If you had checked in on me last night, you would have found me sitting with the laptop in front of me, brushing up on the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Growth. I wanted to share this topic with you. The reason it was on my mind is that some days getting ready to move across country is hard. It’s an adventure, and I know it’s God’s plan, so I’m looking forward to it. But it is hard. The kind of hard that when I can’t figure out how to handle the challenges, I just throw up my hands and will tell you that I can’t, but God will.
He got us into this, so He will get us through it.
There are the challenges that pop up in trying to jump through all the hoops involved in selling a house on time, being painfully aware of the struggle this is for some of the kids, not wanting to fall behind in our school routine, feeling expectations, and all the “things.” So I put a lot of pressure on myself. I know. I feel like the hurry is in slow motion, and in the eye of the storm God has been using the stress to show me places I didn’t know were wounded and how He wants to heal.
God Reveals Before He Heals.
I’m looking at these places in my heart and I don’t know what to do with them. It’s like seeing a splinter and not having the strategy or the tools to remove it.
God will do it. I know He will. That’s why I have been thinking about Post Traumatic Stress Growth, because, if you haven’t heard about it, it is what happens when overcomers use trauma to become world changers rather than victims. It’s an actual thing in the world of psychology, though God knew about this phenomena thousands of years ago.
I had ideas about how to share this topic with you, but I couldn’t quite put them in order. So, last night I closed the laptop, shrugged it off, and I probably wouldn’t have come back to it. Except that, sometimes God gives me a push. Last night I dreamed that my oven door was open, light on, and two big pans of giant chocolate-chip cookies were pulled slightly out for me to see. These cookies were SO thick they were like biscuits, and browned to perfection. Then God says, “God is The Iron Range.”
I wish you could know how brilliantly funny that is. I live in Minnesota, home of the Iron Range. We have all kinds of towns that were built up around mining because, if you ever needed iron for making steel, once upon a time this was the place to get it. And of course, your oven is also called a range. 🙂
I think God created games like Pictionary, and I also think “The Iron Range” is the name of a superhero.
Years ago, I was driving into town when a minister on the radio was teaching about Joseph of Genesis 37. Joseph was a dreamer. That is, God gave him prophetic dreams, and sometimes the interpretation too. His dreams were as strange as some of mine. One time he dreamed that he and his brothers were in the field, binding sheaves of grain. Joseph’s sheaf “rose up and stood upright” and his brothers’ sheaves gathered around Joseph’s sheaf and bowed down to it. Of course, he talked about his dreams, and his brothers’ responded,
8 “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?”
Between the favoritism his father showed toward him and his dreams, Joseph’s brothers hated him. They sold him into slavery and told their father he was dead. God was with Joseph and blessed all the work he undertook, but when he turned down the advances that his Egyptian master’s wife made toward him, she also lied about him and he was put in jail. It was years before he was released. It was for his interpretation of dreams that the Egyptian king wanted to meet him, and it was God’s gift of dream interpretation and wisdom that paved the way for him to become the second most powerful man in Egypt, reunited Joseph with his family and fed Egypt and Joseph’s family through a long and harsh famine. It was all about grain, of course. That’s the short narration. The minister who taught about Joseph said historians made the statement that during the years of trial, steel entered into Joseph.
Steel is the strongest metal alloy available to us. It is made by transforming iron ore in a furnace/ oven. In other words, rather than succumbing to the trial, Joseph trusted God’s faithfulness. Horrible circumstances made him stronger and better equipped to become a world changer in his day. By God’s grace, he became mature, wise, experienced, and strong to take on the task of managing Egypt’s resources. God used him to preserve the nation of Israel.
Post Traumatic Stress Growth comes from trusting God and relying on Him in every circumstance. He is our strength. He is the source for what we need to have steel enter into us (iron ore), and He is the furnace (range) that takes both the iron and the circumstances (all the ingredients) to provide transformation. God does what Paul talks about in Romans 8:28. He works ALL THINGS together for good. Like big, warm, gooey chocolate-chip cookies kind of good. Better.
God didn’t create us to get stuck. I hate labels like PTSD. Trauma happens, but God is bigger, and difficult circumstances produce growth and maturity when we invite God into our equation. What’s more, growth and maturity make us better than if we were never placed into the fire.
Someone out there needs some steel in their bones, otherwise God wouldn’t have given me such a brilliant, beautiful, funny word picture. I don’t think this was all for my personal process.
Don’t let circumstances rule your life. Let God use your circumstances to transform you into someone with the influence to be a world changer for the Kingdom of God. We need more Biblical world-changers. Become the blessing.
God is “The Iron Range.” My Hero.
These photos are from the Soudan Mine in Minnesota’s Iron Range.
Cookie photo by Suzy Hazelwood at Pexels.