The Key to Rapid Trauma Recovery

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Ask the group the questions in black.

Words in italics are written to help give some guidance and ideas.

Read out loud the text in blue.

Have someone read out the Scripture passages.

Introduction

If God guaranteed you an answer to any question, what question would you ask?

Gather thoughts. Ask why? This is not the time to answer those questions, but just to get people thinking.

People are curious about many things, but when it comes down to it, two of the most basic questions of life are: Who am I and why am I here?

Can you answer those questions with total confidence?

Who am I?

The question “Who am I” is a question of identity. Your identity is simply who you think you are.

When you think about your life, what influences have shaped your identity (who you think you are)?

This could be parents, teachers, sports coaches, pastors, friends, the world etc.

Share something about who you think you are.

Let people share at whatever level they are willing. Simply listen.

We all begin creating our sense of identity from birth, mainly based on our interactions with other people. The things we believe about ourselves can be both positive and negative.

So for now, we know that the “who am I” question is about identity. Over the coming weeks, we are going to explore this more.

Why am I Here?

The second question “Why am I here?” deals with our sense of purpose.

Think about things that people have created and their purpose? What comes to mind?

Share ideas. Choose any examples such as toasters, cars, lightbulbs, roads, houses etc.

Can you think of anything that has no purpose at all?

There is nothing that has been created that has no purpose. Things like space junk may seem to have no purpose now, but they did once have a purpose.

We have been created, so what is our purpose?

Gather thoughts. Ask, “what makes you think that?”

Does something that is created have the ability to determine its own purpose?

Use an example from above to pose the question. Can a toaster decide to be a jug instead?

Design

We can only come to a true sense of identity and purpose when we first understand our design. Think about a lion.

What is a lion designed to do?

To hunt animals. No healthy lion defies its design to become a vegetarian! It never happens.

What gives a lion the ability to be a hunter?

Its whole body is designed to hunt from tooth to claw. The lion’s identity as a hunter comes from its design.

In the same way, our sense of identity and purpose is connected to our design.

Do we begin life with an understanding of our design?

No, newborn babies have no knowledge or understanding of purpose or design.

How do babies learn about their physical design?

Babies and infants learn their physical design by watching people around them. In fact, studies have shown that if an infant does not hear someone talking, they will not learn to talk. If they do not see a person walking, they will not learn to walk.

The same is true spiritually. When we first begin to follow Jesus and are born again, we are like spiritual infants, and we learn our design by looking at people who we consider “spiritual.”

In our spiritual infancy, how can we be sure that the people around us are or were actually living in their spiritual design?

We really can’t be sure. Babies do not have the capacity to question their design. Because they are so vulnerable, there is a great responsibility to protect babies and nurture them in truth.

What if we have not truly learned our design? Imagine that you discover an object you’ve never seen before and you don’t know what it is designed to do.

How could you find out?

You would ask the person who made it!

Read these Bible verses together:

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:26-27
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Who is the Creator of the universe and of us?

God.

As our Creator, we owe our existence to God. We are not random products of chance. We have been wonderfully created by a God who has a clear design for our lives. And as our Creator, He alone holds the answers to those questions “who am I and why am I here?” The only way we can discover our design is to ask the One who designed us.

So, how does God reveal our design to us?

Gather thoughts.

Our Mirror

Look up the following passage in James.

James 1:22-24

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

What is the purpose of a mirror in the natural realm?

To see what you physically look like.

So, if you want to see a spiritual reflection of yourself, what is the spiritual mirror that you look into?

The word of God.

The Word is a spiritual mirror that shows us our natural face. The word “natural” used in this verse is the Greek word “genesis” meaning “source, origin or birth”. You could say that when we look into the mirror of the Word, we see our genesis face. We see our true identity and purpose as God originally designed it.

Summary

There are two questions we need to answer: Who am I? and Why am I here? These are questions of identity and purpose. Only our Creator has the right to determine who we are and why we are here, our design. So, over the coming studies, we are going to look into the mirror of the Word to find out how God answers these questions.

Questions for Further Discussion

Has there ever been a time in your life when you consciously asked yourself Who am I? or Why am I here?

