WWJD: Still casting stones?

Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. 1 Corinthians 13:5, MSG

My husband and I have had to do some crawling back. Crawling back to the beginning of what we had at year one of a 15 year marriage. In doing so we read, and we began reading a devotion weekly that tackled some difficult junk.

Let’s jump back for a second. Read the header of this blog post. “Straight Up Messy Truth.” Does that give you a clue that I will not shy away from the mess? And folks, marriage? It is messy. This may not be what you thought you would hear today, but hang on-if your marriage is not messy, and you do not fight. You do not have a struggle, or have not had hardship-hold on…it is coming. Or, you are hiding something. Because straight up-we are human. We are messy. And every single one of our relationships will be, too. Even those we vow to remain in “til death do us part.”

Now, back to that devotional…and another mess. In the beginning of this particular exercise the authors of the book Closer, Jim and Cathy Burns recall the story of the woman caught in adultery: “The woman was first brought to Jesus in shame. Jewish law was clear she could be stoned to death. (We still don’t know why the man involved in the sin was missing).”

I had never thought of that before. When I read it…wow, I became angry. Bitter. How dare she be dragged into the streets to be stoned, and he…he was just able to walk away. She had to stand before all these people, shamed for her sin. And where, where was he?

This was my husband’s response: “Probably holding a stone in the crowd.”

Possibly. And for a couple weeks I held onto that image. The woman. Dragged into the square. Everyone talking. Her shame and sin for all to see. The man hiding in the shadows, ready to throw the first stone.

Until I read the passage again, a month or so later. Read the conversation she had with Jesus as she knelt on the ground, and saw this as I had so many times before:

“Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11

He may have spoken it to that woman, but it applied to everyone in that crowd. Even the man. If we confess of our sins, we are then told to “go and sin no more.” We are given the opportunity to live a new life without shame. No one can cast a single stone because we no longer walk in that way. We no longer do those things. We no longer make those same choices. We hand him our sin. He forgives us, and we don’t do that thing ever again.

Woman. And man.

We all are given this opportuntiy because we could have stones cast at us. We could all look out at the crowd in guilt and shame. There may have been a woman kneeling there, but it could have easily been that man.

And Jesus would have offered him the same thing. Forgiveness. The opportunity to go and sin no more.

What’s that got to do with keeping records of wrongs? Well, think about it. Those people in the crowd couldn’t wait to stone that woman. And do we do this at times? Hold stones of judgment? Stones of all the things done against us, so we can throw them out at just the right time? Come on…admit it-we all throw stones like ammunition when we argue.

But Jesus doesn’t. He didn’t. He wanted to make sure no wrong could be held against the woman.

That she could leave that square without sin. Without shame.

When we throw stones, we shame all over again. And Jesus doesn’t do that. He doesn’t throw stones.

He offers us grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. A new way of life where sin lives “no more.”

To the woman. And yes…to the man.

Y’all need Jesus

I love t-shirts. Let me rephrase that. I love t-shirts that have words on them. Sarcastic words. Rap words. Funny words. Jesus words. I like to say what needs to be said with my t-shirt. I started doing this at a time when I was silenced and ridiculed for outwardly expressing my faith more in one of the places I spent a great deal of time. I decided to wear it on a t-shirt instead.

Like this: “Y’all need Jesus!”

Now, I don’t have one that says this…though I do have one about coffee and Jesus, love and Jesus, prayer and Jesus, even tacos and Jesus. But I do have a sticker on the window of my vehicle that tells everyone who will read it that they all need Jesus.

But…here is the truth. We ALL need Jesus. Not just certain people. Not just the people who get on our nerves. Make fun of our faith, or our “Love Wins” t-shirts. ALL of us.

Every moment of our lives. Twenty-four, three six five. -Danny Gokey and Koryn Hawthorne

We all need prayer, because on any given day, we are all struggling. We all need comfort, because on any given day we may feel a little restless, a sense of chaos or loss; and need a little peace and hope. And there is not one who is immune to the devil who beats them down for every single bad thing they did, and knows exactly how to tell them, and repeat to them over and over and over that they are not good enough.

