“God is the strength in which I trust.”
A Course in Miracles
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.”
Living with PTSD, surviving trauma, and healing those wounds requires great strength. At some point, we all ask ourselves this question: What if I’m not strong enough?
Initially, we are probably not strong enough. Anyone who has been through trauma knows what shock feels like. It is a strange limbo-land of disassociation. Thank God for it, however. Without it we would jump a very fast train to mental illness.
But when the shock wears off, we are left to our own devices. Those of us who report rape, or are involved in tragedies, or acts of war are led to seek help by caregivers, counselors, social workers, or perhaps chaplains. These people start us on a path of healing we would have trouble navigating on our own.
For those who don’t experience this initial helping hand, who keep their trauma locked up or don’t have access to tell their story, the path is longer and more difficult, but still is possible. Because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phillipians 4:13)
Again, in this blog, I hope you take any reference to God or Christ or Buddha and make it personal for yourself and your beliefs. At the core is the belief that a spiritual faith of some kind will lead you to an enduring healing from trauma. The implicit gift in this, is that an established faith gives you an all-access pass to healing, 24-7.
In my last blog I talked about acceptance. I shared that I was afraid to accept that this trauma had happened. I had been raped and now I had to learn how to heal. I was also afraid to do what it would take to heal. What if I wasn’t strong enough?
At first, I wasn’t strong enough. In fact, I felt weaker and more vulnerable than ever before in my life. Thankfully, that feeling grew tiresome. As I’ve shared before, I realized I was giving the rapist more power, more parts of myself by not sleeping, by shrinking, by being afraid.
That pissed me off, thank God! And I went through a period of rage and anger that at least ignited my will to be happy and successful in spite of what I had been through.
But we can’t live in a state of anger. And peace of mind achieved through anger is short-lived at best. Anger can make you feel strong, but it isn’t real strength.
Real strength came from God. Real strength came from turning my fear and anger over to the Holy Spirit to be alchemized into a strength through peace of mind that I hadn’t previously experienced. Ever.
The best news was that I didn’t have to be strong enough to heal from this. God was strong enough. When I felt it was too hard, I turned to God. How many times, you may ask? I’ll let you know when I’m done. And that’s not an exhausting statement, but a comforting one. To know I don’t have to rely on my own strength is the most relaxing thought in the universe, if we believe it. We get so caught up in the doingness of life that we think our own strength is all we have and all we need. No wonder we are often weary.
When you turn to God and ask for help, your doubts, fears and anger will be alchemized into the strength you need. I’m fascinated with the idea of alchemy. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance it was a forerunner of chemistry, as scientists tried to meld metals into valuable creations. It is also now defined as “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.”
This is what God does, if we will turn to God for strength. Alchemize our fear into strength. Transform our anger into strength. Create strength within us that surprises and delights us.
Only then can we take that strength, real strength, out into the world to serve others. Real strength comes from love and creates more love.
“Our greatest strength lies in the gentleness and tenderness of our heart.”
You are Still Beloved.