PTSD: Women exposed to a significant trauma such as rape, a natural catastrophe, or serious car accicent may later experience nightmares, disturbing memories, and feelings of helplessness and other problems. How can you help a friend? How can you get help for yourself?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the label that describes a long-lasting emotional struggle following a traumatic event. It has been described as a “normal reaction to an abnormal situation.”
PTSD affects many more people than combat veterans and people who endured 9/11 closeup.
- 70 percent of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. That’s 223.4 million people.
- Up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop PTSD. As of today, that’s 31.3 million people who did or are struggling with PTSD.
- An estimated 8 percent of Americans – that’s 24.4 million people – have PTSD at any given time.
- An estimated 1 out of 10 women develops PTSD; women are about twice as likely as men.
- Among people who are victims of a severe traumatic experience 60 to 80 percent will develop PTSD.
The above statistics come from HealMyPTSD.com.
What about you? Do you struggle with PTSD? Do you know someone who does? Have you wondered, “Will I ever be normal again?”
You Are Not Alone!
1. You are not alone.
2. There is hope.
Tragically, among the deepest crises leading to the PTSD label is sexual abuse. This trauma sickens the soul and messes with the mind, spirit, and body for years, even decades. Also, the effects range from paralyzing fears to physiological symptoms. And they damage relationships.
Believers who’ve experienced trauma may ask, “Where was God?”
According to the Sidran Institute, people who experienced specific traumas such as rape, child abuse, and violent assaults often feel isolated, guilty, trapped, and confused.
But there’s hope. Says biblical counselor and author David Powlison:
Your recovery will be a process of learning and remembering those two truths — you are not alone and there is hope — not just once, but over and over.
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Think about how bread gets made. It must be kneaded so that the yeast goes through the whole loaf. These two truths must be kneaded into who you are until they work through every part of you. The working of these truths into the deepest part of you takes time.
The damage you suffered may have been done in one or more terrible moments; the healing and the restoration unfolds at a human pace. It unfolds at your pace. It unfolds as part of your story, and it unfolds over time.
Lindy’s PTSD Story
Lindy Abbott, Christian blogger, wife, and mother suffered severe abuse as a young child and unwittingly dissociated to survive ongoing trauma. Dissociation protects a victim from awareness of the pain in the short run, but later she may develop relationship difficulties and inability to function.
As Lindy writes at her blog Abuse and Trauma Hope,
It is at this precise moment [of abuse] that the child unconsciously begins to protect the soul from utter destruction by separating the harmful/abusive experiences into hidden places in the soul. The mind does this without needing the child to actively think about what she needs to do to survive, it as an unconscious act of self-preservation.
Lindy says this about her abuse:
My life began in trauma and abuse as a child, affecting who I am, how I see, and how I feel. The abuse was hell but God has used it for good.
Truly, God has used what was meant for evil to be good in my life and to conform me to Christ Jesus.
I see things deeply. I feel deeply too. Sometimes really good, sometimes really bad. While I love to laugh and be silly, I am burdened by the seriousness of eternity.
Transformed by Grace
Horrific memories may also haunt someone with PTSD. And condemning words like “You are dirty and ugly” may invade thoughts. What happened was horrible but the truth is, your mind can be transformed by God’s grace. Indeed, you can apply the truth to your horrible situation.This journal helps.
“Because of her faith in Christ she can apply the truth that she is clothed in the righteousness of Christ and she is precious and loved. She can apply the truth of who she is in Christ to the truth of her past experiences,” says biblical counselor Eliza Jane Huie with Life Counseling Center.
Isn’t it true that each of us needs to remember who we are in Christ and apply this truth to our lives? “Having a painful past that still hurts is an opportunity to build a deeper confidence in the truth of God’s Word and what it says about you,” Huie says. “This is not an exercise in positive thinking. It is telling gospel truth to yourself.
As you speak gospel truth to horrible situations you’ve faced, let it make you desperate for God and for the love he has for you. Here’s a reassuring Bible truth:
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:18-19, ESV
Sweet friends, whether you or a loved one suffered abuse or endured another trauma, know that God heals in his timing, and his timing is always right.
Do you want to talk with someone confidentially about your pain?
As you probably know I am a biblical counselor. I counsel women abused sexually as children and who experience anxiety, depression, and abandonment (adoption, death of a parent, marital infidelity, for instance). God wants to give you hope now.
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Please contact me for a complimentary phone consultation. I counsel women and families in person and by Skype.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Embrace the messy, sweet sister.
Our perfect God loves to love messy women like us. I’ve stuggled with anxiety. Even panic attacks. And maybe you have too. But God is with me. I know this because he keeps his promises! Always. Don’t you have messy struggles too?
I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5b
Have you experienced messy emotions? How about loneliness or messy relationships? Maybe your adult child ignores you. Maybe a dear friend won’t return your phone calls. Perhaps your gasoline tank is on empty and you have no idea where you’ll get money to pay for gas.
