Trauma Soul Care
Safe. Secure. Loved.
You are safe in the compassionate arms of God, secure in His unfailing love.
The fear, shame, and pain of our pasts can keep us feeling unwanted and unlovable. However, God sees, hears, knows, and loves us. We are always safe in God’s abundant love, no matter what.
Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18)
Trauma and Hiding
When we’ve experienced overwhelming fear, shame, anger, and pain in the past, we often protect ourselves by hiding within ourselves. Over time, we become so hidden that we might believe even God can’t find us, but Emmanuel (God with us.) is always with us – even in the abuse and neglect, the pain and the suffering, the isolation and the loneliness, and in moments of happiness and joy.
It feels like there’s a war going on inside our minds. We want to respond well to difficult things – or at least not overreact (again). Over and over and over, the very things we want to do, we can’t – and the things we don’t want to do, we can’t stop doing. Too often, we think everyone else has it all together and we’re the only ones who can’t seem to get it right.
The apostle Paul, a man who endured a lifetime of trauma and kept his eyes on the God who always loved him and was with him in every brutal attack, struggled just like we do. We can take comfort that we aren’t alone when we don’t respond as we’d hoped.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (Romans 7:15)
When we look back at our [insert your word, e.g., difficult, awful, unimaginable] past, we are sure to wonder:
- Where was God?
- Why would He let these [insert your word] things happen to me?
- Why can’t I just get over the past?
- What kind of God would stand by and let someone hurt me?
We may also consider other questions like:
- Is my chronic illness, anxiety, or depression a result of my trauma?
- Is my trauma because I live with chronic pain or mental illness?
We are body, mind, and spirit, so if any part of us is wounded, hurt, or in pain, the other parts are impacted. Our past trauma affects today, and today’s pain can create new trauma.
In the garden, God gave the first two people the freedom to choose, and sadly they decided to eat the forbidden fruit. Evil entered the world, and we now live in a broken, fallen world.
Brokenness is Everywhere
Brokenness is everywhere. We are broken. Those we love and don’t love are broken. Every single one of us is broken and hurt – and hurt and broken people hurt people. It is powerfully humbling when we consider the global magnitude of hurt, pain, and heartache in our very midst.
God is the God of constancy and consistency, never-changing and never-failing. From the beginning, He gave us free choice. As people living with trauma, we are all too well aware of evil, but are we as aware of the goodness and faithfulness of God and His Presence? Can we trust God’s promises to always be with us when those who should have loved us did not – or even those who stayed with us to care for us did not? He is also with us when somebody familiar (or a complete stranger) does the unimaginable.
God will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6 and 31:8)
In every moment of pain inflicted on us, God was there, experiencing our pain with us. God was with us every moment we were isolated and alone. God felt hurt and sad with us whenever we were pushed away, sent away, or dismissed. No matter what, God has always been and always is with us.
TRAUMA SOUL CARE
Learning to make peace with the past seems utterly impossible, but all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26 and Mark 10:27)!
We likely need care and support on many fronts – from counseling, to learning to breathe deeply, to finding/joining support groups, to practicing creative expression (just to name a few).
Whatever help we seek will be invaluable, but an essential step we can take is to foster or simply be curious about a relationship with God. He’s always ready to see, hear, know, and love us, but it’s entirely up to us to open ourselves to Him. He is always safe and He never forces us – but perhaps we’ve no idea how to take the first step.
TALK TO GOD
Simply start by talking to God – as if he’s right in the room – about anything and everything (the good, bad, and ugly). Then listen, giving God space to love you. This is prayer. It’s not complicated, nor does it require any expertise. It’s just a conversation. Writing out your thoughts to God is more manageable for some and is another way to “talk” to God in prayer. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. Print out Prayers for the Journey and let the prayers on the page help you to find your own words.
CHOOSE A VERSE OR TWO
The Bible is a big book full of dynamic, powerful stories, lessons, and, most importantly, assurances of God’s love for His people. We are often encouraged to read the Bible, but being faced with all of it may feel overwhelming – so start small. Start with a verse or two and ask God to show you what He wants you to learn. Print out one of our free printable guides (like 25 Verses to Comfort and Encourage, 17 Verses to Shatter Stigma, 13 Verses to Lean Into, or 16 Verses to Ignite Hope) to find some go-to verses. Try memorizing just one verse so that you have something trustworthy to hang onto when trouble comes.
Learn about different ways to meet God in prayer using one of the easy-to-use guides like Breath Prayers, Lament, Lectio Divina, and 50 Prayer Journaling Prompts. Gently step into the practice. No matter how “successful” we feel about our prayer, God smiles on us for wanting to take any step of faith!
Trauma and Celebration?
It might seem counterintuitive but begin to celebrate the small things – any bright spot of hope, every unexpected victory, and each moment of joy.
Our brains are wired (perhaps over-wired) to protect us, so being curious to see the joy and celebrate the little things can help our brains learn to notice them more often. So instead of receiving danger notifications (almost constantly), wouldn’t we love our brains to receive hope, joy, happiness, and celebration notifications as quickly as possible?
When we breathe in the beauty around us, we grow closer to God without even trying because it’s all a reflection of Him.
Seeking prayer, peace, and presence for this moment.
When we are afraid, anxious, or overwhelmed, the most significant thing we can do is lean into the One who knows us completely and loves us best – the God of all comfort.
Longing for light in the darkness.
Depression isn’t a surprise to God and doesn’t disqualify us from making an impact for the Kingdom. Hold on to hope. God is here.
WANTED BY DARA MACLEAN
You are wantedTo every broken heartHe stands with open armsYou are wantedTo every searching soulLook to the rising sun!
Hold on to possibility every day.
Are you thinking about ending your life? Reach out for support. Are you concerned about a friend or loved one ending their life? Ask. Listen. Love. Pray.