On a cold Friday night, Shawn volunteered to pick up a pizza for dinner. When he left the house he told Susan, his pregnant wife, and their two-year old son, "Hey guys, I'll be back in 20 minutes with the pizza." He never came back. Another driver slammed into his car, instantly killing Shawn. Susan was suddenly a widow, a trauma survivor, and a single mother.
Immediately after the accident, our church, including our pastors and our women's ministry leaders, surrounded Susan with love and support. We helped her and her extended family make it through Shawn's funeral. We brought meals to her and her boys. But after a year of our support, Susan turned to one of our women's leaders and said, "I appreciate the help, and I have plenty of frozen baked ziti, but I need you to understand what I'm going through. On many days I wonder if I'll ever feel normal again. I feel far from God. I can feel grief and anger and sadness all in the same day. Can I trust God again? Will you ever understand my shattered soul?"
As I've counseled numerous traumatized women, I've found that Susan isn't alone. Trauma shatters live. Many trauma survivors struggle with the same basic gut-wrenching questions: Can I trust God again? Will others understand my shattered soul?
As leaders in the church, how do we help traumatized women deal with these two questions, walking beside them so they can begin to reconnect with God and others after trauma?1