Driving in my car in a never-ending sea of comings and goings, I turned on the radio for the five-or-so short minutes to pick up the kids from summer camp. On Thursdays I often times miss the wonderful and lovely musings of Hallie Lord, a wonderful mix of parenting, Catholic discussions and anything in between. It was 4:42 in the p.m. to be exact and I sighed at missing her once again, until I picked up the show at something that perked my ears up. Hallie was discussing an article she had found by Elizabeth Scalia, Editor-at-Large at Aleteia , who had written an article entitled, “A prayer that this broken heart may be healed…” The title was not as revealing as the message which Hallie discussed.
For those that have experienced childhood trauma, can we go back and pray for that little version of ourselves, can we go back in time to pray?
I had never heard anything as earth shattering and mind-blowing as asking for God’s help for something that happened in the past. But Scalia makes this statement which Hallie read on air. It caused me for a split second of time to completely lose my breath:
We know that God is outside of time, and that prayer is too. I wonder if I can pray for God’s active grace and the action of the Holy Spirit to become inserted into all that occurred 50+ years ago, and in that way, help the stress response to reset away from “high,” away from all the inflammation, the damaging rising of stressors that can only break a body down. Stunt them a bit, so that if Little Lizzie must go through all that, for whatever purpose is meant by it — and I do believe all things are permitted for a purpose beyond my understanding — then at least she gets to be a little more comfortable in the present time.
It gave me pause when she mentioned “Little Lizzie.” That those of us who have experienced great traumas- physical, verbal and/or sexual abuse, the loss of a parent at a young age and the myriad of others in an endless list of what can happen to little children, can truly experience past healing for the present. The article was both painful and brilliant, and thinking of Little Lizzie made me think of Little Melissa. I was 6, I was 14, I was 16. I was back there. It’s not so often these days, but it happens. The difference is when I am back there, God is with me. The scenes replay but He is next to me and He hides me under the shadow of His wings.
I couldn’t help but ask God where He was when I was sexually abused. I never asked the question before, nor was I ever mad at Him for it. But it has defined me for thirty years or so and caused me a great deal of pain, long roads and broken relationships, and even more than that…
I closed my eyes tight, unafraid these days to go back there. There was a lot of silence and many tears. I was in a dark closet but filled with His marvelous light. I cried and then asked, “God, were you there? Can you go back and protect my little heart.”
I didn’t hear an answer, but received an inexplicable peace. I knew it was ok to pray for that little girl. I have always prayed for the adult, the one whose made it, the one who has the benefit of having gone through an intensive Christ-centered healing. But I have never cried for that little girl, never.
Elizabeth Scalia changed my life yesterday and I hope one day I’ll get to thank her. We think God can’t work miracles in the five minutes it takes to go from here to there, but as Elizabeth said, God is outside of time. I hope you’ll share her article with those that have been subjected to childhood trauma, and encourage them to not only pray for but acknowledge that little child who just wanted to be loved.