Trading Up: Hurt for Healing

Trading Up: Bible Stories That Move Us from Pain to Peace

Bartering was popular when I was a young mother. That was the way we often managed to have better clothes for our children, haircuts, music lessons, or even luxuries such as massages. The idea was to trade with your friends: your talents for their knowledge, your professional skills (i.e., hairdresser) for theirs (i.e., masseuse). Oftentimes we knew we had really “traded up.” We were thrilled with our bargaining powers.

The plan was our way of taking what we had and trading it for what we needed. Using this same principle, Janet Erwin and Murselle McMillan wrote Trading Up: Bible Stories That Move Us from Pain to Peace. This WMU resource is designed, through the use of Bible stories and study guides, to help victims of post-traumatic stress disorder trade up: fear traded for hope, anger for forgiveness, and guilt for truth. Giving pain up to God and receiving His gift of healing in return is trading up at its best.

Where can Trading Up be offered?

In churches, prisons, veteran service organizations such as the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), family support groups, disaster relief teams, or trainings for lay counselors. Forming a formal PTSD support group may go beyond the scope of practice for lay church members. However, the material could easily be used for one-on-one mentoring or for a limited time with small groups of people who have suffered trauma.

Who would benefit from using this resource?

Individuals suffering from PTSD, family members or loved ones who live with them, or care teams who want to minister to those who have suffered trauma.

Who should facilitate these groups?

This material is specifically designed for storytelling and discussion. Facilitators should hone their gift of storytelling, have a heart for those who are hurting, and exhibit compassionate leadership skills. Facilitators should be very familiar with each story and how it relates to a specific wounded area (i.e., trust).

How can Trading Up be presented?

The casual tone of each session makes it conducive to a relaxed atmosphere such as a home. The sessions are designed to follow one another, but they could also be used as stand-alone sessions such as a discipleship study at church. You might even consider asking your pastor to build a sermon series on the Scripture passages with weekly follow-up by a trained lay leader on an individual or a small-group basis. The methods of presentation are unlimited.

Why is Trading Up effective?

Stories touch the heart. The Old Testament comes alive through historical stories of men and women whom God called to follow Him. Jesus answered the Pharisees’ cynical questions with stories. He used stories, or parables, to explain the good news to would-be followers.

Stories open the door for hurting people to share their stories. And that is where the trade of personal pain for God’s healing begins.

Dianne Swaim writes from North Little Rock, Arkansas. She serves as a Veterans Affairs hospital chaplain, often working closely with those hurting from combat-related PTSD.


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