NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).
“Accepting Challenges to Overcome Them in God’s Strength”
LEARN MY GOSPEL STORY by which God gives meaning to my experience.
Memorize: 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (ESV), “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:
- “I pleaded” – God does not condemn Paul’s desire to be free from the “thorn in his flesh.” It is good to ask for this.
- “Grace is sufficient” – We see that God’s grace is sufficient even when it does not remove the trial we face.
- “Boast” – Merely resisting the shame and despair commonly associated with trauma is a step in this direction.
- “Content with weakness” – This may be a more accurate depiction of what Paul’s day-to-day boasting was like.
- “When I am weak” – When Paul was okay with his weakness he was able to face life at full strength.
“The cross doesn’t answer all of our questions about human suffering, but it assures us of God’s compassion for human misery (p. 176)… Those who suffer often feel isolated and disconnected from others. They often feel no one really understands what they are experiencing… The beauty of the cross is that it connects Jesus with our suffering, particularly the suffering produced by abuse (p. 176).” Steven R. Tracy in Mending the Soul
“[Jesus] is a Man of Sorrows and intimate with grief. He was left alone, regarded with contempt. He is scarred for all eternity. His suffering has left its tracks across his face. His hands and feet carry marks of the violence done to him. He was afflicted, struck, crushed, stripped, and oppressed. Suffering does that, you know; it leaves its mark over those who must endure (p. 31)… Jesus was storming the gates of hell even while he bowed himself to our finitude and brokenness (p. 57).” Diane Langberg in Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse
“Even after release from captivity, the victim cannot assume her former identity. Whatever new identity she develops and freedom must include the memory of her enslaved self (p. 93).” Judith Hermann in Trauma and Recovery
“We’re more than what we have suffered, and that is the reason we can do something with our memory of it – integrated into our life story, turn it into a junction from which we set out on new paths, for instance (p. 80)…All three elements of the healing of memories – a new identity, new possibilities, and an integrated life story – drew their basic content from the memory of the Passion understood as a new Exodus, a new deliverance (p. 103)… Wrongdoing does not have the last word. If we remember a wrongdoing – no matter how horrendous – through the lens of remembering the Exodus, we will remember that wrongdoing as a moment in the history of those who are already on their way to deliverance (p. 108-109).” Miroslav Volf in The End of Memory
“We do not need for all of our life to be gathered and rendered meaningful in order to be truly and finally redeemed… No need to take all of our experiences, distinct and company and bind them together in a single volume so that each experience draws meaning from the whole as well as contributes meaning to the whole. It suffices to leave some experiences untouched (say, that daily walk I took to school in the second grade), treat others with the care of a healing hand and then abandon them to the darkness of non-remembrance (say, the interrogations by Captain G.), and gather and reframe the rest (say, the joy in the struggle of writing this book) (p. 192).” Miroslav Volf in The End of Memory