Emotional Abuse, Hope, Pain and suffering, Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized

Trauma and Healing

I’ve had several people comment on the dark tone in my posts recently. I’ll be honest: this last month has been excruciating. I have not struggled with such pain and fear since my divorce. This season might have even been darker and harder in some ways.

Over the years, I’ve been very blunt about my ex-husband’s divorce. You can actually find our divorce decree online and see that our divorce was granted on the basis of his infidelity—a fact that was never disputed. But I haven’t always been as open about some of the other pain my children and I experienced in my first marriage and the years after the divorce.

It took me several years to realize that I had experienced verbal, mental, and emotional abuse throughout my marriage…abuse that got worse the farther he walked from God. I am only now beginning to understand some of what my kids experienced in those years after the divorce.

But those are stories for my kids to tell.

I say all of this to explain what I’ve been walking through recently. I thought I was healed, untouched. I’ve read so often about people suffering from PTSD after abusive marriages, but I never felt that I had been affected.

Until a little over a month ago.

When my body completely shut down.

When my efforts to pray and read the Bible did nothing to change my heart or my mindset.

When I found myself spiraling into a deep, dark place I have never known before.

When I couldn’t even muster a smile or find a moment of joy.

When I felt as if the walls were closing in on me and there was no escape.

When I was mindlessly walking through my days just trying to make it to the bed at night.

When I was locked in anxious thoughts that wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I tried.

When nothing could penetrate the darkness surrounding me.

As I found myself in this dark, painful place—a place I didn’t know and couldn’t explain—it put stress on my new marriage. I lost my ability to see from someone else’s point of view. I lost my love and compassion for others. I found myself fighting for survival—for my survival—no matter the cost.

I became someone I do not know, someone I do not like.

Sadly, my battle brought out the PTSD in our entire home. My daughter has asked me if she could suffer from some level of PTSD. My husband confessed that he felt like he had been fighting an exacerbation of his war-induced PTSD.

We were all fighting demons we couldn’t see, we couldn’t name, we couldn’t understand…and at some point, we began fighting one another.

Yes, it’s been a bitter, excruciating place in which we have been living.

Even in the midst of the darkness, I heard the sweet voice of my Father.

“I will fight for you. You only need to be still.”

“This season is the gateway to something more beautiful than you can imagine.”

“I’m her and I’m working.”

But as much as I tried to focus on His voice, the darkness consumed me. Consumed us. Nearly destroyed us.

Nothing has changed in our situation. We still have some hard decisions to make. We are still faced with a custody battle. We are still facing Roy’s daughter’s behaviors. We are still struggling to move forward, to find our footing.

Somehow, I feel the darkness lifting and His love beginning to penetrate my heart again. I am beginning to see His hand moving around us. I’m trying to focus on loving my husband and my kids, letting them know how much I care. I’m trying to give of myself instead of being so absorbed by the pain and the fear. I am hoping to see a few rays of light shining through the darkness.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t change a thing in this season.

I kept reading my Bible. I kept praying…probably even more. I kept going to church. I kept listening to Christian radio. I kept pushing forward…one step at a time. I reached out to friends in similar situations, friends who understood what I was walking through.

It wasn’t immediate…maybe not even completely over. Slowly, step-by-step, moment-by-moment, God penetrated my heart and mind. He brought all of us—continues to bring all of us—together where we stand stronger together than we do alone.

Maybe I now I have a new depth of understanding of what so much of the trauma I have experienced over the last decade has done to me—and to my kids. Maybe I will have an even greater empathy for those walking through the pain and darkness of abuse. Maybe now God is ushering a new season of growth.

I know we have a long way to go. I know we have many difficult days ahead. I know the darkness is not completely gone. It may be a darkness I battle throughout my life.

But I know my Savior lives and loves. I know perseverance and continuing to do what He has asked of us eventually causes the darkness to give way to light. I know His way is good and perfect and transforms us from the inside out. I know His light penetrates even the darkest of nights, the deepest of depressions. I know He is still the answer to our every problem.

And I pray you continue doing the right thing until you begin to see the rays of His light penetrating the darkness surrounding you.


Lord Jesus, I thank you. I thank you for carrying me through some of the darkest days of my life. I thank you for showing me the depth of the pain I have experienced, for opening my eyes to a darkness I didn’t know existed within me. I thank you for loving me enough that you didn’t leave me lost and wandering in the pain and loss. We ask for your presence as we move forward, as we try to figure out how to move forward in the painful circumstances still surrounding us. Help us to put aside ourselves and seek your face, your wisdom, your direction. May these painful days draw us to you and to one another, making us into something more beautiful than we could ever imagine. Make us like you. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

19 thoughts on “Trauma and Healing”

  1. May you be well soon, my friend. Thank you for reminding me that there is hope in the darkness.
    Praying that the sun (Son) may shine in your family again.

