Life seems particularly difficult these days. Maybe this is a familiar scenario for you. You enjoy consecutive days that you would deem “good” and out of nowhere a very “bad” day rushes in, overtaking all of the good days you’ve enjoyed, and let’s be real, you’ve probably even come to expect. Isn’t that just like life to rush in and change the course of…everything? Life has changed on a dime in my world lately. As I have walked through a particularly dark and grieving time with one of our children, more days have been spent crying out to God, “Why?” For a mother, watching your child face the ugly of this world weighs so much heavier than if it were us facing it. Standing on the sidelines watching her face the gossip of peers, the mudslinging lies, the gazes of accusation and betrayal have been unbearable. In the midst of walking through the most life-altering of circumstances, I’ve watched as even spiritual leaders in her life have made assumptions over her life, uttered words of condemnation over her physical appearance, or made blanket statements that she should “get her act together”. When assumption becomes the birthplace of “truth” we’ll always find it is, instead, the feeding ground for lies. For my daughter, what has been assumed she had done was actually done to her. You see, the circumstances of life indeed can occur from our own hand, but often life’s hurts happen to us.
Years and years ago I was personally hurt at the hand of others. I went from never having an enemy my entire life to becoming an enemy of a select few. It more than hurt. It devastated me. In my flesh my reaction was to become increasingly defensive, to protect my good name. What others thought of me consumed me and I had to do everything I could humanly do to control what others said or thought… until I realized that I couldn’t do that at all. I had to root myself in God’s word and remember how it was He saw me. Scripture after scripture jumped off the page of who I am in Christ, and none more bold than the reminder that God is my Defender. He fights for me. He is the Father to the broken, and there was no one more broken than I. He helped me see that the broken often break each other. That was manifesting itself in my own life. As long as I became my own defender, I broke others with my words and my actions. I robbed myself of seeing God – a limitless God – show me He would never leave me nor forsake me, but rather He would always defend me.
Walking through hurt with my daughter has reminded me once again to look – really look – FOR the broken. People do what they do, and say what they say, for a reason. At the end of the day, aren’t we all a little broken? We will never stop needing our Savior to defend us, to put us back together, to walk with us through the hurts of life. The mom side of me longs to defend my daughter to those speaking assumption over her life, to shout out “you have no idea what she’s been through” when you were criticizing the choice of her clothes, reprimanding her for missing a day of church, or even to the one mocking her for returning to her first love, Jesus, laughing at the stand she desires to take for Him in the midst of her brokenness, I want to protect her from it all. Yet, in the depths of all of our brokenness there is a very good state of broken we all need to be.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalms 51:17
Positioning myself in need of a Savior no matter the situations in life is where I must always remain. No matter what we face, God is limitless in His love, provision, protection and He will defend us as any parent would their children. But, I also must live like Christ to the broken that I encounter everyday. Seeing every life that crosses our paths as a life that matters to God MUST matter to me. As I serve in ministry, the gravity of this weighs heavy as I see each and every life as broken and in need of the Potter to mold, shape and put back together. This is the reminder I need to see heaven or hell in the eyes of each person I meet – even those who hurt me.
Today, let’s remember how it first felt to realize we were broken and needed saving. Let’s live with the perspective that everyone is always walking through something and we have been given an incredible opportunity to see God be the Defender of the broken.