Updated: Sep 21
Processing trauma is a lifelong pursuit. Just when you think you've gotten through it, another layer emerges from the darkness. Sometimes, processing trauma can leave you feeling beat up and tired. It's a grueling process. But it's worth it. It's also helpful to have good traveling companions on the journey towards healing.
We all need a good support group in life, especially when it comes to dealing with trauma. I've not always had a good support group in that arena of my life. I've had to stumble on my own path towards healing much of the time. Though I've not often had good human support, in spiritual terms, I've had the best counselor of all. I've had Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Even at young age, I knew I could talk to God about what I was going through. I felt the comfort of my heavenly Father in a distinct, and present way. I didn't know how to hear God very clearly then, but my heart could feel His loving presence.
Eventually, I learned how to better hear God, and that allowed the Holy Spirit to do some deeper healing work in me. It allowed God to begin to direct me in my healing. Most of that process has been God leading me to face things I didn't think I had the strength to face. But with God I could! Because of that, I've been able to feel the hurt, in order to deal with it.
Feeling our trauma can seem hard and scary. Sometimes, you have to sit with those deep, painful feelings for a while before they begin to manifest into a clearer picture. That takes a lot of strength and patience. It's good to have a strength beyond our strength to be able to deal with it. I'm glad I've had an intimate connect to God through the Holy Spirit in the midst of this painful process.
God has been very gracious, kind, and tender as He's invited me into my pain. So often, we can attach so many unhealthy and unnecessary feelings to our pain. Feelings like guilt, shame, and self-blame, which can create a lot of self-abuse. When we follow God into our pain, God cuts through that, and allows us to feel it without condemnation. One of the first things God invites us to do is to feel justified in our pain.
God wants you to know that you have a right to feel hurt. Not only that, but also that He feels it with you, hurts for you, and wants to right the wrongs done to you. There is no reason to hesitate in coming to God with our pain. God will help us sort through it.
God wants us to know that we are meant to be free in our choices, free to walk away when the possibility of pain presents itself. We don't have to remain in unhealthy relationships or places. We can also develop the strength in unhealthy spaces to still participate in healthy ways. Sometimes, we can't avoid unhealthy environments altogether, but we can still choose a healthy response for ourselves, that doesn't compromise our personhood, and create trauma.
God can also lead us to face our abuser. Whether a system, person, or group of people, we need to look at the negative actions taken against us, and figure out a way through them, in order to resolve them. This often entails the process of grief. Part of that will include an attempt to express the wrongs done to us by the to the one who did them. It's important to give the wrongdoer an opportunity to respond to a clear account of the wrong done, in order to understand their part in the action. More often than not, the pain others cause us is not intentional. This is a point of understanding, but not excusing.
The pain of unintentional abuse feels the same as that of intentional abuse. How we address the abuser may be different, but how we deal with the pain will not. We must face the pain, and its cause, in order to see what it is, why it happened, and how to get past it into healing. Healing is not forgetting what happened. Healing is our ability to make space for that chapter of our lives without holding onto the pain. With trauma, often, the event is in the past, but the pain is still in the present. Often, we are trying to forget the past event, without letting go of its present grip on our lives. What we need is to do opposite. We need to accept the event as a part of our story, without continuing to let it do us harm.
God wants to heal us. Healing is painful. To heal, we have to face the pain, feel it, in order to get past it. Today, start learning how to give yourself permission to feel it, and accept that the pain is real. Give yourself permission to be hurt. That is the beginning of healing. And never excuse the abuse or the abuser. Don't minimize your trauma. When you minimize your trauma, you minimize your healing.
It doesn't matter if your abuser meant to hurt you or not. No matter what the cause of your pain, it all feels the same.