The Tragedy of Suicide

The tragedy of suicide, taking one’s own life, occurs throughout the world. It is not limited to any age, gender, religion, or ethnic group, although the suicide rate is higher in some countries.

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 800,000 people die from suicide each year, or one death every 40 seconds. There are indications that for each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others who attempted suicide. In 2019, the countries with the top 5 rates of suicide were Lithuania, Russia, Guyana, South Korea and Belarus. Nearly 30% of all suicides worldwide occur in India and China. Youth suicide is increasing at the greatest rate and young people are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries.

The incidence of suicide is at an epidemic level in the United States. According to one news report in November 2018, the U.S. suicide rate was at a 50-year high! The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, AFSP, reports that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. More people die—on average 132 per day—as a result of suicide than car accidents in the U.S. That is over 48,000 deaths due to suicide in the U.S. per year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. reports that suicide is the #2 cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34. In addition, there were approximately 1,400,000 Americans who attempted suicide in 2017. Women attempt suicide 1.4 times more often than men, but men die as the result of suicide 3.5 times more often than women. Physicians have been reported to have a higher rate of suicide—twice as high—than any other profession.

Veterans in the U.S. have been taking their own lives at the rate of at least 20 per day. More than 6,000 veterans die by suicide annually. Active-duty, U.S. military suicides were at a record high in 2018 with a total of 321, including Marines, sailors, airmen and soldiers.  That was the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least 6 years.

All for Jesus Ministries is based in New Mexico in the United States. According to this New Mexico website:

https://nmhealth.org/publication/view/help/1832/,

New Mexico’s rate of suicide has consistently been more than 50% higher than the U.S. rate. Sadly, New Mexico had the fourth highest suicide rate in the U.S. in 2016. One suicide every 19 hours—more than one per day—occurs in New Mexico. Approximately 491 people died by suicide in New Mexico in 2017. That is more than deaths resulting from breast cancer or people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The above statistics do not take into account that, due to shame or disgrace, suicide is generally underreported.  Attempting suicide, or actually committing suicide, is usually the result of unbearable emotional, mental, spiritual or physical pain and trauma. Trauma includes the death of a loved one, divorce, any type of abuse, rape, being subjected to war or terrorism, a homicidal attempt on one’s life, domestic violence, serious accidents and natural disasters. The debilitating symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can lead to suicide.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.

2 Corinthians 1:8 (NKJV)

Paul wrote about despairing even of life in 2 Corinthians 1:8. According to 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul had gone through unimaginable trials, including beatings with rods, whippings with thirty-nine lashes five times, perils everywhere he went, surviving a ship wreck, sleeplessness, hunger and thirst, being stoned, and being thrown into prison. He endured those things without losing hope, yet in the province of Asia, something burdened him beyond measure and above strength, causing him and his companions to despair of life itself. However, they did not commit suicide, but trusted in God to deliver them. Paul said that the prayers of others brought them through their season of hopelessness.

A broken heart is often the starting point for suicidal thoughts. The person who attempts or commits suicide has lost hope that the pain will stop any other way. The enemy of our souls, the devil, adds to that hopelessness by agreeing with the person that suicide is the answer. A demonic spirit of suicide may be attached to the pain, and the combination can be deadly. When someone commits suicide, they escape the pain and trauma, but their loved ones and friends are left with devastating pain and trauma as a result and their hearts are broken into hundreds of pieces.

Suicide is a tragedy that can often be prevented. How? First and foremost, the person needs to sincerely ask Jesus Christ to come into their life and be their personal Lord and Savior. That does not automatically mean that all the pain and suicidal thoughts will instantly disappear, although that can happen. In fact, people who are followers of Jesus Christ are not unaffected by the devastation or the finality of the act of suicide, but they have the opportunity to receive healing and freedom from emotional and spiritual pain. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Healing and freedom are possible through Jesus Christ!

Feeling alone and isolating oneself from others only increases the emotional pain. During the coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, people have been more isolated than ever in an attempt to control the spread of the virus. Loneliness and depression can result, but do not have to lead to suicide.

Before the pain gets to the point where someone gives up and attempts to take his or her own life, they need to talk to someone. Talking about the pain and trauma can be very comforting and it can release some of the pressure. If necessary to avoid an irreversible act of suicide, they should seek help from a trained crisis counselor or a qualified Christian counselor or minister. Not all Christian counselors or ministers understand the enormous spiritual dynamics involved in the hopelessness that leads to suicide. However, there is help available for those who are despairing of life itself.

There are things that we can do to counteract the isolation and loneliness during Covid-19. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must put His teachings into practice. Spending dedicated time with the Lord in prayer is an essential part of fighting loneliness and depression. Reading God’s Word, the Bible, out loud and listening to praise and worship music are also extremely important. We must also control what we allow ourselves to see and hear. Turning off and/or not reading negative and upsetting news stories, commentaries, emails and text messages protects our hearts, minds and spirits from further trauma. These are very traumatic times and even the most devoted Christians can be knocked off balance if they are not careful to focus on the Lord and His goodness.

Life is a precious gift from our Most High God and He wants us to live out our destinies as His children and followers of His Son, Jesus.  Satan wants to steal our life purposes, to kill us, and to destroy God’s plans for our lives.  However, Jesus came so that we could have abundant life as He said in John 10:10.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10 (NKJV)

Since we are prayer ministers, not counselors or mental health professionals, we always recommend that anyone with severe emotional symptoms seek out the help of medical doctors and trained Christian counselors in their local area and country.

In the event of an emergency situation for someone who is contemplating suicide in the United States, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, or contact the Crisis text line by texting “TALK” to 741741.

We do not suggest that we know and understand all of the aspects of mental illness, especially the effects of mind-altering drugs and prescription medications. However, we have observed that emotional pain is often accompanied by spiritual considerations that need to be addressed in the spiritual realm through prayer. Biblical inner healing prayer may help someone who has experienced suicidal thoughts, depending on the individual’s specific circumstances. When Jesus releases past pain and trauma through prayer, it also often results in the removal of suicidal tendencies. Praise the Lord!

Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Scriptures in Isaiah 61:1-3, including the following:

“…to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)

Jesus wants us to live in His joy!
Kathy Shelton

 

WAITING in the Midst of Pain and Trauma

WAITING?!? Most of us, especially those with broken hearts, have a very difficult time waiting for anything. We have become a society of instant everything. We want it now, whatever it may be. However, the Most High God often tells us to wait on His perfect timing for the answers to our prayers. We may never understand why the Lord requires us to wait for so many things, but we must trust that He knows what is best for our lives and what will possibly cause us harm if we receive answers to our prayers too soon. Trusting the Lord makes it easier to wait on Him.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

 Psalm 27:13-14 (NKJV)

Many people lose heart because they do not believe that they will ever see their situations improve. The pain and trauma they carry can become unbearable and may even lead to suicidal thoughts. The enemy can bring discouragement our way through numerous methods. One of those is when he whispers the lie to us, “God does not care about you. He would not have allowed this terrible thing to happen if He did.” If we listen to the devil and his lies, our faith will be weakened, our hearts can become more troubled, and deep depression can set in.  

What does the goodness of the Lord mean? Some people are under the impression that it means their lives will be pain-free and problem-free. However, the Lord never promised that our lives would be easy. The goodness of the Lord is not based on our circumstances. The Lord is always good! His goodness can be seen all around us, but we must look for it through eyes of faith. Looking through eyes of despair and depression hinders us from seeing the goodness of the Lord. 

Our prayers to see God’s goodness in certain situations may be delayed for various reasons, but we need to continue to have faith that He is working on our behalf. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” We must allow the Lord to strengthen our broken hearts by standing firm in our faith.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

 Romans 8:25 (NKJV)

Saying that waiting is difficult is an understatement. How many of us eagerly wait with perseverance? The Lord may require us to wait for answers to our prayers for emotional, physical or spiritual healing for days, months, years, or even decades. However, God’s plans for us are always good, and in the midst of our times of waiting, He will strengthen us and draw us into deeper relationships with Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit if we allow Him to do so. Our heart attitudes must be that—regardless of our circumstances, pain, trauma, or our lack of understanding why—we will trust our heavenly Father completely. He is the Most High God, the Lord of Hosts, and the Creator of the Universe. We must remember that He is never surprised by our situations and suffering, and that He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)!

