Unexpected Triggers

Have you ever felt like crying over something trivial? I’m not talking about happy tears, but the kind that come when you least expect them and for no apparent reason.

This happened to me recently when a dear friend, Zsa Zsa, gifted me with a personal facial. Not realizing that I detest circumstances where I feel vulnerable (like doctor and dental appointments and similar situations) she asked me to put on a towel wrap that was lying on the exam table. When she left the room, I looked down at the wrap. Then for no apparent reason I suddenly felt anxious and wanted to cry. I desperately wanted to bolt out the door, but instead I asked God to be with me as I reluctantly put it on.

Zsaz was gentle and lovingly professional, and her tender care reminded me that I was safe. So, after my heart settled, I slowly relaxed and enjoyed my treatment. In fact, I felt God’s love flowing through her fingers as I experienced a delightful respite from my busy schedule.

When I got home I went to the Secret Place and bowed my thoughts before my Beloved. The Holy One gently revealed that these confusing emotions stemmed from an unexpected trigger from my past… a painful memory of a time when I was taken advantage of sexually and left feeling frightened and out of control. With this remembrance, I was momentarily catapulted back to a place where my world felt unsafe.

As I offered my pain in worship, I remembered that God loves me deeply and He cares about my every thought. I was reminded of what He told the Israelites:

For I hold you by your right hand – I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, “Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)

And deep in my heart, I knew that these words were true for me, as well.

If I had panicked in my friend’s office and run away like I wanted to, I would have missed the treasured gift God had for me. Instead, I remained “in the present” and felt the Lord’s comfort as my sweet friend allowed Him to use her hands to minister to me. As I contemplated this incident, I wondered how many people have experienced something similar. You know how it goes. Things are going along smoothly when suddenly an unexpected trigger takes you off guard and your joy is suddenly stolen by something that seems innocent and trivial. This can be caused by a memory of any kind of trauma in your past, but one thing is true. No matter how hard you try to brace yourself, you can’t control the fear and confusion that accompanies this painful memory.

Then I had a bittersweet divine encounter. For a moment, as I was on my knees before the Holy One, I felt God’s broken heart for His wounded children… and I was undone.

Although I feel weak and a little fearful, I know that God is asking me to be a voice for His broken sons and daughters. He desires for all of us to find healing and wholeness…so please pray for me as I trust Him to go before me and light the way.

Originally published on May 26, 2017, RBI is sharing this blog with the author's permission. 

Bev DeSalvo describes herself as a worshiping woman who has been on an amazing spiritual journey. Raised in an abusive home that created a deep fear of intimacy, God has used her pain as a magnet to draw her to His heart. Now she takes this message of hope to hurting women all over the world and has a book, Return to Joy, that was released July 2016 by NavPress.