  2. Not because someone comes into your life means it is from God. You needed to go back and pray and ask God if this is from Him. Your life sounds like it has gone from bad to worse since re-marriage…that’s not how God works! There are tons of Christian books on re-marriage because re-marriage isTOUGH especially when kids are involved. And that’s why the divorce rate is higher with re-marriage. Did you have pre-marital counselling? You talk about PTSD. As a mental health professional with a masters in the field, and 30 years experience, your situation is not PTSD. What’s happening is that you are grasping at solutions for most likely a wrong choice you made in life. Re-marriage, blending all those kids into one household, with a handicapped child sleeping on your bedroom floor from the onset of your marriage, custody battles and the mirage of other challenges you have written about, is a recipe for another divorce. How could you not see that prior to re-marriage? How could you see this as God’s plan for your life? God loves you and gives us the best. He does not want us hurt. But when we jump ahead of God and take things into our own hands, thsts when disappointments come to life.
    I will be praying for you.

    1. Please remember that you only see a glimpse into my life, and lately it’s been a painful glimpse. We could not foresee that this sweet little girl would have such a violent reaction. We could not foresee that our plans to have a home ready would fall through. We could not see that his dad would die six months into our marriage. But God knew. Even in the midst of so much pain, there’s also incredible beauty…beauty in the way of a child feeling like she has a daddy for the first time in her life, in lying down next to my best friend every night. Yes, I’ve gone through PTSD. My daughter has had ptsd. My husband definitely has ptsd. But we push through. We love. Just because life is hard does NOT mean we made wrong choices.

      1. PTSD is a very serious disorder that must be differently diagnosed. It’s being thrown around very lightly . If everyone in a household has PTSD…something is terribly wrong!! 😳

      2. Yes, something is very wrong. We have suffered tremendous abuse…things I’ve never shared publicly. And we are only now calling it what it is.

        Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    2. Gail, have you personally gone through an experience so devastating that it brought you to the end of yourself? Have you personally experienced the trauma and aftermath of abuse, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, sexual? Until a person has walked that path they have absolutely no way of knowing the trauma that robs a person of the ability to function, that leaves you barely able to put one foot in front of the other, that robs you at times of even having the desire to live. A master’s degree and 30 years of experience cannot compare with coming face to face with the actual traumatic experience. If you have never experienced first hand the trauma of years of abuse and it’s lasting effects, you have no idea. Is it possible that what Dena and her family have suffered recently has nothing to do with being out of God’s will but rather being very much in His will and a target of the enemy who seeks to devour and destroy? God promises to work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He doesn’t tell us it will be easy. The ministry that Dena has in encouraging women who have been traumatized by abuse is, I think, something the enemy would like very much to see stopped. Dena’s is the voice of experience of one who has walked in the valley of the shadow. She has very publicly put into words what so many of us who are victims of abuse have suffered. For me, her words have been an encouragement that I am not alone. They have been reminders for me as I have walked this path that the Lord promised to be with me through the waters, the rivers, and the fires. Yes, there are times we make choices that are outside of God’s perfect will, and our choices always come with consequences, but I do not think from Dena’s other writings that she has made choices outside of the Lord’s will. I think, as I stated earlier, she has found herself in the crosshairs of the enemy. But praise be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, the enemy will ultimately be defeated.

      1. Thank you, and I agree completely! I took a step toward the calling God put on my life on April 1, 2016. On April 6, my world began a crazy spiral distracting me from His calling. It’s taken me 2 1/2 years for me to see the full picture, but I now see this is spiritual warfare at its finest…designed to stop God’s calling on my life. HE will win and be glorified!!

    3. Gail, though you may have that opinion, and I don’t doubt your training and experience, I’m more than a little shocked that you are publically telling Dena she married the wrong man and are reprimanding her for not figuring it out before she made a permanent life decision. At the very least, that should have been a private conversation. Dena has defended herself with exceptional grace, considering. I challenge you to remember that “knowledge puffs up, but live edifies.”

  3. PTSD means all had terrible experiences in their past not their present. The present is beautiful and God given. Let’s not forget who the real enemy is here. Totally get you Dena, you will never know how much your story has and still encourages and inspires me. I pray Gods love, light and continued hand on you and your families lives. Let your light shine

  4. “When my body completely shut down.

    When my efforts to pray and read the Bible did nothing to change my heart or my mindset.

    When I found myself spiraling into a deep, dark place I have never known before.

    When I couldn’t even muster a smile or find a moment of joy.

    When I felt as if the walls were closing in on me and there was no escape.

    When I was mindlessly walking through my days just trying to make it to the bed at night.

    When I was locked in anxious thoughts that wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I tried.

    When nothing could penetrate the darkness surrounding me.”

    YES. Thank you for putting these words in here and sharing your experience.

  5. Just do you. It does not matter if you are ecstatic, depressed, enraged, wanna hide, cry, sing with joy – whatever you feel, for as long as it takes, is perfect. Just perfect. Be true to yourself and never let anyone talk you out of your feelings. You have every right to your emotions. Your readers, in the long run, will appreciate your authenticity – when we write the truth, it helps others tremendously. Write out loud!!

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