“You should tell people you broke your shoulder hang gliding,” my husband Bruce joked. “That’s more exciting than falling while jogging!”
Images of daring adventures flashed through my mind: running with the bulls in Pamplona, rescuing people from burning buildings in Canada, tackling oppressive regimes in Saudi Arabia. So many cool ways to break your bones, accumulate scars, and learn new medical terms!
But no…I ripped my femoral head (arm bone) from my shoulder joint when I tripped over a crack on a sidewalk. It took eight screws and a metal plate to put me back together — check out the X-ray. Maybe someday I’ll gross you out with the picture of the four-inch scar on my shoulder.
Crazy, what can happen in a mundane way on an ordinary day.
This isn’t the first time I was knocked sideways in a “safe” place. A man broke into my apartment when I was 18 years old and living alone. He woke me up at 3 am and tried to rape me. He had my kitchen knife, and had been watching me for days before the break-in.
That’s when I realized there is no safe way to live. Home invasions, sexual assaults, and smashed shoulders happen all the time, no matter where you are. Ironically, my experience with attempted rape set me free to live fully, deeply, and faithfully.
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Why you’re safe everywhere you go…
Here’s an excerpt from my book Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back – it’s the chapter in which I weave my story with Queen Esther’s.
“God’s world is beautiful, but heartbreaking. After that man broke to my apartment, I discovered this Arabic proverb: “Trust in God, but tie up your camel.” Not owning a camel, I created my own version: “Trust God, but lock your doors. And get a dog.”
The break-in left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I was disheartened at how terrifying the world can be and felt vulnerable in my own home, where I was supposed to be safe. I was bewildered because I never engaged in “risky” behavior. I never stayed out late, partied, or even dated. I waitressed at a pancake house and went to school every day.
But, oh, the sweet realization that if I wasn’t safe at home, I wasn’t safe anywhere. So, I figured, I could go anywhere! And I did. I hitchhiked through Europe twice before I was 21, once by myself. I went on long solo road trips in Canada. I didn’t want to live alone, so I moved in with a trustworthy male roommate, a cheerful New Zealander called Dean.
The world is risky, but the threat isn’t in our location. We can be safe in war zones or in danger at home. Getting hurt is unavoidable, and God will give us what we need to heal. He hovers, making us safe everywhere. But we must do our part by trusting like children, tying up our camels like good stewards, and preparing like smart, brave queens.”
You aren’t safe anywhere if you believe in Jesus…you’re safe everywhere.
Getting hurt at home increases my courage, strength, and resilience. I travel all the time — Africa, America, Asia, Alberta — and I’ve never experienced a lick of trouble. This doesn’t mean I won’t run into problems when I go to Portugal next Wednesday! It means I feel safe, comfortable and secure no matter where I am, no matter what happens, and no matter how battered or bruised I get…because of Jesus.
What are you avoiding because you’re scared of getting hurt? Maybe your past hurts aren’t healed, and you’re protecting yourself. Maybe your heart is still broken from a betrayal or loss, and you can’t forgive or move forward. Maybe you’re scared of shadows, potential problems, possible traumas.
Acknowledge your fear; it’s trying to keep you safe. Your fear doesn’t know Jesus…but maybe you do. Live out your faith by taking risks, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead you forward, and deepening your relationship with God.
That, my friend, is how you blossom into who He created you to be.
With His love,
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