the entrance to every house is barred…..(Is 24:10).
Home is meant to be a safe place, but for some, it is not. I have sat with students, in their pain, who have told me about home not being a safe place. They find outlets to keep them away from home because home to them is a place of uncertainty. It lacks love, concern, and care. Maybe there’s been some form of abuse, neglect or a parent filled with unceasing anger. To avoid the explosion they stay away from the home.
When a child’s sense of stability and safety becomes compromised, they question who they can trust. They feel alone and unwanted. They are crying out for a safe place, but are uncertain of where to find one so they may spend countless hours after school in after-school activities. They may hang out at the YMCA for hours to pass the time or be at the church every time the doors are open. To them, all of these places are a good place to be, as long as they can keep themselves away from the place that seems so scary and uncertain.
This does not change much even when we enter into adulthood. As adults, we long for places of safety too. If our safety, in any way, has been compromised, we look for a place to belong. A place we know is safe, where we are loved and accepted. If we do not have that place we feel alone and unwanted. We question who we can trust. We’re searching for someone, just anyone, who is there to support us on our journey.
In my experience working with a number of families, hurting parents and wounded teenagers, the tragic result of sinful man is that home is not a safe place, because those inside of it are not whole persons. Their wounds run so deep that they bleed into everyone within their reach inside the home. In all honesty, they don’t wish to inflict such pain upon those closest to them, but truth be told, the pain they wrestle with inside keeps them from being able to love a person wholly and fully for the glory of God. They mask pain with alcohol, anger, criticism, sarcasm, and abusive behaviors. They’re not a safe place, because quite possibly, they themselves have never felt safe either. It could be that someone compromised their safety long ago too.
How then, can we move into creating places of safety for the generations to come?
1. We have to do the hard work of addressing our own wounds. What is underneath all of our pain? What happened to us along the way that made us so bitter, angry and untrusting?
2. We have to be humble. We will never go to hard places, if we are not first willing to admit that we need to go there. The longer we hide, the more damage we will cause to those we love the most.
3. We must be about restoration. It is so much easier to run from things that are hard, bury them or just not deal with them. However, running and hiding doesn’t change the problem it only makes it worse. I have talked to so many parents and students who have literally cut people out of their lives, but this doesn’t solve the problem, it only buries the wound.
4. We have to want to be different. Until we come to a place of true brokenness over the mess we have caused due to the unattended mess inside of us we will never move past where we are to where we could be.
5. We must invite others into the journey. Becoming a whole person is never done alone. You need others to love you towards healing, support you and hold you up in your time of need. Isolation only keeps us stuck, but transparency sets us free.
6. Don’t fear the mess. It’s going to be messy, really messy, but truth be told, the end results will be worth wading through the mess of things. If. you’re helping someone, don’t give up on them too soon. They need you to stay strong as you walk alongside them.
Jesus, we know that you love the broken, disheartened and wounded. Jesus, please bring healing to families and restore what the locusts have eaten. Jesus, keep children safe who need a safe place to belong. Help us to rise up and defend them. Bring healing into our lives so we can start loving others as whole persons, in Jesus name, Amen.