O LORD, You surround [me] with favor as with a shield.
It seems as if at least once a day I find myself trying to find safety: to protect myself, whether emotionally, physically, financially or in any other way.
Trying to find protection also spills over to wanting to protect my children. What mother doesn’t try to protect her children? Yet I have found, when backed into a corner, my protection (for myself and also for my children) is basically no protection at all.
If you have lived in an abusive situation, you know how your life is riddled with schemes of finding safety and protection. Whether that abuse is verbal, emotional, physical or sexual, you try one way after another to try to stop whatever or whoever is coming against you (and/or your children).
It wasn’t until someone really confronted me about my beliefs about abuse, and abuse of the worst kind for a mother (when a father is abusing his own child), that I heard what the Lord who spoke through me when the light of wisdom was turned on! I said, “A mother can’t protect her own child; not when it is her husband (or in any other area of a child’s life) since she cannot always be with them—only God can protect them! When we take the position of protection away from God, then that’s when we open the child up to attacks that the Lord could have prevented if we had given it to Him.”
This revelation that the Lord gave me caused me to stop to look back over my own life where I could see very clearly that when I finally gave up on protecting myself, the Lord took over and I found the safety and security that I had lacked!
Reviewing what He’d done increased my level of trust to the point that I was able to use a few years later with my children. The first time was when my husband told my children that he was divorcing me, and then later when he introduced them to the other woman he had left me for. There is nothing you or I can do to stop this kind of exposure that we, if we had the choice, would not allow our children to go through. Honestly, if you are in my position and you have divorce papers that say that your husband has these rights by law, you need to remember that even without a written document, God gave our children to both parents (to you and their father). So what happens when things go in a direction that we had not planned for, and fear begins to set in?
Many women today run away: sometimes for the “sake of the children” and sometimes it’s for their own safety. But honestly, who of us wants to be a fugitive, to run away from their home, friends, and family, and to live constantly on the run and in fear of being found by the one we are running from? Women run because they feel that it is their only choice, but is it? Can God really be trusted to protect us if we put our trust in Him? And, sometimes, a harder question is: Can God really protect our friend or sister or my child—someone else we love when we put our trust in Him alone?
We know from scripture that David got into a bad habit of running. Though he had seen the Lord help him kill Goliath, he ran from King Saul and then years later, he ran from his own son. Most of us have been there. We run, and yet there are others who choose to stand and fight. Personally, I believe neither option protects us as women. Women long and need to be protected. So once again, can we really trust God to protect us?
Many of us have trusted Him with our eternal destiny, when we accepted Him as our Savior, but can He really save us now from what is coming against us, or coming against those whom we love and whom we want to protect? The answer is Yes, absolutely, Yes. All it takes is walking in our faith, our faith IN HIM, to see that protection materialize.
Protection, by faith, is just like any other trust: it requires us to leave it totally in God’s hands. When we trust the Lord for salvation, He is the one who does it, not us “lest any man should boast”—we just accept it. It is nothing that we do—we just accept His free gift and believe that He has done it. We simply walk in it and trust that we are saved.
When we trust the Lord with our finances, He is the One who provides “all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” If we foolishly try to help Him out, we find our finances are soon not enough to pay the bills. It takes trust. Can He be trusted?
I think to answer that question in a new area of our lives, it helps to look back at how He has protected us in other areas of our lives. If we take the time to count our blessings, and the many ways that He has protected us in the past, counting and naming them one-by-one, it helps to build our faith. This is what I have done, coupled with looking back at the times that I tried to do it myself, and failed miserably.
Let’s begin with finances since this is a big area for many of you who are single mothers. When I was faced with this dilemma, with so many children living at home and no child support, God first stacked the odds against me by bringing my niece to live with us, then my older sister. You know, we should never be surprised or shocked or dismayed when things are piled on, since this is a pattern with God. It is His way of Him showing us His awesome power!!
It’s then when He will step in and began to do the impossible. But it has to look impossible first. Counting and naming the times He protected me: When my finances were horribly attacked, I did not lose my home, nor did my family’s standard of living drop—instead it improved!! It wasn’t until I really began to get a handle on our finances, and began to try to control things, that I began to fear and our finances began to slowly diminish. It then took a turn for the better when I made the decision to not look or try to figure it out (which was so hard to do) that I discovered that my bank accounts were again full and overflowing. Can God protect us financially when we trust (and obey) Him? The answer, if you give it completely to Him is, “Yes.”
You know obedience plays a big part in our protection too. So often, we are “perishing for a lack of knowledge.” If we violate a scriptural principle (that is a spiritual law; like the law of gravity) over and over again, we erroneously believe that God is not protecting us, when in fact, it is we who have put ourselves in that place of danger.
For instance, since we were discussing finances, when we are ignorant of the command that we must tithe and if we don’t we are stealing from God, we soon find ourselves in a financial mess. For those of us who have learned the blessing and the promise of tithing, and we obeyed (no matter if it looked like we couldn’t afford it), and we simply trusted God—we have found Him faithful and full of favor as He surrounds us with the desires of our hearts, not just supplying our needs!! I have personally found (as so many others have told me too) that the more I trust God and give (not out of abundance, but very often when there didn’t seem to be enough) that the windows of heaven opened, and showers of blessings poured over me!
