If we are connected on social media, you have seen me write often about our white deer. I use the term “our” as she truly has grown to be a strong presence in our personal geography, around our home and to each member of our family. She has been a surprise messenger in this chapter of our family’s story, one I whole-heartedly believe to be divinely appointed. I find God speaks in and through as much or as little as we give clearance for in our lives, and so while she may appear to be just an animal to some, she has become a vessel to teach, encourage and inspire me. So when we discovered, some time around the start of the year, our deer had been injured, you can imagine the tears shed. Again, just an animal you may think, but I took it personally, felt the ache and heartbreak in my chest as happens when loved ones are hurting. Over the months following, conversations with fellow-concerned neighbors and several phone calls to local wildlife organizations led us to believe she had been hit, possibly resulting in a broken hip. She stands on three legs, and rarely if ever sets down one of her back legs when walking, but she has improved over the weeks and months – she is strong and with a small herd of her own, has purpose to fight. As I made calls, hopeful for someone to assist in her healing because of her uniqueness, I was told more than once she was not protected and the only help available was to put her down if she was beyond the point of recovery. ‘Isn’t that just the world?’ I remember thinking – this upside down kingdom in which we currently reside, but will never be Home. Where the beauty is in a constant battle to survive the cynical, apathetic, put-her-down mindset. This is just like the world, I heard deep within me. The flippant dismissal of those worthy of honor…But, she has purpose to fight.
As winter turned to early-spring, there were a few evenings we arrived home to the herd congregated out near our fire pit, as if to say, they- like us- are ready for the gathering of souls around campfire, for community and family and s’mores. Other evenings we have found her bedded down right out in the front yard, a peaceful guardian over our home. And with every happen-upon, each encounter, God speaks. Sometimes a simple settling of the soul, a reminder of His watchful provision, and other times a profound, course correcting revelation. In spite of life-altering injuries, her life speaks without fail into my own heap of broken pieces and parts. Without fail, God is there when I see her and am reminded to stop and listen and watch. Without fail.
A few days ago my husband told me about an encounter one of the neighbors recently had, where he basically intervened to save our deer from being killed because of her injuries. As Rob relayed the back and forth between the neighbor and the wildlife official, every word sunk in and I found myself replaying the conversation several times in my mind over the next day or two. One man ready to pounce; one man using fact to diffuse the danger. She has survived and improved for months now, she is surrounded by her herd, her kids…She has purpose to fight. I am not exactly clear on how the conversation ended, other than the official backed down and agreed to give her some time. As I pondered the events I again was brought back to the skewed perspective this world touts supreme. Picturing the two men standing in the field, surveying the situation – one with death in hand and one with life in words, I thought of Satan and God conversing over Job. And how I imagine God defends us, His children, against an enemy who roams the earth back and forth (Job 2:2) looking for his next prey, prowling just as a lion (1Peter 5:8). As we are hunted, we are protected, shielded by the truth of our identity.
The evil one says, ‘She is worthless, broken, beat-up, without purpose.’ And THE One answers with, ‘She is My divine creation, and in her brokenness I AM making her whole. She may limp, she may stumble, but gaze upon her beauty there in the herd; Look at her children surrounding her. She has purpose to fight!‘
Friend, whatever your injury, however the cracks of brokenness fall across your life – you have purpose to fight. For it is by the Love that fought for us, we are in turn compelled to combat the backwards, upside-downness of this world. You, dear one are a divine, unique creation by a God who fights on your behalf, and calls you beautiful, fractures and all.