The Lord did not immediately deliver numerous people written about in the Bible from their problems and traumatic situations. Many of them had to wait for years or decades before they saw the answers to their prayers. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, the Apostles and many others had to wait on the Lord before they saw God’s promises fulfilled.  However, while they were waiting, they served the Lord! In obedience to the Most High God, while Noah was waiting for God’s deliverance from the immense evil on the earth, Noah built an ark even though there had not been any rain. Joseph went through horrible circumstances, but he kept his eyes on the big picture—the Lord’s will for his life during each season regardless of the pain and trauma he endured. Paul did the same. We must also keep our eyes on the big picture. Having to wait is not unusual, nor is it punishment for anything we have done. It is just a fact of life.

As we are suffering unspeakable trauma, we often pray for Almighty God to intervene and relieve the emotional and spiritual pain that has cut us to the core of our beings. We may ask the Lord why we have not received answers to our prayers and the prayers of others, and why the suffering has continued in spite of them. Wanting immediate answers to our prayers is a dangerous attitude, because the devil can take advantage of that and lead us to doubt and be discouraged when answers are delayed.

Spiritual warfare can also be a reason that we have to wait for answers to our prayers. According to Daniel 10:12-13, the answers to Daniel’s prayers were hindered and delayed for 21 days.  There was a very real battle taking place in the spiritual realm over Daniel’s prayers and the answers to them. Our Most High God heard those prayers as soon as Daniel prayed them, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia battled against the answers, delaying them from being delivered.

Spiritual warfare is more real than anything we can see in the natural realm. We must understand that our broken hearts are often the result of attacks from the kingdom of darkness, either directly or through human beings. Continuing to pray and ask Almighty God for help is crucial as we fight against demonic and evil entities. The blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross is more powerful than anything the devil, or his helpers, can do to us. As we remember to stay focused and wait on the Lord, we will see the answers to our prayers and healing for our broken hearts and spirits!

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

As we wait on the Lord in the midst of pain and trauma, our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical strength can be depleted. That is why we must make a point to continue to fill ourselves with the joy of the Lord to renew our strength. Actions that we can take include listening to praise and worship music, singing out loud to the Lord, reading the Bible out loud, praying with others and meditating on God’s goodness. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) at all times and in every traumatic circumstance while we are waiting on the Lord!

Kathy Shelton

 

 

Joy to the World… Surviving Holidays and Celebrations

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

It should be a blessing to get together with family and/or friends during Easter, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, birthdays and other times of celebration.  However, these days and seasons—which should be joyful—can be extremely lonely and emotionally painful times for many people.  As a result, and very sadly, the rate of suicide increases during the holidays. 

If you dread the holidays because emotional pain from the past is usually triggered, please know that you are not alone.  This is very common.  However, there is help.  Jesus can release that past pain and trauma!  As Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”  His joy is not dependent on our circumstances or any past emotional pain we have suffered.  His joy is endless and without comparison.  If we are on a downward spiral into the opposite of His joy, we must draw near to our heavenly Father and pray for His strength and joy to overshadow the emotional pain. 

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!

Psalm 119:28 (ESV)

When emotional pain or trauma from the past is triggered during the holidays, it can be extremely difficult for those who are unknowingly carrying that pain.  They may not realize that their reaction to Aunt Suzie or Uncle Harry is really partially the result of past pain that has been buried and is now coming to the surface.  Reactions to what should be happy situations can appear to be inappropriate and even unreasonable to the traumatized person and others, because they do not understand that suppressed pain and trauma are being triggered.

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you restless and disturbed within me?
Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him,
The help of my [sad] countenance and my God.

