God, You are knocking on my heart. It gets loud, so loud, and sometimes I try to drown it out. I don’t want this. I think You must be wrong. I am not good enough, strong enough for this. I say that I know You are good and You are in control. And yet, too often, my actions say otherwise. I hide, I run, I cover myself up. I want to choose my own way. And yet, when the stillness sets in, I can hear Your knocking.
In 2015, I flew to California to attend The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church. It feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago. I heard Your knocking so clearly then. I felt called to work in this tender intersection of faith and mental health. And most days, I still do. But some days, I want to run.
Why God? Why do You allow such pain, such suffering? I so want to fix it all. I’ve spent over ten years working on academic child mental health research, examining mechanisms of disorder to help inform better treatments. We have learned so much and yet, we still know so little. God why? Why can’t we find the insulin for mental illness? Why are we left trying to mend a huge wound with band-aids?
And yet, if a band-aid is all I have, I want to serve You by applying it as gently and compassionately as I can. So I decided to pursue my Masters in Social Work. Now I am being stretched, faced with learning about human rights and how oppressive systems work. Through physical or psychological containment, through feelings of expendability, and through ideology. And my eyes are open to see so much, so so very much, injustice around me.
I see families trying to run from war being turned away.
I see those who say they love You and welcome them with open arms and others who say they love You fight to build systems to keep them out.
I see people calling the police when those who look different than them are in a space they aren’t used to seeing them.
I see systems that have perpetuated sexual abuse crumbling while those around fight.
I see men who face discrimination in family courts and women who face discrimination in the workplace.
I see people fighting for the status quo, and I see people fighting for change.
People I love in all camps. And my heart longs for shalom. For you to bring wholeness to this broken world.
What can I do? It’s so loud, there’s so much noise. So much pain and hurt. It’s all I can hear. Why Lord, why?
And then, suddenly, I hear the knock again. I am struggling. It feels like I am walking through a thick fog, every step I take is hard. But I hear it. I hear the cries of those with mental illness, the cries from within myself. I’m scared. It’s too big. But I know. I know You are calling me. I know You are good and I know that You are in control. So I say, here I am Lord, send me (Isaiah 6:8).