But... over the last years, as I've walked through the process to healing, I've had small conversations with God about this topic. Still told Him I will not go live there, not with my family, never. But I've discussed with Him the thought of going back one day. I hadn't talked about it with anyone else at all, not yet. Just God and I discussed this, hesitantly.
See, I've not been sure I could do it. Unsure if I could face these memories. Then - it is a long ways away. We have no ties there, no reason to go there - so it was out of even being a question. Until recently.
We're going. Without the kids. I hadn't thought about it much when I knew we were going to that area because there were two different ways to fly in to our destination. We're going that way.
I wondered about it. Looked it up to see if it was still there, if things were like I remembered them. Ah, the marvels of modern technology - it is there - like I remembered it. Exactly like I remembered it.
It is both reassuring and terrifying. Reassuring because it is exactly what I remember. There was one, our team leader (that one who had vision problems) who had said I was making it up, that I was too young to remember, that I would have told my parents if that had really happened. (I did tell you he has some problems with seeing clearly, didn't I?) But it is there, the place exactly as I had described it, every detail correct.
And terrifying. It is exactly as I remember it and I sat staring at the computer image stunned and began to shiver. There it is, the beginning of my nightmares clearly there. I went to school to pick up my kids still shaky. Needing a few minutes to grab someone and talk. Yeah, it is embarrassing to let people see me like that, what I usually don't let be seen, but I was shaking. Because I am going there. I had asked God quietly, just between Him and me, for a chance to go there again, to face it. I just am a little unprepared for it to happen.
I'm going back there. I want to go stand there again, perhaps walk in and look around. To take it back. To stand, look at that place, and say, "You did not win. You lied. You did not win. God was with me, is with me, and has been with me. He has brought me out, and I am whole in Him. You do not own me, you did not define me, and you have no hold on my life. In fact, what you wanted to use to destroy me, God is using to make me more able to bring His comfort and peace. God had His hand on me the whole time, and He never gave me over to you." I want to say that. I want to face that place, defy it, and move on. Take it from out of my thoughts, see it in front of me, and leave it there and walk away.
And I'm terrified. Alternating between deep peace, gratitude for all that God has done, and the sheer terror of facing those gates one more time.
I write this and I paused to think. I've been struggling recently with trusting God. I do trust Him. Really. But I want to learn more. I want to grow. I have this restless discontent with my relationship with God - I want to go on, to know Him more. And I keep banging into a wall. It's that wall where I say to God, "I trust You, but up to a point. I don't understand why You let me face so much hurt." It is hard to get past that wall. I don't want to just climb over it - I want the wall gone. Destroy the wall. Knocked down to rubble. To freedom.
I asked Him to do that. I've talked with three people and we've asked Him together. I believed He would do it. I did not expect that He would take me to that city... to where I can stand in front of those gates one more time. Maybe we have to face that together, God and I. To go there again and see His presence with me. To walk away together one more time.
I'm going back there. Will you be praying with me this next week? Let's make it a group effort. I'll stand there and face it again; you stand behind me.
I'm not sure what to expect from myself this week. I just know that I'll be appreciating prayers.