Trading Fears for Freedom

Trading Fears for Freedom

July 4, 2014

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4 (NLT)

Leah DiPascal

{Editor’s note & trigger alert: We are mindful today’s devotion might stir up emotions for anyone who’s survived intense trauma. We pray you are encouraged by Leah’s message.}

As a teenager, I lived a pretty sheltered life. I believed nothing bad would ever happen to me. Then one day, I found myself in the middle of a really bad situation.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time resulted in a pistol put to my head. A robbery that was a sudden and terrifying scenario for this naive teenage girl.

“Don’t move or I’ll shoot!” The sharp words of my abductor rattled me to my very core. Shaking uncontrollably, I could feel the cold, hard surface of his gun pushing against my pulsating temple.

As my heart raced, thoughts ran through my mind: I’m going to die. This is it … my life is over. I wanted to run, but saw no way out.

By the grace of God, I survived. But although I had no physical wounds, the memories of that experience settled deep within my heart. Like acid, it seeped into the center of my shaken soul and ate away at my once-upon-a-time teenage confidence.

At night, my mind replayed the awful scenario. And during the day, I was afraid to go anywhere alone. Or even be left alone.

What if I run into him again? Will he recognize me? What if he followed me home that day and knows where I live? What if he comes looking for me again?

I didn’t feel safe … anywhere.

I was afraid … most all the time.

I struggled … the memories haunted me.

Looking back, I realize my abductor abused me momentarily, but fear held me hostage for what seemed like a lifetime. It kept my thoughts in bondage and dictated my daily decisions.

My biggest regret during that season of distress was not having God’s Word hidden in my heart. If I had taken the time to not only read but memorize His Word, I could have traded my fears for God’s truth of freedom found in John 8:32: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NLT).

On those sleepless nights, I could have claimed this promise instead: “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant,” Proverbs 3:24 (HCSB).

When I was alone and scared my abductor might return, I could have replaced my thoughts with today’s key verse: “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4.

Have you ever experienced something tragic that’s left you feeling afraid? Are your thoughts sometimes filled with “what-if” worries or scary scenarios that keep you awake at night? Does fear and anxiety hold you hostage today?

If so, I understand. I’ve been there. God’s Word is the answer to help you move beyond your fears to freedom with a new level of unshakable courage. Here’s the key: Real and sustainable freedom from fears can only be found in Jesus Christ and through His powerful Word.

Here’s what I’ve discovered: What consumes our thoughts overtakes our thought life. We can’t change what’s happened in our past, but we can change how we respond to those difficult situations in the future.

As women of faith, we find freedom from fear when we choose to capture those fearful memories, cover them with God’s Word and begin building a healthy thought life as we place our trust in Him.

Let’s commit to focusing on thoughts that bring life, hope and freedom. Let’s surrender our broken memories to God and allow Him to saturate them with His healing grace.

Heavenly Father, thank You for being with me so that I’m never alone. Help me to replace my fearful thoughts with Your Word as I begin memorizing Scripture verses today. I believe I can live a life of freedom from fear with Your help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 43:18-19a, “Forget what happened in the past, and do not dwell on events from long ago. I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don’t you recognize it?” (GWT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
The NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women contains the life-changing truth of God’s Word to help you gain freedom from fear.

If you’ve been a victim of violence, Wendy Blight’s book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner can help you walk through God’s healing.

Visit Leah DiPascal’s blog to continue this conversation and receive encouragement on finding true freedom.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
You can start today by memorizing a few of the Scripture verses shared above. Speak them aloud or personalize them into prayers.

How can you let God’s Word change your thinking as it brings healing to painful memories and true freedom to your life?

