I was at the high school where I mentor the other day dropping something off and just shooting the breeze with some of the staff. After about a half hour I left to go do whatever else was on my list that day when my phone blew up. It was the person at the school with whom I do the mentor program. She wanted me to come back to the school right away.
That was weird, but I was just down the street so I turned around and went back. Apparently, the school has a variety of meetings for teachers once a week where they bring in speakers to discuss a variety of topics. One group had been studying the Assessment of Childhood Experience (ACE) chart and how to identify students who may have physical, sexual or emotional abuse issues. They already had had two classes on the topic and were scheduled to have their third and final one that day. Unfortunately, the speaker they had canceled that morning due to an unforeseen conflict and they asked me to fill in!
I’m a bit of a subject matter expert on ACE. It’s a 10-question worksheet that identifies abuse and dysfunction in a child’s life. My ACE score is nine, meaning I answer yes, I’ve experienced these things for nine of the 10 questions. I routinely use ACE in my pastoral counseling, as well as other assessment tools. Simply put, childhood experiences which disrupt normal childhood development will severely affect one’s ability to function as an adult. If you’re interested in more about this, see Erickson’s Childhood Development theory.
Of course, I said yes, I’ll be happy to present to your teachers – roughly 25 or so who would be in attendance. Then I scrambled like a mad man to put together a decent presentation during the next two hours!! I ended up presenting a short video on complex chronic trauma, and handing out several resources, including General Assessment of Function (GAF) score sheets, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) assessments, and childhood development stages for age groups. I think the presentation went well and I hear from the school they were very happy with it.
What struck me personally, however, was something different.
When I finished, I immediately went to God to thank Him yet again for all the healings He has done in my life. You see, when I do these presentations and explain the various dysfunctions that come from child abuse it reminds me of my own struggles and just how far I have come.
Simply put, I was a dumpster fire in my late teens and early/mid-twenties. I suffered from complex trauma that included PTSD, abandonment syndrome and more. I couldn’t manage a relationship, I couldn’t hold a job, I couldn’t finish school, and honestly was barely functional.
Then Jesus stepped in.
I won’t bore you with the details of my testimony, but I will say that I had a personal encounter with my savior that changed my life! After that day, slowly but surely Jesus began a healing process in my life that continues to this day. It has been nothing less than a miracle!
And that’s the point of this short blog this morning. Jesus is still doing miracles and He will do so for you as well!
I often tell people that counseling is great to help you find ways to manager the things that trigger your dysfunctional responses. Medication is important if you have brain chemical imbalances. But only God heals a broken soul.
For those of us who have experienced trauma, our souls are broken. And no amount of talking and rethinking or medication is going to heal that soul because the only thing that can heal a soul is the maker of that soul! God must be a part of any healing process or what you’ll get is management not healing.
Which brings me back to my point of praising God!! He has done miraculous and wonderful things in my life. I’m not going to tell you that I’m completely free from my past – I don’t think it works that way. But I am healed from it in such significant ways that it’s like I am a completely different person than I was back in the day.
I wanted to share this today in case someone is out there and they are struggling. Healing takes surrender to Jesus. It’s more than simply having faith or submitting to Him. You must completely surrender yourself to His will and do whatever the Holy Spirit tells you to do no matter how difficult or crazy it sounds. You can’t go half in on this if you want healing. You must be all in or not at all.
I am living proof that Jesus heals. And if He can heal a nut job like me, imagine what He can do for you!