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PTSD Wrecks Man's Life, God Puts Him Back Together

“I had been in conflict, I had been to Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, I had seen the– worst of the worst.” Recalls Nick Lee, “I had seen so much death and so much nastiness in third world countries, I didn’t see God as a positive light in my life. I-I just never thought of– any type of God would allow something so horrific to happen.” Nick Lee served in several military combat tours with the US Marines and Army between 1997 and 2006. During that time he witnessed horrific violence and carnage. After his discharge, undiagnosed PTSD made it difficult for Nick to return to civilian life.

He says, “I still catch myself scanning. I’m always on alert. It was numerous friends and family members telling me, ‘Look, Dude, you're not right. Something's wrong here. No one acts like that. No one does and responds to a situation like that. No one would say that in this situation.’  You know. And I would dismiss it.”
In 2009 nick married Fresca, the woman who’d had his son twelve years earlier. She had since become a Christian, and when they married she didn’t know about his PTSD or his anger toward God. She says, “I wanted to find a man who also sought to live a Godly life. I wanted a Godly man.”  

Nick says, “I put on a good show and put on a good smile and told her what she wanted to hear for quite some time. I wasn't– a Christian still. We just butted heads with that. You know, ‘This is how I believe; this is how you believe; let's just move forward.’  And it wasn't going to happen.  It caused a lot of dissention, a lot of frustrations with us.”  

Their marriage quickly decended into chaos and Nick’s PTSD took its toll on their new family. Fresca remembers, “There were times when he would just scream, scream at our son, scream at me. Um, and I didn't understand why it was - his reactions were just so strong and so explosive.”

Nick says, “I pushed her away more than anything.  I'd do – I did whatever I could to push her away.”

“Eight years of what I consider a lot of times of hellish situations where no one around me could understand. Only God could understand what was going on in me.” Recalls Fresca.  

After eight years of marriage, Fresca and Nick eventually divorced. Even though they were separated, Fresca continued to pray for Nick. She says, “And I would write out these prayers and ask God to open his eyes, to save him. And Nick had been threatening his-his life, and even though I no longer wanted to be married to Nick, I would pray for his salvation.

After the divorce, Nick drank excessively and was suicidal. He says, “Everything in-in my whole life was going down. And I was just it was bad. I had been so mad at everything for so long, I had contemplated rope in the garage; I had contemplated extension cords to hang myself.  I-I just – I couldn’t get myself to-to do it. I knew I had my pistol, uh I sat there and I just kind of willed the courage to do it. I had a full chamber, full six round .357 chamber loaded and I pulled the trigger and it didn't go off.

Nick collapsed to the floor overwhelmed and unsure why the gun didn’t go off. Then he heard God speak to him. Nick says, “And I heard Him speak to me as if we're having this conversation right now. And He said, ‘You must stop this. You need to stop the way you're living. You're going to die if you continue to live this way.  Follow Me.’ I-I just right there started telling Him everything I had done, why I hated Him. And I sat there and I just repented everything I had done that I could think of at that moment. I was harboring all this hate for so long and frustration and-and I was just angry. And it was just like it just whhhhhooow, just went away. And I just –I just – I gave it all to Him.  I said, ‘You're – you've got it.’”  

Nick surrendered his life to Jesus. The next week Fresca agreed to meet with him to hear what happened. She says, “Immediately I could see that this was not the same Nick. He was radiating a sense of peace and he looked like 10 years younger. The tone in his voice was soft, was gentle, God had taken all of his pain and his anger and replaced it with joy and peace.”

Nick says, “I see how things are so much differently than I had before, and I know that if I-I can't control it, I'm not going to try.  It's up to Him. He's got the one all the control – I mean, He knows what's going on, you know?  I don't. I just have to hope that, you know, He shows me the right way.”

Nick and Fresca were remarried shortly after. Fresca says Nick is a different person since the night God spared his life. “He would ask me to read the Bible with him. And that was just unheard of before. It's a wonderful experience in church now, that's when I feel the closest to Nick.”

“He's been there when I didn't really know He was for a long time. And then to look back now, I say, ‘Thank You because I'm sure You were the reason why that bullet didn't take me.’ And I'm sure there's a reason why I'm still here. And I'm – give my life to Him because He saved this one.”

“I'm grateful to the Lord every day.” Says Fresca, “I think about this, every single day, and it's been two years now. Nick wasn't even asking for God's help, Nick was going to take his life and he should have been dead, but God's grace came in and just changed everything.” 

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