Leah DiPascalClick here to pin the imageClick here to download this free printable PDF

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Comments

  1. “REALand sustainable freedom FROM FEARS CAN ONLY BE FOUND IN JESUS CHRIST AND THROUGH HIS POWERFUL WORD.”
    Wow! What a wonderful thought for tonight! No matter what we may be a…fraid of, Jesus can free us from whatever we may fear if we simply look to him in prayer. We also need to find the answers to whatever our questions may be by getting into His word at all times, no matter what our situations may be.
    No matter what I may be going through in my life, God can change my thinking and outlook on whatever I may be enduring if I simply trust that He can make all things possible. We’ve also got to cast all our cares upon the Lord (words to a song called “Why Don’t You Cast All Your Cares Upon The Lord?”)
    “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4 (NLT)
    Wow! How so very powerful! If we simply put our trust in God, there’s absolutely nothing that any enemy can do to us. God’s light will completely push the darkness to the side and block it.
    John 8:32: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NLT).
    Incredible! Wow! What a wonderful verse tonight! I know God is truth, no matter what others may attempt to tell me about who He is. His truth can set me free from whatever my circumstances may be.
    “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant,” Proverbs 3:24 (HCSB).
    Wow! How so incredibly true! Here in Illinois, it is almost midnight. This is such a powerful verse to get ready for bed with. Since I’ve read this, I know I’ going to have a good night’s sleep tonight because I will have nothing to fear.
    “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4.
    Wow! I definitely shouldn’t be afraid. A little over two years ago, my parents attempted to convince my husband and I not to get married. They tried to make us afraid that we weren’t right for one another, that we would end up calling things off because we didn’t want to go along with it. Ultimately, we didn’t let them scare us whatsoever.
    “Heavenly Father, thank You for being with me so that I’m never alone. Help me to replace my fearful thoughts with Your Word as I begin memorizing Scripture verses today. I believe I can live a life of freedom from fear with Your help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.Leah DiPascal
    Wow! Wat an wesome prayer! My incredbe husbad, Ron Smith and I know that we’ve obviously got guardian angels looking over us at all times. No matter what issues we may be dealing with God’s got an army of angels watching over us at all times, even if we may not completely realize it.
    Isaiah 43:18-19a, “Forget what happened in the past, and do not dwell on events from long ago. I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don’t you recognize it?” (GWT)
    Wow! What a very powerful reminder for this midnight hour! God doesn’t want us to dwel on things that have already happened. Instead, He would like us to focus on what He is currently doing in and through us, even what He is about to do in and through us, as we encourage others. See More

    • Nico, I love that you’ve repeated these verses in your comments. I pray that as you meditate on them, the words will be etched on your heart and mind as a daily reminder of God’s protection over you.

  2. Deidre Moore says:

    Yes! This is very true when I was younger my mother was in an abusive relationship, and I was not a sheltered child my mother was on drugs and my dad was in and out of my life. When I was twelve or so and my mommys boyfriend would get high and hit on her she would yell for my sister’s and myself. And one day she yelled for me and woke me up out of my sleep to blood and screams like a horror movie I was tired and fed up so I poked him with a grill pitch fork in his chest not even meaning to I just wanted to scare him and get him to stop. My mom and I did not know Christ than but I longed to, his family had met him at the hospital and only heard his story and came back to our home surrounded our Windows and doors busted in and beat my mom, sister’s and our friends who were over at the time . I was terrified for years never wanting a house with two doors never wanting to be alone always going to bed in fear. Until one day I told my pastor that my husband would have to stay up late at night to watch over me and make sure that did not happen again. And my pastor gave me that scripture proverbs 3:24 to meditate on and to hang above my head and told me God never sleeps and to let my husband rest. And today there is nothing man can do to me, my God watches me day and night. And praise God because my mom is not who she was then she has also found Christ.

    • Wow what a great testimony! Thank you for sharing!

    • Deidre, I’m so sorry you had to experience such tragedy at a young age – not only you but your mother and sisters too. God’s Word is a healing balm that heals all of our wounds. He is our Mighty Healer.

  3. Just now, I need re-assurance. With an auto-immune condition and failing medication having to live with pain and disability is honestly not what I would have liked. However, I believe my biggest problem is FEAR, fear for tomorrow, for my job, my income, etc. please pray with me that I would “put my trust in God and trade my Fear for Freedom”!

    • Donna H says:

      Rose,
      I also have an auto-immune disorder that is not well controlled. My ability to physically function changes from day to day, so making plans or following through on commitments is often hard. My biggest issue is also FEAR, fear of not ever being able to work again, fear of being dependent upon my children ect… I am frozen in fear. I am praying with you.

