriage to depression and death, giving answers and encouragement with so much more. This was great, but I had to say, that I had the joy of incorporating another great passion, using my own personal love for the military in making the Tribulation Soldier a great series.
In what felt like a short space of time, I’d written but not edited, the first eBooks in the series and what started out as a three-part series, turned into a twelve-part and then finally a sixteen-part. The more I wrote the more I knew that there were almost limitless situations and storylines which could be taken into consideration, telling the timeline of the end times, but at the same time providing entertainment and enjoyment along the way. It was so enjoyable but it certainly wasn’t easy. In 2012, after a nine-year promise, Sharon gave birth to our daughter Emily and even though we were told we couldn’t have kids, she fell pregnant again with David.
As you parents know, this almost totally changes your life, so at this time some decisions had to be made. It was then we stepped down as youth and young adult pastors, after a three-year blast of major fun, to take on a new role as assistant Pastors at a church more local to us. There I began this next phase, all the while working, taking care of the kids and writing the Tribulation Soldier Series. In this time I’d managed to write the first four publications with others begun and in motion. But it was tough. As a Christian, you tend to know and be very clear about your priorities and mine was to primarily be a father to my children and a husband to my wife. Quite obviously, my regular job required a lot of commitment leaving the Pastoral work to be slotted in, in-between times!
At around 2016, we began to feel that impression, that it was that time again to progress and with the blessing of our church, we took a more relaxed role to really focus on the writing, editing and releasing of the first eBooks. Because it was a sixteen-part series, I was keen to have at least the first four ready and available before moving on to the next, so we released the first editions on our own website, and then later through Amazon and Smashwords. I have to be honest, I’d hoped for a little more success, but it was the early stages and I knew that we simply didn’t have the resources or platform to make things work. So, again it was back to prayer to find the correct path forward.
In many ways, it wouldn’t have taken a genius to figure out that in modern times our website, but more so the social media, would be a must and again being honest as I can only be, I wasn’t a huge fan. Even the youth kids used to try to get me online and have a Facebook page. I think I did open Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin Profiles and so on, but with our new family coming along and with work commitments, I just didn’t have the time. But there I was now, needing to catch up in a major way to bring the website platform up to the needs of today. It was something I found very hard at first but as always, I thought you just had to go for it and go through the learning curve and it was a steep learning curve.
In the latter part of 2017, we’d built a reasonable foundation of social media channels and without warning, the friend requests, connection and likes just suddenly took off. I was totally surprised and we learned more in those few weeks than I’d learned in a year, but it was so amazing beginning connections with individuals and other Christian ministries as things moved forward. I thought that this was it, that the momentum would continue from here, that God’s promise was now coming to pass. All I needed to do was get past this minor but awkward hernia surgery, and then we’d look forward to see what would happen. It wasn’t to be!
Near the end of 2017, I went in for that surgery and unbeknown to the surgical team, my bowel had been nicked and they closed me back up. Over the following 24 hours, I deteriorated fast and in the end, I was rushed in for emergency surgery, saving my life from severe sepsis. When I woke up, I was delirious with an infection and had a six-inch wound. After a few days, I was sent home to be taken care of by Sharon and one of our friends who was a staff nurse. She noticed that the wound was weeping but it wasn’t blood, it was feces. I was still leaking. So it was back to the hospital for the worst course of serious antibiotics to flush out my system, but the damage had been done.
This time I was sent home with a six-inch open wound with a drain, with the idea of the cut on the bowel healing itself, so in that time, I decided to keep up with the social media, not only to keep up the practice but to keep our new found friends and partners informed. We were told that this healing would be a long process and they weren’t wrong, as it took seven months for the wound to heal. It was then I had to be medically discharged from my job that I really enjoyed with a great company and we still keep in touch today. But this problem wasn’t going away easily, so it was time to focus on getting better.
As the wound closed, it was almost time to go back in for the second surgery to fix the original hernia and repair the damage, so I thought I’d fill in the time by practicing social media videos as a preparation for teaching and sermon videos. It began on the motorbike with an action camera and then moved on to tours of some of our local castles and landmarks. I had to say that it was brilliant to get some videos practice and be out on the motorbike, as it really kept my mind off having to go through surgery again. I’d hoped that this surgery and recovery would be reasonably swift so that I could continue building the Tribulation Soldier. But it wasn’t to be.
