A definition of trauma is “when one can’t bring their mind and body back into balance after the event is over” therefore if you have experienced a stressful event that you cannot recover from, then that event would be classified as traumatic. (Hylton 2014)
Why is abuse a part of my story? I did ask myself why and that’s ok. One night at a Christmas service, I was watching a very moving clip of someone who had been emotionally hurt in life. Tears ran down my face. The Holy Spirit got a hold of me and very clearly told me, “I don’t want you to dwell on the why; I want you to find peace in me. Not peace in the why. What I can say is, I’m sorry you had to experience evil in this life.” There was instant healing, and so many deep hurts were erased at that moment. That moment touched my heart forever. I needed those words so much. It’s beautiful how the Lord knows what we need when we need it. He knows well into the future, and He knows when He’s going to add in these moments of healing; perfectly orchestrated.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 NLT
Jesus is the best counselor, and He knows exactly where the hurts are in us. He knows the hurts that will soon bubble over and the ones that will take a mighty army to pull out of us. I was told by counselors growing up that talking about everything was good, but I was a very quiet kid. I wanted to speak the words that came and then have the counselor talk to me and say that all will be ok. I am not sure I would have believed her at the time, but I needed those words.
However, I wasn’t told everything would be ok. It was just, “tell me your thoughts, feelings, what do you remember” type things. One counselor suggested that I try to talk about what happened, but then another told me not to force it because our minds can make things up. So, I just speak what I remember, and if I can’t then I don’t. But then I don’t have anything else to say. I needed them to pour into me words of encouragement, helpful words that I wasn’t hearing from anyone else.
One counselor I spoke to as an adult gave me one bit of wisdom, and it’s something I’ve always remembered. They told me never to minimize what I went through and never say my story was no big deal or not as bad as another. What I went through was awful and traumatizing. Are there stories that are far worse than mine? Yes. I’ve watched the news; I know the evil that can happen behind the walls of a house, and I have heard the stories of foster kids. But don’t get started in that comparison trap. All stories similar to mine or not, need love and someone to listen to them. We need someone who can speak life into our hearts again, or maybe even for the first time.
Counseling usually doesn’t feel like a hug. It feels like someone ripped off a band-aid and then made you talk about it, then they pour that awful hydrogen peroxide on the wound.
You know the stuff that parents would put on the “owie” and say it’s getting rid of the bacteria and healing. No, it’s not! It hurts, and it’s no good for wounds.
There were the words that I wanted to hear but didn’t. Then, the words that were spoken to me in coming letters, I absolutely could have done without. Reading words from others as a little girl and knowing everything was exposed, was an experience still stuck in time in my mind. Those words were gut-wrenching. My family tried to let me know they were there for me, but I didn’t want them. My counselor, who was court-mandated and whom I couldn’t stand, had my mom tell the rest of the family to write me letters saying they were there for me, that they were praying for me. I didn’t need those words. What 11-year-old can even comprehend what all of that even means? All I could think of was, “They know what happened to me? Do you mean someone told them? Who gave them the authority to know and have more rights to my privacy than me?”
My personal body and privacy were already shattered in the second grade, and now my story was for all to see. For any counselors reading this, having everyone in the family know and send letters didn’t work for this little girl. It made it far worse. Facing my family was humiliating, and I felt like the whole world knew. I wanted to go back to my private world, back into the dark where no one knew. Unimaginable, I know. You see, when the light is shown in a situation, there’s still a shadow somewhere. It’s still a lamp, but I wanted the darkness again, even just for a moment to myself. A moment where nobody knew. If there had been any way for my kid self to breathe and say, “Here we go, it’s going to hurt, but the light has to turn on, brace yourself.” The light that had shone itself was so bright.
“No Darkness is thick enough to hide the wicked from his eyes.” – Job 34:22 NLT
Then it would get worse. As much as that was like ripping off a band-aid, what was coming would open the wound more and be gut-wrenching pain. I was now told that I had to explain everything, every time, and every situation. I had to put myself in those rooms, behind those walls.