Her oldest daughter, Stacie (17) had died from a stab wound to the heart. Her youngest, Kristie (14) had been abused, throat and wrists slashed and left for dead.
It was shocking to hear how everyone had failed her. And the most striking was this statement: “The counselors could not help me. They were not faith-based. I could not control my anger – I needed to forgive Paul Powell.”
We live in a world of suffering and pain. How would you help someone like Lorraine Whoberry?
First, recognize that, in the wake of extreme trauma, our brains simply shut down. Ecclesiastes 7:7 (ESV) Surely oppression drives the wise into madness ….
You might not even know your family’s names. You need someone just to be with you who can rationally help you with simple things, like going to the hospital. You don’t need someone to repeatedly tell you “it is going to be okay”. Imagine the person you are helping is in a deep dark foggy tunnel. Symbolically, grab their arm, and very gently, lead them.
Secondly, listen. James 1:19 (ESV) Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear ….
In a safe and nonjudgmental environment listen and observe non-verbal cues. It is essential that the traumatized be allowed to speak and be understood.
Third, be there! Genesis 2:18 (ESV) Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone ….”
Loneliness causes dysconnectivity that makes healing from trauma impossible. Try to break the silence.
Fourth, bear the burden. Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens ….
Getting through trauma is a journey through denial, anger, bargaining, isolation, and depression. You cannot say “just get over it”. The traumatized usually must travel through a dark yukky valley before realizing something has to change.
Fifth, strive to achieve compassion. Romans 12:15 (ESV) … weep with those who weep.
By reflecting back emotions and the words you show value and maintain a loving, safe, and trusting environment in which healing can take place.
In an atmosphere of “selfless love” & patience – boundaries, self-control, resilience, and safety can be rebuilt.
Abba Father, help us to be compassionate to those who are suffering today.
To learn more about Lorraine Whoberry https://staciefoundation.org/our-story/meetlorraine/