Psalm 43:5 (AMP)

An example of emotional pain from the past being triggered after over six decades was described to me by one of my ministry recipients several years ago.  This woman, Betty (not her real name), had been married for over 50 years when she asked her husband to go to the store to buy a jar of pickles for her.  Betty told him the type and brand of pickles that she wanted, but when he returned home, he had a jar of generic pickles that was not even the type that she had requested.

This woman, who was in her seventies, said that she went into a rage!  Thankfully, Betty also had some knowledge about inner emotional wounds and quickly realized that her reaction had very little to do with the pickles.  So, she asked the Lord what was going on with her, and He revealed the root of her emotional outburst.  When Betty was a child, her family was very poor and her mother only bought things that were the least expensive.  If her mother came home with anything that was not the cheapest item, this woman’s father got very angry.  The pain and trauma that surfaced when Betty’s husband came home with the generic brand of pickles had been stuffed for over 60 years!  The end of the story is that Betty received the healing and freedom that she needed through Jesus Christ from this past emotional pain and trauma.  Praise the Lord!

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Until inner healing is received, there are several things we can do to minimize experiencing emotional pain during the holidays.  If we know that particular people, or specific situations have caused us emotional pain in the past, we must do whatever we can to limit our contact with them, or completely avoid being exposed to them, if at all possible.   We must set healthy, godly boundaries to protect our hearts and spirits.  Other examples of guarding our hearts also include avoiding watching seasonal programs on television, not listening to certain holiday music, and not going to some parties or events, all of which may bring past emotional pain to the surface.  It is much easier to avoid being triggered than to deal with the emotional pain once it has come to the surface.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

Also, focusing on the main reason for the celebration is a must in order to avoid emotional pain and trauma from ruining holidays.  For example, remembering that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior—and not about the gifts, parties and social events—will help immensely.  We cannot get offended and hurt as easily if we keep the main thing, the main thing.  Jesus’ birth allowed for His death and resurrection which provided all people the opportunity to receive forgiveness for their sins and healing for their broken hearts.  Taking our focus off Aunt Suzie or Uncle Harry will help prevent the pain and trauma they trigger from coming up in our hearts and spirits.  Everyone with broken hearts must focus, focus, focus on the Healer and not on the people and situations that caused our hearts to be broken.  Creating new, joyful memories helps heal our broken hearts as well. 

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

It takes determination and laser-like focus on our part to be joyful during the holidays. Returning to a place of peace once emotional pain and trauma have produced depression, great sadness, despair or hopelessness in our hearts and spirits is not easy.  However, it is possible through the love and healing power of a genuine, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  There is never a better time to ask Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior than the present moment.  He wants to heal our broken hearts, but He will never force anyone into a relationship with Him.  We must willingly choose to accept that gift, which will make it possible for emotional and spiritual healing to take place.  Once Jesus becomes the true focus of our lives, we can ask Him to release the pain that has surfaced and replace it with His peace and joy.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

God loves us very much and wants us to be set free from past pain and trauma.  Luke 4:18 are Jesus’ words, proclaiming that He came to heal the brokenhearted.  My prayer for you is that you will allow the Lord to direct your steps to receive the inner healing you need.  May God bless you with His peace and joy in your hearts, minds and spirits every day and especially during the holidays when we celebrate God’s amazing love and goodness to us.

Kathy Shelton

 

Are you BLESSED, but a MESS?

The answer to the question, “Are you BLESSED,” is yes if Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God, is truly your Lord and Savior!  Then, you are blessed because you can look forward to spending eternity with Him and Father God in Heaven.  However, having a genuine, personal relationship with the Lord does not automatically heal all the pain and trauma in our hearts and spirits.  In spite of having accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and life, you may still be a mess emotionally and spiritually.

The Body of Christ is blessed… but it is a mess!

Please don’t take this the wrong way.  I love our brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord who are genuine followers of Jesus Christ.  However, it is time for us to acknowledge the pain and trauma that the Body of Christ—the true Church—is carrying.  In the same way that people who are not Christians do, sincere Christians have experienced and stuffed pain from past and current trauma. 

