IIt’s the first Tuesday of the month! Join in our community practice of silence for ten minutes. Use this zoom link and use the phrase “bestill” when asked for a code to enter. We will start at 7:00 a.m. MST (time zone converter). See you there!
t might be your worst fear . . . that you will be attacked on the field or suffer some other trauma. Even though God is good and God is sovereign, you know that tragedy may still be a part of your story.
What you might not have thought of before you went to the field—for some of you think back many moons ago—was the trauma you enter on the field. The trauma woven into so many lives. The trauma woven into many places. (Let’s be honest, the trauma woven into all places.) Most of you will have a moment you can point to when the light bulb went on, and you suddenly understood the people you came to serve in a new way because you understood how trauma influenced them.
For me, the moment that has stayed with me all these years involved grading a homework assignment. I taught writing to English middle school teachers, so my students were adults. Cup of hot tea to my left and a stack of writing notebooks to my right, I dove into reading and commenting on their homework. One student talked about the guilt and pressure he felt because when he was a child food was so scarce his parents couldn’t adequately feed all of their children. My student had been the one deemed mostly likely to succeed at school so he was the one fed, and he was the one who survived to adulthood.
On the surface, I would never have guessed he was carrying this kind of burden. In part, I was young, but as I sat there grading, pieces of history and culture came together for me. Duh, of course my students had been children during a time in history that was tumultuous and so different than the current reality. You too will encounter some, mostly likely many forms, of trauma.
While you do not need to be a trauma expert to navigate your own personal trauma or the trauma you encounter, you do need to be trauma informed. With that in mind, we are dedicating this month to talking about trauma and equipping you for the trauma you will face. It might sound strange to say we are excited for this month, but the truth is we are, and this is why: we have multiple ways for you to interact with this topic.
1. This month’s workshop is Trauma Training 101: The Basics, presented by Kierstie Ersch who is a trauma specialist and founder of The Rapha Project. In this workshop she covers:
—What is trauma?
—What is traumatic stress?
—How & Why does traumatic stress become “disordered”?
—What are the stages of healing?
—What to do about the stages of healing?
After participating in this workshop, I now understand what happens to our brains and how God has wired our brains for healing. (God is amazing.) Stay tuned for Trauma Training 102, 103, and 104.
2. On Thursday, we have a prayer for you called “Liturgy for those who encounter trauma on the field.” You can print it off and pray it for yourself, your team, your local friends, and fellow cross-cultural workers. Trauma is hard and heavy and not beyond God’s redemption. We want to bathe this subject in prayer.
3. Laura Bowling is back with four more posts. Two related to God’s character and trauma and two related to communicating with supporters after you have been through a traumatic event. (You can read Laura’s previous posts on trauma here. She will also be blessing us with a workshop in the future!)
4. At the end of the month, you can join in our first ever “Town Hall” where we will discuss . . . whatever you want to discuss based on the workshop, the prayer, the articles, your experience with trauma. Whatever you want to discuss or ask after a month of coming at this topic from a variety of angles. We will have two town halls on February 25th to hit as many time zones as possible. Mark your calendars for 7:00 a.m. MST and 7:00 p.m. MST (time zone converter). We will send out a zoom link closer to the event.
5. We created a “Trauma Resource” page so that you can easily find all of the previous trauma material, the material that will be published this month, and future material. I’ll link it here, but in the future you can simply go to globaltrellis.com/trauma (just remember backslash “trauma” and you’re set.)
So, why talk about trauma? I’ll say it again, while you do not need to be a trauma expert to navigate your own personal trauma or the trauma you encounter, you do need to be trauma informed. We want you to continue to develop on the field, whether you are in your sixth month or twenty-seventh year. You can be equipped for the realities you will face when it comes to trauma not for the sake of knowing more, but because God will use you in ways that bring hope and redemption to these challenging circumstances.
When did the light bulb go on for you when it came to trauma you were entering?
Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash