August 23, 2021
Author: Andrea Maher
I have a current struggle: I don’t want to become a porcupine—that person that brushes, scrapes, bristles and bruises everyone in their path. It is obvious that the changing times we are living in has heightened everyone’s senses and is causing abnormally rash responses that are definitely out of the realm of how God desires us to operate. Thus, there are lots more porcupines running lose!
Thankfully, I have a husband that balances me out. He taught adaptive skills in the Police Academy for years and continues to remind me that my “spiritual adaptive skills” are actually more attractive and quite attainable for the Christian because we have the ability to operate on a higher plane. “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14). It will be that knowledge that forms the basis for how we live, interact and react to all types of troublesome issues that confront our home, our workplace and especially to our current ever-changing culture.
I need these reminders daily because I think as women, our emotional leanings make it a bit more difficult to navigate injustice and unrighteous assaults of any sort. Our genders are not an excuse, but just acknowledgement of the difference in the sexes. I like to put it this way, based on our scientific brain differences, it appears most men can place their problems into a filing cabinet in their head until they need to deal with it. On the other hand, we as women, have our files intersecting every bit of our brain space filling up every nook and cranny of our thought pattern until they are sorted out or resolved. It can be quite exhausting and even debilitating.
Think about it! What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? There are plenty of those coming at us today. We can jump out of the way, deflect them, ignore them in the hopes we don’t get hit, catch them and throw them back at the pitcher or if some of those balls are aimed at our children, the Mamma Bear within us might want to respond with reckless abandon to protect that which we love. The bottom line is that the Christian response should never be reactive, but redemptive. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
And that is why it is so important that our minds be girded with spiritual reminders to keep us from stumbling on the field. Hiding God’s Word in our hearts is vital for today’s non-stop threatening dilemmas.“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
When my children were younger, I would get bogged down by their trials and tribulations and rise high on their joys and successes. It seems that doesn’t change regardless of their age, my emotions are prone to a daily roller-coaster ride, leaving me a reluctant participant with no control as to when the ride will be over. That is until I determine to get off the ride and renew my mind on the promises of Christ. The fact that He is sovereign; He is in control; and that He loves me. “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him” (Psalm 115:3).
It is an ongoing struggle in this Upside-Down World and I keep waiting for this miraculous hiatus to hit—when I can let go…detach….separate…and live life on one even keel. But I know that will never happen on this side of heaven, so instead I must learn daily to let go one finger at a time and place my hand in His for guidance and direction. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).
All of these thoughts brings me to the life of King David in the Bible. Oh, he had flaws and struggles, and yet God considered him “a man after God’s own heart.” What was it about his personality that ingratiated that very high designation from God? I think it is summed up in this one particular scene. Even while being vilified, hated, threatened and unjustly pursued by King Saul, David relied on God to be his defender, his guide and his protector. Regardless of the tumultuous circumstances. He had every opportunity to kill Saul, and strike back, but because of David’s great regard for Saul’s position as king and more importantly his reverence for God that had placed him in that position, he would not do him any harm. What an example for us to set before our families when life seems as if it is coming apart at the seams.
So back to the porcupine – it is not necessary to leave everyone in our path bruised and bleeding as we confront opposition from enemies. We should always speak the truth BUT girded in love. This is not easy on our own power, but operating in the spiritual realm God will make it possible. Don’t forget Christ laid out His best for us in the midst of our worse.
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Andrea Maher is the former editor-in-chief of PARENT ABC’S a monthly magazine. Her writings have been featured in local newspapers and parenting publications nationwide. She is the author of LETTERS TO MY SON: Soley a God Story and SLAMMED: Overcoming Tragedy in the Wave of Grief.
She is the executive director of the Be Still Foundation, a ministry that disseminates hope and encouragement to families in crisis. She has been married to her husband John for 44 years and has four children, and 10 grandchildren. https://bestillfoundation.org