If you would have told me, I was going to write a post about what my trauma has done for me six months ago, I would have said, “There is no way that is going to happen!” But here I am, writing about it and hoping I can help someone out there who struggles with it.
So, let’s talk about trauma. It isn’t the usual topic of conversation that you have with others. But, it is a topic that needs to be discussed because so many people are suffering from it in the world today. I think we can all agree that our world has dramatically changed in the last few years and because of that change, there are more and more people suffering from trauma and the repercussions from it.
Before I go on, I want you to know that I understand how painful and debilitating trauma can be. I am not in any way trying to minimize the havoc it wreaks in our bodies. Trauma is awful and to live with it day in and day out is horrible!! It takes a very long time to deal with it and heal from it. The trauma that happens to us is bad, but God can bring good from it.
I was born into trauma. I lived in a war zone every day of my life until I was old enough to get out of my house. I developed very destructive habits in my younger years that stuck with me for a very long time. Then, in my thirties, I started dealing with depression. My doctor suggested taking medication, so I complied. The medication helped, but there was still a deep sadness inside me.
When I was 37, my world came crashing down after my brother committed suicide. When I heard the news, there was a shift in my body that I really can’t explain. I remember my heart sinking, my heart racing, and my body was completely overwhelmed with emotion. I felt out of control and lacked the ability to deal with what was going on inside me. It was my first experience with a panic attack.
From that point on, little by little the anxiety got worse and so did the horrible panic attacks. By my 40th birthday, I was really suffering. I couldn’t hide from my feelings any more. It took days for my doctor to help me find a medication that could help me function and calm down. I was a mother of three daughters and I desperately needed to be able to take care of them.
One night, a good friend of mine was with me and witnessed me having a panic attack. She took me aside and strongly encouraged me to seek counseling. She gave me the phone number of a woman that she talked to. So, I called the number the very next day to set up an appointment.
I want you to know that it took desperate measures to get me to pick up the phone and dial that number for counseling. I really thought I could handle my life, until I couldn’t. So, I know how hard it is to reach out for help. But, to be perfectly honest, you have to have help. You really don’t have a choice if you want to get better. I’ve spent thirty years on medication and twenty years in some form of therapy.
That’s what trauma did to me physically and emotionally. But what I want to share with you is another side of trauma. A side that is is hopeful. I know when you see the word trauma, it’s hard to imagine seeing the word hope next to it. The two words side by side don’t compute in the brain, especially when you are in the midst of living in your misery.
But… I have found hope and a purpose to my trauma. It has taken me many years to say those words. In order to explain why those words go together, I just have to talk about Jesus. I’ve read the story about Jesus dying on the cross since I was a little girl. This year, the verses about Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, jumped off the pages and burrowed into my heart. The words I am about to share with you gave me new meaning— a new revelation of Jesus. So, let’s get to it!
He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is crushed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting Him might pass Him by. ”Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:33-36
This Easter, for the very first time in my life, I looked at Jesus and realized He knows trauma. (You are never too old to learn something new!) He knows from first hand experience how horrible it is. Peter A. Levine says it best. “God-man is distressed, troubled, overwhelmed to the point of death—the very definition of trauma.”
He was deeply troubled and distressed. He knew what was going to happen and even sweat drops of blood over it. He said His soul was crushed with sorrow to the point of death. Because of His distress, He wanted His friends to stay with Him so He wouldn’t be alone. He even asked for God to take away the suffering, but then said, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Jesus knows how we feel when we suffer. He can relate to every bout of depression, every panic attack we experience and all the anxiety we feel. He knows what it is like to feel intense pain. He knows what is like to be deeply distressed and troubled. He knows how to feel extreme sorrow.
The bottom line is… He knows. The day He died on that cross, He became so much more. He became our way through. He became our way through anxiety, depression, panic attacks and so much more. When you feel like you are alone in your pain, you have someone who knows how you feel. The men that Jesus asked to be with Him kept falling asleep. So, He knows what it feels like to be alone. He wants us to turn to Him because He knows. When no one else understands, He understands.
I’ve been on a long journey with God. I have been trying to understand His ways. I’ve been desperately searching for answers to my questions. But what I didn’t realize, was my seeking and searching was giving me so much more than I asked for. My searching gave me more of Him. My seeking brought a deep attachment to my Trinity and that attachment is giving me healing.
“We don’t need answers from God like we need attachment with God.” Voskamp
Yes, it is nice to have answers. Yes, we need counseling and sometimes we need medication. But, the attachment I have with God is what is truly healing me. The time I spend with my Trinity is giving me the insight and the growth I desperately need to endure my life in this world.
“Let our mysteries lead us to deepen our relationships, heighten our gratitude, strengthen our God-attachment, and grow our soul resilience, this is the way we find meaning and keep standing. All is meant to grow the soul toward the goal of God.” Voskamp
When I attach myself to God, sit at His feet, learn from Him, listen to Him, talk to Him, wrestle over issues with Him, give Him my struggles and my will—the trauma lessens a little each day. I have realized that everything that has happened to me is meant to grow me not destroy me.
There is a great return when we pray for His will to be done in our lives. We gain His wholeness when we give Him our brokenness. We gain more of Him to help us with our pain and our suffering. He is truly our way through the trauma.
I feel so much as I write these words. I am grateful. I am in awe of God. I am proud to be His child. I am excited to learn more. But most of all, I am deeply humbled at what God has done in my life. My mind is blown away by how good He is. How faithful He is. He has been so kind to me when I have questioned His every move. There is nothing on this earth that compares to Him. He is my reason for living.
I could go on and on. But, what I want to leave you with is hope. Hope in Him. Attach yourself to Him and don’t let go! He is the Way through our messy lives.
I love you dear friends! Until next time…This is my journey to joy!