      • Donna, I’m praying for your health situation and your struggles with fear. I truly believe that as you begin to release those worries and fear to God, you will begin to feel better. Fear can make our bodies suffer in ways we never imagined. Trust and know that God will provide for your needs.

    • Rose, I have family members with autoimmune issues and nutrition has really helped. Check out http://www.thepaleomom.com for more info. Praying for you and Donna H.

    • Rose, I’m praying for you today ~ asking God to calm your fears as you trust in Him. Scripture tells us that perfect love casts out all fear. When we focus on God’s love for us and His protection over us we, we can rest in knowing He’s got us covered.

  4. When I was married to my abuse x husband I was always scared of when he might go nuts again. I could never leave the house to go anywhere without him going nuts. I was married to him for seventeen years. I left him him seven years ago. Last year when I sign up for p31 bible study I began studying the bible everyday with confident heart bible study. I slowly become not scared anymore. I know go places without being scared of him anymore. God is so good

    • Karen, I’m celebrating your victory from fear and freedom in Christ today! It’s wonderful to hear how God used A Confident Heart to heal your broken heart and strengthen your faith. Leah

  5. I’ve been molested raped beaten emotionally abused +more in my life thus far and now suffer from PTSD. This was very helpful. Thank you.

    • C, Reading your comment broke my heart. No one should experience such tragedy. I’m praying God places people in your life that can help, encourage and support you. Leah

  6. There is a free app everyone can download called “Shut Up Devil”. It desks with issues like fear, anxiety, anger, and the list goes on. This app gives you numerous scripture to study on a specific topic and personalize it so that you can speak the life of God’s word over your life. It’s incredible it has helped me and I know it will help someone here. Be Blessed!

    • Erica, thank you for telling us about this app. I’m not familiar with it but will definitely check it out. I so glad to hear this app has been a wonderful tool for you in learning Scripture. Leah

  7. Laura Wemple says:

    Thank you Leah. I needed this today. I am only beginning to see the woman God has made me to be because of fear and control. A violent, fearful daily past as a child, an abusive marriage with a domineering husband continues to take me back instead of trusting in God too often. All things are possible with God & I will not stop believing simply because our Savior said “It is finished”.

    • Laura, I’m so sorry to hear about your painful childhood. Praise God you survived such abuse. I pray that if you’re still in an abusive marriage that you will seek help locally to receive support and guidance. You’re faith is a beautiful witness.

  8. Rose,
    Praying for you! My husband also has an autoimmune, neurological disorder and fear is what Satan uses most to steal my joy. Memorizing and reading scripture helps more than you can ever imagine. God promises He is with us and won’t leave us ( Isaiah 41:10 )

    Leah,
    Thank you for this! Reading and memorizing scripture IS the only way to fight Satan’s fear arrow. God’s word is truly alive 🙂

  9. heather says:

    Thank-you Leah for your honesty and for the reminder of the TRUTH and FREEDOM that is God’s word.

  10. A very strong word, Leah. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us what the true path to freedom looks like.

  11. On January 2 I had a gun held on my head in front of my home as I was robbed and carjacked. God’s presence was all over the situation. But the fear of people and certain situations is still holding me captive. Thank you for these verses. I will definitely hold them tight!

    • MS, I know how those feelings of fear and frightful memories can linger after experiencing something like this. Freedom is available for you. Hold tight to those Bible verses and cast down those fears, Sweet Friend. Leah

  12. I have a question for you. This devo was amamzing, thankyou. When I come across scripture, as in Psalm 91, talking of His promise to not let any harm come to me, I am really struggeling with these promises. I was a young believer when I was raped 30 plus years ago. I know He was with me, but why did He allow this to happen when His Word promises His protection? Any insights would be helpful as I am trying to grow through this.

