Today, I had a migraine after hearing the horrific stories of abuse. I can’t help, but ask myself, “Where was God in the midst of this trauma? How could he allow his little ones to suffer?” Yet, God gently whispers to my heart that he was there in the midst of the abuse. He was comforting these children and weeping with them. I know this is true, but it is a hard truth.
Many of the children feel that they are bad and were at fault for the trauma. Of course, as adults, we know that this is false, but they feel that if they were good, then the trauma would not have happened. I tell them that the predator behaved badly, but they are good.
Over and over I explain to them that there are three common ways to react to a predator; fight, flight or freeze. When the lion begins to attack the elephant, the elephant will fight. When the lion attacks the gazelle, the gazelle runs. When the mouse senses that a lion is near, the mouse freezes until the predator has passed. Most young children will naturally freeze when a sexual predator closes in for the attack. Later, the child regrets the fact that s/he did not fight or flee. When I explain the freeze response, one can see the tension on the child’s faces ease.
To be restored, the child must eventually process and slay these bad memories. They must be brave, so now I am asking them to become lions. I am asking them to become strong and courageous so they can overcome their bad memories. Yet, some lack the necessary courage. One girl told met that she would rather continue to wet the bed then become courageous and possibly encounter the memory again. So my work is to help her become strong.
Father, help these precious little ones “be strong and courageous. Do not let them be afraid or terrified because of their memories, for the LORD our God goes with them; he will never leave them nor forsake them.”* Lord, be their refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble. Do not let them fear.”**
*Deuteronomy 31:6 ** Psalm 46:1-2