In this short article, you’re reminded of 3 truths for every Christ follower:
- God values you.
- He understands your hurt.
- He offers healing.
God Values You
God gets it, this hurt that weighs you down. And he offers you peace through Jesus Christ. Your past failures don’t push him away, nor do your present mistakes. Do you have any idea how much God values you?
Soak in God’s truth that you are valued, significant, and loved. Our God is tender toward you. He is Emmanuel — God with you. He calls you. . .Beloved.
Would you like my free ebooklet “5 Amazing Names God Calls You”?
To get it, click here. Fast, simple. And no spam. Ever.
God Understands Your Pain
Everyone has a story of pain. I’ll share one of mine. Would you like to share one of yours with me too? Feel free to send me a message.
Back in the early 1990’s, depression clawed my mind and darkened my mood. Anxiety rattled me too. Difficult memories storm-surged. Yes, there was my parents’ divorce but something even worse. Something I had never told anyone, not ever. And then I sought counseling.
I asked myself, how could I tell anyone my pain? Especially women in the church who seemed to have it all together?
Fast forward to 2000, the year of God’s specific call on my life.
A summer day. Sunny, a soft breeze. Me alone, in prayer. And God impressed on my heart this . . .
“Lucy, comfort my sheep who are hurting with the comfort you’ve received from me.”
“Who me?” I asked
“Trust me, Lucy.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
Like the fuzz of a dandelion, my worries flew away. “Okay, Lord.” Just as God understood my pain, he understands yours too. And he offers healing. Sometimes God’s healing comes quickly, but sometimes it seems as slow as molasses, don’t you agree?
And sometimes God heals us this side of heaven.
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God Offers Healing
God cherishes you and wants to heal you. He is our hope. Will you choose hope?
To help hurting Christian I went to seminary, read shelves of books, and became certified in biblical counseling. Now I’m furthering my education, working toward a doctorate in biblical counseling.
Over the years I’ve counseled Christian women and the leaders who serve them. Fearful women. Lonely women. Abused women. Women caught in addiction: shopping, alcohol, pornography. Women who’ve committed adultery. Women with hard pasts.
God accepts you just as you are. Like the woman at the well (John 4), an outcast among outcasts, you are loved by the One who ribbons the sky with rainbows. He want to embrace you, to heal you.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” John 4:13-15
Are you thirsty for living water? Do you ache to know the answer of hope for your heart?
Contact me with your questions and prayer requests. There’s hope.
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Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Abused? Were you abused, phyically or sexually, in your marriage? In part 2 of this multi-part series on domestic violence, guest writer Jim Newheiser carefully looks at common assertions and takes a balanced view. This post appeared first here at the Biblical Counseling Coalition website and is reprinted with permission.
Read Part 1 here: When to believe the victim, when to believe the abuser
I am thankful to God that many necessary and important books and articles are being written to increase awareness of physical and sexual abuse. Abuse affect both the society at large and the Christian community in particular. Spiritual leaders have been rightly admonished for their failure to protect at-risk women and children.
Battered wives have been wrongly told that if they were just more loving and submissive, their husbands would change and the abuse would stop. They are then wrongly sent back to take further verbal and physical beatings. Many church leaders need to repent of their failure to “rescue the weak and needy; [and] deliver them out of the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:4).
While I affirm the importance of understanding the dark nature of abuse and protecting the victims of abuse, I am concerned that some, in their zeal to correct the failure of the past, have swung too far the other way. This can lead to false accusations and unnecessary family breakups.
I would like to give a few examples of what I believe to be common overstatements, and for each one, I will describe the good intention behind the statements, the harm which can be caused because of imbalanced thinking, and a more balanced way of expressing the same concerns.
If You Feel Abused, Then You Were Abused?
ASSERTION: If you feel abused, then you were abused.
- The valid concern: This statement is often made to express the reality that abuse may have taken place even if the abuser does not recognize or acknowledge his behavior (yelling, pushing, bullying, coercion, threats, and intimidation) as wrong.
- The harm that can be caused: On the other hand, the Bible teaches that it is possible to wrongly interpret the words, actions, and motives of others (1 Corinthians 2:11).
For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:11
For example, Eli falsely accused Hannah of drunkenness because her lips were moving as she prayed (1 Samuel 2:12ff). We cannot judge one person merely by the subjective feelings of another. For example, a man may be in a rush and accidentally bump into his wife (with whom he had had a recent conflict) as he turns a corner. She may accuse him of doing it deliberately to harm her when that was never his motive.
Words also can be misunderstood. What is taken by one person as angry and abusive might have never been intended as such. Nor might it have been interpreted this way by an objective third party.
Scripture reminds us: “Love hopes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7); in other words, love seeks to assume the best.