    • Karen, I’ve asked this question myself. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world, filled with broken people who make terrible choices that tragically impact others. Even Jesus suffered at the hands of others. God promises to work everything together for our good (even those tragic things that the Enemy means for our harm) when we love and trust Him (Romans 8:28). Wendy Blight shares her story of how God restored her after a tragic rape. I believe her book would be a great source of help and encouragement to you. Book: “Hidden Joy In a Dark Corner”.
      I’m praying for you! Leah

  13. Thanks for sharing your story. I too was a victim of violence (domestic) 6 years ago in which my ex tried to take my life. Had I not had God and His word hold onto throughout the 72 hour ordeal I don’t know what I would have done. ThrHi Denise, I hope you’re well also! I hear you will be at a new school. Hope it’s a good move. The best thing for this person to do is contact our intake line -253-0406. Unfortunately, we only have resources to help with custody when there is domestic violence involved. If she doesn’t get anywhere through intake, let me know and I can ask one of our attorneys about it. Through the years His word has and prayers helped remove those sleepless nights for me as well so I know exactly how you feel. I will continue praying for calm restful nights for you. God has brought me so far and I am now able to seek opportunities to help others experiencing what I went through myself. Praise Him for Freedom!

  14. Someshow something else got posted in my response. Please disregard.

  15. patricia says:

    I witnessed three accidents in a space of one month. One of them was fatal and the other involved me as a passenger. Since then i am fearful of driving and worry that the unexpected might happen. Occasionally i have problems to sleep at night as i recall the accidents. I have prayed about it and meditate on the word but i am encouraged by today’s word. I will carry on praying and meditating and include the above verses. Thank you so much and may you be blessed.

    • Patricia, seeing these accidents must have been so difficult for you. Replacing those scenes and memories takes time but you are doing the right thing. Keep mediating on God’s Word and as you do those fears will fade. Leah

  16. Deborah Pinnell says:

    My 22 yr old son overdosed from drugs a month ago. My beloved firstborn is gone. He struggled for four years. I had to break the news to my 19 ur old daughter while she herself was in rehab. I now live with the fear of her not recovering and dying too. The statistics are not good and her grief is a set back. She calls me and the conversations at times take me back to conversations with my son. They were both dealing with lonliness, depression, battling to fight to stay clean. My son had 8 1/2 months sober and I am grateful for each day, but he struggled so hard to make it and then he slipped up and died. I prayed so hard and believed with all I could that my Jesus would turn his nightmare into a testimony one day. Now I am left praying the same prayer for my daughter. Left fearing the reality of what happened could happen again. Losing one child is a nightmare but the fear of losing the other at the same time is harder still. But I do not focus on the fear instead I place my life , her life, and all of my children’s lives in His hands. I have not quit testifying of His goodness and his mercy now even when I grieve and I am broken I have the hope of heaven. But I do fear what my daughter is going through. I do know the dangers and the destruction of drugs. I pray, I hope, I weep for what is lost, and I fear losing more.

    • Deborah, your story brings tears to my eyes. The heartache you’ve had to endure is no doubt extreme. I’m praying God continues to heal you as you mourn the loss of your son. I’m also praying God’s powerful protection over your daughter. That He will place a guard over her heart and her mind. That she will experience God’s presence like never before and that He will be her strength. God is near to the broken hearted and His ears are attentive to their cries. Leah

  17. Thank you for today’s word. Our office was robbed at gunpoint 12/30/82. That’s a long time ago, but I was held hostage emotionally for many years. No one around me understood the fear, they all thought I was over reacting. A gun, threats and being forced to hand over money lingered in my mind for years. When I finally came to know The Lord more deeply, more closely about 3 years ago, it finally brought me to a place of peace.

  18. T.Ashley says:

    As a woman who was physically, sexually and emotionally abused by numerous people throughout her childhood, then raped again at 19 by strangers (more than one) I developed a fear without realizing it. One day I was carefree and unafraid and the next I didn’t want to leave my home out of fear. It seemed to start after the rape at 19 (I think I had conditioned myself to be “used to” the abuse I was enduring by those in my family, it was “commonplace” in my mind and I didn’t realize it was abuse until I was much older). Since then I’ve battled tremendously with fear…I rarely leave my home and when I do I’m always paranoid and suspicious of everyone. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, PTSD and dissociative disorder – but I His Holy Spirit has helped me not need the medication to treat it. His Spirit has helped me manage the mood swings, triggers and even the anger and/or depression – but when it comes to the fear/anxiety it’s an ongoing battle. To top it off, the neighborhood I live in has become ridden with crime – people are kicking in doors in the middle of the day and people are outside SEEING these things happen and doing nothing (also out of fear or lack of concern). I typically stay home all day alone with a toddler and even with an alarm system I keep my doors bolt locked and refuse to answer it if I’m not expecting you. When my family leaves the house I worry constantly for their safety due to the things I hear and read….I KNOW GOD is calling me out of this fear – because I was such a courageous girl for Christ before this! I didn’t fear man or what they could do…I want to get back to the that point where I am not lead by (or held back by) fear and I am able to trust Christ in all things. I want to enjoy a quality of life without worry or anxiety – always being suspicious. It’s helpful to see I am not alone in this and I ask that you all pray for me as I pray for you in this area. Thank you so much for sharing this today…I love when God knows what you need and sends it right on time.

