[ DOWN WE GO]
The other day I was in court watching my husband, a pro bono lawyer at a Christian legal aid clinic, during a hearing. He’s been practicing for seven years, but it was the first time I saw him in action. He was representing a mom from The Refuge, the faith community I co-pastor, in a tricky custody case. During the hearing, he called four witnesses from our community; as each one of them stood bravely on the stand and told of the ways that this mom and child had an incredible support network, I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude.
And I kept thinking—this is why everybody needs an advocate.
My friend needed someone to help her through this painful process. She needed friends. She needed men and women brave enough to speak truth and wisdom and grace and love into her life. She needed community. She needed to be empowered, especially after having so much of it stripped over the years.
And here’s her reality (and reality for most everyone): Empowerment isn’t going to drop out of the sky.
We need help gaining it.
We need help nurturing it.
We need help leaning into it.
Advocates believe when we can’t.
Advocates come alongside us and help us move and grow and use our voices and become more free.
I am more convinced than ever that everybody needs an advocate sometimes. I know I do.
We need people who stand beside us and help us when we are hurting. We need people who step in and care when no one else does. We need people who will offer their wisdom and perspectives but let us make our own decisions. We need people who will be our cheerleaders, encouraging and supporting our dreams. We need people who will help us find our voice when we can’t seem to.
We need people to hold our hand and bring us a yummy coffee and slip us notes that remind us to hope and text us to see how we are doing and tell us we’re worth it and stand shoulder to shoulder with us when we feel alone and make us laugh and remind us to make that call we are dreading and look us in the eyes and tell us our dreams are worth it and help us be brave.
When it’s all said and done, maybe that’s what advocates really do—they help people be brave, to do hard things scared.
That’s what my friend really needed. Some people to help her do this hard thing.
The interesting part to me is that all of her advocates have advocates, too. Every single one of us, in different ways, is an advocate and has an advocate.
I have no doubt, we all need an advocate and we all can be one, too. I really think that is what God has called us to do for each other—to be an advocate. And let others advocate for us.
In the kingdom of God, we all give. We all receive. We all need. We all empower.