How to Respond When God Allows Trauma

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 How to Respond When God Allows TraumaPin

Guest Post by Donna

 

It has been 40 years since the day I became “the next one” for a serial rapist.

It was a warm Summer day, and I needed to get to work. Mom had the car and I didn’t know if she would get back in time, so I decided to walk the two miles to work.

Walking past the church where my father was the pastor, I stopped briefly to say hello to one of the church ladies working in the flower bed.

Concerned about making it to work on time, I absent-mindedly accepted a ride from the guy who offered as we finished our conversation.

Yes, yes… I know better, but did not engage my brain in that moment.

 

All was fine until I told him where to turn left as we approached the street that led to my employer.

He drove past, pulled out a knife and told me to remove my shirt. Driving to a remote location, he did what should not be done to an innocent young girl. I was given the expected warnings about not calling the police or telling anyone, then he took me to work as originally promised.

 

Needing to give a reason for my tardiness, I went to the office when I arrived. The decision was quickly made to involve the police. As I told the officers what had happened, they knew immediately who I was describing. He was picked up that same day.

This man had been released from jail only a month earlier after serving time for a prior rape conviction. They suspected he may have molested a seven-year-old boy during that time. He pled “not guilty” to the charges against him in my case.

Much to my dismay, the judge reduced his bail from $15,000.00 to $1,500.00, which allowed him to be free as we awaited his trial. Within two weeks, he raped another woman.

 

As the court date approached, I was not looking forward to facing him in court.

There was great relief when we received a call less than 24 hours prior to appearing in court that he had changed his plea to “guilty.” I never heard what the agreement was or how much time he served, but I never had to see him again.

 

So what do you do when the unthinkable happens to you? How do you deal with the drama and trauma?

 

I got mad. I wasn’t mad at the rapist, though.

As he held a knife at my throat, the look in his eyes showed that he didn’t want to do this, but was compelled by something he couldn’t control.

So I got mad at Satan. He was trying to hurt and destroy me, and I wanted to fight back by taking something from him. I decided in that moment that I was going to pray for this man to be saved and delivered. My desire was to snatch him from the control of Satan and bring him to God.

 

For years, to remember was to re-live all the emotions as if it was happening again. Each time the memories came flooding back, I prayed for this man.

 

We always ask “Why” when bad things happen. Why did God allow it? Why didn’t He protect me from this? Does He care?

 

I believe God allowed this. The story in the book of Job tells us that Satan must have permission to bring us any harm. God could have said no, but He did not. In the end, God tells Job that he would not understand why God allowed it, even if He told him.

 

I also believe God was there with me, and I experienced His protection. As I recall my story, I see God’s protection in the things that did not happen:

  • My attacker threatened me with the knife, but didn’t use it. One of my classmates lost her life from multiple wounds inflicted with a knife. Another friend survived a brutal knife attack and lives with severe OCD because of it.
  • My attacker took me back to work when he was done with me. He could have left me without my clothes out in the middle of nowhere.
  • I did not contract any diseases.
  • I don’t remember what my attacker looked like. I can remember to this day the color of his car, the leather belt he wore with his name in the pattern and that the time on the clock had stopped at 11:20, but I have no memory of his face.

Does this mean God cares less for those who endure these things? No. It means there is much for which I am grateful.

 

What if this story is not so much about me as it is him?

What if God loved this man and wanted to save him, and He allowed me to be involved because He knew I would be willing, with His help, to intercede for a man who society would say did not deserve it?

 

More than fifteen years after the attack, while driving home from work for lunch, my attacker came to mind and I felt a heavy burden to pray for him. The intensity of this urge to pray leads me to believe this was a life-or-death moment for him and eternity was at stake.

When I finished praying, my emotions were completely healed. I no longer have any pain associated with the memories, and I no longer feel any need to pray for him.

 

Regardless of what my attacker had done, Jesus paid the price for this man’s sins.

Far from thinking God unjust to forgive so freely, I am thankful that our God is willing to apply the blood of Christ to any sin and save any sinner.

Oh, the depths of his love! The sweetest revenge for me will be to find this man in heaven. I will be looking for him there to see how this story ends.

 

How to Find Emotional Healing After Abuse or Rape

 

1. Fight the Right Enemy: It may not be who you think.

 

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” –Ephesians 6:12

 

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” –I Peter 5:8

 

2. Know Your God: God never changes, no matter what circumstances you are facing. The God you could trust with your problems yesterday is the same God you can continue to trust with your problems today.

 

Then Job replied to the Lord:

“I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” –Job 42:1-6

 

3. Meditate on Scripture: When the unthinkable happens, it’s all too easy to let your mind wander to and dwell in a dark place. Protect your mind and heart by meditating on Scripture instead.