    • T. Ashley, thank you for being so honest and transparent in sharing your story. You have been through so much. You are a very strong person to have survived such tragedy. I love you’re heart and determination. I’m praying for your family’s safety. You have legitimate concerns and I’m praying that God provides an opportunity for you to move to a safer location. I’m also praying that God delivers you from all of your fears. Leah

  19. Franchesca says:

    I haven’t had experiences as tragic thank God, but I can understand the fear factor. I tend to be a fearful person and tend to let my emotions in the way, specially at night when lying down to sleep. I want to memorize these verses and through God I know they will work set me free sooner or later. I know he’s already doing a new thing but I keep looking at the past things I’ve done he’s forgiven me for. I hope God can be really patient with me through Jesus.

  20. Deidre Moore says:

    Sister’s you are still standing not because of who you are but becof Christ is, try writing proverbs 3:34 and Psalm 56,3:4 somewhere whereb you can see it and pray those scriptures. Ashley and I want you to know that I will be praying for you and all my sister’s. Fear is like shackles and chains it hinders us and holds down and in certain times it can just be paralyzing. But God has cut those chains and shackles and told us we are free because of Christ we are covered by the blood. What can take away my fear nothing but the blood of Jesus amen.

  21. healind says:

    First, may I say I appreciate the trigger warning at the beginning. I wish more sites would do that when the article addresses trauma. I also echo the question that Karen asked, as the promises of safety in the scriptures cannot refer to physical safety. I am glad many women have been delievered from fear and/or physical danger, but there are others who are not, especially in terms of global sexual slavery. How do we reconcile this with a God who does love us and pursue us while living in a world of violence and cruelty?

  22. Anne-Marie says:

    I’ve recently started reading Proverbs 31 Ministries devotional every day and I thank Jesus for this wonderful website. It has been a source of comfort to me, every message I read always relates to how I’m feeling at the time. I pray that Almighty God heals all our broken hearts, takes away our fears and brings us to a place of freedom from bondage and fear. God bless you all and have a pleasant night’s rest.

  23. I have spent my life in the church,and it was in that place that I experienced years of abuse that resulted in PTSD and dissociative issues. (Thank you T. Ashley for having the courage to share that. Very few people are willing to admit that).
    I spent many years slapping on the Christian band-aids of “Just trust God”, It’s the past, put it behind you, memorize Scripture, pray harder, and have had the verse stating to not look at the things behind and press forward” quoted to me too many times to count. Things only got worse.
    It was when I quit running and DID look back at the past, and with the help of Jesus (and a wonderful counselor) began to face the hard stuff, that I then began to move forward in my life. With the abuse being surrounded by “God” and “religion”, the pat Christian fixes did not work.
    God is walking me through the long process of facing my reality, trusting that He is with me in the middle of the pain and fears. He is walking me back into my past, revealing His truth in the middle of those memories, replacing the lies I have believed, and as a result I am slowly healing, shedding the shame, and finding my voice.
    All this to say, sometimes we have to look back. Sometimes we have to remember, and experience the buried emotions, so that God can then step into that darkness with us, shining His Light into our pain and healing our wounds.

