Do you ever just want to reach into someone’s life and help them get to a better place? You can see someone else’s situation clearly; maybe because you’ve been in similar circumstances, or you just because you aren’t entangled in the emotional weeds.
As a domestic abuse survivor, I always want to help others. We all know someone, or perhaps it is us, who shares space with another, who does not honor the other person’s presence or opinion. Having lived there myself, I am keenly attuned to situations when toxicity and denial are keeping the cycle of abuse spinning on a rail of hope.
With age comes wisdom and one thing I have learned is to be a source of light for people when they are ready for it, but do not go shine it in their darkness, because you feel they’d be better off in the light.
Recently God gave me a vision that helped me understand how God intends to use me. The image was of a tree; rooted deeply, standing tall and robust, withstanding all kinds of storms. The tree represented me. My branches were equally as strong and were reaching with grace and strength for birds, to come and land on.
The birds represent people in my life who are in need. Perhaps they are in domestic abuse situations, cancer, kid crisis, divorce, remarriage, stepparenting of something else that I have had the opportunity to grow through. What I saw in the vision is what I teach others regularly, as I stand firm in my foundation, I offer a perching place for others. The branches cannot bear weight that is so heavy that it breaks the branches. In turn, I can offer support only to a certain extent. If I take on the importance of some people’s problems, I will not remain strong and healthy and there won’t be room enough for others.
Furthermore, I cannot reach down and pick up a bird that is not strong enough to fly to the branches. That bird is not ready, and I just need to wait and be available. They may choose to rest on my limbs and they may never make it there, but I can only do what I am equipped to do and I must trust God with the rest. The branches are a resting place, pointing others to Heaven. For some people Heaven feels too far away, resting on my branches and getting an idea of how God offers support is a perfect intermediary until the birds fly off on their own and a seed is planted through them for other birds to land on their tree one day.
The vision included areas of my life that I still need to work through. That image was of overturning stones where worms would become exposed. Overturning the stone represented the work I am doing to maintain my health. The worms symbolized my current struggles that pop up as I deal with my own stuff. The worms provide food for the birds on my branches as I work out the challenges I face, I actually provide for those who have been called to rest on the tree.
I have been given the gifts of compassion and transparency. I have come to a place of realizing life is too short to spend it trying to look good and make people believe I am someone I am not when being transparent is the tool God uses to reach others and draw them into His fold where I have found my own healing and strength.
I have people that I love who are very sick with addiction, emotionally abusive relationships or perhaps spiritually lost. You bet I want to go offer advice, but wisdom says if I take care of myself they will see if and when the time is right. They are in God’s hands just as I was when I was utterly floundering. He did not leave me and He will not leave them. In the meantime, I have permission to let people I love very dearly wobble weakly on the ground because my bending down and picking them up before they are ready will bring all kinds of damage, whereas staying the course of self-care is far-reaching.