Today we’re going to talk about a topic that pops up from time to time on the podcast, and that topic is trauma. In this episode, we’re going to consider this overarching question: What’s a biblical approach to dealing with or healing from trauma?
Here to help me answer that question is Jeremy Stalnecker, who served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. He currently serves as the executive director of the Mighty Oaks Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping America’s military warriors and their families suffering from the unseen wounds of combat such as post-traumatic stress.
Raised in southern California as a pastor’s kid, Jeremy watched his parents serve in the church and was convinced the Lord would ever call him to serve in ministry. Nonetheless, Jeremy’s parents taught him the importance of service, prompting him to pursue a future as a Marine. Commissioning in 1999 and serving in Kuwait and Iraq, Jeremy returned to the States, left the Marine Corps, and, despite his earlier assertions he’d never go into ministry, joined a church staff shortly thereafter.
His service as a Marine and the years to follow have given Jeremy opportunities to deal with and heal from his own trauma, resulting in a passion for helping others, particularly within the military community, do the same. In our conversation, he unpacks a functional definition of “trauma,” its relationship with identity, the impact of spiritual resilience, and next steps to take when you or a loved one are dealing with trauma.
Check out the various resources mentioned throughout this episode:
If you would like to share your own story, complete the form on OCF’s “Be a Guest” webpage. Alternatively, if you have an idea for a guest or topic I should consider for a future episode of the show, send an email to [email protected].
As you listen to this conversation with Jeremy, here are a few questions to ponder in your personal time, with a small group, or with a mentor:
- Jeremy talks about feeling lost and alone when he quickly left the Marine Corps and joined a church staff. Have you ever had a similar experience when the course of your life changed quickly and unexpectedly? How did you feel during that season?
- When have you had to choose to take a faith-filled step forward?
- How would you describe the role of identity in trauma or healing from trauma?
- If you haven’t yet, what spiritual disciplines can you cultivate to develop spiritual resilience?
- Jeremy reminds us that “isolation kills.” Who can you ask for help when dealing with and healing from trauma? How can you help others when they’re experiencing trauma?
- Thinking of Jeremy’s earlier statement that trauma pervades the Bible, what scripture comes to mind as you listen to this conversation?