3. It would be better to say: A person who feels abused should be helped to objectively evaluate what has happened and to get assistance if genuine abuse has taken place. Part of this objective evaluation involves considering the ongoing pattern and cumulative effect of the accused person’s behavior, as well as the immediate accusation at hand. Proper evaluation over time keeps us from wrongly escalating the consequences for one individual incident while also not dismissing the whole situation because one incident wasn’t deemed as abusive.
Sometimes a Victim Has a Sin Issue Too
ASSERTION: It is never the victim’s fault.
- The valid concern: Many abusers claim that their victims are to blame because the victim provoked him or failed to be as good a wife or child as they should be. Many victims suffer from false guilt. There is no valid excuse for physical or sexual abuse.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
2. The harm that can be caused: Some victims have sin issues which also need to be addressed. I counseled in a case in which a wife would berate and insult her husband, saying “Come on Jesus man, hit me!” She admitted that she felt that she had won the argument when he finally struck her. Again, I emphasize there was no excuse for him hitting her. But she also needed to address her personal sinfulness.
There have been cases of sexual assault in which the woman got herself into an extremely compromising and dangerous situation (i.e., drunk, alone, and making out with a man with whom she is not married). Again, the man should have stopped when she said, “no”
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(also see Habakkuk 2:15). If he assaults her, he is guilty of a crime and should be punished. But she also needs to acknowledge before God her personal sin in the situation. Deuteronomy 22:23-24 addresses situations like this.
3. It would be better to say: Abuse is never justified, but victims may need to examine themselves to see if they have any sin for which they also need to seek God’s forgiveness.
(Friend, if someone has abused you, please seek help from a caring pastor, a spiritually wise woman at your church, or from a biblical counselor, who counsels the compassionate, effective Word to your hurting heart. Learn more about biblical counseling by Skype.–LAM)
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
As Easter Sunday approaches, have you wondered about the resurrection of Jesus Christ? How does the resurrection bring you hope?
Hope is something God knows all of us needs. Aren’t we in a world of hurt? From hearing of terrorist bombings to learning of a neighbor’s divorce, you and I are tempted to become discouraged, aren’t we?
If the hurt is close to home, we may respond with sadness, anger, fear, or other emotions.
Thank God for Easter and the hope the resurrection brings!
While Holy Thursday recalls the Last Supper and Good Friday remembers the crucifixion and death of Christ, Easter Sunday celebrates his resurrection.
We have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained
access by faith
into this grace
in which we now stand.
Here are 5 reasons the resurrrection brings hope to followers of Jesus.
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1. The Resurrection Means…We’re Justified
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)
Incredible, isn’t it? To imagine that Jesus dare to die and rise again. . .ffor us. . .me. . .you.
By his resurrection, we who follow Christ are justified. Justification is a Bible word that means to “to be put right with.” According to Scripture, all of us are “objects of wrath” because we break God’s law and thus deserve eternal death. But God has a glorious and gracious plan of redemption.
God laid our punishment on Jesus on the cross. Why? So we could be justified before him. The resurrection proves that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for sin.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentence.
2. The Resurrection Defeated Death
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. (Romans 6:9)
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Yes, death is the just punishment for sin. But wonderfully, Jesus rose from the dead because the grave could not hold him. Death had no mastery over him. Therefore, you and I need not fear death. We also do not need to fear eternal punishment.
Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25
3. The Resurrection Means…Union with Jesus
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8)
God loves us higher and wider and deeper than we can possibly imagine.
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By our faith, you and I received the righteousness of Christ because we are united to him. This means that when God looks at us, he does not see our unrighteousness, but the righteousness of Christ.
Now, as new creations in Christ indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we can walk in the way of love.
His grace was given us in Christ Jesus
before the beginning of time.
2 Timothy 1:9
4. The Resurrection Gives…Living Hope
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)
We Christ followers have great hope. Not a false hope. Not well wishes. Rather, we have a trustworthy hope based on faith. We have been justified before God. We are no longer his enemies headed for hell.
We are blessed, chosen, forgiven, redeemed, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing eternal life. Also, we can now live according to our identity as children of God. As the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Colossae,
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life,appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you. 2 Corinthians 9:8
5. The Resurrection Means…We’ll Be Raised Too
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor.15:21-22)
Jesus is described in Scripture as the firstfruits of the resurrection from the dead. This signals that his resurrection is a precursor to that of all believers.
Christians will enjoy the resurrected life just like Christ did, with glorified bodies raised in power (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). We suffer in this life with pain and illnesses. Indeed, in the counseling office, we comfort those who have been sinned against as well as the grieving.
But in the life to come, you and I will not suffer. Truly we will enjoy our life in Christ forever and ever.
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26)
He has risen. He has risen indeed.
Amen and then some.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Please join me for my free live webinar “What Is Biblical Counseling?”
Have you wondered what biblical counseling is and how it helps? Would you like to learn about a compassionate, effective method of counseling?
You are invited to join me and a bunch of other women on Tuesday, November 15, at 11AM CST OR on Wednesday, November 16, at 7PM CST for the live webinar.
Click HERE to register.
What Does Biblical Counseling Help Heal?
Biblical counseling can help you or a loved one with many of life’s difficulties.
- marital struggles
- worry, anxiety, panic attacks
- addictions, eating disorders
How Does Biblical Counseling Work?
In the webinar you’ll learn that in biblical counseling, the counselor and counselee look to God for his answers to life’s problems. You’ll also hear the process and method of biblical change. You’ll discover the centrality of the heart — or your inner person — well as the importance of getting rid of junky ways of living that aren’t working and replacing them with godly alternatives.
It also is highly affordable, convenient, loving, and effective. It uncovers the root issues of a problem and provides practical, God-honoring solutions.
Why This Webinar?
God has called me to help hurting women through biblical counseling.
I have a favorite Bible verse that gives you an idea that I’ve known pain too. It is this:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
The word comfort is used four times, for our God is a God of comfort and compassion. This means a lot to me because, like you, I’ve stumbled into some of life’s troubles.
Here’s an idea:
Depression. Panic attacks. Sexual abuse. Mentally ill parent. Broken home. Infertility. Child with a birth defect. Recurring negative thoughts.
Through biblical counseleing, I’ve learned God’s secret to contentment.
Where Do I Sign Up for the Free Webinar?
To sign up for the webinar, click this link and choose the day and time that works best for you. When you sign up you’ll receive a link to the webinar. All you need is a computer, tablet, or smart phone and. . .you. Thank you!
Counseling Hope to Your Heart,
Laugh your head off! It’s good for your soul!
Have you seen a hilarious YouTube video and laughed so hard you nearly peed in your pants? Laughter is medicine to the soul.
The other day my teenage son sprawled on the couch in the loft and was laughing so hard that I had to find out why. John was watching Impractical Jokers and saw Joe pull a good-hearted prank on Sal. His chuckles rolled into laughter as infectious as the common cold. I laughed too, and it felt good.
Listen to this:
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:13)
Laugh with Jesus
Jesus laughed too. Soon after healing many (Luke 4:40-41) including a man with a skin disease (Luke 5:12-13) and a paralytic (Luke 5:24-25), Jesus sought the lowliest of the low–a Jewish tax collector, hated other Jews–and said, “Follow me.” At once this man left everything, even his bags of coins, and asked Jesus to come to his home where he threw Jesus a party.
Can you hear the laughter? As Jesus and the tax collector and a gaggle of his low-life, raucous sinner-friends gathered, don’t you this they grinned and joked and laughed? Jesus was a scholar and had fun. Can you imagine how the party-goers responded? The God-man was with them, just as he is with you, when you’re crying and giggling.
Oh how they laughed in the home of the tax collector. Laughter of freedom from chains of sin, laughter of breaking bread at a party for the best known rabbi in town at the home of a sinner. The wine flowed. Platters of food made the rounds. Laughter rang.
To the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who tsk-tsked Jesus for laughing his head off with tax collectors and sinners–imperfect people like you and me–Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:31-32)
We each have a testimony — a story of how Jesus became real to us as Savior–and every story is a reason to smile, to laugh, for God broke in to a sorry life and made it whole. Angels celebrated. Can you imagine their joyful laughter? Another one belongs to Jesus. And another one. And another one.
This one an adulterer, that one filled with jealousy, and over here a woman dripping self-righteousness. Yep, the latter is me. You can read my testimony here.
5 More Laughs
As you probably know, medical science has uncovered the laugh-your-way-to-health truth in study after study. Google laughter health and you’ll find umpteen studies to peruse. That said, here are five belly-laughing sure bets:
- Watch your favorite funniest sitcom.
- Play with your toddler. Don’t have a little one at home? Scout out a park bench at a popular park and little-people watch.
- Visit the zoo. Skip the reptile house and head straight for the baboons by way of dolphins.
- Read a joke book.
- Roll down a grassy hill, blow bubbles, or play Hide-and-Seek.
Laugh at the Days to Come!
Just as Jesus laughed and enjoyed himself, you too can laugh because you have the best reason of all. Do you know what it is?
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come. (Proverbs 31:25)
Christ is your strength (Ps. 118:14). Christ clothes you with his righteousness (Romans 13;14). Christ is your good shepherd who will never leave nor forsake you. He overflows your cup. Whether you’re facing the hardship of bad health or the loneliness of loss or the scary emotions of fear or anger or despair, you CAN delight in Christ.
Yes, you CAN laugh at the days to come. You CAN laugh your head off.
Need help finding your laugh? I’ll help. Contact me.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,