Near the end of 2018, I was checked into the hospital for the surgery but this time, my bowel was handled too much during the operation and when I woke up and took water, the fluids entered my lungs instead of my stomach, causing a rare form of pneumonia The pain was excruciating and became so bad that my mind shut down like a safety mechanism and the next I knew, it was two and a half weeks later in another hospital. Apparently, I’d been in a lot of pain but wide awake for nine days, which I have no recollection of but apparently, it got so bad that they had to put me on a breathing machine and rush me to a major hospital.
Sharon told me later that there were episodes where they feared I’d suffer a stroke or seizure and at other times, they told Sharon that they didn’t know if there would be brain damage until I’d woken up. But there was more than once, where it was almost lights out. This time I woke up after five days on the breathing machine and I’d suffered terrible delusions, like real-life nightmares due to the medication and being sedated. When I came to my senses, I was convinced that Sharon had left me and that my family had abandoned me. I couldn’t move because of the muscle loss, I couldn’t see or speak and I had no mobile phone to contact anyone. For the next 50 hours, I remained wide awake and absolutely lost.
Very soon though, I looked up to see the face of Sharon with my Father and Mother. But I couldn’t talk and I had no idea what had happened. I motioned for a pencil and paper and tried to write, but my mind couldn’t tell my hand what to do. A little later, I could give a low whisper and my father explained what had happened. It didn’t sink in at first, but I knew I had a long road to recovery. In the previous hospital, I’d had internet access and could chat to Sharon and share images on social media, but in this hospital there was nothing. Not that I could have typed a text anyway, but it would have been nice to see some familiar facebook profiles!
After a month, I managed to get home before Christmas to be with the kids and it was awesome. I could still barely walk, but I couldn’t have cared less. I’d only seen Emily and David for forty minutes in that whole month due to the distance from the hospital. For the kids, of course, Sharon and I kept it light saying Daddy needed to be in the big hospital with the big machines. Sharon was amazing and despite having to make the five-hour round trip every other night, she didn’t miss a day of work and kept Emily and David in their routine. The kids were missing me and I really missed them, but at the time they knew nothing of how close things were.
When you’ve been through something like that, a job like Tribulation Soldier Series was down on my list of considerations. I had to learn how to write, walk and believe or not, speak again. But I was anxious to get back online to connect with friends and partners thanking them for their unwavering support of Sharon and the kids. I’d found out that there were whole churches praying for us during the worst times and many, now extremely close friends from around the world, assured Sharon that God would come through for us. As a believer, I know just how powerful prayer can be and it was the combined efforts of our friends which saved my life.
At the first half of this year (2019) my rehab began and as soon as I was able, I had the great distraction of filming practice videos and sharing articles and posts as we continued to build the series. This, as I’m sure you could imagine, had been quite erratic going through periods when I could, and others when I couldn’t, but we kept things moving for the sake of bringing our family back to stability and for David and Emily. Both myself and Sharon suffered Post Traumatic Stress, Sharon’s were vivid nightmares with her suddenly waking. This for her is all but gone now, which I’m hugely thankful for, however, for me, it continues in a very difficult way.
I still can’t get off to sleep easily and even though I feel okay and know it won’t happen, I have this fear of waking up in pain, meaning I can’t get to sleep for sometimes over two hours. And then when I do, I can wake at anything between 4am bright as a button, to 9pm feeling extremely low indeed. I’m keeping as active as I can to continue building muscle and it’s been great filming Youtube videos with the kids. But my mind and body simply won’t settle down until it’s good and ready. The doctors warned us to expect this and that it would pass, so as part of rehab, I’ve continued to filming videos and writing articles to fill in the time.
This article has been a fairly brief history of the Tribulation Soldier Series up until this point, and as I think you’ll see, it’s been filled with Tribulation. This can so easily be termed as major setbacks, yet as a Christian, you know from experience that these things have just been part of the process, no matter how horrible these events were. It’s made an extremely tight learning curve even more difficult causing errors, mistakes and breaks, however, God as always, is very clear that none are immune to suffering. It’s not something I like, but when the trials are over, I always feel better equipped to help others and when all is said and done, it will make the journey worth it. But for now, it’s time to keep pushing.
BLOG BLURB – “…At the moment, our first four eBooks are available on our website or through our pages on major online bookshops. We certainly hope you enjoy the story so far!…”