We dream of having someone to protect us. To have that one person in your life who loves you more than anything. The person who will see the darkness and the life in you at the same time and say, "You are worth it. Everyday I choose you. I love you. I want you. I will never leave you." Flowing from those beautiful poetic words, usually comes a promise to "have and to hold, to protect and cherish". I believe it doesn't matter who you are, we all desire to be chosen by someone.
We then take it one step further in our confession for the desire to be protected. Protection from harm is where our childhood fantasy plays out with the Knight and shining armor. To have a protector that will battle any and all dark forces so that not one hair on our head is touched. That we would be so cherished by the love of our life, that they would risk their own life for ours. It is sacrificial love at its best. I do not believe this childhood dream is for girls alone. I have witnessed and experienced boys who have turned into men that long for a protector as well. Maybe not physically, but, what of our hearts? The dreams and the spirit that makes us unique? What about our gift that each one of us offers humanity? Will the love of our life help us protect those very intimate and personal aspects of ourselves?
It is a disservice not only to our hearts, but also our relationships when we leave the act protecting to its over simplified physical limit. Are not our hearts and dreams and wounds worthy of protection and attention? Deep inside each of us is lies the scars where we have been wounded and were not protected. The dreams we hold that we are afraid to share because at some point in our history, someone attacked our idea and we were left wounded and bleeding, promising to never expose those parts of our heart again. When we are left without a protector, we don't dare to believe that we can be vulnerable or lovable or that we are worthy.
This past weekend I found myself walking the beach on the coast of Connecticut participating in the NE District Youth Gathering. I was there pursuing my dream of speaking truth and life and love to the hearts of students across the country. I left my husband and three kids home. After working 50 hours that week, my husband would then have to manage our three kids, our home, the grocery shopping, our broken car, homework, baths, all the meals for three diet restricted kids, laundry, fights, silly games, screen time, church, and in the end make sure everyone was ready for school Monday morning, because I wouldn't be home till midnight Sunday.
He called me Saturday, and I was expecting a full break down of frustration because everyone was tired and falling apart. Instead, I got encouragement and his genuine excitement for me doing what we both believe I have been called to do. He asked me to make sure I enjoyed my time. He reminded me to protect my sleep so I could soak up all the blessings that God was pouring on me. He said that when I got home, life would resume to schedules and homework and we would back to the daily grind. He wanted to make sure that I rested, enjoyed, and sought God in my weekend. To enjoy the students and the blessings they are. Mostly he called to tell me he was so happy I was living out my dream.
Protection poured out from him. His words of protection poured over the lies that I had believed that I wasn't good enough for this job I longed for. Protection over my heart and the ability to live into a dream. A gentle reminder to protect my boundaries so that I could remain healthy.
Protection wasn't a word that I thought much on when looking for my life partner. It has however become a characteristic that I believe needs more of our attention.
Our immediate reaction to this would be,
1. If we are single, we would start looking for a protector
2. If we are in a relationship, make our partner read this to speak these words of what we desire from them
I would challenge that neither of these is my goal for writing this post. What I have learned and gained from life so far is that if we see what the world is lacking, then we should make the change first in ourselves. Michael Jackson said it when he sang, Man in the mirror; its where the change starts.
Whoever you are and in whatever relationships we have, spouses, partners, friends, children, parents, bosses, co-workers; we have the ability to protect those around us. To protect those things that people are scared to share. That when someone dares to expose part of their heart and dreams, that we would rush to protect instead of tear down. That we could be their champion encouraging and uplifting and protecting along the way.
To help protect their dream by encouraging them.
To help protect their lives against abuse.
To help protect someone in their healing in AA.
To help protect a friends heart against shame and guilt.
To help a friend live into their dream of loosing weight to be healthy.
To be present in the lives of the people around protecting their time.
To show love in deep ways that will protect wounds we don't even see.
If we choose to live into that challenge, then I say, we shouldn't and can't stop there. When I think of protection, I think of so many women and children who can't protect themselves. Women and children who have names and faces and fears and wounds that we don't understand. Women around the world, children lost in the cities. Where is their protector? Do they even believe protectors exist?
Is it possible? Could we dare to believe that we could, even without knowing them, be apart of their protection? That if these women and children see that someone cares enough to protect them, then someone would care enough to love them? That would mean they were worthy. Worthy enough for love. Worthy enough for life. Worthy enough for new beginnings.
Protection goes beyond our false ideal of a Knight and Shining Armor. It is so, so much more.
There are many different organizations that are serving God and humanity by the work they do in protecting those who need protection. Here are just a very SMALL few to get you started if you don't know where to look.
Be blessed friends, and I am excited to see how protection starts living out in your lives.