You never realize how much you value security and safety…
- Until it’s forcefully taken.
- Until you walk out into your living room and feel that something isn’t quite right. The door that was closed last night is now open. The door that’s usually open is now closed.
- Until you realize that someone’s been in your apartment.
- Until you realize that your laptop with countless memories, thoughts and personal information is no longer on the coffee table where you left it the night before.
- Until you stare in horror at the contents of your favorite backpack (also missing) scattered across on the kitchen floor, at the boot print on your kitchen counter and the glove print on the wall, and at the window that’s different than how it looked the night before.
- Until you have ten Chinese policemen tracking all over your apartment with special gadgets lighting up the culprit’s boot prints which got terrifyingly close to your bedroom.
The days following the break-in were a bit surreal. I never thought I would fight fear in my own home. I never thought I would struggle to sleep at night, anxiously looking at the shadows playing outside my window. I never thought I’d come up with every self-defense option I could think of if the scary man came back. I wanted a baseball bat, a knife, a gun, a husband… something… anything… to protect me.
Fear is a vicious animal. It twists the sounds you hear, and the nightmares become terrifyingly real in your mind. All I could think of was the worst-case what-ifs. All I could think of was what could have happened. Fear held me captive. I was petrified, thinking about going home to an empty apartment.
When I finally got back to my apartment the first night following the break-in, I must confess I turned on every light in my apartment, I looked in every room, I moved all of our floor-to-ceiling drapes for fear someone was hiding in them. I felt a bit silly doing all of that, but with every sound and with every move of the drapes, I found myself frozen in fear. My childhood nightmares of a scary, faceless man in my house had become reality and I didn’t know how to handle it.
As I’ve begun to process through the experience of having my safety and security in my own apartment ripped out of my hands, I’ve realize some things about the God we serve, about our Protector, about the One who holds us in His hands. He formed me and He knows exactly how long I will live. Nothing that happens to me surprises Him.
“I trust in God. I praise his word.
I trust in the Lord. I praise his word.
I trust in God. I will not be afraid.
What can mere men do to me?” – Psalm 56:9-11
I came home after school two days later and walked into my kitchen. I hadn’t been in there much since the break-in. On my countertop, the evidence of the violation that had occurred remained and made my stomach churn. The boot prints stared at me and the glove print on the wall seemed to gloat, “You aren’t safe. You’ll never be safe.” Within me boiled up a holy rage as I grabbed a rag and scrubbed the counter and walls, quoting Scripture, telling the Enemy he had no place in my life. Telling fear it wasn’t welcome in my home. Later that night, I drifted off to sleep quoting Scripture, some of which my Connection Group leader, Laura, had sent me (special shout-out to my amazing VA Connection Group!). I slept well that night much to my surprise and have since then.
While I don’t know when my apartment will quite feel like home again or if I’ll ever feel as safe in my own home as I used to feel (although the new iron bars over my windows – despite the prison look – are helping), I do know who watches over me while I sleep. We serve a God who does not sleep, who sends His angels concerning us. I know I was protected that night as a man stalked around in my apartment in the dark. I know I was protected and I know I will continue to be protected.
“He won’t let your foot slip.
He who watches over you won’t get tired.
In fact, he who watches over Israel
won’t get tired or go to sleep.
The Lord watches over you.
The Lord is like a shade tree at your right hand.
… The Lord will keep you from every kind of harm.
He will watch over your life.
The Lord will watch over your life no matter where you go,
both now and forever.” – Psalm 121:3-8
Has your sense of security been violated on the field?