Deep as the Sea: Letters to Survivors of Trauma by Timothy C. Bourman is written for the survivor of trauma. Survivors of sexual assault, as well as childhood abuse, natural disasters, veterans with PTSD, survivors of a mass shooting, or horrific accident – all will find healing and help in these pages. The author created it because he found nothing on the market that addressed his spiritual needs in the aftermath of his near-death experience. He developed every chapter with a panel of survivors who provided feedback on what was helpful and what he needed to change.
The prologue defines trauma, describes common approaches to healing, and offers suggestions for building a support team that includes medical, counseling, and spiritual guidance.
Twelve letters to survivors of trauma are grouped into the three stages of recovery.
An epilogue explains more about the three stages. This edition includes a helpful “reader’s guide” that sometimes suggests steps the reader can take that accord with advice in the book, sometimes providing a choice of steps so that the reader can find what works best for them.
According to an interview with the author on the book’s webpage (accessed May 22, 2022), the book was deliberately made in a small size that could fit into a purse or coat pocket, so that survivors could read parts of it repeatedly at their convenience. It appears every effort was made to make this brief book (117 pages including notes) a resource that can be consulted again and again.
Some resources call themselves “biblical” but are really psychology in search of a few compatible Bible passages. Deep as the Sea is profound because the author is a biblical scholar who experienced trauma and searched the Bible for Scriptures that address the pain, disorientation, and trials he went through. He digs deeply into the 12 Bible texts on which he based his letters to survivors. Some of these texts (especially 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 and Psalm 46) have become more clear and helpful to me after reading the thoughts he draws out of them for people who have gone through trauma.
Although the book was written for survivors of trauma, Deep as the Sea is also a valuable tool for clergy, chaplains and Christian counselors. Working through the book with a survivor will open up healing conversations. In fact, although a survivor will find comfort reading this book, I believe that discussing the book can bring greater understanding and reinforce the meaning of what is written here.
Deep as the Sea breaks new ground as a resource for survivors. It deals with profound spiritual devastation that is almost always overlooked or treated only as emotions and psychology. At the same time, the author understands the latest literature about trauma and its impact. The progression of thought in these letters is in accord with the insights that have developed through widespread study of the effects of trauma and recovering from it.
Author: Timothy C. Bourman