Do you know anyone that’s experienced a traumatic event in his/her life? Or, maybe…you have? Often, I am surprised when I share my traumatic childhood experience with others and I discover that, after listening to their stories, they have suffered some type of trauma as well. Often, the person I’m speaking with is unaware of what causes trauma. Here are a few common sources of trauma:
• Domestic violence
• Natural disasters
• Severe illness or injury
• The death of a loved one
• Witnessing an act of violence
Some of the emotional symptoms I had to work through were denial, anger, low self-worth, sadness and emotional outbursts. There would be times when I would redirect any anxiety or stress that I had towards other sources, such as friends or family members. This was hard at times for my family and friends that wanted to help, and I ended up pushing them away. There were moments where we learned to extend grace to each other, pray and eventually talk through the stressor.
Some of the physical symptoms that I had to address, and still face, are events that cause anxiousness and my heart to race rapidly. I will never forget the day several Dallas police officers were killed. I sat in my living room on the floor, sobbing. That triggered an overwhelming feeling of anxiousness and fear. It also took me back to the day that I found out my sister passed away unexpectedly. There will be triggers on our journeys. We have to learn how to manage them when they appear.
I wrestled with trauma several times in my life. I eventually realized how to take control of it and not let it control me! Counseling, engraving God’s word in my heart, a shift in my way of thinking and repetition helps me continue to manage my experiences.
Our minds are incredibly powerful. We have to repeat steps several times before they become a habit. Eventually, I realized that I had the power to redefine what it means in my life. A change in perspective caused everything to shift and work for my good. Yep, even the ugly stuff!
Today, I embrace my traumatic experiences. Don’t get me wrong - there is pain associated with trauma. However, I believe if we allow God to heal our broken pieces, we will see things through His eyes and not through the painful situation that happened in our lives.
My definition of trauma reminds me of the beauty that can come out of any tragic situation in our lives. I often say that God took the messy parts of my life and used them to become my message of encouragement and hope!
I remind myself often of who T.R.A.U.M.A. created me to be!
T - Treasured
R - Redeemed
A - Accepted
U - Unashamed
M - Miracle
A – Alive
My prayer is that you choose to redefine the way trauma has impacted your life. I pray that you remember who God says you are, and not what your experience has caused you to believe. I pray that you trust that God can take the parts of our lives that caused us pain and use it for His glory. I pray that you walk in victory, forgiveness and freedom.
P.S. If you’re in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, I’m hosting a meeting this weekend to share the tools that I used to help me heal and redefine my journey. I’ll see you there!