Begin Again: Taming Trauma by Tanya Cowley

Faith Family Grace Strength Waiting

Trauma is a tricky beast, always festering and feeding, hoping to eat you alive from the inside out. You survive it, accept it, and hopefully thrive in spite of it. But you are never rid of it. It lingers like the scars it inflicts.

By eighteen years of age, I experienced seven different types of childhood trauma. I handled my trauma by pretending it wasn’t there. As each new trauma visited, I ripped off that piece and hid it away.

Abandonment.

Abuse.

Neglect.

Eventually, all seven traumas were sealed away and buried deep inside.

But trauma chafes and enflames. Although I quarantined my infected parts, they still rotted. The stench permeated my good parts, spoiling them, too. I kept hacking and concealing, but I couldn’t keep up.

Then, Satan came sniffing around. “What’s that awful smell? Why, it’s you! Your trauma is repugnant. Who would want that? Who would want you?”

Like a precision missile, that lie detonated in my weakest spot and exploited my deepest fears. From then on, I did all the work. Satan relaxed, watching me self-destruct.

First, I hid the new damage, slicing off more defiled pieces and tucking them away. Then I ran at the breakneck pace of anxiety.

What if someone knows? What if someone finds out? What if someone learns my secret: that I am infected? What if I infected them, too?

Ultimately, I would build a fortress to house my trauma. Every heartbreak, every disappointment, every stone thrown my direction, big or small, was refashioned into a rampart. Not just to keep people out, but also to keep my repulsiveness in.

Eventually, Satan came around with one more lie designed to keep me bound forever. The lie that I’m not worthy of God. I’m too stained. Too broken. Too traumatized. God shouldn’t waste His time on me because there are people who deserve His compassion, mercy, and unfailing love. But not me.

So I ran and hid from God, too. You can have all of me God, except that part. That part is too ugly, and I need to protect you from it. I tried to hide my corruption in good deeds. On the outside, there wasn’t a girl closer to God than me. But on the inside, I was full of doubt. I begged for salvation at every altar call, repenting for being broken and traumatized. I feared God would stumble upon my hidden parts, realize how vile I was, and zap me out of His kingdom for eternity.

The saddest thing about trauma is that we, the victims, slowly suffocate under the weight of shame and guilt that isn’t ours to bear.

Eventually, I met a man and started a family. I let them see my walls and examine my fortifications, but I never tore them down. I even kept my children at arm’s length. I loved my family so much; I couldn’t handle the thought of my stain spreading to them. What if I contaminated them? What if I spoiled them the way I was spoiled?

But, things began to crash down. My walls weren’t as sturdy as I imagined, and mortars fired from the cannons of marriage and family do unspeakable damage. In the middle of the turmoil, I heard a familiar voice calling to me.

“Let me in,” He said. “I can restore.”

Suddenly, I knew.

God wanted my trauma.

I didn’t let Him in. Not at first, I was too terrified of what I might find.

When I finally peeked inside, do you know what I found?

Christ.

Where I was festering, He was fixing.

Where I was broken, He was building.

Where I was rotting, He was restoring.

Where I was hurting, He was healing.

That day, I began again. I thought my sin was too dirty for God to cleanse, and my sorrow was too big for God to comfort.

I was wrong.

God authored my story. Not man.

The end is redemption. “If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you” (Psalm 91:9). That day, the walls I worked so hard to build came tumbling down. I ran into the shelter of God, and for the first time, I found rest.

Now, I begin again each day. My trauma didn’t disappear and I still fight against the pull of my flesh, telling me run from it and hide. Only now, I know true peace doesn’t come from denial and concealment; it comes from God.

 

 

Bio: Tanya is broken, but beautifully redeemed by the blood of Christ and is passionate about sharing Him with others in spite of her desire to introvert like a boss.  She is married to a dreamboat, homeschools their three children, and stays up way too late reading (or perusing Pinterest).

Find her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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