 

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. –Psalm 16:8

 

4. Use the Right Weapons: While it is perfectly normal to get mad at those who hurt you, Jesus calls us all to a better way. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

 

“Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” –Luke 6:28

 

“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.” –2 Corinthians 10:3

 

5. Allow God to Make it Right: God may not solve the situation the way you want Him too, but He WILL make it right.

 

“Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” –Romans 12:9

 

Abuse and rape are absolutely horrible situations that no person should ever have to go through. If you do, however, there is hope for a bright future. God doesn’t call us to understand all things, but simply to trust that no matter what happens, He is still in control. He does have a plan for you and He does want healing for you. And you can find true healing when you deal with your trauma His way.

 

**Note: If you are currently in an abuse/rape situation or have been in the past, please let the proper authorities know immediately.

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  1. I was 10 when he found out where I lived.
    He tried to touch me but I ran into the bathroom screaming for him to leave.
    For years I tried to use food to hide my sorrow and repel men from me thinking they are all the same.
    Until one day I had a honest and a love encounter with Jesus. For the first time I felt what it is to be really loved and protected because of Him.
    Sometimes I want to hide my body and turn everyone away but Jesus says that’s it’s okay and that He’ll protect me.
    He has till this day kept His word.

  2. Brittany,
    I have 6 children, 4 of them daughters that are grown and out of the house. As a father I can say that your story of how you responded to what you went through is something I will share with my family. I shared it with my wife tonight. Thank you so much for a Godly response. I teach a bible study class and we are discussing how we can find our self in a position where we have a clash between our desire to believe versus our fear to believe. For example, we want to trust that God is good and will never leave or forsake us, yet sometimes we dare not bank our lives on this for fear of disappointment. We want to believe that God is here and in control but then fear that if He really is but didn’t prevent the trauma, can He really be trusted? I was searching on the internet for people who have had to face this type of clash to see how they responded. That’s how I found your story. Your story and your response will be shared with my class this week. I’m also going to share Dana’s response and we are going to pray for her. You are a classic example of Romans 8:28: All things (good or bad) work together for good to them that love the Lord, to those who are called according to his purpose. Thank you for loving the Lord!

  3. Hello,

    I am 26 years old. I am angry and I’m sure I don’t please God with my behaviors.

    I have been in a very intense downward spiral of self harm which includes hitting and reenacting trauma in order to punish myself. I recently started cutting myself again as well.

    I used to sing to the Lord. I used to pray. I got better but not being in pain itself is frightening. I feel unsafe if I’m not hurting; exposed.
    I’ve grown silent. I went for prayer today asking for God to come in and heal my memories. I prayed for the first time in a long time. However, after church I came home and went straight to hurt myself again.

    Reading this article I grew so angry. Why am I not good enough to experience such healing? What sins do I have to get rid of to experience true emotional healing, not just being able to pretend but really be healed? If I obey God if I’m good it’ll stop. Flashbacks and pain would stop. I want to be so clean that I can know for sure that I’m not a bad girl.

    I was not good enough to not be punished by my earthly father and the other men he gave me to. Now I’m not good enough to be completely healed. I suffer because of my sins because of my unwillingness to yield to God. I’m self-absorbed. No amount of my “goodness” will ever make God love me more our less. So how do I earn my healing?

    Sin, my sin is ruining all the beautiful things God keeps giving/trying to give me but I haven’t found the will to just be better.

    I am extremely blessed. In spite of what I went through I have no diseases I graduated college have a wonderful job. At one point in my pain I went on a paid date convincing myself it wasn’t prostitution. The guy could have murdered me and left me somewhere but I’m alive. God loves me and He shows me every moment of every day. Yet I keep choosing to be so angry and so hurt. I want to do things right so I can finally be a good girl to myself to God to other Christians… I want control.

    I can’t fix myself but I can tear myself down. For every disappointment I can punish myself… I don’t know how to let go and I feel shame.

    Jesus died for me. He loves me, why am I choosing to not live in victory? All I want is to take out revenge on myself everytime I feel pain or run away from the pain by hurting myself.

    1. Hi, friend. I’m SO sorry to hear that you’ve been hurting so badly lately. You are right that God DOES love you and care for you VERY much. Just because you still feel bad now doesn’t mean that you’ll feel bad forever. It isn’t that you aren’t healed. It’s just that you aren’t healed YET. And that’s a very important distinction.

      Have you told anyone in real life that you are feeling this way? Maybe a parent, trusted friend or pastor?

      This type of hurt is NOT something you want to deal with on your own. There are people who truly want to help you and who have the ability to help you feel better. But first you need to let them know that things aren’t okay and that you need help.

      Yes, it can be hard and scary, but trust me when I say it is worth it. I was once super depressed too. It was awful. But I made it through to the other side (with help) and you will too.

