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Coaching

When Tragedy Hits A Little Too Close To Home

I’ve been dreaming of going to Paris since I was in high school. I’ve lived in Europe for five of the last ten years, and still I haven’t been able to go. Since moving to the Netherlands a year ago we’ve only had bikes. But this month my husband finally got his Dutch driving license and now we are on the hunt for a car, especially with the impending birth of our third baby in a couple months.{I will need some way to get to the hospital besides the bus or bike!}

Paris is on our list of things to do before we become a family of three. My husband can tell you that I’ve been talking about it since I found out we were getting a car.

However, when everything happened last week, I changed my mind.

***

The weekends in our house are for celebrating, being together, dreaming, and delighting in God. We have started taking Sabbath rest seriously around here. But the whole weekend felt ruined when I awoke that morning to the news of my dreamy Paris being stricken with bloodshed and tears.

My heart felt that kind of deep heaviness that doesn’t go away with just a hug or an encouraging word. The tears came easily that morning as I sat with the Lord, but really, it wasn’t Paris I was crying for.

It was for the world. It was for me. It was for us.

Just the day before Paris, I got word of bombings in Beirut while I was making lunch in the kitchen, and just a couple of weeks before that I received this text message from my brother,

“Don’t worry sis, I’m okay.”

I was laughing and giving the kids a bath and suddenly I was panicking. Little did I know, that while cozy in my home, there were bombs going off in a train station in Ankara. People dying and screaming in pain, only a mile from my brother’s apartment where he’s staying while on his internship. His window overlooking the rising smoke from the horrific scene.

This is all hits too close to home, I thought.

***

The Saturday night following the attacks in Paris I came downstairs as I usually do one more time before I slipped into bed, picking up the toys scattered around the living room, shutting off the lights, and then I did something I don’t ever do…

I closed the curtains in the living room.

I didn’t want people to see in. I wanted to shut the world out. I wanted to hide in my house and feel protected and safe, or at least try to deceive myself for another night.

First Ankara, then Beirut, now Paris, now this is definitely getting too close to home. Who’s next?

Will it be my neighborhood, my street, my family?

The thoughts were robbing me of joy, stealing my peace, barging into the door of my mind like unwelcome and dangerous intruders.

***

That night I had yet another dream of getting separated from my children. Following that, another recurring dream of the plane I was flying on having to turn back because it was about to be shot down.

If it isn’t through the world news or in my own thoughts, he comes into my dreams.

He whispers to me that the world is a scary place, that people cannot be trusted, that the only way to survive is to hide…

To shut the curtains. Close everyone out.

To never step foot on a plane…ever, again.

To never invite a refugee to our house for dinner, let alone befriend them.

To never go to Paris.

And sometimes, like last weekend, I begin to believe those lies again.

***

They are lies that tell me the world is dripping with evil, full of death, and gripped with hate.

The lies keep me curled up, shivering with fear and tears, dreaming nightmares, and living behind my iron curtains.

But the reason I’m unleashing these words and my worries today is because of this one thing.

Hope.

There is always hope with Jesus.

It’s a hope that comes across as offensive to some, a hope that still smiles when brokenness shatters our world. This hope that clings to life when death seems like it has the obvious upper hand. This hope that continues to resurrect and create new dreams for you and for me, for people, for the world.

This hope is unbelievable, too good to be true.

But that’s what makes it so divine.

Hope is bigger than us. Hope is God’s voice breaking through our sorrowful Sabbath weekends, our panic stricken evenings, and sweaty nightmares.

His voice is, and will forever be, breathing Hope into your heart, my heart, and having ripple effects out into the world.

Only Hope helps me to tear back the curtains once more, sleep peacefully next to my husband, live out my days with joy, believe that every human is still worthy of my trust and a place at our dinner table, and to one day soon step foot in the city of Paris.

Hope welcomes me into heaven on earth.

Hope definitely hits too close to home.

 

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