We ALL need Jesus.

Everybody needs a Savior
Even the ones who think they don’t
We’ve got stuff we hide, deep down inside
There’s so much that we don’t show

My t-shirts may be bold. I may speak a little sass with the messages I wear on the front of a tee. Words I can’t express out loud, because at a time I was silenced. I am often not one to hide from a story, but even I have wounds I don’t want to show.

I have stories I can’t yet quite tell, because there are still some cuts left to be healed. Band-aids not yet ready to be ripped off. I am not immune, and the prettied-up person with the button down sitting in the pew, too (not wearing a snarky tee)…oh, they got ’em, too. Things they hide, that is.

Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it: There’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys. Romans 3: 9-12, MSG

So, yes…We ALL need Jesus! Even t-shirt wearing, Jesus-loving, I bet you think I got it all together pastors. Prisoners. Beggars. Rich Folk.

We ALL need Him.

*I do not own rights to music/lyrics.

Giving me a “right” hand

We had put it off for a while. The dentist. The youngest needed a mouth full of work, and with anxiety and sensory needs that kept him from even liking to have his teeth cleaned…we had put it off for months. But we had prepared him for this day. Explained what would occur, how he would feel before. That he would sleep during. Wouldn’t feel a thing.

Of course, as a mom-I was the one having all the feels. As he received the first anesthetic that put him to sleep in the waiting room. As he laid his head onto my right shoulder, and uttered he felt “weird.” As he dozed off. As the dentist and anesthesiologist carried him off to the back, I sat with his mask and glasses beside me. Held them in my right hand and held back tears.

Wishing I could hold his hand in that room. Knowing I had to wait here, but there was someone else with him back there.

As I sat in that waiting room waiting for updates. To be given the OK to go back and be “mom” again, I thought about my own experience on his side. In rooms with anesthesia needles. Only doctors and nurses I didn’t know there to hold my hand.

I had recently had surgery of my own. Not my first experience like his, but an experience nonetheless. A fall on my wrist was the reason. Now, I am right-handed. And while I don’t know the suffering of losing a limb, I know the ordeal of having to learn to use your fingers, your grip, and your dominant hand in the way you once did. While I had a left hand to help do some of the things my dominant right hand couldn’t do, my left hand couldn’t write. It couldn’t type. It couldn’t do the things that had been so easy before. Like pick up anesthesia weary kids and carry them to waiting surgery beds. This right hand…it wasn’t the same.

I also hate feeling helpless, so needing help turning door knobs, or picking up a plate got old, and I was determined to get my strength back.

But…here’s the thing-He was with me just as He was with my wee one. In those rooms, and through that period of healing. Because He is the one who is always beside us giving His “right” hand.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

And again in Psalm 18:35, we are reminded again: Your right hand supports me;
your help has made me great
.

And what is the significance of being provided God’s “right” hand? There are over 130 references in the Bible to the right hand, so surely there must be a significant reason for this. In many references are made to God’s strength. His help. His victory. Something I needed when I lost the use of my “right” hand. Something I often feel I have nothing left of when it comes to being a mom.

And I know I am not the only one. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. You will have seasons when things seem easy. And then a roadblock comes along and the road becomes long and hard again. You wonder if you have what it takes, or if you are just messing your kids up. Or maybe they are messing you up. You really can’t tell anymore.

Why the right hand? Why didn’t God choose the left? Think about it-the right hand of God? It denotes a location of honor, and according to Matthew Henry’s Commentary, when thinking about the reference to the “right hand” in the passage above, Isaiah 41:10-the Israelites were God’s honored people, His chosen. The reference to God’s right hand was meant to provide encouragement to them. That they would not be abandoned, be left discouraged. That he would strengthen them, help them, not allow them to break, and prevent them from falling too hard.