    • Char, thank you for sharing your testimony with us. I truly believe it will bring hope, encouragement and great insights to other readers who are leaving comments. I love what you wrote about looking back, remembering, and allowing God to step into those dark places with us to heal our painful wounds. So true! Leah

  24. About 6 years ago the bank I was working at was robbed. He actually threw open the doors and put our customers on the floor and jumped over the counter. As the supervisor I stood while he out the rest of my tellers on the ground. He walk the length of the line with his gun pointed at me. When he got where I was he just stood there with the gun on me. All I could say was Lord please not today! I know He protected all of us that day.

    Thank you for sharing.

  25. I just signed up for your devotion yesterday because of a friend sharing. Yesterday’s devotion was needed but your devotion today is hitting so close to home.
    I have PTSD from seeing too many things in the Coast Guard and almost losing my life, once due to my job (which caused the PTSD) and once because I couldn’t handle the stress and pain from the PTSD. I gave up and nearly took my own life, and have struggled with suicidal thoughts since. You see I’m a professional rescuer, and not all rescues go as planned. Those things never leave our memories no matter how much we try to put them away.
    I accepted Christ when I was 14 but last year after the suicide attempt and hospitalizations for help I feel like I’ve been abandoned. There is no way He was walking with me because no matter how much I prayed or asked for help, it just kept getting worse. I spent 2 months in a military PTSD program and another 3 months outpatient just trying to learn to live day to day again. Worse yet is that I don’t feel like I deserve his grace or forgiveness anymore. This thought is totally against all my prior beliefs but how can I ask for forgiveness when I can’t forgive myself for giving up. I still feel left alone at times and just don’t know how to get back to believing blindly that Christ is savior and God is always with us. I have struggled terrably with this and dealing with both a mental crisis and a spiritual one is making recovery twice as difficult.
    I could use any help, advice or resources that others can lend. And no it’s not just as easy as praying and believing, because my mind is not accepting that, as much as I want to Just Believe it’s not that easy.
    Please help.

    • Melanie says:

      It makes me so sad to read your post, that you believe God abandoned you. Take courage, He has not abandoned or forsaken you, HE DIED FOR YOU! I can’t say I know the trauma you’ve witnessed, but I’m a physician and have seen my share of death; and have also personally experienced abuse. While I don’t know all the nuances of your situation, consider that, in the trauma you witnessed, there were people alongside you that could support you and could relate. Consider that when you felt you needed help, there was a program you could enroll in. Consider that when you had a near-miss at work, your life was spared. Consider that when you tried suicide, your hand way staid. Consider that you read this P31 post today and it spoke right to you and you asked for help. And maybe someone will say something that might get your attention. Might you consider that God is in each of those things?
      You are worth so much….His life, dear! Let’s face it, we don’t deserve that kind of love, grace or forgiveness, BUT HE HAS GIVEN IT TO US ANYWAY! You just have to accept it with a resounding, profound and heart-felt “Thank you!” You did nothing to earn his love, there is nothing you can do to lose it (including “giving up” BTW, it’s not giving up when you take a sabbatical, even a permanent one, from something that is causing you soul-crushing heart-ache.)
      I won’t pretend that it’s not hurtful when well-intentioned people, even Christians, say just pray, just believe, just get over it. We are not meant to get stuck in the past, or dwell in the dark days, to rehash over and over; but it’s ok to go back and point out the times that really, really stunk, that were hard, that you wanted to rage against God. It’s ok. He’s big enough to handle it. Go back to those times and with a heart that says “God, I’m hurt and I feel abandoned, show me how and where your hand was in that situation and heal that dark part of my life. Let me see your presence in my life right now!” It’s imperative that your heart be in the right place, open to seeing mis-perceptions on your part or lies you’ve allowed yourself to believe, and it’s especially important to be open to seeing Him in those situations. And then believe he can redeem those dark parts.
      There’s a bible study called Captivating by Stasi Eldridge that goes through this. It’s a DVD series type study. I’d highly recommend it as she goes through going back and praying truth and healing into each of those traumas (I’m a pragmatic type person, and initially thought it was super cheesy, but it has been very helpful in my life, just fyi).
      Lastly, try to seek a Christian counselor. A secular counselor won’t remotely understand your spiritual struggle and may minimize it which isn’t helpful to your complete healing.
      Be blessed. If nothing else, I will be praying for God’s face to shine upon you, that you may feel His love and grace and that people would come into your life that restore your faith in God’s presence in it.

