God of the Trauma

I don’t remember the walk through the hospital–I was on autopilot, parking in the parking garage, taking the elevators to the hospital lobby, and then walking through the doors to the Emergency Department, backwards to the way most people do it. Everything about this was backwards. 

“I’m suicidal,” I said to the lady behind the desk.  

A nurse came over and took my pulse. “Are you on drugs,” she asked. My heart was racing because wouldn’t yours be too after panicking the whole way through? 

And in that moment, I never felt so alone. Despite the crowd of faces around me, the ubiquitous ambiance caused by the humdrum of the hospital—heart monitors and pagers, codes and alarms.  

I still feel alone in a room full of faces. Disassociation: existing, but slightly to the left, feeling numb when feeling everything. 

I’ve come so far since walking into the ER, farther than I ever expected. Healing more than I ever anticipated.  

I don’t know if the trauma I went through was worth it, but I do know this: my faith has never been stronger. Maybe it’s because I’ve been blessed with a therapist who happens to be a Christian, whose path overlaps with mine in multiple ways. Maybe it’s because we can not only talk and unpack the hurt and the pain, but because we can also unpack the questions I have about my faith—how can God? Why does God? What does God?  

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? 

I have no idea if the pain was worth it: the years of starving myself to make the parts of myself they touched smaller; the years of self-harm to get rid of the skin that they touched; the years of feeling nothing because feeling nothing has to be better than feeling everything. 

I’m learning now that blocking painful emotions and feeling nothing is the most dangerous thing—numbness guides me towards trees. And in order to ‘heal’ in the way that the God of perfect love wants me to, I need to feel. Jesus didn’t shy away from painful emotions. Even if those painful emotions left him crying out on the cross alone and forgotten. 

Sometimes I feel forgotten by God. On my dark days when I can’t remember what the Son of Hope looks like. On the days when the question of “why” is the only thought running through my head, but I’ve learned that if I dwell on the “why,” the “because” will never show up.  

I’ve learned that I do not suffer alone. Sometimes in the midst of your own struggle, it’s so hard to remember that you’re not alone. That you’re not struggling by yourself, that other people get it. I let myself move from hurting to self-pity and back again, spiraling from all the nobody could ever understand how much I’m hurting thoughts.  

The truth is: we’re not alone in our pain. I’m not alone in my pain.  

I have met people with amazing stories who have overcome some powerful things—drug addiction, rape, suicide attempts, abusive relationships. I met people that night in the emergency room that have impacted my life in more ways than they’ll ever know. Even Jesus understands my pain, and He’s right there mourning with me, hurting with me, rejoicing with me.  

I don’t have to justify to anyone why I still believe in God. All I have to do is tell them my story because through it all, despite my curiosity on how they can, people have stuck by my side through it all. For me, God was found through the love of others. Imperfect human love for a hurting person illustrated the unconditional love of God for one of His children. 

And I’m still trying to figure out where my purpose lies in all of this, what plans God has for my life. But I do know this: He can salvage good from even the most evil things in our lives; He can bring hope into the hopeless places and healing into the broken places. And He loves me more than my support team loves me. When I feel like I don’t deserve their love, their support, their words of encouragement during the hard times, how much more don’t I deserve the love of God? 

I’m continuously reminded that people deciding to love me isn’t up to me—it’s not a choice I can make. All I can do is allow myself to be loved by them, to let them see the ugliness, the darkness, the real, raw, I don’t want to be here me, the me who struggles to stay alive but really, really wants to keep fighting.  

But they haven’t left. 

God hasn’t left. My brokenness hasn’t left and my struggles certainly haven’t left, but He’s using it all for His purpose.  

Not my will, but Yours be done.

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