Good morning, Dear Readers!
The other day, I was talking to someone about having C-PTSD. She is a very nice Christian lady who I like a great deal. Unfortunately, the conversation didn’t go very well. She said some things that really bothered me that showed me she doesn’t understand trauma & its effects on the brain. She said don’t I understand my mother has a sinful nature & doesn’t realize what she is doing? Yes, I do understand that, but I disagree- many times I can assure you, she knows exactly what she is doing when she hurts me. And she also said God can heal me- I just need to pray. As if that thought never crossed my mind…
I’ve been thinking about this conversation, & while listening to Bishop T.D. Jakes preach this morning, something occurred to me. The bishop was speaking about the apostle Paul, a great man of God. He wrote most of the New Testament, in fact. Brilliant & devoted to God. Yet, he had what he described as “a thorn in the flesh” that God would not remove from his life. Here are the verses from the Amplified Bible.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9
7 And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn ([a]a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.
8 Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me;
9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”
I don’t know what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, as it is never mentioned in detail. However, I believe C-PTSD can be described the same way. (Most times, it’s more like an entire sticker bush.. lol) I have become aware that during times when I have flashbacks or anxiety or depression are threatening to overwhelm me, I can feel the gentle presence of God comforting me. When I get frustrated with the fact my short term memory isn’t what it used to be, or I can’t sleep well, God always sends something to let me know all is ok. Like today for example. As I mentioned, I’ve been thinking a lot about the conversation I had with that lady a few days ago. I started wondering if there is something wrong with me for having this disorder. I mean, I haven’t been in a war zone like so many soldiers who have PTSD. It’s so understandable that they have it! Instead, I went through mostly psychological abuse. Now as an adult, I know what I was told about myself isn’t true, & I understand manipulation so I don’t fall for it. So why do I have C-PTSD? This morning, I got on facebook to find one C-PTSD page posting about how it’s immature Christians who think we can just pray & “get over it.” Then later, I turn on the tv to watch Bishop Jakes preach & he discusses the apostle Paul, & how God used him greatly in spite of his “thorn in the flesh” that God wouldn’t remove. God showed me through these things that I’m ok! In fact, I know He uses me, C-PTSD & all. People tell me often how something I have done, said or written has helped them.
I’m not saying don’t pray about your illness, or God doesn’t care. He cares a great deal, & wants to help you. Lean on Him. He will help you! But, you have to do your part too! You have to work on your healing & manage your triggers & stressors. He can’t do that for you. You do your part, & trust God with the rest. Hopefully, you will receive a complete healing. But, if you don’t, God’s grace is sufficient for you. He will help you to accomplish whatever you need to do.
Don’t let people make you feel guilty or ashamed or even useless just because you have C-PTSD or any mental disorder. You have done nothing wrong to have this problem! God can still use you to be a productive member of society & a blessing to anyone. If you have any doubts about it, remember the apostle Paul- remember, he was killing Christians when God called him to be an apostle! He was a murderer, & he had that thorn in the flesh, yet God used to him to bring the Gospel to countless people, & to write the bulk of the New Testament! If He could do that with Paul, what makes you think you are so messed up, He can’t use you??