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PTSD, Abuse and HOPE!

prayer-handsGod loves to heal women sexually abused as children, who often develop PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Are you among them? Do you know someone who is?

First, let’s get real:

Two Truths

1. You are not alone.

2. There is hope.

Tragically, among the deepest crises is sexual abuse. It sickens the soul and messes with your mind, spirit, and body for years, even decades.

Do you want to get well? 

Says biblical counselor and author David Powlison:

Your recovery will be a process of learning and remembering those two truths, not just once, but over and over.

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.”

Listen to a Hope Story

Lindy Abbott, a Christian blogger, wife, and mother suffered abuse as a young child so severe that she developed PTSD.

Here’s a podcast of my chat with her: click here.

While folks often associate PTSD with soldiers returning from combat, it can occur after a traumatic event where you feared for your safety, even your life. According to the Sidran Institute, among people who experienced specific traumas (rape, child abuse, violent assaults, etc.), the rate of PTSD is 60 to 80 percent. These women feel isolated, guilty, trapped, and confused. They suffer from many symptoms such as depression, addictions, self-abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

Sometimes an abuse victim, especially a child, uses a coping skill called dissociation to survive ongoing trauma. It protects her from awareness of the pain in the short run, but a person who dissociates often may find in the long run she has relationship difficulties and inability to function. Some women like multiple personalities.

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.”

Sweet friends, whether you or a loved one suffered abuse or endured another trauma, this podcast will bless you. God heals in his timing, and his timing is always right.

Do you want to talk with someone confidentially about your pain?

An Invitation

As you probably know I am a biblical counselor. I counsel women abused sexually as children. Fallout from this horrible offense pops up in their adult years: nightmares, flash backs, difficulty with intimacy in marriage, loneliness, anxiety attacks, and more.

I invite you to check me out and contact me with your question and to set up a 30-minute no-cost consultation. 

God wants to heal you. Why? He loves loves loves you!

photo credit: ^@^ina (Irina Patrascu) via photopin cc 

Hope for you!

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Hope in a Disaster

polar-bear-in-snowFlip on the Weather Channel and what do I see: forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, storm surges, bizzards, floods and my latest “favorite”: the polar vortex that froze Florida and kept my family and kitties snuggly at home for three straight days.

These natural disasters — or “acts of God” in insurance parlance — are in truth. . .crises.

Faced with the forcefulness and unpredictability of a natural disaster, we feel helpless, confused, afraid. When it gets personal — your house burns, your car slides in a ditch, your town turns to toothpicks — you may wonder if God is out to get you.

Do you relate to Job’s distress?

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” Job 1:18-21

How to Help

When a friend has questions God and natural disasters, gently remind her that the fallen nature of creation causes such disasters. If we still lived in Eden, there’d be to tornadoes or tsunamis or earthquakes. “God isn’t causing a flood or fire or earthquake to get even with us or to punish our sinfulness,” says Timothy Thompson in Helping a Neighbor in Crisis.

Real life is not a sixty-minute TV show depicting the disaster and cleanup and “We’re good.” Recovery from a natural disaster takes weeks, months, even years.

Here are three suggestions to help:

1. Have realistic expectations. Be patient.

2. Offer tangible help: medical care, clothes, housing, food, gift card for a movie. Yes, offer these in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and in months to come. Connect your friend with community resources.

3. Listen. While the natural tendency is to give advice, don’t. . .unless she asks for it. She may need to share the sights and sounds and smells of the disaster. If you too have suffered in the disaster, a crisis counselor may be most helpful. Let expression emotion. She may speak of guilt and anger toward God, especially when the loss is great: the life of a loved one or a family home and photos.

What NOT to Do

1. Don’t expect her to be better in short order. Each of us has our own timeline of recovery. Hers may be slower than you like.

2. Don’t blame her for the disaster or her reaction to the disaster.

3. Don’t forget her. The aftermath of some disasters last months and years. Continue to encourage. Continue to listen. Continue to pray. Continue to show Jesus’ love in practical ways.

One simple thing: Deliver a note of encouragement and a favorite joy like home-baked cookies.

An Invite

Are you facing a crisis – divorce, money problems, a serious illness, or abuse – and would like help and hope from me? I am a certified, seminary-trained Christian biblical counselor who meets in person and by Skype. I’ve counseled women all over the U.S. as well as Canada, Australia, and the Philippines.

This is a link to my counseling page on my website. Please click the link and get help for you or a friend. Thanks!

photo credit: ucumari via photopin cc

Hope for Your Healing,

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