Thursday, June 22, 2017

First Stages of Connecting with God and Trauma Survivors

Most of my posts have been following the subject matter of connecting with God. Again, this is the learning season I am in right now with God.  The season is how to get fractured souls to connect with God. If you're new to this blog, M16 Ministries works with dark cases of spiritual warfare and survivors of severe trauma. By the time I start to work with survivors, many of them have had their faith brutally challenged and emotionally crushed. When working with these cases, it's a long-term commitment to working with a spiritually afflicted and fractured souls. The starting point in nearly all the cases I have worked with is determining where the soul in front of me is at in their spiritual walk. Having a soul, regardless of being spiritually afflicted, or fractured, must be able to connect with God in some manner to begin the healing process. Many Christians can't fathom the notion that a soul has endured such trauma that it has turned away from God. Some souls that receive lots of prayers and no response in their healing prayer can start to believe God has forsaken them.

This is where we must be careful in ministry, to make sure our efforts are restoring the broken soul and not pushing it further away from God.

In my sessions, I will allow months to years to slowly walk a soul back into connecting with God. A lot of patience is required and a lot of small nudging with spiritual direction. God does not waste time in waiting for the soul to come around. He still brings in healing. The challenge is working with a traumatized soul that rejects God and blames Him for the current state of pain and reliving of trauma. Why won't God simply shut it off? In this question lies the contention with parts in the fractured soul who simply want to blame Jesus and not talk with Him at all. Then there are the other fractured parts in the soul who want to connect with Jesus but are blocked by the internal angry parts who don't. The normal church styles of evangelism are no longer effective in this ministry process.

Ministry is in baby steps. You check in with the soul and see where they're at in the spiritual walk. Many times a soul that rejects God isn't rejecting God. They're rejecting a false doctrine that was forced upon them in their own walk. Many times this false doctrine comes from other well meaning Christians, but the spiritual advice they're offering is more damaging than helpful. This occurs a lot when the well-meaning Christian doesn't understand the depths of the struggle of the person they are offering spiritual advice too. And what comes out is a soul-ish Christian-ese opinion that is nowhere helpful, or worse yet condemning, to the person's current state of trauma. Most survivors tell me they are tired of religion and not Jesus. Religion is the over-zealous Christian offering ungodly, but soul driven, Biblical advice. This is the state of the soul we work with when we're trying to get the religiously battered soul to reconnect with God.

To one who is spiritually traumatized, there are ways to connect or reconnect with God. First of all, you must give yourself lots of patience in this process. There are mental prayer exercises you can do to align faculties, and the parts, that want to connect with God. The first exercise is to practice, what Saint Teresa of Avila, called recollection. This is the process of practicing the presence of God. With multiple parts in your head and some parts are angry at God, this can be difficult and challenging. But the goal of this exercise is to practice throughout the day, to simply think about God.

Maybe you're at work, and going to get some water from the water cooler. Perfect time to check in with God. Maybe visualize Him in your imagination. Because some of the people I work with are ritual abuse survivors, I gave them cards with the picture of Jesus on it. To help them, refocus their imagination on what the true Jesus can look like for meditation. This is called practicing the presence of God. There is no dialogue, no visions, no supernatural going to heaven experiences. It's simply having your parts, who want to connect with God, to simply start the basic steps of mental prayer. It's kind of like learning to dial God's phone number. If you master visualizing Jesus, maybe the next step is to try and talk to Him. The communication will be one-sided and in baby steps. That's okay. Some souls are frustrated that they have been Christian for decades and have never heard from God. Many churches don't equip the saints in mental prayer, and we have to deal with this problem late in the spiritual walk. That's ok. There is no time like the present to start trying to connect with God.

But what if I don't hear God? That's ok! Just relax and take your time with this. I call this priming the pump. Praying to God requires a lot of work on our end, in patience and consistency. Never be frustrated. When you connect with God, listen for the quiet and the peace. This is Psalm 46:10. Be still and know that I am God. Quiet and stillness is typically a very good indicator that your call went through. If some parts don't want to cooperate, just work with the parts who do. It's usually the internal evangelism process that eventually reaches the hurting parts inside.

Well, that's enough for now. Hope this was beneficial.

Rev. Mike

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