We grew up going to Minnesota each summer, so whenever we travel to the lake country it feels a lot like traveling home.
It’s so good to see cousins who are as close as brothers, and family whose support and love is surprising in the best way. Some of the few people who hold our hard, secret truths so dear.
It’s always difficult when traveling, though, to spend time with people while I’m sick, knowing they can’t detect what my invisible illness is bringing.
And I wonder often, do people still believe that I am very sick when they only see me during my not-so-awful parts? When they aren’t around as much as my husband is, so they can’t know what I’m covering with a good attitude or with an “I’m okay”? It’s always hard to visit people out of town because I can’t immediately divulge every single detail of how I feel under the surface in a casual conversation about how I’m doing. Same with my mom.
The lake gives forth consistency in it’s waves coming into shore. Always flowing in, covering each dry part of sand. The sand never waits for long before it is overcome in the watery flow.
The water is cold and sends shivers up my spine. But this is only because I’ve come from great warmth. Minutes after I wade into the lake I realize the sun has brought its warmth to the water as well, and it only took me a while to get used to it. I’m learning His warmth can be found in the coldest seasons of life, and that the warmth and the cold must coexist together for each to be fully recognized. My sister and I are now dying of laughter at the fact that because I’ve lost the muscle to swim again, I’m now being pushed under the dock by the waves behind me and I can’t seem to make my way out. She tries to save me as my life jacket is now wrapped around me foot, but this makes us laugh even harder because unfortunately her good will only made my head fall closer to being submerged. I can’t remember the last time I laughed this hard, and somehow our laughs seem deeper and more freeing because we’ve been through the depths together so we fully know joy when we feel it. I’m seeing that joy can be found in spite of the new seasons.
I lean my head back to let the cold water cover my head to ease the tightness on my left side. God is flooding me with each wave of His love, a real cleansing over my dry and rough parts of my soul. My hurt is now a reservoir of hope because His pool of love brings purpose to my pain.
Because of my rough, dry, aching, sandy parts, His constant flow of love means all the more to me now.
I learned about the Musk Ox that braves the Arctic cold, and the herd that protects each other. When one sole member of the herd gets injured or hurt, the rest of the herd wrap themselves around in a circle, guarding the injured in the middle.
Who are the people around you that are a part of your protective circle? How do they guard your heart from more hurt once it’s been hurt greatly already?
We are all the lonely Musk Ox at least once in our lives, unable to lift ourselves off the ground. Our circle around us is the make-or-break factor for us in our journey–there are either those that stand guard on our behalf, those who sit indifferent or unbelieving apart from the group, or those that kick us while we’re already on the ground.
Which one can you truthfully say you are?
These oxen spend their lives roaming the tundra in search of plants to sustain them. They dig deep for the food in the winter, and casually feed on flowers and grasses in summer.
And maybe that’s how life is meant to be lived, always in search of our sustenance. Always searching and never ceasing.
Oh how my own life would be so different if I was in constant pursuit of the only Sustenance I know Who will satisfy and fill completely.
Perhaps that’s how they know exactly how to appropriately love their young and their hurting…because they’re constantly seeking the source of their sustenance and then being sustained.
And maybe we, too, will fully understand how to love on those in our own circle when we choose to never cease in our pursuit of Him.
Maybe it’s when we are fully sustained and protected by Him that we realize just how we can love and protect our own.
We’re finally finding a few people who see the hurt in us and plea for enough, picking up their own battle swords and standing in the gaps.
Who are we if we don’t fully stand up for what is right and fully condemn what is wrong? Who are we when we let the hurt of others fall to the wayside due to our unbelieving or indifferent ears?
I’ve only known the strength of the circle around me because I’ve seen the lack of the circle around me.
The best way to find out who your life-long people are is to communicate your needs and deepest feelings in your trails and see how they respond. Nothing speaks louder about their heart.
But what we’ve learned through that as well, is many times people make mistakes in their communication and in their understanding… and some of the relationships we still need are the ones we must wait for God to work in even after the hurtful situation occurred and the words were said, because this is the way He rebuilds their understanding and their support for us.
We see this in a lot of other animal herds too, most often when they are protecting their young. And it’s not just a motherly instinct–the whole herd immediately steps into action simply because that one child is a part of their group.
Imagine the protection and support we could provide others if every person in that circle stepped up at the same time, without a hint of disbelief or wavering fortitude. I am overwhelmed just picturing this.
Because we’d be protecting so much more than their physical state.
For there is one thing of even greater importance than protecting our bodies, and that’s protecting our hearts. Because our skin and bones heal a lot quicker than our hearts ever will.
When danger presents itself, we should be bold protectors of other’s bodies, and fierce protectors of their hearts.
And we see this in our love for others; we jump even quicker at the chance to protect another when we care deeply about where their heart is at.
When we are all-for someone else, we should be all-against everything that will tear them apart.
My circle is slowing growing, and I know the people who have my best interest at heart without a doubt. They are known by the way they stand up to my injustices and I am known by how I stand up to theirs.
And one thing I know for sure, I would not know the great need of others until I experienced great need myself. I would not know the love, support, and protection that’s vital in my circle without God showing me His great love, support, and protection.
God’s overwhelming love is seen clearly through His actions for those that are hurting, and ours should be too.