I was first called to consciously share the world of childhood trauma in 1992. It continues to stand as the beginning of the most painful journey I have ever faced.
Along the way, I learned a lot of helpful things about what trauma does to us, the effects of our self-protective strategies, and how wonderfully the word of God addresses every imaginable wound a child (of any age) could ever experience.
One of the most helpful acronyms for understanding what childhood trauma does to us is in the letters WLVS, which our home church has expanded as WoLVeS to help make the point all the clearer.
WoLVeS stands for the Wounds, Lies, Vows and Strongholds that harass us at every turn when we have never experienced healing and freedom in Jesus Christ. In short, it simply refers to what happens when we are Wounded as children (or any age) and the devil comes in and Lies to us about who God is to us and who we are to him. If we take those Lies to heart, we then make self-protective Vows to never let ourselves get hurt again (even though that never works). This sarky/fleshly pattern becomes so ingrained into us that it creates a Stronghold of always shutting down when we are triggered (often preceded with an explosion of some sort).
The last two days, my time with God in his word brought my mind to consider how I would express an acronym to stand against our WoLVeS. It is one thing to identify what is wrong with us, but we need some expression of the “good news of great joy” that comes to us in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I had just asked Father if there was anything from my past he wanted me to remember that would give me opportunity to renew my mind with his truth about those things. His answer was not to lead me to remember anything that happened to me, but to remember things about him and my relationship to him, things that are easily forgotten when the WoLVeS attack.
This brought me to the WoLVeS acronym where I remembered that the one part of this imagery that does not change in our freedom work is the “W”, the “Wounds”. There is nothing wrong with wounds. They happen. Jesus was wounded and it didn’t cause WoLVeS (it actually gave us our salvation). Paul was wounded, and no WoLVeS (it actually gave us most of his letters to the churches!).
Why did Jesus, Paul, and others, not have WoLVeS?
Because they did not believe the devil’s Lies, they did not make self-protective Vows, and they did not give the devil Strongholds from which to work.
The message is not that we ourselves, especially as children, knew how to do this. The good news I am sharing is not primarily focused at making churches where everybody gets this right all the way from childhood and never needs help.
Jesus did not come to seek and to save the well, but to seek and to save the LOST! He came into the world to save SINNERS, of whom Paul saw himself as the best (or worst) example.
God gives his children something that no worldling will ever experience, something called being transformed through the renewal of our minds. When someone receives new life in Jesus, and becomes a new creature in him, part of this newness includes a new mind and a new heart. This means that we can think in new ways, believe new and wonderful things, and walk in “newness of life”!
As I have only begun considering an acronym to contrast with our WoLVeS imagery, what came to mind is quite fitting, that our WoRTH defeats the WoLVeS.
Wounds: they happen, not the problem.
Wounds: they happen, not the problem.
Lies: filling our minds with falsehoods about God that immediately steal our thoughts of running to Father for help.
Reality: filling our minds with what is real about God and ourselves so that we want to run to him for help.
Vows: setting up self-protective walls to make sure we never get wounded again.
Truth: letting ourselves bond with the Truth in mind, heart and soul so that our wounds always increase our attachment with the Triune God.
Strongholds: accepting bondage-strategies as both necessary and normal so that we are unable to walk in the light or in the truth no matter how brightly or truthfully it is presented.
Hope: attaching to every promise of who we are to God, what he is doing in us, where he is taking us, and what he will complete in us, knowing they all will be fulfilled no matter how wounded we have ever been.
This is not, for me, about how well I have matched the WoLVeS acronym with something of my own. It is about the realization that, when we ask God what he wants us to “remember” about our pasts, don’t be surprised if he skips memories of things that were done to us and takes us to realities about our relationship with him that we have forgotten (or never knew) because we have believed the devil’s lies.
Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Abiding doesn’t merely mean spending time; it means attaching. In other words, when the lies inside us are replaced by the realities of attachment to Jesus, that is when we truly become his disciples (followers), and in that attachment to him, that is when we really come to know the truth (since Jesus IS the truth), and in our attachment to Jesus as the Truth, Jesus sets us free in himself.
While 1992 is the year I was thrown into thoughts and feelings of childhood trauma like I had never known before, that is not where my journey started. My testimony begins earlier that year when God opened my ears to how he speaks through his word, opened my eyes to how he shows us what he is doing, and opened my will to how we join him in his work.
The wonderfully gracious thing is that our Father in heaven was leading me into what was Real about walking with him every day of my life before showing me how much damage the Devil’s lies had done to me and people I love. He was already opening my heart, soul and mind to his Truth to give me the weapons that “destroy strongholds… arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” and lead us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ…” And he was already flooding my inner being with Hope that all his children can experience everything he promises for our healing, freedom and maturing in Christ in this lifetime, and the perfection of our eternal life at the return of our Savior.
What do we do with this?
We ask our heavenly Father to show us any Wounds that haven’t been healed, any Lies we have believed, any Vows we have made and any Strongholds we have created so that we can come into his presence with our Wounds, attach to the Realities of who we are in Christ, bond with the Truth that sets us free, and “hold fast to the Hope set before us… a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…”
And, if you are one of those rare people who has experienced no hindrances in your walk with God because of childhood or other trauma, ask Father who needs the kind of help we are exploring here and go join him in his work of healing the brokenhearted and binding up their wounds.
© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
 I was obviously living in the effects of childhood trauma for most of my life but had not had to face it head on as began that year.
 I share this with the belief that, contemporary problems and understandings of the human condition do not need to be mentioned in the Bible to be considered valid, but our understanding of what God will do to help us with anything at all in life does come from God’s word and is promised to us in the new covenant in Jesus’ blood. We seek to know what God has given to us in our justification by grace through faith that makes us right with him, what he is doing now in our sanctification by grace through faith in which we keep growing up to maturity in Christ, and what he will complete in our glorification by grace through faith when we finally become fully like Jesus when we see him as he is.
 This was introduced to us by Marcus Warner in his resource, Understanding the Wounded Heart. Marcus is the leader of Deeper Walk International (https://deeperwalkinternational.org/). Just a reminder to not assume that someone sharing something they have learned from a ministry means they endorse everything about that ministry! I’m just giving credit where credit is due.
 Luke 2:10-11 (context: Luke 2:1-20)
 Luke 19:10
 I Timothy 1:15 (Note: Paul was not saying that he was living a life so sinful that he was always the “foremost” of sinners. Rather, in a similar way to how Wayne Gretzky, at time of writing, holds the highest points record in the NHL even long after he retired from playing, Paul saw himself as the chief example of a sinner even long after he was no longer living a life of sin).
 Romans 12:2
 II Corinthians 5:17; I Corinthians 2:16; Ezekiel 36:26
 Romans 6:4
 John 8:31-32
 One of the most helpful Scriptures in this regard is Philippians 2:12-13 where I considered what it looks like for God to work in us to will and to work for his good pleasure resulting in us working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Such serious realities require sincere attachments.
 II Corinthians 10:4-5 (context: II Corinthians 10:1-18)
 Hebrews 6:19 (context: Hebrews 6:13-20)
 Psalm 147:3