    • healind says:

      SD,
      May I first say I understand the PTSD, although mine is for a different reason. You are correcct, the things we experience don’t leave our memories, nor our thoughts. I absolutely believe once you accept Christ, he is there, no matter what your feelings or thoughts say. He is there, are you are forgiven, even if you haven’t (or can’t) forgive yourself. I also believe Satan is a very real force in this world and tries to tear us down at every turn, to discourage us and make us think we are worthless. You are not worthless, you are precious and honored in his sight, loved with an everlasting love, he rises to show you compassion, and sings over you. I would encourage you to continue to pursue counseling if you are not now, and please don’t give up. I don’t think we believe blindly, we believe because we have made a choice to trust God’s promises in the Bible that he loves us, and that what the Bible says about the world is true regarding Christ and how we get to heaven, what happens after death, etc. The world we live in is full of violence, cruelty, physical danger, accidents, malice, and many, many things that don’t go the way we planned. It is hard to reconcile the promise that God loves us with what we see every day. Please be gentle to yourself, acknowledge the trauma you have seen and experienced, and give yourself time to heal. I would also suggest Dr. Brene Brown’s work (http://brenebrown.com/about/) and Dr. Kristen Neff’s work (http://www.self-compassion.org/) for resources.

    • After reading your post I had to respond, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I want to share with you that over 20 years ago I lost my sister to suicide. Her death affected everyone who knew her, she touched so many lives, just as we all do on a daily basis. In your occupation you deal with a lot of grief I’m sure, get some faith based counseling, go see a local minister, or two or three, look for that feeling like they are your best friend and you can tell them anything, kind of feeling. When we lost my sister I talked with a lot of people, some did not know what to say, others walked away-kind of clueless as to what we were going thru. Over the years, I’ve kind of learned more about the subject, and try to help others I know who go thru similar situations. Hang in there and find someone you can talk to. My prayers are with you.

  26. Thanks for sharing this! God Bless you!

  27. Thank you so much for sharing this with me today. Psalm 56:3-4 is exactly what I needed today. God Bless you!

  28. SD. I read your post earlier today and have not been able to get you offy mind.
    I hate that you feel so alone, yet sadly, when dealing with mental health issues that is how the journey seems to go.
    I really connected with your comment that dealing with a mental and spiritual crisis makes recovery so much harder. With my abuse centered around church, the spiritual aspect of my recovery has at times been the hardest part of it all.
    I have so much running through my mind that I would like to share, just seems too much to share here.
    If you would be willing, I would love to connect by email. I may not have any answers, but sometimes just having someone willing to listen and and be there helps to not feel so alone.
    My email is Brunner401@msn.com. Feel free to write if you are comfortable with that. I am praying for you.

  29. I am a mother of 2 my oldest is 1yr 1/2 and my youngest is 3 months. I’m adjusting to mother hood but I’m also trying my best to build a godly relationship with my significant other. I have recently fully commited myself to walk a life of righteousness of the eyes of The Lord. I’m taking it one day at a time but I know that I need to have an armer to be able to fight my spiritual battles, these book will help strengthen me to be able to be a better women of god there for making my whole. It would just be a blessing within my life to have these book.

  30. Thank you for this devotion!! I am really struggling with fear and anxiety and I know the lord is helping me thru but it seems like it want ever end. I feel angry at myself and finding it hard to pray and want so desperately to be myself again.I know my past is the past but it still haunts me and fear of rejection seems to be my biggest issue.i know the lord is not rejecting me but it feels like it.as a child I never fit in and everything that was good was always taken from me .I felt like something must be wrong with me and felt unworthy of love.

  31. Melissa says:

    Leah,
    I’ve never commented on a post, though I’ve been reading the P31 blog for years. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Although I’m sure the circumstances were different in both of our cases, I experienced almost the exact same thing when I was in my early twenties and living by myself in an apartment. By the grace of God, a lot of the fear that I dealt with for months and years has gotten better, but I still struggle with fear, especially when I’m by myself. Thank you for sharing the encouragement you did, so I know I’m not the only one who came out on the other side. I’m sure I’ve read Proverbs 3:24 before but I’ve never applied it in this way. Thank you for giving me that lifeline for next time I am scared when I go to bed, and thank you for having the courage to wrote this.