      And if the first person you talk to doesn’t help — find another. People don’t always know how to help, so honestly, you really need to find a pastor or Christian counselor who can. I had to talk to SEVERAL over the years. They aren’t all the same.

      Please talk to someone local. You can get through this. You can feel better. Please reach out.

      With love,
      Brittany, Equipping Godly Women

      1. Thank you for your kind response.

        I found this article again and realized I had commented on it.

        No one wants to deal with me.
        I’ve been asking for help since I was a child.

        Pastors family friends… I even had a Christian pastor therapist get frustrated with me and had to quit sessions. When a counselor or therapist starts getting frustrated it’s not wise to stay…
        Pastors have blamed me told me to stop crying…
        My emotions are evil…im not allowed to feel bad…

        As I get older I have more vivid memories I’m realizing I was trafficked and or used in some type of disgusting ritual there’s videos and pictures of me out there somewhere…

        I have dissociative identity issues and was told several times by a pastor that I’m just too emotional and a woman.
        The same pastor kept pressuring me to tell the whole church my story I felt guilt and shame for not doing so. I still don’t even know or understand all that happened to me but he kept pressing me… I felt shame and fear not doing what he told me to do.

        Im terrified of God and other Christians…

        I ask my family for help but they can’t handle it. I don’t blame them.

        I don’t want to be the friend with “issues”

        Im supposed to reach out for help but when I do the conclusion is always im just a bad person/not doing enough

        I deserved it and I deserve the current pain…
        Good Christians don’t screw up like this
        …I must have sinned and offended God very badly

        I allowed it and caused it and im not fighting properly.

        Sin caused God to allow the babylonians to attack Israel women were raped during that…I got what I deserve that’s why I can’t find anyone to help me

    2. I’m 25 and my earthly father did that to me and I can tell you it is so possible to be healed and more. I believe God will get you there

    3. Hi Oneday,

      I just wanted you to know that I believe in you. It took a lot of courage to be able to talk about what you’re going through and I am so proud of you for taking that healthy step! May I please share a personal experience with you?

      One night in Bible study, I felt the Lord was showing me to take communion and repent of bearing my own shame. He showed me that Christ already did that on the cross. That has had a powerful effect in my life and I have not been able to be under Satan’s thumb in the matter of abuse I endured, since then — that was around 25 years ago.

      I will be praying for you and trusting God’s perfect purposes in your life. Job said, “I know that Thou canst do all things, And that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted”. You are loved.

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  5. I came here because I’m searching for answers. Your post struck me hard because it touched on my specific trauma and also the story of Job. I was raised in a Christian home. I went to a Christian school that I struggle to forgive because that school was terrible. I went to a Christian college…I did my best to be a good Christian. I was on the worship team at my church and everything. But I cannot fathom how a God who loves me would let these things happen. I feel like trash. Like a walking crime scene…I wish I could just take my skin off like a sweater and throw it in the wash to get off all the dirty. Saying that God allowed this to happen to me to for someone else’s story makes me hate him more. It makes me feel insignificant. Like I’m just a pawn in his numbers game. And the story of Job makes me so angry. God himself said that Job was a righteous and just man. He could have said no to Satan. He has power over Satan. Satan needed permission to do what he did to Job and his whole family. I’m supposed to be comforted that in the end Job was given a consolation family that went on to multiply and blah blah blah…what about his family that was murdered? They were his family…they were living and breathing and thinking and feeling flesh and blood humans. And they were killed because God made a bet with Satan that Job would still love him in the end…that all just baffles me. We are supposed to believe in this all loving God who knows everything and sees everything. He is everywhere and has unconditional love…well, words are one thing and actions are another. The actions I see written in the Bible and in abundance in the lives of so many people who try to love him back do not point to an all loving God. Which makes me think he is a liar. And if he is lying about that then what else is he lying about. I’m trying here…but I’m just blazing mad

    1. FIANLLY someone who has the same perspective on the story of Job as I do! I feel exactly the same way: Job’s family was eliminated and Job kept his faith so God gave him a new family….but no one-not Job, not God-cares about Job’s original family.
      I recognized the need to forgive because I am imperfect and a sinner but like you I feel like I am just an insignificant pawn (door mat, toilet paper, whatever description fits) so God can have His puffed up glory.
      AND NO ONE has ever been able to explain sufficiently for me these passages in the Bible:
      Jacob he loved, Esau he hated Rom 9:13
      God accepted Abel’s offering but not Cain’s Gen 4:3
      …many are called, few are chosen Matt 22:14
      So it’s bad enough that God hates some people, but even if you are ‘called’ it still does not mean you are chosen.
      I don’t want to be angry and bitter. I do not want to hate. I believe in God…but I just feel I have slipped through the cracks of salvation history

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