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. Hi Donna and Brittany,

    I think as we grow in our walk of faith, we are able to recognize how God works in our life through trauma and grief. You turned a very bad thing around and were able to pray for your attacker. Something many are not able to recognize/overcome.

    Someone very close to me was raped. I was stalked in when I was younger by someone who raped a woman at knife-point. We caught him before he caught me, but it went on for a very long time beforehand and tormented me.

    God is in control of all things, at all times. We can have faith in that. It’s what keeps me going.

    Kim

  2. I love the ideas you put forth in this post!!! I really want my readers to know about this too! I want to share this in my weekly series called “Roll Out The Red Carpet Thursday” – I share bloggers’ amazing posts that I’ve found during the week. I hope that’ ok! Have a great night!

  3. God was with you and He still is. Sometimes things happen to us so that other’s can see how we handle them. God trusted you to know that you would shine through this situation and show other’s that through God we can endure and we can flourish and thrive, no matter what. May you be blessed indeed.

  4. One of my 4 sons died 14 years ago. Drug overdose. Seems like yesterday.I am still an emotional mess in the months of November and March. Every six months. November birthday, March death day.

    How could this happen? I am a nurse. Didn’t I see the signs? I was so upset with myself, but not with God. My son had free will. My son chose to do this. He didn’t mean for this to happen. The police said he was one of six kids in a two week period. Like someone dropped a truck load of bad drugs off in the neighborhood.

    I must say, and I do tell people, that it was my faith that got me through. They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. But, He sure pushes you to the edge.

    A friend of his told me that he had had a dream where my son called him on the phone and told him that he “couldn’t go through the gates until after “rehab”.” About a month later, another friend told me that she had had a dream and my son was there at a party and got up from the sofa and when he turned around, two big beautiful white wings opened up.

    I may be sad, but, I do not worry that he is alright. God made sure of that.

    When my baby went to Iraq, I also sent Jesus with him, and I told my mother, two brothers and my son (all in heaven) that they had better go with him and bring him back okay, or “I wasn’t gonna talk to them (not Jesus) again” I know Jesus was there for my son told of a group of Army buddies and a Catholic priest that were surrounded by insurgents. No way out, and out of ammo. They got in a circle and prayed. The bullets bounced all around the troops and the priest. NO ONE was hit, injured or killed. Reinforcements arrived and quickly dispersed with the insurgents. They could not believe everyone was alive, much less uninjured. Power of prayer.

    1. Wow, that’s truly amazing. It’s all too easy to think that prayer doesn’t really work any more, but it really, truly does when we have the faith to back it up!

  5. I was sexually abused as a child from 5 years through 12 years of age by two different step fathers. I longed for my mother’s love even though she permitted these things to happen to me. My grandmother took my 2 brothers and I to live with her and she was our rescuer. Because she was unware of what was going on because of being threatened I never told. So, my grandmother would send me back to their house and it happened over again. Finally, my
    Grandmother had enough of us being left alone and she took the three of us in to raise at the age of 73 year old and we were 5,4 and 1 year old. She lived to be 96 and without a doubt she was pivotal in showing us God’s love not in just words but action. Yes, it was horrible and I still have moments of PTSD. Yet, God rescued me.

  6. What an absolute beautiful story of Gods love and grace. I’m brought to my knees at the heart of this author. What a beautiful soul and what a beautiful God we serve!

  7. I am honestly disgusted by this article. She was disgusted by Satan? He’s a human being who knew exactly what he wanted to do and he did it. All rapists come down to they wanted to do it. I honestly couldn’t read anymore after that. That is absolving him of his responsibility. Just because you believe in God and Satan doesn’t mean humans aren’t evil and do evil things. He was a flesh and blood man who purposely kidnapped and raped her at knifepoint. This is my peak religion moment. I was trying to find solace after my rape and trying to see if maybe going back to church and finding God again would help but no. How easy I forgot that people like this exist. You’ve given him an excuse. It’s cemented in me that there is no god, no community that gets me. Just craziness and your fake deities and demons. Rape trauma was the last place I’d think would cement my disbelief and total lack of faith in any kind of God. Christianity makes me sick.

    1. Hi, Dana. I’m sorry you took that from this article and I’m even more sorry that you had to deal with such a horrible experience in the first place.
      To clarify a bit, yes, humans absolutely, absolutely have responsibility for their actions. That man will absolutely be held accountable for his actions one day. But there are other forces at play as well that shouldn’t be discounted.

      For the author of this article, she chose not to get mad at the man (because what good would that do?) but also to not let it control her life either. The truth is, when we lean in to Jesus we can have true peace and healing. I know it probably doesn’t feel like it now, and it’s a long road, but it’s true.

      I’d also like to encourage you that there absolutely are women out there who know exactly what you’re going through and who can offer you real community and a safe place. Unfortunately, I’m not that woman personally as the things I’ve gone through are different than yours, but there are women out there who do understand. They may be hard to find since this isn’t something that’s often advertised, but please don’t give up.

      I’m so sorry you are hurting and pray that God will just love on you and guide you where you need to go. *Hugs*

    2. I’m also sorry you misunderstood the article Dana. The God I know and love is very real and very loving. So much so that He gave us a free will to choose to love Him. He did not want a world full of robots force to have a relationship with Him for that could never be called LOVE. He took the risk that while some would choose to accept Him and His love others would not. We all have choices in life – good and evil. Unfortunately our choices impact on the lives of other people. For good or evil. Rapists choose to satisfy their own evil desires and their victims suffer because of their choices. God cannot step in and stop it because that would negate the free will He has given us all. HOWEVER, He can give us the options of how we react to what has happened. We have choices to how we deal with the trauma we suffer. We can become full of hate and bitterness and the rapist will continue to destroy us or we can choose to block his power over us by asking God to take away the pain of the memory and heal the damage that the trauma has caused us. Just as Donna has explained in her blog. It’s never an easy process and sometimes it’s a matter of telling God – I want to forgive but at this point in time I can’t . . so will You show me how. Believe me – eventually you will find the peace you are longing for and the pain, but never the memory will go.

  8. As a trauma therapist who works with children who have suffered trauma I can also attest to the healing that God can bring into the lives of little ones. Praying over them while they are sleeping can restore the broken connections within their emotions and in their developing brains. This coupled with loving family support and targeted interventions does bring healing and restore these little ones to full health physically, mentally and emotionally.

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