Addiction to alcohol, drugs—legal and illegal, pornography, and other forms of escape may be the result of a person trying to numb the emotional, spiritual, and sometimes the resulting physical pain.  Knowing that we experienced emotional or spiritual trauma is not an excuse to continue abusing addictive substances, nor is it an excuse to do other ungodly things to numb the pain.  For some people, addiction can be the result of their free wills, bad choices and evil hearts.  Once we realize that pain and trauma are at the root of an addiction, we must seek help to receive godly freedom.

Situations we experience during our lives that cause pain and trauma, including abuse—emotional, verbal, mental, spiritual, sexual and physical—the death of a loved one, divorce, broken relationships, domestic violence, accidents, natural disasters, rejection, betrayal, and rape, always lead to a broken heart.  There are also untold numbers of wolves in sheep’s clothing who pretend to be Christians and break the hearts of sincere followers of Jesus Christ.  Countless, genuine Christians have broken hearts!

Tragically, the end result of overwhelming pain and trauma can be suicide, or attempted suicide.  When a Christian takes his or her own life, people may think they were not really a believer, but that is unreasonable.  True Christians are just as susceptible to the devastating pain that results from trauma in their lives as are non-believers.  In addition, the devil wants nothing more than to destroy peoples’ lives, especially Christians’ lives.  If he can plant thoughts of committing suicide as a way to escape unimaginable emotional and spiritual pain, he will do just that. 

I have experienced dozens of extremely traumatic situations in my life.  I became a born-again Christian in 1986, but prior to that I was raised Catholic and taught about God and His Son, Jesus.  Sadly, I attempted suicide two times, once in 1972 and the second time in 1982.  When the circumstances occurred that caused crushing, intense emotional pain for me, I just wanted the pain to stop.  I thought that death was the only option.  I was very wrong.  I praise the Most High God that I survived those suicide attempts and became one of His children on October 16, 1986!

As a result of Healing the Brokenhearted prayer ministry that I received in 2008, I learned that emotional pain and trauma from the past that I had suppressed was at the root of those suicide attempts decades earlier. During prayer, Jesus Christ released that emotional pain and trauma!  I praise the Lord that I am now completely free of the emotional and spiritual pain that resulted in those suicide attempts.  Freedom from past pain and trauma through Jesus Christ is lasting freedom! 

Over the years, I have prayed with hundreds of men and women who had stuffed pain for years and often decades. They were a mess, emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically.  The emotional and spiritual pain they were carrying was often so overwhelming that the only way they could survive was to deny it even existed.  They were all blessed as followers of Jesus Christ, but they were absolutely brokenhearted.

This is the bottom line—please seek help if you are brokenhearted and feel stuck in the pain and trauma.  There is a HELPFUL RESOURCES page on this website (CLICK HERE).  Genuine Christians have the opportunity to be set free from devastating emotional and spiritual pain and trauma through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, but we must pursue inner healing to be able to fully live out our God-given destinies.

    “…He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…”     Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

Luke 4:18 is a quote from Jesus Christ!  Jesus does not want us to go through our lives carrying deep, and often debilitating, emotional and spiritual pain.  The first step to freedom from pain and trauma is sincerely accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.  Then, the healing can begin in our hearts, minds and spirits.  Jesus loves us very much and wants to set us free! 

Kathy Shelton

 

The Pain

Emotional pain.
Physical pain.
Mental pain.
Spiritual pain.

The pain is so real. The pain is so intense. The emotional, physical, mental and spiritual pain from traumatic events can cause people to do many things to try to escape, numb, or cope with the pain they are feeling. It can cause someone to turn to drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, cutting, denial, anger, and other self-destructive behaviors. The pain can lead to addictions to drugs, alcohol or other ungodly coping mechanisms. However, the Lord is the only One who can bring true, lasting freedom and healing from the pain.