You know who else is honored? Moms. Anyone who is “like a mom.” Or who cares for others.

And so He will do the same for you.

Give you his “right” hand.

So that when your wee one, reaches for yours when he is fresh out of anesthesia and flipping out, you are there to give it-oh so gently, while you rub his soft, long curls with your left one.

When you get home, look down at that hand, the one with little strength to pick up anything, you scoop that wee one up into your arms anyway, because he is yours. Like you are His. Knowing you won’t leave him, like He hasn’t left you. You will stay by his side through this fight that he doesn’t get, just like He stayed by you.

Like He has so many times before. By your “right” side fighting for you. As you fought for him. For so many. You. You honored one. You. You chosen one. You who may be weak and broken. Fallen down for a time. Without the strength of your hand, but never without your constant “right” hand.

The blessing is the payback

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 1 Peter 3:9, NLT

Hurt.

We have all experienced it. We have all had people hurt us-whether intentionally or not so. Whether due to circumstances outside of anyone’s control; or actions, words, or deeds that were chosen, and maybe a little “out” of control.

We have all experienced hurt. We have even all been the one at some point in time inflicting the hurt.

Today’s post isn’t about deep hurts-that is a path to healing and forgiveness that takes a little more time. One that can’t be wrapped up neatly in one post, because it is just that hard. I know because I am walking it. Walking it over again for some things through which I thought I had already taken that path many years ago.

However, we can still approach people who have hurt us with the following as Peter instructs in 1 Peter 3:8, being “agreeable, sympathetic, loving, compassionate, and humble, without sharp-tongued sarcasm” (The Message).

But how???

One of the easiest places to get tripped up, and caught up in this need to retaliate with the same hurt is through our daily interactions. Our relationships with those around us, and with those with whom we will come into contact, or with whom we will speak. Electronic devices and the use of social media, messaging and texting make it so easy to do. Hurt comes in the form of words or general complacency. Or let’s just be real…we get this “I’ve got a second, let me respond and just get this over with. Give this as little emotion and attention as possible as I can right now to say I did” attitude about our relationships and connections.

Our words become impulsive with the tap of our thumbs. Behind screens we become invincible. And we say and do things we would not do in person. Things that damage and impair meaningful connections-simply because we never took the time to stop, think, and be agreeable, sympathetic, loving, compassionate, or humble.

When we are on the receiving end, oh…we want to pull out our “fire” thumbs. Tap back a response. One that demands an apology, puts people in their place. And then back and forth. Round and round we go. Retaliating.

I wish we could be as bold in our face to face interactions as we are in the ones we have with our thumbs. Behind keyboards and screens. Then maybe we would not be walking around with so many unresolved, hurt feelings because of perceived words or actions.

Or maybe we can simply be the one who stops the trail of hurt in the beginning. “Do not repay evil for evil.” The call from Peter implies a choice. Which means in this case we have a choice whether we will hurt someone, or as he also instructs, “pay them back with a blessing.”

And blessings can be firm boundaries that tell where lines have been crossed, without the use of hurtful words or actions. We can speak the truth using loving, compassionate language, and still let others know we will not tolerate being harmed or dishonored. We can call out disrespect without being nasty and unkind.

Or…we can choose surrender. Give the situation to God. Ask God to bless them. Ask God to rid their hearts of hurt and bitterness…(oh, and ours, too). Ask God to show them the path to righteousness, and to give them a life that is prosperous; if they so choose to take that one.

We can give it to God, and move on.

Sometimes it’s the best payback. It’s the one that’s unexpected.

Because here’s the straight up truth. We cannot control how someone speaks. We cannot control the actions of others, or their character when they are hurting.

We choose on this day whom we will serve, and if we are serving Him, we serve others with kindness, sympathy, love, compassion, and humility.

Because we may never get an apology. That person may never see the errors in the way a situation was handled. May never change at all. May change, and we may never see it. And we can’t go back and fix anything.

But we can be a blessing, and in doing so He will bless us.