Do you have any early memories of believing that God is Creator?

What do you think spiritual infants need most?

 

1 In the Beginning—Homework

Reflect

Read these verses from Psalm 139 and reflect on the questions below.

Psalm 139:13-14

For You formed my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You,

for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

What do these verses reveal about the value of your life?

What does it mean for you to be a unique creation?

Is it important for you to know “who am I” and “why am I here?” Why or why not?

Do you spend time looking into the mirror of the Word? Is this a focus for you?

Pray

As you begin these studies, ask God to reveal your identity and your purpose/design in life to you in a fresh and deeper way. Share with Him your desires for your own spiritual growth.

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…

There are so many broken people in the world that God desperately wants to heal. If we are to let the Spirit of the Lord live through us, we need to learn how to bind up the brokenhearted and bring healing to those who have been through trauma. In our experience, we have discovered that the key to full and rapid healing of trauma is found within in the first command. In Deuteronomy 30:6, Scripture says that if we choose to love God with all our heart and soul, He promises to make it a reality. That means that if a wounded person devotes their life to loving God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, God must heal them of their trauma. He cannot break this promise. So the key is not to focus on the wounding, but to call people to embrace a life of wholehearted love and so activate His promise. As people are healed and set free, they will then become people who rebuild the ancient ruins, restoring God’s design of love for our families and communities. 

Sarah’s Story

In 2019 , we saw God fulfill this promise in a glorious way. I was part of a team that was visiting a Pakistani refugee community. Most of the people there had left Pakistan seeking asylum, only to be denied by the UN. We went with a heart to bless these people, connect, and listen to their stories. One man told us how he shared a book in his church that included a section which promoted educating women. The Taliban found out and put a death-warrant on him, forcing him to flee the country.

 Another couple, whom we will call Daniel and Sarah, invited us to have a dinner at their place. Sarah was one of the most radiant people I have ever met. She was glowing with a tangible sense of love and joy. Over the course of dinner, we asked Sarah to share her story. Why had she fled Pakistan?

“My life is a bit like a movie. When I was 15, I was engaged to Daniel [for a future marriage], but that year, my mother died. When I was 17, my father died as well. My uncles wanted the house, so they took our inheritance and forced me and my two younger sisters to leave the family home. We had to live with an aunt. One day, a Muslim man came to my aunt and offered her $300 to buy me as a ‘second wife.’ My aunt agreed and sold me to the man [to be a domestic servant and sex slave]. To keep me from escaping, they broke my feet and then handcuffed me to a chain at the man’s home. Then they took all my clothes. 

“I suffered greatly over that time. They would often torture me with guns or knifes or broken bottles, or they would use their bare hands. They would also starve me of food. After seven or eight years, the man told me that I had to become a Muslim or he would kill me. His plan was to cut up my body and throw the pieces in the river. I refused and said, ‘Jesus has not given up on me, so I will not give up on Jesus. Kill me if you like, but I will not become a Muslim.’ While the man and his wife were away, his brother came to me and said, ‘You must become Muslim. He is returning tomorrow to kill you if you will not convert.’ I still refused and so he said, ‘If you’re not going to become a Muslim then you had better run.’ He then unlocked my chains and I fled. I could barely walk, but I made it to the next village and then the one beyond. It was a miracle, but I found Daniel. It had been over seven years since we last saw each other, but he had not married anyone else. In fact, he had been looking for me.

“I didn’t know if he would still want me now that I had been a sex slave. But Daniel said to me, ‘I don’t care what’s happened to you. God chose you to be my wife and we will get married and have a future together.’ I was so thankful and blessed. We got married, but the man who kept me captive was still seeking to kill me, so we fled the country.”

Our translator explained that when they arrived in the new country, Sarah and Daniel went through the asylum-seeking process, but were denied asylum, presumably because Sarah could not prove her slavery or the threat against her life. So they had been living in hiding for the last six years. Sarah then continued her story.

