By Gena Barnhill @BarnhillGena
A person does not need to be in a war zone or a massive hurricane to experience trauma. Most people will experience some form of trauma during their lifetime. Some encounters may be mild, and others may be debilitating and require intensive healing.
Jesus prepared us for trauma in John 16:33b when He said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” There is no devastation the Lord cannot redeem. Jesus explained His role when He said:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
We can take encouragement from Paul’s words about Jesus in 2 Corinthians 1:10: He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.How Does Trauma Affect Us Spiritually? The A-B-C Series on Ancestral Influences #trauma #healing Click To Tweet
Trauma is referred to as either Type A or Type B. Type A trauma is the result of the absence of good things in life such as food, love, and shelter. It can be the result of neglect. Deprivation suffered early in life impacts the neurochemical pathways in the brain and can negatively impact the child’s physical, intellectual, emotional, and social growth. Type A trauma is often not as easily identified as Type B trauma, which is the result of a specific traumatic event(s).
The spirit of trauma can be passed down the family lineage. Our ancestors’ unresolved trauma and unexpressed grief could have opened the door to the enemy. This spirit will continue to operate in the family line until it is recognized and brought to the Lord for healing.
Trauma could occur in utero if the pregnant mother experienced a traumatic event that was not healed. Children who were not wanted or experienced an attempted abortion while they were in utero may suffer from trauma and not be consciously aware of its root until it is brought to Jesus for healing.
Stress hormones are elevated during a threat as a protective mechanism. Under normal circumstances, this elevation is temporary, and the stress hormones dissipate when the event is over. In traumatized individuals, the stress hormones take longer to dissipate and elevate quickly in response to mildly stressful stimuli and can put the person in a state of hypervigilance.
Even if the conscious mind ignores the trauma, the body registers the trauma. Dr. van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, studied brain imaging scans and found that images of past trauma activate the brain’s right hemisphere, where memories of sound, smell, touch, and the resulting emotions are stored. Meanwhile, the trauma deactivates the left hemisphere, where we organize our experiences and translate them into words. Later, when we are reminded of past trauma, our right brain reacts as if it is happening in the present.1
A core response to the helplessness we experience after a traumatic event is fear. Remaining bound in fear paralyzes our growth and can manifest as panic attacks, anger, bound emotions, a hardened heart, hopelessness, and isolation. A spirit of bitterness and unforgiveness can take hold when we separate ourselves from others due to shame from the trauma and a belief that we need to hide our pain.
Living trapped in fear and shame may reinforce the lies we believe about ourselves. Some prayer recipients told us they were victims, and nothing went right in their lives. They said they could not depend on anyone but themselves. Others said they must have deserved the trauma. These are lies the enemy uses to keep us separated from God and unable to hear His voice.
Believing these lies led people to make inner vows such as:
We saw people try to protect themselves and avoid further pain by minimizing the trauma they endured or negating it. They did not want to reexperience the trauma and sensory memories and desperately tried to suppress their inner chaos. These responses often led to physical symptoms, such as digestive issues and autoimmune conditions. Pain can sometimes be considered a gift because it tells us something is wrong and needs healing.
We need to release our pain to Jesus so He can heal it and mend our broken hearts. Jesus experienced abuse, grief, sorrow, trauma, and death. He understands our pain, and He died to redeem us. We need to invite him into our anguish so He can heal and restore us.
When we asked prayer recipients to invite Jesus into their trauma, He healed their pain. Sometimes He showed them an aspect of the traumatic event they were unaware of at the time it occurred. This brought relief and freedom. When the recipients asked the Lord where He was during the event, He often showed them He was there and protected them from further harm.
Before I share a prayer with you, I would love for you to have an opportunity to share your thoughts about the impact of trauma. How have you seen trauma impact yourself or others?
Be sure to share your thoughts in our Facebook Group Healing Prayer Discussion.
We are all stronger when we learn from each other. Looking forward to your input.
Lord Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I ask You to remove all trauma, fear, and terror from my body―from my cells, tissues, organs, DNA, emotions, and all memories, both verbal and pre-verbal. I ask You to return my nervous system to Your original design by turning off the hypervigilance within me. Establish new neurological connections within me. Lord Jesus, I ask You to remove the harmful effects of trauma and fill me with Your peace, joy, and love. Please bring my body to a place of rest and help me to abide in You. I ask all this in Jesus’s holy name that He may be glorified. Amen.
1 Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score. (New York: Penguin Books, 2014), 44-45.
*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV).