God’s mercies are present to sustain and keep us, even in the places where we experienced trauma. Otherwise, we would have broken apart and been consumed. Human beings tend to focus on what we don’t have and rarely recognize where God preserved us in trouble.
For those of us who have experienced trauma, we are intimately acquainted with how it deprived us. Often, those facts and our perceptions afflict us with deficits. These threaten to interrupt goodness in our lives with their incessant retelling of trauma, shame, and their convoluted story.
We rarely want to acknowledge any part of our traumatic past, even when Jesus beckons for us to bring our burdens to Him. We don’t always notice where the trauma we encountered deposited toxic traits. These often distort thinking and reconstruct behaviors, based on the lies they tell.
Trauma calcifies hearts and minds, hardening us to the possibility of change along any dimension. It produces patterns that pollute us from the inside out, affecting and infecting those whom God intended to bless through our lives.
While trauma may have a story to expose, its shameful narrative is always in error and incomplete. The greatest news and the gospel’s prevailing truth are at work, highlighting that something better is in process.
When considering the nature of a difficult or traumatic past, we can experience a brilliant contrast between the trauma that threatened to consume us and the compassions of our loving Father. From this perspective, we find harmony with the words of the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah. Lamenting, he poured out his heart in ways that continually urge us to lift our heads and hands, surrendering pain and past trauma to the Lord who heals and redeems.
Though it seemed counterintuitive, Jeremiah declared God’s mercies in adverse conditions. He searched as far as his memory bank would permit to recollect the Lord’s compassion from times past. Like the prophet, we may also recall our history. It may seem that there is nothing but condemnation and pain to point out. However, the fact that we are here testifies to God’s preservation and announces that destiny awaits our advancement.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:21-23, NIV
We do need to acknowledge, and even grieve what we didn’t gather in some of the places and from some of the people who mattered. Yet, we cannot remain there perpetually. We must mourn it and move forward. Healing sometimes happens on the move, even if one step at a time. God helps us to do this, all with a heart that is resolved to believe and celebrate that He repurposes what doesn’t make sense.
There are times when we feel that we have nothing else good and nowhere that we can praise God, but we can bless Him for a new day. If He didn’t have a purpose in mind, He would not have furnished fresh mercies to greet us with each new morning.
Today is a day forward and further away from the place of pain that threatened to tether us to a trauma-informed past. It represents one day closer to another manifestation of healing. Each sunrise produces a difference that a day can make, not simply because the calendar flipped, but because there is the potential to experience a change of heart and mind.
Learning to rehearse the Lord’s goodness transforms us from the inside. It continues to do so, remaining in operation, even under duress. When we pair our faith with the promises of God, it produces effects. Simply put, we see what we believe. Sometimes, the process is accelerated and other times, it is extended.
No matter the time, faith grows in the dark. The appearance of circumstances may not reflect God’s truth in our reality just yet. They are a collection of facts that reveal part of the narrative, but it is only the truth of God’s Word that places our trauma story in context.
While the traumatic encounters reveal where we didn’t have control, we can embrace our God-given authority in our healing. We must believe and put our faith to work where God has given us influence.
Next steps for healing trauma.
Pursuing professional counseling will offer the support needed to walk through a healing journey. Counseling provides a safe space where you can address the present symptoms of your pain and process what led to it. Make an appointment to connect with a counselor on this site. It can further position you to encounter another experience of God’s love, power, and glory, even as you heal and grow, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
“Pine”, Courtesy of Jan Baborák, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Go Get ‘Em”, Courtesy of Kyle Glenn, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Planning”, Courtesy of Daiga Ellaby, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License