No matter how much I trusted the Lord for my finances, that trust would not have resulted in abundance if I had not first known that I was told to tithe and to give (even when on paper I wouldn’t have enough), and then to take the step of faith and do it. No matter how much you believe that the Lord is able to save you, it is not until you surrender your life and trust Him, that you are transformed into a new creation. It is the same way with your protection.
Finally, I had come to a place where I knew I couldn’t do it: protecting myself or protecting my children. I believe that when we trust the Lord (for our children or for ourselves) that He will not always “deliver” us from the trial or crisis. God does not promise to remove the evil that comes against us, but He does promise to use it for our good as we walk through it.
Most of the time, He calls us to go through the fire, to spend the night in the lion’s den, and to walk through the Red Sea. Though we might choose to avoid these situations, they are what ultimately makes us into new creations that show others how different we are, and how we have changed. Going through a divorce (the second or third time for my older children) is what has made my children different than the rest of the crowd. It is what has given them, my children, the obvious godly character (what they are like deep-down, behind closed doors, and how they react when backed up against the wall). This godly character is what I want for my children; therefore, I am letting go, surrendering my control over their situations, and putting ALL my trust in the only One who can be trusted—my Beloved!
How can I foolishly believe that I could ever do a better job of protecting my children than I know the Lord can?
Just recently, I felt compelled to protect my special needs sister who was threatened with being put in a mental hospital by the director of her assisted living apartment. It was right in the middle of one of our women’s conferences, and I just didn’t have time for that trial! So as I drove to the airport, I spoke to the Lord about it, after trying unsuccessfully to protect my sister myself. That was when my Beloved reminded me of how, when given the opportunity (because I had turned my protection over to Him instead of protecting myself), HE protected me, and that He would do the same thing for my sister. I walked out my faith and have not tried to protect her reputation or from the examination that could (if God wasn’t in control) land her in a mental hospital.
If I can’t trust God, whom can I trust? All I know for certain is that He is faithful, and, what may be even better is the peace that comes from letting go and surrendering it to Him. How can we seriously opt to instead worry and/or work at something, when we know we are unable to achieve, when we could simply give it to Him rather than choosing to do it ourselves?
Many love to tell me about a situation that resulted in tragedy when a person “supposedly” trusted God. However, when I questioned them, they soon admit that the person they referred to would often take back control and try to protect themselves—don’t we all? I think that is why it is usually someone else’s situation that causes us not to feel safe to trust God, and this usually also causes confusion. No one really knows what goes on in another person’s life, even when that person is a relative or our own children.
Don’t make the mistake of looking at what you thought you saw in someone else’s life or what you heard. No one but God knows their heart condition and the entire situation. Those who make their decision of faith based on a second-hand testimony are in danger of making a huge mistake, resulting in missed blessings and being vulnerable to unnecessary hardship.
Once I gave up trying to protect my reputation, that’s when my reputation took a leap of prominence rather than what should have happened, considering the situation. When I gave up trying to protect my emotions, I felt the love of the Lord surrounding my heart even though so many things were coming against me: divorce, another woman, and my children participating in my spouse’s wedding. In the real world, this would have devastated a wife and mother like me. However, because I trusted the Lord (and only because I trusted Him to protect my heart), I am flourishing and instead have never felt so loved!
The Lord has been working on this area of my life for quite a few years. It was probably more than two years ago when my life took a turn as I finally refused to protect myself from all kinds of abuse that happens when a husband is not happy. An unhappy husband often believes it is his wife’s fault and takes it out on her. (The same is true for an unhappy woman who blames her husband). Many women with good and pure hearts try desperately to please their husbands, but the problem is often not in them to fix.
Changing myself (by following the principles with a pure heart) and protecting myself (no matter what method I tried) never worked. It wasn’t until I gave up and gave it to God that He was given permission to protect me, and then He delivered me. However, I know that if I had run or continued to try on my own, I would still be afraid and searching in vain for safety and security. The blessing in living through that trial is that now I know that God is a God who protects—so I can trust Him with my children. Hallelujah!!
Dear reader, no matter how BIG your trial, or perpetrator, or enemy attack, God is BIGGER. He is not baffled or afraid or concerned about that thing or person who is after you. He is able to create good out of it and in every situation as long as you surrender everything to Him and trust Him for your protection (for yourself and for everyone whom you love).
Every fire refines and purifies. Every lion can shut its mouth. And every sea, no matter how large, can be quieted or divided with just one word from God.
Since writing this, God has already moved on behalf of my sister—let’s praise Him!
First, we both let go (which includes my sister who has the faith and mind of a child) and trusted the director (who was trying to have her committed) to set up the appointment that had the potential to commit her to a mental hospital. I did not pray or fast (not because I don’t believe in prayer and fasting, but because I was not “called” to fast—I simply trusted God), and the result? The doctor told her that he did not think she needed a mental examination!!
If that were not enough, today, my sister told me that the director, who was trying so desperately to commit her, is LEAVING. Just like that!!! She requested a transfer. WOW.
Can God be trusted? ABSOLUTELY!!