“For the last six years, I struggled greatly with anger, pain, rage, depression and bitterness. But then earlier this year, I was given a copy of Bride Arise in Urdu. As I was reading it, Jesus became so real for me! I gave my whole heart to loving Him, and now He keeps on coming to me and filling me with His love. His love has healed me and washed away my pain! This is the first time I’ve been able to talk about my past without crying. In fact, when I think of my time in slavery, I can’t feel any pain in the memory! I no longer have any resentment towards the man who enslaved and tortured me for all those years. All I can feel is love and joy ! In fact, I would go through it all again just to have this love for Jesus!”

We were all humbled and awestruck. God had taken someone who was completely broken and healed her entirely through His love. Having endured so much, Sarah had come to know Jesus as her bridegroom and was consumed with His love. And it showed. Sarah was literally beaming with the love and joy of Christ. Knowing that they have so little, I asked Sarah if there was anything she needed or if we could help in any way. She looked at me with a puzzled expression, as if to say, Haven’t you been listening? She simply replied, “The only thing I need is more love for Jesus!”

Desi’s Story

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

A couple of years ago, I led a group in a nearby town in which we focused on loving God with all our heart and loving one another. A woman called Desi was invited by a friend to come along to the group. On the first night, her first words to me were, “I’m Desi and you need to know I’m bisexual. I don’t discriminate as to who is worthy of my love.”

“Hey Desi, I’m Geoff.”

Over the coming weeks, Desi shared her story. She was adopted and at the age of three, her adopted parents began sexually abusing her. It continued for the next 13 years until she finally ran away from home. She spent some time on the streets as well as some time in jail. Then she got heavily involved in the BDSM scene, before getting married and settling down. She gave her life to Christ and attended a church because she was scared of going to hell. Then she came to the group, still carrying the deep scars of 13 years of unspeakable abuse and tragedy. 

Over the course of the group, Desi fell hopelessly in love with Jesus.

“I feel like I’m 16 years old with a first crush! Jesus keeps on telling me how much He loves me and that I’m His favourite!”

Desi devoted her life to loving Jesus with all her heart, and He responded by making it possible. He took away all the nightmares and ended the flashbacks that would constantly cause her to relive the emotional trauma. As His love washed over her, Jesus delivered her, healed her emotionally, restored her sexual design, and gave her a whole new identity in Him. She became more than His follower; she became His bride. And then she became terminally ill.

Desi heard that I had been invited to do a meeting close to her and so she asked her husband to bring her. Another friend called Drew came with me to the meeting to help minister. Drew moves beautifully in the prophetic, healing, and deliverance. He shared some words of knowledge for different people and prayed for them. We then invited him over to pray for Desi. He looked in her eyes and immediately burst into tears.

“I have nothing to offer you. Can you please pray for me?” was all he could say.

“Sure thing,” she quietly replied. Desi took his hands and simply said, “Jesus, you know what he needs. Just give him more Lord.”

On the way home, I asked Drew what happened.

He said, “I looked into her eyes, and I saw the love of God burning in her. And I realized that I don’t have that love in me…It has never been more real to me, that I can prophesy all things but without love it’s all worth nothing. I feel like this is a conversion moment.” The love of Christ in Desi was so real and powerful that it changed Drew with just a look.

This is the kind of total healing that only Jesus can bring and it does not have to take years. For Desi and Sarah, it was a matter of months. Months.

So if you are struggling to process trauma, please be encouraged that God can do the same for you, and bring you into a life of love. The way to access that healing is by taking your eyes off the wounding and pain, and instead focus on Jesus and His call of wholehearted love. Don’t think, “When God heals me, then I will give my life fully to Him.” This kind of thinking uses our pain to justify disobedience and holds God to ransom. In effect, it is the same as saying, “God because you haven’t healed me, I can’t love myself and so I can’t love others. So my inability to keep your command of love is all your fault.” Such thoughts stem from pride and cut us off from the healing we so desperately need. Instead we need to humble ourselves, accept that God has designed us for a life of wholehearted love and consciously choose that life. If we do, we will find that God is more than able to quickly heal even the deepest trauma. He wants to prepare us as a bride without spot or blemish for His Son, and with our permission, God will do it. 


These stories can be found in First Love and Bride Arise. Get your free copy and let the journey into love begin!


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