When we bless this way, let go and move on; He will pay us back what we are owed-Our peace. Our dignity. Our courage. The true payback.

Which one will you choose?

I trekked up the hill to my old “quiet place” to get alone with God. To be alone to allow Him to fill me with peace during an otherwise stressful week. One with deadlines galore, and tasks to be completed before a break could be taken. Time to be reminded of what made this week so holy.

The hill to the three crosses behind our church was certainly not as steep as the hill Jesus climbed on that Friday morning. The trek was not as hard. I did not take a beating on the way up. Nor did I suffer. My “soul was not crushed with grief to the point of death,” as Jesus’ had been (Mark 14:34, NLT)

However, the climb was different than times before. It was littered with a couple stray beer bottles, and once at the top I noticed the middle cross…you know, the one representing Jesus, was broken. Now one wooden pillar in the middle. The wind up here was colder. It didn’t feel as calm and peaceful up here as it once did. It felt eerie. I was sure the serpent, Satan, would at some point come slithering from the tree behind me.

I was jumpy. Agitated. Paranoid. The exact opposite of what I climbed this hill to find.

Peace.

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Mark 15:34, NLT

As Jesus sat kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane, he certainly had to lack peace. As each leaf shook, each branch broke, each breeze blew through the trees; I can imagine in his humanity he must have become jumpy and paranoid from the sounds of those coming to take him to his death.

But when he thought of his purpose, despite the pain, he had peace: “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Mark 14:36, NLT).

And what was that will?

But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:40-43

Yes. Jesus is the one in the middle. On that broken middle cross that I sat under. But he wasn’t the only cross erected there on that hill that fateful day.

There were two more. One on the left. One on the right.

He came to save them both. But only one went to paradise with him. He came to save us all. But only some will choose him. Some will choose his peace.

Which one are you? Which one are you today?

Do you want to keep saving yourself and stay on the path that leads away from paradise, or come into the kingdom with Jesus?

Which one will you choose?

Praying: It’s not silly, it’s serious

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. 1 John 5:14-15, NLT

Think you can’t be delivered from anything? Think God doesn’t care about the small things? Even the small sins in your life? Think again.

“Mommy’s favorite word is the “s” word.” That would be my youngest son. Telling everyone who will listen about his mother’s favorite word. And, I do mean everyone. And, he didn’t mean “sugar,” “sweet,” “shopping,” or even “Starbucks.” He meant one that begins with “s,” and ends with “t.” Oh, yes. That “s” word. A swear word.

We have this store in my hometown that has been around for years. I love it. One, it’s cheap. Two, you can find anything AND everything. They also have the best home decor, and I love to fill my house with sayings, and signs with sayings. This store has the best. A ton of faith-filled signs. And on one of my trips here, I found it. The last one. Just waiting for me-“I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.”

Problem was…I hadn’t been cussing a little, I had been cussing a lot. And I had graduated from my favorite “s” word, to a few other words.

And I knew better…His Word told me so. It told me that my “old life was dead.”

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. Colossians 3:5-8, The Message

I knew better. God had delivered me from many a thing, but anger, bitterness, and hurt had reared it’s ugly head again. Satan used them all to make me mean. Irritable. And curse like a sailor. Yes, the “s” word came out every once in a while. I had even been delivered from my road rage. I didn’t want to go back there again.

And, it may seem silly, but that sign became a place I checked my spirit, and my bank account, and set up a swear jar.

Until, I confessed it in a Bible Study. Confessed in front of everyone that I, a pastor, was not perfect. Knew better, but sometimes, just didn’t do better. Loved Jesus, but cussed a little. And, maybe these days…a little too much.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16, NLT

Oh, we must pray right now! You have brought up something I bet someone else needs deliverance from, and I am glad you were bold enough to share it. I want to pray specifically for you!”

Say what? She was gonna pray for my cussing? Now, I trusted her sweet soul. I loved this lady. She was my accountability partner. She knew what I had been struggling with, but really…of all those things, cussing?

