Anna Courie has a story that military spouses can easily identify with and learn from. When she married her college sweetheart, she knew nothing about military life. Now 18 years and nine moves later, she’s deep in the military culture and loves it.
Courie reflects on some of her early memories as a military spouse, back in the height of long, combat deployments and living overseas. While at her first duty station in Germany, she helped develop the Army’s “Walk to Iraq” program encouraging spouses to walk the number of miles that separated Wurzburg to Iraq. The community engagement and “we’re going through a difficult time but we’re going to do something positive for ourselves” attitude drew her closer to the military community.
Six books and several years later, Courie describes herself as a writer who integrates mind, body, and spiritual health. Her first book was Christ Walk and she’s continued to develop programs to challenge believers to walk biblical routes during the Lenten period.
Christ’s Walk Crushed
When Courie met former Army Chaplain David Peters, he was working with athletes dreaming of encouraging those struggling with moral injuries to journey together to achieve a goal. The partnership was natural and easily fell into place. “What if we partnered up and did this program for those who experience PTSD, moral injury, or some other traumatic life event. To walk literally, through the process, using reconciliation and redemption to help them process. To help them physically grapple with it and come out stronger, more resilient, and maybe feel while the event defines me, it doesn’t have to own or destroy me,” Courie said. And it resulted in another great book.
Connecting Physical Health to Spiritual Health
“Walking is one of the best things you can do when working through problems,” Courie said. “There’s a spiritual component to it, there’s time for meditation, prayer, and reflection.”
She’s always been aware that people’s physical and spiritual health is extremely intertwined – there are people who are not cured of a disease but are healthy because they’ve learned to deal with it on a mental and physical level. Courie believes you can still find purpose and meaning in your life even though you’re not physically cured.
Living a healthy life is very important to how you live with the disease, but it’s not going to prevent bad things from happening. Courie knows this from personal experience. She lost her hearing when she was 12, she battles an autoimmune disease, and she faced a cancer diagnosis about 5 years ago. She had to come to terms with her cancer diagnosis in a spiritual way.
But it wasn’t all easy, “When control is taken out of my hands, I am not at my best. I have to deliberately look for ways to let go and let God.” Courie explained that her cowriter experienced the same. “When David [Peters] was writing, he experienced PTSD coming home from Iraq. I understood his description of experiences and discovered the themes he struggled with are common even if the circumstances were different.” The themes that surround them are what linked them and how they provided each other support, how they were able to experience a shared sense of understanding of the struggles they have in our lives.
40 Days to the Rest of Your Life
Christ Walked Crushed is 40 days. Lent is one of the most common 40-day periods, but a lot of biblical teachings have 40 days. It’s also helpful that 40 days are very close to a 6-week period and research indicates those who commit to something for 6 weeks are often able to establish a routine that leads to lifelong behavior. And that’s the biggest part. Forty days for routine, six months is a pattern, and after that, it’s a part of life. “We’re working to move people along the steps and give them enough time to make it part of their lives and not view it as a quick fix,” she explained.
Courie invites everyone to “Come take a walk with me, just take the first step.” Take a walk with her and make the book your own. “Let’s see where the journey takes us, you’re going to come out stronger and see how this becomes a part of your life now if you continue this process in your relationship with God.”