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)

Trauma includes betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, ritual abuse, rape, the death of a loved one, divorce, accidents and natural disasters. The levels of emotional pain that we can experience from trauma vary greatly. As traumatic situations become more severe, and if they are ongoing, the emotional pain can, and often does, cause physical illness.

Secondary trauma is trauma that we heard about or saw that happened to someone else, but did not directly involve us. Secondary trauma can have a significant impact on our hearts and spirits even though we did not experience the traumatic event first-hand. Ministers, counselors, mental health professionals, police officers, firefighters, and people in many other professions that deal with the public can carry extreme, and sometimes debilitating, amounts of primary and secondary pain and trauma.

Trauma is energy. It comes at us like a blow to a bone. That bone can receive a hair-line fracture, a splintering, a complete break or several breaks depending on the force behind the blow. Emotional and spiritual trauma have similar effects on our hearts, minds and spirits. The effects from traumatic events that do not receive healing will steadily distract our focus and drain our energy away from reaching our God-given destinies.  The pain from trauma will fester and eventually erupt like a volcano if it is not released and the damage is not healed.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious result of extreme traumatic events. It is not just limited to veterans of war, although there are a high percentage of veterans suffering with horrific PTSD symptoms. Many more people are living with the debilitating symptoms of PTSD than anyone realizes. PTSD is a real illness. It can develop after living through or seeing a life-threatening, traumatic event. PTSD makes a person feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. PTSD can cause problems like flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again, trouble sleeping or nightmares, feeling alone, and panic attacks. PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later.  PTSD can lead to all of the ungodly coping behaviors mentioned above and that last, most self-destructive action of suicide.

Current traumatic situations can, and often do, bring the emotional pain of similar past traumatic experiences to the surface. We were meant to love God with whole, not broken, hearts. We cannot do that when the pain and trauma are constantly bombarding our hearts and spirits.

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)

The pain can also cause us to wear a mask around others. We don’t want others to see how deeply we are hurting. Many people just don’t know how to cope. They may try to get help, but it may be unsuccessful, or even cause more damage. So, they may eventually turn to wearing a mask, not letting anyone know how severely brokenhearted they are—not letting anyone know the level of pain that they are carrying. However, the more that we wear that mask, the more the mask becomes part of who we are! The following poem by Helen Joseph, The Mask, addresses this very well.

Always a mask

Held in the slim hand,

Whitely,

Always she had a mask

Before her face–

Smiling and sprightly,

The Mask.

 

Truly the wrist

Holding it lightly

Fitted the task:

Sometimes however

Was there a shiver,

Fingertip quiver,

Ever so slightly–

Holding the mask?

 

For years and years and

Years I wondered

But dared not ask.

 

And then–

I blundered,

I looked behind,

Behind the mask

To find

Nothing–She had no face.

She had become

Merely a hand

Holding a mask

With grace.

I have quoted the above poem during Healing the Brokenhearted Ministry seminars and workshops for many years. There has always been a very strong reaction to the poem from those in attendance. Many people can relate to wearing a mask. It is not socially acceptable to wear our pain on our sleeves—to let it be known to others. Unfortunately—very unfortunately—in the Christian Church, in the Body of Christ, there is so much emotional and spiritual pain being carried by believers, and they are afraid to be real with anyone. They have been hurt too much. They may have been spiritually abused and deeply wounded by other Christians. They don’t want to take a chance that it will happen again and understandably so.

When we go to a church service and look around, we will normally see rows and rows of people wearing their masks. If we ask them how they are doing, they will answer, “I’m doing fine. I’m doing good. I am blessed.” Yes, Christians are blessed because Jesus came, died, and rose again so that we can spend eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven. However, life on this earth is difficult to say the least. It is not a bed of roses even for, and sometimes especially for, Christians. We have all experienced emotional pain and trauma.

The answer, however, is not to walk around wearing a mask! The answer is not to worry about what others will think. Our Most High God is the only One we need to please. Wearing masks does not please Him. If we please Him, then we will be pleasing those people He wants us to please. We cannot do that while wearing a mask!

