Mar 15

Lent, week 4: The Valley [with bulletin insert download]

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

–Psalm 23:4 (RSV)

Too many individuals have known the reality of being in the “valley of the shadow of death.” Survivors of trauma—especially that experienced in childhood—can feel the effects years later.  Having been brought through that valley experience, the shadow of death is still cast on their hearts and minds.

This is attested to by the original ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) study conducted nearly thirty years ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente focused on how traumatic childhood events may negatively affect adult health. The 17,000 participants surveyed were asked about their experiences with childhood maltreatment, family dysfunction, and current health status and behaviors. The ACE study found a direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, incarceration, and employment challenges. (You can learn more at acestoohigh.com)

Thankfully, our Good Shepherd can bring healing and restoration that builds future resilience in the midst of difficulties and stress. Some trauma survivors express joy at knowing that they can be the type of adult that they needed as a child, helping the next generation to grow up healthy and happy.

The promise that “I shall not want” is not a promise that there will be nothing that will cause anxiety—the rest of the psalm would be ridiculous if this were the meaning! What we will never “want” for is the comfort of knowing that we don’t go through life’s hardships alone. Find others who can support you in the days ahead and find others you can support as well. Reach out to Intermountain to see if we can help with telehealth options or suggest a referral to a trauma-sensitive provider near you.

If you would like to learn more about our services or want to support this important ministry, please call us at 406-442-7920.

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If you would like to encourage your church members to consider a special gift in honor or memory of a loved one this Easter, please download this bulletin insert: