I looked down to check the time. He should be walking out any moment. My daughter was still climbing all over the back of the truck, but who could blame her? It feels like forever when you’re sitting there waiting. We used to wait in the chapel but not anymore with current COVID restrictions, we just sit in the VA parking lot and wait. Just as I’m about to scramble for the next thing that hopefully entertains the little one just a bit longer, I see him walking towards the truck. He looks distant and frustrated. These appointments are supposed to be making him feel better, but every time is worse. He gets in and shuts the door.

“How’d it go today?” I ask. “Fine” he says.

“What did you guys talk about?” I ask. “Nothing, lets just get out of here.” He says.

It’s the usual silence as we drive home from his appointment at the VA that day. I don’t ask anymore questions and he doesn’t offer any insight. It’s his recovery though, not mine…..right?

Veteran families live this situation daily. They also know it’s not healing their veterans or reviving their families. As a veteran family, we understand this ineffective and frustrating cycle. We have experienced it nationwide in all the places veteran life has taken us and it seems to be the trending model nationwide in veteran healthcare. Much too often, the veterans family is not included in the recovery.

The veteran has a recovery plan. The veteran has therapies and counseling. The veterans trauma and pain are the sole focus, and we absolutely should focus on the veteran. Our veterans should be compensated and contractually provided for. But if that veteran has a spouse and children, he/she is not alone and care/services should be provided for the entire family.

Our family like so many other veteran families has felt the weight and burden of these giant, broken systems. In 2017, the VA approved a surgery through the CHOICE program for our veteran. The VA refused to provide essential equipment due to a breakdown between system communications. This resulted in our veteran losing the use of mobility in his head and dominant arm. There were many errors and failures to effectively provide for our veteran which resulted in our family being put in severe financial hardship and being displaced. There were more corrective therapies and surgery needed to correct their errors. All the while we struggled and fought to stay together as a family through this since only the veteran was supported and covered but not the family. This practice has to change.

Through our healing and recovery our family leaned into God and His word. We searched out faith based counseling in the private sector. Our entire family needed to heal and this was a good start. This approach included us all while previous approaches through the VA did not. The family and veteran should not be separated through recovery and healing, yet it’s standard protocol. Even though I had become his fulltime caregiver, driver, para legal, wellness coach and still taking care of my home and child ; there was nothing available to me because I was just the spouse. Spouses become very isolated, overwhelmed and without the proper resources in this approach. It’s just not successful. The spouse and children are not factored into the veterans recovery plan. But we certainly still live it everyday.

Our family prayed and fought to seek a better way and God made a way.

Set Apart Farms.

We would create what was needed. Faith led and family driven, we are doing things a better way. Set Apart Farms has a family and marriage focus, this is what separates this family and veteran owned/run nonprofit from other non profits.

To be a strong family unit there must be forgiveness,trust and love. There is no one better to model these life giving concepts from Scripture than Jesus. Gods mercy and forgiveness are new every morning. In that forgiveness we also learn to forgive and begin again with one another.

Healing is a journey that should include the veteran and his/her entire family unit. Healthy families are vital to Gods plan for man. One unit serving God together, all with valuable skills and talents. A strong defense against the enemy.

May we strengthen innumerable families to heal and try again, this time with God.

At Set Apart Farms, we know the frustrations you’ve faced because we’ve faced them too. It’s time to do things better. We invite you to come along on this exciting journey with us to Healing veteran families.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" - Jeremiah 29:11