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Beyond The Grave

December 7, 2011


Today I would like to open with Psalm 23.  Perhaps the most quoted Psalm of all time:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Somehow as I sit here in the ruins of my former life I am comforted by a power greater than myself.  The Lord has kept this Psalm on my heart and on my lips for the past, almost nine months, of separation from my wife of 30 years.  Now we are in the final stages of divorce and the realization of it all is hitting me very hard.  So hard that it is even difficult for me to breathe.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a hellish thing indeed.  The enemy uses it to steal, kill and destroy.  Within flashbacks of childhood torture and rape it can make you think that those closest to you are your abusers and then with your very own hands and mouth you attack and destroy the ones you love the most.  There is no nice whitewashed version of what happens in a PTSD episode.  There is only terror and unbearable pain.  It caused me to say and do unspeakable things to my wife, children and friends.  I have repented and been forgiven of any part the real me may have played in these episodes, but behind me lies a wide path of destruction.  And the loss of a wonderful women who once loved me beyond reason.  I believe she still loves me, but the damage was so great and so long that she just had to escape in order to heal and deal with her own depression and loss.  Ever totally forgiving myself will be a long time in coming.  The self loathing and suicidal thoughts never end.   My last full episode was in March and since then due to effective EMDR (Google it) therapy my flashbacks have been minimal and manageable.

However, now I must press on and be the father and brother I need to be to those that have been placed in my life.  My children are wonderful and are very much in my life now.  I have reconnected with old friends and made many new relationships since emerging from the foggy cave of PTSD isolation.  Now I am reconnecting with housechurches I have helped along the way and it really looks like I will indeed have a life beyond my disorder and divorce.

Jesus has been providing me with a wide grace and deep love since March, but really it was always there; I just did not, or was not able to walk in it due to my affliction.  Like it says in the Psalm “He restores my soul” The word “soul” in Hebrew means breath or vitality and that is exactly what I am regaining from Him.  The word vitality means the characteristic that distinguishes the living from the nonliving.  So basically what I am saying is that I was dead, but now I am alive.  In spite of my many losses due to PTSD and my flesh I am now living again because of Jesus.  I am so amazingly thankful!   HE causes me to lift up my head and give Him the glory.

Love and……

Kirk Out !



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  1. Chris-

    I just can’t believe that there’s NO hope of reconciliation here. I mean, are you both Christians? Both submitted to Christ? I’m sorry, brother, as I am operating in a fog on the details, but unless one of the two parties has apostatized, either by word or deed, there’s got to be a chance to avoid this divorce and be re-united under Him.

    Call me if you want- same number.

    • "BK" Zimmer permalink

      Hi, Tim. “No hope” doesn’t match with God, that’s for sure. However, apostasy isn’t the only thing that enters God’s dealings with people. Mercy is another. Divorce is not an unpardonable sin, is it? So, a saved person could conceivably not have the strength to go on (knowing the details), choose to walk, and still find His grace and mercy with them as they heal. Future reconciliation? Only God knows that and only time will tell. In the meantime, yes, I believe both of these precious souls can walk on with God. “BK”

      • “BK”- My point is that a saved person will do whatever it takes to honor Christ- and also do whatever it takes to NOT go through this thing that God hates. That’s why I said “by word or BY DEED” (again, caps in lieu of italics- I’m not yelling). The person who has done the “choose to walk” bit is going through with something that demonstrates that they are willing to commit sin in defiance of God’s commands.

        Please- I realize that there can be justifiable reasons for divorce, and that divorce is certainly NOT the unpardonable sin, but that has nothing to do with what I originally posted.

        Praying for you, Chris.

    • Lori permalink

      Not everything is so easily fixed…..when health and safety are in question and when boundaries are obliterated again and again and again… can be lost and without trust, relationship is nearly impossible….there are things that drive people apart; God can heal that; but sometimes not with each other continuing to slice at the wound…..I have said all that I want to on a public forum.


  2. Ruth Sapp permalink

    WOW bro………..that even washes me with renewal. Just awesome words Chris. Just so real and to me very much seeing what is around you clearly! Love it!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Gary Graham permalink

    Chris, you indeed are a child of the King and a brother. I love you and appreciate your openness and authentic heart. Peace to you and grace and mercy. Praying for you.

  4. Gina Lawton permalink

    Truth from one of my favorite songs:

    “It seems that all my bridges have been burned;
    But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works.It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
    But, you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
    It’s not the long walk home
    that will change this heart,
    But the welcome I receive with the restart”

    Praying for you all today, Chris!

  5. "BK" Zimmer permalink

    I read a book once, Chris, called “Woman on Death Row”. A true story of a woman who had murdered 7 people, met Jesus while on death row, appealed her sentence and lost, being executed. I was SO touched by what she wrote because she said, “If my appeal is denied it’s still ok because even though I am a completely different person today, it doesn’t change the fact the I DID murder 7 people….”. She owned her stuff. Your post made me think of that. Deeply touching, and full of hope.

    Also reminds me that true judgement is ‘judgement unto victory’. I taste both here. I taste Jesus.


  6. Thanks everyone for your kind comments. Gina Lawton, now there is someone I haven’t talked to in over 20 years. The internet is an amazing thing. Tim, it takes 2 to reconcile and also healing and trust. When one is not ready or willing nothing more can be done. Love, Chris

  7. Chris may the Lord replace abundantly all the locusts have destroyed in the past, for all of you. And may you continue to find peace and joy in this often difficult journey as you embrace Father’s love.

  8. Martin Irwin permalink

    Your soul is eternal dear sir. It existed before you were born, and ( you) will remain after. The personality of this life has given you an angle on your soul that will help you in your journey in other lives. For some reason you chose this journey. I am still coming to terms with the journey I’ve chosen. Love is forever, but pain is not. Live, learn, heal. Stay in the present, my dear friend.

  9. Kenny Good permalink

    I really liked how you acknowledged the “wear and tear” that all this had upon others & you were able to grant them the mercy and grace of “escape”… God knows, you too would have chosen escape had it been possible – during the original years and every time since then…

    When we read – “not a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father” – it is often *added* – without the Father’s permission; but that is not what was written. It says without the Father – period. He went through everything – He didn’t give permission; He suffered with and in you… And He too wants deliverance! In fact, since He is in all things – all creation groans and travails awaiting what only Faith, Hope, and Love in God is bringing about!

  10. Jill permalink

    Chris—it looks like so many here have already chosen the best words 🙂
    Could absolutely sense Father’s nearness to you through your words, and I’m sure, your many tears. He’s very good at bringing life to what seems dead. So good to hear your steps into healing, freedom, hope, and life. Praying for you.

  11. johnedmiston permalink

    God has more plans that we have mistakes.

  12. swt permalink

    Hi Chris,

    I understand a bit about the loss you’re experiencing. I’m grateful you have the love and presence of your children in the middle of this. Losing Karen was hard. Losing Maddie unbearable still.

    I have another friend who was raped by priests at his school in Ireland. Of his class of 18, only 3 remain alive. The rest have killed themselves or died tragically. He’s 55 and single now, but he has a daughter who gives him hope to carry on.

    Hold onto Jesus. Hold onto your kids. Stand.


  13. Pam Smith permalink

    Chris, your openness is refreshing and challenging. I encourage you to continue to put the blame where it belongs. The thief came to steal,kill and destroy. Do not blame you or Lori. I truly believe that as you both work through things and work at giving it all over to the Lord, there will be healing in your relationship even if you never live as husband and wife. I weep for all that has been stolen from your family…really from all of us. But this I know, He that started the good work will complete it in ALL of you. Love all of you mightily.

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