And, she did. In front of the people I had preached before. In front of those I was called to lead, she prayed for my “sin.” That I would leave that day, and not have to place another nickel in my swear jar.

I left that night and said to my husband, “I can’t believe she prayed for my cussing. It’s just the “s” word” See, she takes her prayers seriously. When she knows something displeases God, and he wants one of His own to turn away from something that may cause them to stumble, she fervently prays. Shouldn’t we all be this way? About even what we consider to be silly things?

A couple days ago, my youngest at the dinner table tried to do it again: “Well, we all know Mommy’s favorite word.” To which I replied…“Nope. Do you? Because since I was prayed for a few Wednesday nights ago, I haven’t said that word, and that sign has been moved.”

Yes…moved. And in it’s place is this. A reminder of the “s” word I am supposed to be living out this year: Surrender.

So back to Colossians 3…I urge you to take a look at the entire chapter. Because maybe there are some “s” words (sins) in there you need to surrender to God in prayer, too. Maybe cussing isn’t your thing. Maybe it isn’t the thing you know not to do, but do it anyway. Maybe for you it’s anger. A bad temper. Unforgiveness. Or maybe it’s lying. Hiding things because you think no one will find out. Or a lustful nature you feed, and feed, and feed.

He takes ALL of it seriously, just like my precious accountability partner, and He wants you to have a “new life.” I want that for you, too. So “confess to each other.” Feel free to comment, and I will surely carry your burden, take it seriously, and pray that you are delivered, too.

Grocery lines to phone lines

Grocery

“I’m going to head out now, so I can get there when they open and get on home.”

I mention this on my way out the door, to my husband, already in “telecommute” mode of this first day of our self-quarantine. Me? I was on a mission. Bleach. Birthday cards. Stamps. Come into contact with as few people as possible.

But that is hard to do when a city of people is scrambling for essentials, and non-essentials. When all are in a panic, and you think everyone around you is going downright crazy.

“Darn, I have no reason to fight you today. You don’t have water or toilet paper,” said the voice behind me.

There were 5 of us all gathered around the 2 registers that were open. Trying as much as we could to practice the “social distancing” rule of staying within 6 feet away from each other. Maybe even trying as much as we could to check out on the world around us, and then go on about our day.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22

Usually, when on a mission; cheerful I am not. I want to get in and get out. Get my stamps, or whatever, and go on about my business. I certainly don’t have time to joke about toilet paper.

But these are different times. And checking out really isn’t what God is asking us to do. He doesn’t want us to keep moving along as if others don’t exist, when they are either standing in front of us, or living around us.

He doesn’t want us to fight over toilet paper; though it makes for great grocery store line humor. Or scurrying into the Starbucks to-go station to get your latte, without even a glance at the one who fixed it.

We have forgotten the value of people and presence for far too long. Sure-being cautious is wise. I don’t recommend finding reasons to stand in grocery store lines, just to strike up conversations, and spread cheer with strangers.

I do recommend taking the time to stop, and to simply be present with someone.

Whether it is the family you are stuck in the house with. The pharmacist filling your script on the end of the phone. Or FaceTime with a far-flung friend. These are the times to make time for conversations that move from grocery lines to phone lines.

Forgive them Father

sticky note with apology

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, The Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13

Did you know that forgiveness is the highest form of mercy and love?

It is also one of the hardest things to do. When we forgive someone that hurt us, we often feel as if we are giving that person a free pass. That we have allowed them to get away with harming us.

Yet…isn’t this essentially what God has done for us?

How many times have we offended Him with gossip, slander, misplaced anger, and sinful actions?

And when we ask for forgiveness, He doesn’t offer us a list of reasons why we should not be offered grace. When we offer a sincere, humble apology for our transgressions, He doesn’t offer a rebuttal of why it is not accepted.

He forgives. He accepts us freely.

