Growing up in the church I learned the legalistic views of Christianity instead of the truth about a loving God. It was all about fear and hell, fire, and brimstone. While the truth of hell is that it is real – preaching it to get you to accept Jesus only out of fear is never what God wanted.
As I struggled to deal with my depression and anxiety and began to deal with my trauma, the answers I got from my church and ministers were to pray more – harder – and trust God.
“Well, okay, that’s easy for you….but not for me.” They did not understand how hard it is to trust when you have endured trauma and been violated by those who were to care for you. To be violated by anyone really. The answer is not just as simple as prayer more or harder.
I never want my posts to come across as oversimplifications of recovery. So, I am sharing this so that as you read my others posts about trusting God you understand the overall picture.
Recovery is truly hard work, and it requires a lot of you. While my relationship with God has been the ultimate source of my strength – that trust with God, and the power I see through prayer now, did not happen overnight.
It did not happen because I prayed harder either. There were many days, months, and years where I felt at a loss. I felt like the “church” told me to be happy and joyful, but when working through trauma you will deal with depression and anxiety. These will settle in you and are a constant battle.
PSTD is also an anxiety disorder and if you endured trauma, you have a good chance of having that as well. Will you have depression, anxiety, and PTSD forever – not if you truly process your trauma, but that is off in the future.
Learning to trust God and know that I could come to Him in prayer and depend on His strength only came through a process. I sought out a Christian counselor who began to lead me in healing while also pointing me to Jesus, but not oversimplifying healing to just “pray more or harder”.
My counselor understands how God designed the brain and why I felt depressed, anxious and had panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts. It was from the trauma and triggers reactivating the amygdala causing me to feel these things.
As my counselor guided me and I began to learn skills needed – like deep breathing, placing the trauma in an invisible box so you aren’t focused on it all day long, and using EMDR, sensory motor or havening to process the events. Those helped open my brain to be able to understand and take in God’s word and listen to Him.
Now, there was also trust that had to be built – trust with my counselor, with other people, and ultimately God. Trust is hard if you’ve struggled with people abusing you or violating you in some way. I had a hard time reading the Bible and not hearing abusers yelling instead of God and Jesus and what they were sharing.
I was encouraged to read the Bible and study Jesus’ life and see how He treated others. What was His character? Did He seem trustworthy?
Then, I began to watch men I encountered who follow Jesus and see how they acted. Little by little I began to realize that there were people I could trust, and if there were imperfect people I could trust, then I could trust a perfect God.
That all took several years, lots of tears, lonely days and nights, and struggles. It was a step-by-step process, but it did finally happen.
Now, I know that prayer is my weapon – it is my direct line to God to call on His strength. I didn’t need to pray more or harder though to get there – I had to process and work through trauma for God to help heal my brain to get there.
I can tell you that God is trustworthy, but ultimately you will have to find that out for yourself. Begin to ask Him to show you a counselor to guide you, people to walk with you, and study Jesus’ life and actions. Little by little you will begin to experience healing that is not only emotional but spiritual.
© 2021 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.