Trauma affects mind, body, and spirit. Trauma can lock itself into our bodies. As adults, we can carry unresolved trauma from earlier in our lives. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He wants us to invite Him into our hearts, where we’ve carried trauma. So He can redeem, restore, and bring peace.
I used to have flashbacks of traumatic moments. When I was a child, we lived just off the main corridor highway leading from a prison. Often, when the prisoners would escape, they would run the railroad tracks, connect to our road, and then get on the four-lane to get out of town. Prisoners would come through our yard and snatch the clothes off our line.
So at night, I would hear the sirens go off and I would cower in the corner. Can you imagine the trauma?
Years later, as an adult, I would have flashbacks of me cowering in a corner. I didn’t understand at first, but those were hints the Holy Spirit was giving me, of places that were still unhealed in my heart.
While I didn’t immediately connect those flashbacks with the prisoners coming through our yard, I knew not to discount the images I was seeing. Instead, I brought them before the Lord and said, “Lord, why did You show me that?”
When I realized where the trauma had come from, I was able to go back to the Lord and say, “Lord, I can see that image of myself. Where were You?” And I could see Him with me in that scene now, protecting me.
He brings those things to our remembrance for a reason. Not to scare us and not to make us angry about the circumstances – angry at parents who didn’t comfort us, or at people who didn’t know how to respond as our little hearts needed.
Instead, the Lord brings these moments to mind, to give us an opportunity to recognize that He never left us and never forsook us.
For some people, the trauma comes from violence. Or maybe a car accident. A death of a loved one. All those things are traumatic. Just imagine seeing those things from the eyes of a child. Children don’t know how to process traumatic events without help. Often, adults don’t realize how something traumatic has affected a child.
I remember growing up, we had family friends that lived in a funeral home, go figure. One of the kids locked me in the coffin room. I was probably five. So here I was, looking at all these coffins. I was scared to death, almost, no pun intended. But imagine. That was a trauma for me.
Think about things children go through, that they aren’t capable of processing. How might a child respond to hearing prisoners in the yard at night? Cowering in fear. Locking fear into her body. Believing a lie that she was never safe at night. Or that things would always go wrong. Closing off part of her heart. Resolving to take care of herself, or to not need help. All these responses, out of self-preservation, set patterns in motion that affect our lives.
Most of us didn’t have somebody that said, “I know you’re afraid. I know you’re scared.” Somebody that would have pulled us close and prayed the presence of the Lord over us, or prayed trauma off of us. Most adults don’t know to do that.
So those are the things the Lord wants to redeem in us. He invites us to sit in His presence, and allow Him to redeem, restore … bring us back to right order. He does this for the sake of our own identity and for the sake of us being able to live in a Sabbath rest. That’s His best for us: that we live in a place of rest.
He wants to exchange our trauma for His peace.