Instead of continuing to wear a mask that will draw us deeper and deeper into isolation from our Most High God and other people, we need to find someone with whom we can share our deepest pain. We need to allow that mask to come off. We need to be careful, because as many of us have discovered, not everyone is safe. However, we can ask a trustworthy, Christian friend or family member if they know a safe believer who can help us receive freedom in Biblical ways. We must reach out and not isolate ourselves in order to receive the inner healing we need.

The Lord is near to the heartbroken
And He saves those who are crushed in spirit (contrite in heart, truly sorry for their sin).

Psalm 34:18 (AMP)

Healing for our pain requires that we take the first step and sincerely ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. We must obey God’s Word and repent for our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice was a huge price paid for our freedom and healing, and we need to honor it by being honest with our Most High God and genuine in our confession of faith.

Jesus Christ can release and heal our pain and trauma! 

Jesus said:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

JESUS is always safe! We need to talk to Him. We must pray and listen for His response. He will lead us and guide us on the healing path that we need to follow for the specific pain and trauma that we have experienced.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

 

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

May the Lord Jesus bless you as you seek His healing and freedom from pain and trauma. I pray that your heart will be open to receiving that healing and freedom and that nothing will stop you from pursuing it. I bless you as you determine to stop wearing a mask long enough to get the help you need so that one day you will not have to wear that mask ever again. May Jesus Christ strengthen your heart and give you courage. May you see the goodness of the Lord as you remove your mask!
Kathy Shelton

 

Relationships

The Importance of Supportive, Godly Relationships in Going Through and Healing from Trauma

Supportive, godly relationships are critical as we go through and heal from traumatic situations. Traumatic situations include the death of loved ones, serious illnesses, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, molestation, rape, divorce, accidents, devastating financial conditions and natural disasters. Those extremely painful circumstances can leave us feeling alone, abandoned, rejected, depressed, hopeless, betrayed and even suicidal at times. The Lord never meant for those things to happen in our lives, but we live in a world full of pain and trauma and there is no way to avoid it. However, our Most High God provided ways for us to not just survive, but to more easily go through and heal from trauma.

The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;

Deuteronomy 33:27 (NKJV)

 

A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.

Psalm 68:5 (AMP)

The most important relationships that our Father God wants us to turn to when we experience and need healing from traumatic events are our relationships with Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Our Most High God wants to comfort us and lead us on the paths that will help us. He wants to heal our broken hearts that have been devastated by traumatic situations. However, we must accept God’s love and His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior, to be able to receive His incomparable comfort and healing. 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus also said,

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

Therefore, the first relationships that we should always rely on for comfort are those with Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are the most important relationships we can ever experience on this journey we call life. Supportive, godly relationships with other people are also essential for us to continue to be comforted during, and heal after, emotionally traumatic situations. The Lord knows our need for godly counsel and support when we are too weary to hear Him clearly. We all need a kind word, a hug and a smile to lift our spirits when we are weary. He will surround us with people who love us and care deeply about our pain, but they may be people other than family members. The family was created to provide that kind of comfort and support. However, we do not live in a perfect world and our own family members may be the cause of some of the emotional pain and trauma we suffer. That is when feelings of rejection, betrayal and abandonment can become intensely painful.

God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the stubborn and rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Psalm 68:6 (AMP)

Traumatic circumstances always break our hearts. We can carry emotional pain inside us for years and decades without even realizing that suppressed pain and trauma are affecting us in significant areas of our lives. We were never meant to go through pain and trauma alone. Isolating ourselves during those circumstances is the worst thing we can do and only adds to the pain. That is why we must receive love and kindness from people who are living according to God’s Word whom we can trust with our broken hearts—not in place of the Lord, but in addition to Him. We must reach out to godly friends, family, healing ministers and others who can provide prayer, encouragement and the love that we need for the healing process to be accomplished. Our Most High God created us to be in close relationship with Him and godly people. Cutting ourselves off from those relationships makes us incredibly vulnerable to negative feelings and to the lies from the devil. Fear of being hurt again can also cause us to be hesitant to reach out people for help. However, The Lord will show us who can be trusted and through whom He wants us to receive His comfort and healing. We must receive God’s provision of healing for our broken hearts through His Son, Jesus, and the godly relationships with which He blesses us.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

