I experienced what some people refer to as a trigger last weekend. I don’t know if you have heard that term before, but it is loosely defined as a “topic, phrase, or word that emotionally sets someone off; could refer to anger or reliving a traumatic experience”. Perhaps this wasn’t my first experience with a trigger, but it certainly was the first time I understood what was happening to me. You see, someone stole our car during church.
Well, it actually started before that. It was communion Sunday, and my heart was desperately wicked (aren’t they all? Jeremiah 17:9). I knew I was harboring anger toward my husband, and I asked God to please cut out the rotten part of my heart. I was planning to apologize to Anthony as soon as he got out of Sunday School (he teaches 9 & 10 year-olds and loves it).
Back to our stolen car…
Now, I had stayed after service to visit with a few friends, so I delayed longer than usual getting out to the car, which was no big deal since my hubby is normally delayed at least thirty minutes past the end of the service. I walked out the big double doors into the cold, dreary day and stared blankly at the vacant spot where I had parked our car only a few hours before. My brain spun wildly, desperately trying to interpret what my eyes were seeing: no car. Maybe I parked it elsewhere? Nope. No. Car.
I quickly re-entered the church and, with panic setting in, asked our daughter Emily to make sense of it for me. Please! She came outside with me, followed by a friend who also happens to serve on the Idaho Highway Patrol, and looked, as I did, at the empty section of the parking lot, where our Blue Flame Escape should have been sitting.
And then my daughter, who is so much more astute than I am, looked across the vast parking lot and spotted our dirty little vehicle nestled in amongst cars in the wrong area. “Dad must have moved it.”
Why? Why had my husband moved the car for the first time in our six years attending this church? Why was he out from Sunday School early? Why was I so freaked out?
I walked over to the car, feeling as though I had just guzzled a 4 shot latte. As I climbed in, my helpful hubby got in next to me. And I asked him why?
The poor guy didn’t understand what the big deal was. He thought we had gone into the coffee shop after church, he was out from Sunday School early, and so he decided to move the car and use the restroom. Hadn’t I seen his texts?
NO. Like a good little girl, I had silenced my phone for the service. How was I to hear a muted phone??
I was so panicked, it was weird. No longer was I remembering I owed Anthony an apology. Satan had successfully wiped that from my mind.
My hubby was a bit irked by my reaction. What’s the big deal?
Trigger. Suddenly I was a small child, hugging our grey kitty Nemo — no, that’s not right, he is our present cat — clutching my grey stuffed mouse, “Reep-a-Cheep”, curled up in a ball in my bed. I rubbed my hands together, squeezed and relaxed my fists, scratched and pinched my legs — that’s right, I used to pinch my arms — and tried to calm down. What was going on?
Memories, some new and strange, some old and familiar– all painful– whirled around in my brain as I drove our NOT stolen car up to my dad’s house on the Pend Oreille River. My grandparents’ old place. My safe place.
I focused on breathing. Deep, calm breath in. Slowly exhale. And I frantically cried out to my heavenly Father for help. And He quietly spoke to my wretched, damaged soul:
Be still. Be still and know. Be still and know that I AM.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” ~ Psalm 46:10
By the end of the 50 minute drive to my dad’s house, it was better. I was better.
I cannot imagine going through that without knowing the great I AM. Knowing all that God is, I can rest in Him and be still, even when my world is off kilter, when my soul anguishes, when my heart cries.
Do you know the great I AM?
“…your shield and your exceedingly great reward.” ~ Genesis 15:1b
“…Almighty God…” ~ Genesis 17:1b
“…my shepherd; I shall not want.” ~ Psalm 23:1b
“…my help and my deliverer…” ~ Psalm 40:17b
“…the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” ~ Isaiah 43:15b
“…the LORD, I do not change…” ~ Malachi 3:6b
“…with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:20b
“…the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” ~ John 6:35b
“…the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” ~ John 8:12b
“…the door of the sheep…the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own…I lay down My life for the sheep…” ~ John 10:7b, 14, 15b
“…the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…” ~ John 11:25b-26a
“…the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~ John 14:6b
The Bible records so much more about who God is than I can ever share in a single blog. But I really love this passage, where God proclaims His name to Moses:
“And he said, ‘Please, show me Your glory.’ Then He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion’…
Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.’ ” ~ Exodus 33:18-19; 34:5-7
God is full of goodness and grace, but He is also just and holy. Only because of Jesus can we stand in the presence of the great I AM, forgiven and washed clean, by God’s grace through faith in His Son.
God has shown Himself to us, revealed His heart to us. He is completely trustworthy. And He will never abandon us.
“…For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” ~ Hebrews 13:5b-6
I pray we will recall these things as we face pain and brokenness in our daily lives. May we remember to “Be still and know that I AM”.
And may we remember to apologize when it is needed. Even when the car disappears… 🙂