An Odd Place For Trauma

Friday, July 9, 2021
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Listen while you read: "Happy The Home When God Is There"1 (Lyrics)

Malachi 4:2a – But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free. (NLT)

"Cuckoo", "nuts", "gone bananas", "gaga" … So many derogatory words describe the battle with mental illness — all of them unkind. But it is a different story on the receiving end. My poor afflicted aunt was left in charge of us one day when I was about ten, and she told me to do the dishes.

"No," I said. "It isn't my turn." Without another word, she picked up the butcher knife with which mother cut up chicken. Her voice changed to an overly-sweet coo as she came at me with the knife. I raced down to our dark, unfinished basement to hide under an overturned wheelbarrow. As she came after me, I prayed and made myself small. Then, suddenly, over our heads, I heard my parents come home.

My aunt turned back and went upstairs to meet them with the knife. I could hear my mother ask what it was for, and my aunt replied that I had been bad and needed punishing. Then, I heard my mother call my name in a wobbly voice that didn't sound like she expected an answer. They never left us with her again.

But all these years later, whenever someone changes their tone of voice from normal to something they perceive as more relational, I am thrown into an internal panic. This continues to happen every Sunday among, of all people, the most kindly folk on earth — church ushers! They'll be talking quietly among themselves. Then, a member like me arrives, and they put on their "greeting voices" — and I freeze up. How can I possibly explain? Instead, I try to obtain a copy of that Sunday's order of service, without responding, always knowing that I'm not in any danger.

I experienced a deep trauma that day — even though far from the horrors of first responders or wartime. Mine obviously wasn't all that bad, and it was 70 years ago. But still, my reaction persists. I once published a fuller account hoping that seeing it in print would make it go away. That didn't happen.

The only thing that has ever helped is turning to my Bible and reading God's promises, especially the one in today's verse. I can feel the trauma abating as I read. The Sun of Righteousness rises in our lives as we come to believe. Everything is brand new. We are still becoming, and the promised healing continues to set free our souls.

Prayer: Dear Father God, thank You for all the hard things in our lives that You continue to set us free of, when we turn them over to You, relying upon the promises of healing in Your Word. Grow us up in faith and understanding, through our doubts and darkness. We are grateful that You will be our rock and our foundation as we turn the trauma, the memories, and the messes in our personal histories, over to You, our strength and hope. Amen.

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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Praying for continued healing from your trauma.

    Frightening indeed, Rose. God bless. Prayers your way.

    Thank you for sharing your scary experience and good advice, Rose. God bless!

    Oh Rose, what an awful memory. Praying for this memory to be replaced by an uplifting one. Blessings.

    Thanks again for sharing a story from your life experiences. May God continue to bless as you write and bless others!

    Thank you for this story! So poignant and true! I hope you can get some therapy to help you with this trauma you suffer.

    Hi Rose,
    What an incredible story! Thank you. Your devotionals are so inspirational and meaningful.

    Thanks for a good word today Rose. Indeed, God is able to continue healing and freeing us from these wounds that we carry, as we trust in Him and rely upon His word.

    Rose, you do me the great courtesy of sharing this trauma from your life, offering it in a conversational sense. How blessed I am that God has gifted you with such communication skills.

    Thank you, Rose. You always write so well that we would not have guessed the trauma with which you have suffered. Thanks for sharing.
    God’s promises are so helpful, always.

    Hi Rose
    Thanks, and it is amazing how something said or done can put us back to a situation so many years ago!!!
    Scripture is our best medicine!!
    God bless.

    Dear Rose: I read with interest your story this morning and I wondered if anyone ever lifted off the spirit of shock and trauma that came in that day. As well, I Samuel 18:1 talks about Jonathan becoming one in spirit with David and while this was a positive experience it can be a negative experience especially when linked with a trauma. Cutting the ungodly ties can bring great freedom.
    Just a thought.

    Dear Rose:
    I enjoy your many emails that you contribute on a regular basis. They are a real blessing.
    You are a very talented writer on behalf of your Lord and Savior.
    Please keep up the excellent Devotionals.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Blessings and prayers.

    Another wonderful devotional from you. But I beg to differ about calling it “odd place for trauma” as I would surmise that many traumatic events happen at home during one’s childhood. Luckily for you God timed your parents’ return just in time. Your recollection of your aunt’s voice changing when she was trying to lure you back is surreal and has a Hitchcock feel to it. I would love to read the longer version that you allude to in the devotional just because I love the way you write!

    Hi Rose. Your story is very powerful. I have a friend whose son went into a psychotic episode at night and attacked her with a knife and tried to choke her. This was over a year ago. He had been on drugs, and he went into Rehab. They are talking and she forgives him, but they have a long way to go before there is healing. They both need healing. She is a committed Christian and he has committed his life to Christ, but it is kind of off and on.
    I will share with her. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    Dear Rose,
    What a frightening experience you endured at that time in your life and I’m sure the flashbacks would be just as frightening. Our loving Lord was certainly with you at that moment and hearing your prayer. His strength and care is with us whenever we call on Him and carries us through the life circumstances we face. Thank you for the deeply meaningful devotionals you contribute.
    Many blessings to you.

    Dear Rose,
    I know just what you mean about the changes in a person’s tone of voice. When my daughter is talking to her friends or other people outside the family, she talks fast in a higher pitched tone of voice! I wonder how my voice changes when I’m not even aware of it!

    Rose, thank you for sharing your story.

    Oh Rose, I can’t imagine the horror you experienced and continued to sense for so many years. Thanks for the reminder to turn our anxieties over to the Lord who alone can heal us and give us comfort!

    Dear Rose.
    I pray you continue to seek freedom and peace in God’s word to help you through your anxiety. Trauma is trauma no matter where it took place. Your prayer speaks to me. What a blessing to all and glory to God that your life was spared. Will pray for you. Blessings.

    Hello Rose,
    Thank you for sharing that traumatic experience you had as a child.
    Many adults walk around bearing the scars of childhood traumas, with no one ever suspecting how one small, seemingly insignificant incident, can grab them back into all the emotions elicited by past events. This I know from personal experience as well.
    I’m 67, and there are certain triggers that can still evoke a reactionary response that seems silly in the circumstances, but no less real. Like you, I run to my Safe Harbour, Jesus, who slowly over the years, has provided ‘peace’ in the midst of these times so they are less frequent, but still happen.
    I used to berate myself in the aftermath of these times, by telling myself, “You’re an adult, you shouldn’t be this way anymore!”
    Then Jesus reminded me, “You are my child. You’re never too old to come to me when you’re frightened.”
    Praise our Lord and Saviour for His mercy and grace, who sees our frailties with love, understanding and compassion.

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