Read: Psalm 13
How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
A year ago on a Monday, one of my students thought it would be funny to come up behind me and poke me in the side. It backfired magnificently because I have PTSD from being assaulted by someone who grabbed me from behind, and she also managed to poke me in the ribs hard enough to leave a bruise. When I told her sternly not to do it again, she responded by laughing at me and telling me that I was overreacting. Her response triggered a massive PTSD flare-up, and I had to flee the classroom and leave campus because I was sobbing so hard. Thankfully, I have a support network of people I trust, and one of them took care of me that afternoon, getting me to the point where I could parent my son when he returned from school.
I did not have work the next day and thankfully had a therapy appointment already scheduled. My therapist had never seen me cry until that appointment, and she had the task of getting me OK enough to go back to work on Wednesday. We started trying to work through the trauma, but the pandemic hit, meaning that my sessions were now phone ones at home where I do not have as much privacy as her office. Making things harder, she left the practice a few months later, and she was replaced by a man who reminded me of my attacker. Eventually, I did get another therapist, but trust takes time to build and the trauma is sitting on my soul like an open wound. I have no choice but to heal because it will affect my future relationships if I don’t, but it is painful work to try and untangle the knots of anger and hurt.
Needless to say, verse 2 of the psalm speaks to me right now. I need the reminder of God’s presence with me as I do the work to heal, and God’s presence is not always felt. I am having to step out in faith and trust that God will be with me in all of it, and that I will eventually heal from what happened to me.
Gracious God, be with us in our pain and anger. Give us the strength we need to persevere in the midst of it and help us to trust that we will make it through to the other side. Amen.