We all go through moments and times in our lives where we live out trauma. It can be a traumatic event that we go through, or it can be reliving previous trauma in some form. It can be a full-blown episode of PTSD, a period of weeks or months or even years of living through the effects of what has occurred.
There is no shame in living through trauma. It happens to all of us. Some believe that the terms trauma, victim, and survivor make an individual lesser. “That person experienced something heinous, look at them!” People who respond that way are heinous themselves. Trauma is a natural part of life. We live, we experience, we love, and someday, we die. In the process, the soul becomes wounded. The good news is that there is healing for the soul.
Trauma has been portrayed as a “bad” word, but trauma is normal. We each experience it, go through it, and fight to come back to a place of “new normal.” It should never be—no one should ever experience it—but all will experience trauma at some point in our lives. It may be a car accident that one walks away from alive, but the memory lingers. It may be sexual assault or rape. It can be simple as the bruising on one’s heart. In using the word trauma, a lot qualifies. If it wounds the soul, mind, and memory, it is trauma. Those scars have a lasting impact and take a long time to heal.
There is this preconceived notion that all those who have experienced trauma are broken. They are not broken. They are wounded warriors who overcame. Perhaps those individuals still have moments where their hearts race, where they spiral in a vortex of control and emotion, where their minds become foggy. Perhaps those individuals walk with a limp for the rest of their lives. I am reminded of the time when Jacob wrestled with God:
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” (Genesis 32:24-28)
Trauma is like this story. It is a story of great triumph, a show of bravery and strength. To face trauma is to fight and wrestle, and sometimes it leaves one with hip injured.
Jacob could still walk. He was still strong. He was still brave. When an individual faces trauma, they are wrestling it into submission just like Jacob. They are striving to overcome. In the process, they are changed. The fight did something to their mind and body.
Why did Jacob wrestle all night long? What was he wrestling for? Every person facing trauma wrestles with it sometimes not even knowing why they fight, but they keep up the fight.
For every battle, there is a victory. You faced the fight head-on and came out alive. Trauma does not have to defeat a person. It can tell a beautiful tale of how you faced impossible odds, perhaps even facing Satan or God himself, and walked away with only a glorious limp.
Jacob was known for his limp, and no one thought less of him for it. He fought with God! He was brave. So are you.
Reality Changing Observations:
1. Where have I wronged others by viewing their trauma in a negative light?
2. How can I redeem my story of trauma and see myself as beautiful, glorious, and victorious?
3. What peace do I need to find in my story of trauma? How can I accomplish that?