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Trauma Healing

Stories from the Field, 2 May 2023

Speaker: Wendy Phung

Wendy has served in Thailand and Myanmar since 2007, in a variety of different roles. In response to the need for trauma healing due to the Covid pandemic and other recent events in the region, she joined SIL and the Trauma Healing Institute in 2020 and has been facilitating Bible-based trauma healing groups since then.

How Do You Heal a Wounded Heart?

Broken heart - roserodionovaa, Freepik

When hearts are overwhelmed with intense fear, hopelessness, and horrors, they can be severely wounded. These hurts can hinder them from seeking God, receiving the Word of God, or engaging with the community. Wounded hearts are held captive by the events that caused their trauma, and relive their experiences over and over again.

Sadly, most wounded hearts retreat to lonely and dark places. Some people use drugs and alcohol to escape their pain. Some release their hurts by hurting other people. Many times, they find it difficult to engage in their communities as they tend to be jumpy, angry, and quarrelsome. What they need is a safe space for their wounded hearts to take refuge, but often, they may not find such a place. Our society tells us that men are supposed to be strong and keep their feelings to themselves. Christians are not supposed to dwell on their heartbreaking experiences. Well-meaning advice may be: “Pray, and you’ll be okay.” Others advise them to forget the past and move on.

'Healing the Wounds of Trauma' Book cover

In a Zoom event held in May, Wendy Phung shared about Healing the Wounds of Trauma, a resource widely used around the world, developed by a group of Bible translators, pastors, counsellors, and African evangelists in 2001. The book comprises six core lessons which explore these pressing questions:

  1. If God loves us, why do we suffer?

  2. What are the wounds of the heart?

  3. What can help our hearts’ wounds heal?

  4. What happens when someone is grieving?

  5. How do we bring our pain to Jesus?

  6. How can we forgive others?

The aim of these questions is to help the wounded hearts find their healing in God and the Bible. They also help the wounded understand and build their identity in Christ. The book has been translated and adapted into 157 languages so as to reach more cultures, and translation into even more languages is ongoing.

Wendy highlighted that an important part of the healing process was to be honest about heart wounds. The Bible teaches us to express our feelings openly just as Jesus, Peter, Hannah and the psalmists poured out their feelings in prayer and laments.

A wounded heart can never heal on its own. And so, Wendy described how participating in healing groups enables those who are hurt to openly express their tiredness, sadness, irritability, and even worse traumas. These groups are a safe space where the wounded can do all the talking they need to. But more importantly, it is where their wounded hearts can receive help and support, reconnect with God through his Word, and find healing.

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