  32. While I hear what you are saying, “My biggest regret during that season of distress was not having God’s Word hidden in my heart”…. know this: we are human and being traumatized may require help from a professional. I know this first hand. I became a believer when I was 13… I poured myself into God’s word. As an adult, I was hungry for more. I also suffered from abuse as a child/fear of abandonment…. God’s word was hidden in my heart but the pain was so deep, I needed someone who was not emotionally attached to this situation to help me heal.

  33. Allison says:

    This hit me like a ton of bricks today. I have been struggling with constant fear in my life. I know it is Satan attacking. My prayer is that all of us that deal with this can boot Satan to the curb and not let him in our hearts. I have lost a child and have a son with a chronic illness so I know this is the reason I’m feeling this way. Prayers to you all!

  34. reclaimed says:

    Leah, I found this post today and am so grateful to God for leading me to it and for leading you to write it. I was sexually abused by 3 different people as a tween and early teen. After several years, I finally told someone and it stopped, but it didn’t, because it was still happening in my mind.
    I couldn’t talk about it though, so I kept it a secret. When I married, I realized how frightened physical intimacy made me. I decided I had to tell my new husband about what had happened so that he would understand why I might be reticent sometimes. Instead of understanding, he “figured that if I let them get away with it, then [he] could do whatever he wanted.” (That came out in our marriage counseling…he didn’t see anything wrong with that statement.) I divorced him, but, those 10 years of abuse stayed with me too…on top off the original abuse from my childhood. Before I remarried, I made sure my fiance knew about my past. He’s been so patient and helpful, coming to counseling with me to hold my hand as I work through the abuses of my past. The more I talk it out, the more I realize how it has influenced my decisions and my life: classes I took, guys I dated, the major I chose, the career I selected, the man (if you can call him that) I married the first time, the myriad health problems I battle, and the child-shaped hole in my heart.
    I’d memorized lots of Scripture in Sunday School and at church camp, but in the midst of the abuse only a handful of verses came to mind. Psalm 46:10a kept me rooted in my faith for years. A couple years ago, I found a Scripture memory app called Remember Me. I’ve learned and relearned a lot of Scripture that carries me through the dark times. Now, 30+ years after it all started, I’m no longer afraid to be alone. I’m no longer afraid of closed curtains. I’m no longer afraid of night time, or bedtime, or my bedroom because “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord , make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8, ESV.)
    There’s still work to be done. The more I work through it all, the more people I need to forgive…the ones who jumped to conclusions about my acting out, the ones who made bad decisions about what to do when I told, the ones who told me God was punishing me or that my faith was weak, the ones who said it was my fault, the ones who turned a blind eye. It may be something I need to continue working on for the rest of my life…or maybe one day it’ll all come flooding out and God will grant me the grace to forgive them all at once. Or maybe the Lord will return for us and take us where there’s no more pain or tears. Until then, I’m “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of [my] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV) “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [me] from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus [my] Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)

  35. Claudia says:

    Speechless of how God heals and protects us from all fears!! please sisters pray for me!!

  36. Leah, Wowowow!! I searched the devotions for “trauma” and your article came up. You get it! And, as I read every womans share, I see that a couple of others have had very similarly the amount of multiple abusive traumas as I. I wouldn’t even try to type out my life story, but basically was born a “withdrawal” baby to a drug and alcohol addicted, mentally ill mom.Neglect alternated with severe abuse, and then witnessed and suffered physical abuse as mom had joined a cult, when I was 12 mo old. Move through uncles attempted molestations(2 of them, separately) to babystter of the same sex, molesting me, and we are only to age 8. That’s why I will stop there, but my life has been protected, I know deep in my soul, for a reason. (Actually, the most recent trauma occurred at age 42, so they aren’t OVER) But, somehow, someday, maybe all these awful things will have made me all the better equipped to help women to recover and heal from the many types of abuses that I have survived. THANK YOU, for the scriptures, I LOVE the idea of writing them out, and placing them in sight!!! Keep up the Wonderful work! <3

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