We ALL have our faults. We ALL bring pain and hurt to our relationships, and offend others in our pain without meaning to at times. We have been short in our responses, spoken harshly, and said things out of anger and frustration we wish we could take back.

Wouldn’t you want to be offered grace when asked? Wouldn’t you want your heartfelt apology to be heard?

Then be an example. Apologize. Sincerely. If you have hurt someone, make a vow to NOT repeat the offense. “Go and sin no more.”

And if it is offered to you-that apology? Accept it. Just as God accepted yours.

Life goes on. So will I.

I remember back in the early 90’s a family sitcom called “Life Goes On.” The show chronicled the life of a family dealing with the challenges of raising and supporting a family member with Down’s syndrome. A sister who had to learn to accept her brother, while trying to be accepted by her peers. Navigating a relationship resulting in grief, until we find in the end they all grow up. They all navigate and move through life with all its up and downs, and that life really does go on, just like the theme song for the show promised.

But, sometimes in the midst of it all, you are forced to put life on hold for a while.

In order to be reminded that life does go on, but so will you.

Life was actually going pretty good. I had finally let go of some junk. Had a routine down that kept me balanced. I was happier. Had more joy. And I could count on only one hand the number of times I had cried at work this year. I didn’t dread the commute. The day. No longer cried on my way home. I felt like I was in a balanced place.

In fact, the moment that all would turn for me, I had been doing what I had been doing daily-laughing. I was finally, after more than a year, feeling like myself again.

Until I wasn’t.

And in a matter of hours, I began to shift back into that irritable, cry at the drop of a hat, negative thought having woman of old.

And life had to stop. Or, well it really didn’t. It went on. Without me.

I was the one forced to stop.

I couldn’t do anything. The girl so used to going, couldn’t go. I couldn’t even pray in the same way. Moved to my seated position in my closet to laying down. All to keep the world from spinning.

I felt alone. I felt like I had no idea who I was. Fear that life was going on, just as it should.

And it did. Life went on. Continued to spin on its axis, just like my head.

Life went on…and so did I?

For a moment I was lonely, until laying in my closet floor, surrounded by the prayers I had placed on the wall, I saw this:

You are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. Psalm 23:4

God was there on that floor with me.

While I may have been a little fearful of my prognosis. Of what others would think (or even not think) of it, I was reminded over and over in my doubts:

Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right And redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!” Isaiah 35:4

And though I couldn’t see it at first, he was giving me power once again. Reminding me that life goes on, and so will I?

Giving me words to write (well, transcribe) when writing became too hard. Giving me time for much needed rest. Giving me fresh new ideas I hadn’t thought possible before. You know, back when I thought my life was balanced. I could see that I rarely gave myself time to even think of my purpose, and all the ways my talents could be used for His glory.

Until I was forced to step away from life for a bit.

To learn that I will go on. That just like last time, I’ll get through this with His strength. I’ll feel like the “me” He desires me to be me once again.

Obladi oblada life goes on, brahhh Lala how the life goes on

And so will I.

He is protecting me

“But who is protecting us?”

That was the question I asked. After I had once again felt victim to someone’s cruel behavior. A kid, in fact. Discouraged once again that I had spent a number of years (and countless tears) devoting my time, talent, and energy to being light and love in the midst of all that was dark and mean in this world. Discouraged because now I was being mocked, laughed at, and rejected time and time again by those for whom I had made it my calling to protect. For whom I cared. Even loved as if they were my own.

Who was protecting me?

So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you. He will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10

He is protecting me.

Just like he protected the one who died to save me.

Who suffered through more pain than I did. Who was rejected. Mocked. Laughed at. Sold out by those he loved. Who claimed to follow him.

He protects me by giving me rest. He protects me by reminding me that in His Word it reminds me just how worthy I am. He protects me by fighting for me and alongside me. He protects me by never leaving me, even if the world decides I am a joke and rejects me. He protects me by giving me everything I need even in the midst of my suffering.

Though it may be a little while.

He holds me.

He sustains me.

He strengthens me.

He protects me.