Sunday, February 23, 2014

Flip of a Switch

I have this switch in my brain. Sometimes it's turned on, and sometimes it's turned off. It's my Kenya switch. When it's off, I forget I've ever been there. When it's on, I remember.

If it's off, people can have whole conversations about Africa without a single reaction of familiarity.

If it's on, I do remember. And, thankfully, during the past few years, it's just that. I just remember. And it's like they're talking about New York City - a place I visited once, so I recognize and understand whatever it is they're talking about through the lens of one who's experienced the place.

Since my trip to Guatemala in 2007, I've had fewer triggers related to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I came home with after my trip to Kenya, but none of those triggers during the past few years were due to the mention of the country or continent. They were triggered by other things: something I saw in a movie, a burglary that happened at the hospital where I worked here in Little Rock, a woman's testimony about her experiences in the sex trade.

I guess that's why what happened on Sunday disturbed me so much. It was just this really nice, blonde lady sharing about ministry opportunities our church could be a part of in Kenya. There were no pictures, no stories, no threat. But, you would have thought I was in Calculus senior year of high school again the way my heart was racing. Afterwards, I knew that trigger wasn't right. I knew I needed to work something out. That shouldn't have happened.

Five days later on Friday morning, I'm having a conversation with a friend who tells me about this book she's reading written by a missionary about when he lived there. No trigger. No problem. I didn't remember what had happened Sunday morning. The switch was turned off.

Friday night. At the beginning of the Women's Conference at FBC Little Rock, two very young, younger than I was when I went there, teenage girls share their experiences and hearts for the people of Kenya. The photos on the screen looked like they could have come directly out of my photo album from 2005. Those beautiful smiles. The piles of trash. The switch turns on.

A giant knot forms in my throat, and I realize this is it's third mention in six days.

I hadn't even heard Sochi mentioned three times in the last six days.

God, are You trying to tell me something? ... I close my eyes. The very depth of my soul hopes I'm not about to be called back there... Don't call me back there, God. I'll never go back there.

"You'll never go back?"

No. Never. Don't call me back there. I won't go.

"Even if I called you there?"

I won't go. I won't. No.

The worship team starts to sing "Oceans" by Hillsong United.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find you in the mystery
In oceans deep My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Fists clenched. Jaw tight. Tears welling up. I won't go. Don't call me there.

"Every time someone asks you 'Where are you and David going to go after law school?', you answer, 'Wherever the job is. Wherever God takes us.' But, if I asked you to go there, to Kenya, you won't go.  You won't go wherever I'll take you, Lindsay. You didn't even come here to Little Rock when I told you to. You came here only when I didn't give you any other option. Have I not provided for you? Have I not exceeded to meet your every need? Is your husband not thriving? Did I not spare you in that van? Did I not bring you back to your family? Do you know how many times I've spared you since then? Do you not realize that you could have been subjected to worse than a car-jacking right here in Little Rock? You are not in control, Lindsay. I Am."

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

The tears begin to fall. And I realize how much of a hypocrite I've been. How naive. How completely and utterly undeserving. And how blessed beyond measure my life is no thanks to me.

I stand to my feet, fists still clenched, and force myself to sing the words I know my heart needs to take in...

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise 
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Slowly, I open my clenched hands and lift them to my Creator as I sing a prayer my flesh is scared to sing...

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

"It's not about Kenya, Lindsay. It's about trust and control."

...

I've known for awhile that eventually, when David and I have children, I would have to address this trust issue that I sort of knew existed, but didn't want to admit to.

After all, He's in control of everything, not me. As much as I sometimes like to think I've got it, I really don't.

I'll admit, for me, fully embracing this kind of trust isn't as easy as flipping a switch. Right now, it's a daily prayer that God would unclench my fists and that my feet would willingly walk in the direction He has for me, no matter where the destination might be.

...

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine.