Processing Trauma

One thing that we often come across as we work with ladies struggling with addictions is trauma. Many of our ladies have physical and sexual abuse and other trauma in their past, and this has driven our staff members and counselors to really dig deep into scripture and find out what is God’s view on this difficult issue.

Over the years we have had quite a few ladies come to us with unresolved trauma. By “unresolved” I mean that they come with abuse and difficult things in their past that they have never worked through. Sometimes a lady will come to us who has trained herself to forget what happened in her past by using drugs, alcohol, or other tools. Once these tools are stripped away, sometimes these memories present themselves in nightmares or instances of intrusive memories where the lady is remembering and reliving the event in their mind and body. As the staff and counselors of Vision of Hope have sought wisdom in how to serve these ladies well, they have found that one of the most important things to do is to process through the trauma, allowing yourself to remember what happened and admit it to be true, no matter how difficult that may be.

We strive to teach our ladies how to process trauma in a biblical way, as we walk through it with them. We have found that once someone remembers what happened and is willing to admit the reality of it, the memory becomes less intrusive and more manageable.

But we don’t stop there.

We make it our goal to not only help these ladies recognize the memories and traumatic events as true, but then to hold that event up to the truth of Scripture and who God is. What does the bible say about abuse? What does the Bible say about God, and how does that apply to this horrible event in my past? These are just a few of the questions that our counselors work through with their counselees to gently guide these broken ladies to Christ, the only One who can save them and bind them up again.

Processing through trauma in a biblical way is just that: a process. It takes time and hard work for our ladies to work through these things, but in the end there is such hope and healing, as we know that our Savior is waiting for them with open arms, ready to grieve with them over what has happened and to bind up their brokenness. What I have described here is but a taste of what our staff and counselors have discovered as they have driven themselves deep into the Bible for answers.

So if you or someone you know has experienced abuse or other trauma, just know this: there is hope in the scarred hands of our Savior. He offers healing and freedom. Yes, it is a long and very difficult process, but His arms are strong as He “upholds you with His righteous right hand”…His beautiful, nail-pierced hand.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

-Isaiah 41:10

Bethany Dunn
Bethany heard about Vision of Hope while attending Word of Life Bible Institute in Florida. When she began praying about what God wanted her to do after graduating, He kept bringing Vision of Hope to her mind. Knowing that there was an internship available, Bethany applied, was accepted, and began her internship with VOH in July, 2012. Since then she has been amazed at the opportunities God has given her to learn more about His Word and how it applies to everyday life. Bethany now serves on staff at Vision of Hope.