Tag Archives: trauma

Double Vision: Trauma Recovery

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Trauma Recovery has truly been one of the greatest adventures I have ever gone on with God.  It’s dark and confusing and I’ve had to get really good at seeking, asking, and hearing that spirit voice above the noise that trauma continues to generate.  It’s like going through a dark narrow cave and finding yourself stuck – – scared and squished- – it seems there’s no way out and then you hear Him say “twist this way” or you see a light shine exposing an opening you can comfortably reach. 

You keeping hiking toward lofty views with soaring victories but you also find yourself sinking on quicksand.  It’s not enough to suffocate you. He would never allow that. But it’s enough that you don’t feel solid ground and He allows a lot of that.  And when you don’t feel solid ground long enough , you wonder if you will ever feel solid again. 

He’s been faithful to guide me through every hurdle that trauma throws in front of me. All of the hurdles are different widths and heights and I can’t distinguish either while I’m running. So I must listen as the Father directs me in the exact approach needed to overcome the hurdle.  

One of the first hurdles was the repeated flashback visions of my daughter as I found her. 

As a Christian, I knew it was actually a good thing. . . A glorious homecoming and a wonderful peaceful way to move to a place called paradise. But as a mother, who found her child not breathing– this was great trauma to me.  Flooding my body with panic at the thought of that memory. 

Asking God to replace this image was the therapy of choice. My tribe called out to God to provide the right image.  I tried to think of actual angels carrying her homeward. And I tried to think of radiant light streaming to the spot where she lay. Nothing would stick and my mind always drifted back to pale, lifeless Ellis and the panic that vision brought about in my heart. 

So it seemed I would be stuck in that pressed nook of the cave forever. Until I went to a bathroom at a thrift store/ lunch counter in Atchison. I sat down, looked up and there it was. A picture that was much closer to the truth of the moment. A picture that whispered of things yet unseen. The picture of sweet chubby rosy cheeks, perfectly curled hair in a perfectly peaceful place. I don’t believe my daughter is an angel but I did believe she soared with the Angels. So even those subtle wings were right. It was exactly the right image to replace the image that was wrong in so many ways. 

And so every time I think of her lying lifeless in my bed, I make a conscious choice to replace that image with the cherub of my choosing. Really of His choosing.  Because as the tribe called to Him, He made sure that picture would call to me. The world calls it image replacement therapy and I call it  Gods gift. It cost ten dollars. But to me, it’s priceless. A light in a dark cave. An opening giving away to more comfortable territory.  

We’ll go on like this, He and I . . . Exploring each layer of trauma together. Claiming the ground of recovery with maps, clues, and bits of light He tosses me. I need only wait for the next one. 

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Did You Hear the News? 

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You’ve just heard the most tragic news. It’s sad. Shocking. Terrifying.  And maybe you stop to say a sincere prayer. Maybe you cry right where you are because of  their loss . . . The way their world has suddenly changed forever has rocked you to your core. You can’t imagine what it would be like to suffer such a paralyzing fate.  You don’t know what to do but one thing is for sure: you need to connect and rally around other humans United by the shock and sadness of this event.  Maybe the strong feeling to reach out to the actual family is suddenly upon you. 

What do you do? Well that’s up to you. But I’m begging everyone with truly good intentions to hear me out.  I know it sounds crazy but is there any way that respect and privacy could rise to the highest sense of urgency for a few hours? 

Trauma and sudden loss of life are tender topics. They are serious weapons of mass destruction but there are known elements that can soften their blow.  And it matters how you hear about these events and from whom.  It takes time to get a hold of the right people. It takes time to assemble the right support. It takes time to allow for code blues and body identifications to run their course.  For people to hear the words ” I’m sorry there was nothing more we could do” and to understand them. To say goodbye. To call the people – so many people who deserve to hear from a family voice. And to make decisions. 

And there is no dress rehearsal for death. You get one chance at all of it.  There is only one time you will hear those words. You don’t get to push a reset button.  I am sorry we live in an age where some people hear their sacred news on a social media comment. I know how disorienting it is to get “I’m sorry. We’re praying for you “texts way before you know what your prayer needs are.  I’m sad that containment and insulation are nearly impossible in these moments. We had to hurriedly send a family member to retrieve our boys from school because somehow people had already heard the news even though we hadn’t left the hospital.  We could have easily been denied the Holy privilege of bearing that news as a family together. 

So let it stop you in your tracks.  Let it break your heart and lift your prayers and rock your world. But please let it do those things for a very long time before it causes you to hit the SEND button.   Because that police scanner isn’t broadcasting breaking news , it’s begging you to let that first responder call be the only call for a good, long while.