Jesus came to not only save us from our sins, but also to heal our broken hearts! A personal relationship with Him is essential in receiving comfort and healing during and after times of emotional pain and trauma. Our heavenly Father also blesses us with His love and peace through supportive, godly relationships with people who know how to listen and be compassionate when we are in emotional pain. Keeping emotional pain stuffed inside only makes things worse. We must let go of our pride, reach out to the Lord Jesus and His genuine followers, and allow them to help us.  

 

Kathy Shelton

 

 

Inner Healing — Healing from the Inside Out

 

There is a great need for inner healing in this world! So many people are miserable because they cannot bear the emotional and spiritual pain from trauma that they are carrying. That pain results in addiction, abuse, murder, abandonment, physical illness, suicide, and many other epidemics  in our society. Inner healing from emotional and spiritual pain that we have suffered is not optional if we desire to fulfill the Lord’s destiny for us.

Trauma can be experienced in many ways including molestation, rape, death of a loved one, divorce, accidents, and natural disasters. Abuse, including mental, verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse, produces traumatic effects on our hearts and spirits. Traumatic situations always leave our hearts and spirits broken. Without inner healing for the emotional and spiritual pain, we can become bitter, resentful, excessively angry, full of hatred, and physically ill.

Luke 6:45 says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (NKJV)

The good treasure in our hearts does produce good in our lives, but it does not prevent the evil treasure from producing pain and suffering for our family and friends. Those closest to us—the ones we love and who love us—end up being easy targets when our own pain and trauma is triggered. This dynamic alone causes more relationship issues, broken homes, and divorces than most people realize.

A large portion of the evil treasure of our hearts is formed as a result of painful and traumatic circumstances. We often suppress the emotional and spiritual pain without even trying as a defense mechanism that we develop to continue to function form day-to-day. However, the pain will not stay hidden forever, and it will eventually erupt like a volcano. That is when the abundance of the heart pours out of our mouths, or through our ungodly actions. Denying that emotional and spiritual pain exist within our hearts will never stop that from happening, and it will never cause the inner healing that we need to be accomplished.

Many people have hurt us because they were carrying emotional and spiritual pain and trauma for which they never received healing. It is often said that hurt people, hurt people. That is true, but no excuse for us to continue to hurt others because we have not pursued inner healing for ourselves.

In Psalm 51:10, David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (NKJV)

A clean heart represents a heart that has received healing for the things it contains that are not godly and glorifying to God. Our spirits cannot be steadfast as long as we are suffering the effects of pain and trauma. We must ask God to show us what is in our hearts and spirits that needs to be released so that we can truly obey Him in every area of our lives. That is the first step.

Bible-based inner healing that relies on the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is the most effective and long-lasting healing. We do not have to live our lives in a prison of pain and trauma that we carry in our hearts and spirits! Isaiah 61:1 says that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted—not Buddha, Allah, Mohammed, or any pagan god. Jesus Christ, the Son of Almighty God, came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. True freedom is possible if it is pursued in a godly way.

Asking for help to receive inner healing takes courage and a willingness to admit that there is emotional and spiritual pain and trauma that is contributing to your lack of peace. Talking to a Christian counselor or prayer minister about your need for inner healing may seem frightening, but it will be the most important step you can take to help yourself and those you love. The Lord has provided many Christian ministries that help with inner healing. However, they will not search you out. You must do some research and find the best one for the specific pain and trauma that you have experienced. Our website includes a HELPFUL RESOURCES page (CLICK HERE) on the top menu that includes suggestions for ministries that you may want to contact for help.

Inner healing for emotional and spiritual pain is a process like peeling an onion. I pray that you will allow yourself the time necessary and receive the Lord’s grace to continue one day at a time. Each step you take in the inner healing process will bring you that much closer to Almighty God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Kathy Shelton