Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah
I should know better than to get excited about days that start really good. I was in such a good mood this morning. Even with a half voice, I couldn't have had a more merry heart. I was handing out demerits left and right. One of my students even asked if I was cranky because I had sure been yelling alot. I told her no. I had just finally come to a peace with the position God gave me there at the school. I had finally come to see it as a gift.
One should note that major testing always comes after major victory. Today was fine... it really was, right up until I had 30 minutes left to survive... then it was not fine anymore. I now know what famous people must feel like when their name is slapped up in lies on a tabloid cover. "Shelly is marrying Caleb!!" Shelly looks down at her ring and over at her husband Todd... "I am?" My little tabloid had nothing to do with marriage but something just as sacred to me.
My passion for ministry was apparently misinterpretted by certain people and then, after going through the line of he said she said, it came back to other certain people who then informed me of some pretty bogus allegations that I was being accused of starting. Say what?!?
Heartbroken would be the poorest understatement at the moment. I was devastated. More than that, I was hurt, violated, broken, misunderstood. How do you defend something you are totally oblivious to? It is like asking a kindergartner to solve calculus. He might be able to scribble some numbers on a paper, but he cannot answer the question. He is incapable. When incapable, it is best to remain silent... modern-day justice has equated silence with guilt. So, it would seem, there are two options: lie or be guilty.
Ever been misunderstood?
This was not the first instance for me. As long as there are people, people will be misunderstood. People will be people. You can never speak 100% clearly to 100% of the people 100% of the time. It just doesn't work that way.
The Scriptures are full of a long line of people who were misunderstood. Joseph's honesty was mistaken for pride(in telling his brothers of his dreams), his integrity was mistaken for lust (in running from Potiphar's wife). Even Jesus was misunderstood! I am finishing up the book of John as I read through the Bible in a year, and even this morning was reading the account of Jesus before Caiaphas and Annas. How misunderstood. Love was misunderstood for something worthy of death. Love was misunderstood for blasphemy. Yet, Jesus loved.
That is, admittedly, the part I need to work on the most. Today, as a I sat across for my accuser, I felt violated. I felt helpless, confused, blindsided and lost. I did not have an answer for the two tabloid covers being waved in my face. What hurt even more was not that I was being accused. I have been accused of things before. I can stand up to accusations. What hurt most was what I was being accused of, who wrote the story and the people who bought it. Suddenly, my entire world had disappeared. Everyone whom I thought would say, "Oh no, Jessica wouldn't do that" had bought the story. Everyone who could defend me had either added to it or listened to it. That hurt the most.
I had the potential for a pretty long hit list and I was struggling. I wanted to get up and ream out the person with me and the two other culprits who had shared the story. I wanted justice.
We humans love to defend ourselves. But how do you defend yourself when you have no proof? No evidence? When it is your feeble word against the words of others, how do you stand up for yourself in that time?
That is the answer I learned today as I tried to move on with my life. Confrontation and pain read on my face. It is inevitable. My eyes turn a bloodshot red and my cheeks turn red and it is just a mess. It is a broadcast to the world, "Hey! Look at me! I am having issues!" But praise the Lord I can have those 'issues' in the presence of Godly women.
A coworker saw me and offered to pray with me (do I have great coworkers or what?). She grabbed my hand and we knelt to pray. In her prayer she identified with the hurt I was feeling. I can only imagine the untrue allegations that have been lobbed at her, as a pastor's wife. She continued with her prayer by saying something I will probably never forget:
"God, be her defense. So many times we want to defend ourselves but we can't. You are our defense. Come to her defense."
In writing for Beggar's Daughter, I have been covering the topic of justice. Even at my desk today, just minutes before this altercation, I was writing out verses about the justice of God. God is our Judge, but He is also our defense. Not only does He judge us when we have done wrong; He represents us when wrong has been done. Mind-blowing concept right there.
Leaving it in His capable hands leaves me free to love. No, it isn't easy. It probably should be easier. I should probably take the attack and roll with it and move on. Admittedly, I am still working on that. But, as I prayed today I realized I cannot walk away from this, this is my ministry. This is my home. I cannot climb it... I don't even know where to start. So, what I must do, is press on in faith, knowing God will move it, in His time.
When all else fails, He still remains. When blind accusations fly, He is my fortress, my shield, my Deliverer. So, when faced with something of this nature, I have learned a new approach (one I hope I don't have to try soon): silence. Let the tabloids fly. Let the rumors roll. I need not answer for the deeds of others. I need no argument at all. He is my defense. Talk to my Lawyer.