Free from trauma


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I believe I’m 98% free from the the fear that seized me when I was assaulted at gun point by four armed men in Guatemala. That was six years ago.

Six. Years.

All they got was a few thousand dollars — and my checkbook (which made me think they would come back for a kidnapping). No, they stole something else. They stole my confidence.

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With one of the students in the Door Bilingual School we founded with the church.

On every subsequent visit to Guatemala, I was weighted by irrational fear. I wouldn’t go anywhere without a member of the church as a “body guard.” (I had planted the church during 16 years, so people we’re quite willing to serve.) I stayed inside. I tried to keep a low profile. I didn’t even want them to make flyers announcing the revivals with my picture on them. In my mind, the same criminals would get a flyer and swoop in for more money.

The thing that strikes about this is how really insignificant was my “trauma.” I wasn’t raped or beaten as a child. I didn’t suffer the scathing burn of emotional abuse from a parent. No. I was simply robbed.

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Here’s the junior high and high school after Bible class.

And yet it has taken me six years and God’s help to recover.

So who I am to judge people who have suffered true trauma and spend the rest of their lives floundering? In fact, I have a friend who suffered all three — sexual, physical and emotional abuse. He still struggles to overcome.

If you would have told me to simply shake it off, get over it, I would have been deeply hurt by your insensitivity and cut you out of my friends list. How much more so a person who has really suffered.

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A sixth grader in the Door Bilingual School.

It is my observation that people who have never suffered are generally insensitive.

There’s a inscrutable irony in this: God helped me out, but as many sufferers ask: Why did God allow the suffering in the first place?

I have friends who became atheists because as children, they experience a loss of innocence that never should have been perpetrated on a child. My friend has worked his way back to God, and God is helping him.

I hope God can help you too, because He was the major factor helping me. So I recommend Him. Maybe you can work your way back to Him?

26 responses to “Free from trauma

  1. Amen. 2 Corinthians 1 comes to mind. Paul says God comforts us in our sufferings so that we can share that comfort with others who have suffered. If we haven’t suffered we can’t identify with those who have or minister to them (think Job’s friends). Without suffering, there is also a lack of fellowship with Jesus in that regard. Romans 8:17, Philippians 3:10, & other verses come to mind. Good post!

  2. Recovering from trauma may take a while, but what doesn’t make us bitter makes us better. So says a childhood rape victim who had two illegal, non-medically supervised backwoods abortions performed by the pervert to cover up his repeated rapes (and almost died both times). You really can’t make lemonade without the lemons and the lemons God has allowed in my life have helped me become a successful author.

  3. Trauma puts deep wounds inside a person that is not obvious. These wounds feed fear, hatred, and bitterness. Crying out for the mercy of God, brings the tender healing.touch of Jesus and the ability to forgive. He heals our broken places and binds our wounds. Trauma flees along with its negative companions. Healed wounds become scars that merely say we came through the other side with victory in Jesus. We let it go and the past can no longer rule us. Victorious we help others get free.

  4. I have been robbed before at gunpoint and it wasn’t easy.

  5. Thank you for sharing. It is so true that we can be insensitive when we haven’t suffered. May we all have the grace to work our way to God (or hopefully not separate ourselves from Him). Powerful post, thanks again

  6. I would not be who I am today without all I went through. It has been quite a recovery process but God is so patient and tender with the hurting. Sets the example for how we are to be with one another. Good thoughts there. God bless.

  7. First off, you were robbed at gunpoint by four men. Your trauma isn’t insignificant. Don’t downplay it. Yes, many others suffer much worse than you did. That doesn’t make it any less troubling. You’ve nothing to be ashamed of.

    On my second note, I’d be very hesitant about words likeworking your way back to God. That is the very thing that nearly lead me to declare Christianity to be a load of garbage. Your good works are as filthy menstrual rags and serve only to condemn you. To encourage one to work back to God is to put salvation in the individual’s hands which can only lead to despair. Good works are a fruit of our salvation, not the other way around.

  8. May I speak as a therapist? Okay 🙂 Trauma is created from the combination of an unwanted event coupled with strong negative emotions. It can be a trauma like yours, where there was no physical violence, or it can encompass the experience of a soldier who is captured and tortured. Trauma is trauma. I’m glad you’re feeling better. Don’t be shocked or surprised if the fear resurfaces at unexpected moments. Use the strength you have learned over six years; use the Word; use prayer. Satan is always busy, but God is greater.

  9. Very very good post. We must be very sensitive to those who are traumatize.

  10. Blessings on you! I was all set to quote 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 to you, and see that the first comment beat me to it! God will use even this for the blessing of many and for His glory.

  11. Thank you for sharing your story. Trauma of any kind goes so deep. It takes years to heal, and we are never the same afterwards. I realized I could become a bitter person if I let myself; or I could draw nearer to God for his strength and comfort. I suppose we are all faced with this choice at some point in our lives.

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