Finally going to write about it…

There are a great many things that have happened over the recent months that have made me wonder how we are still walking the earth.
Like, when Paul wrote, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption, (Eph. 4:30)”…how often are we doing just that? I read headlines and Facebook posts, and “news” articles, and moments in history that I never knew existed, and I feel like we should be wiped off of the face of the earth…We’re a terrible species of people.


I’m in a group on Facebook that sells leggings—LEGGINGS, people. Soft, comfortable, bury-me-in-them leggings—where one post about a pattern for law enforcement support blew up into the most hateful, racist, condescending, evil “banter” that I’ve ever read in my life. From LEGGINGS.

Christians are fighting with other Christians. It started with the mask-wearers vs. the non-mask wearers; now it’s somehow the “my freedoms are being violated!!!” vs. the “I don’t wanna die from COVID, and you’re an inconsiderate bastard if you don’t wear a mask!!” And yet all of them say, “Yeah, we love Jesus!!!”
“We support the police” is now equal to, “well, you’re a racist,” but “Black Lives Matter” means you’re either a lemming, a White Savior, or a militant. There is no “agree to disagree,” and there is no “middle ground.”
Blood is being shed, lives and careers are being ended, and #CancelCulture has taken over.A young man recently opened up an app on his phone, which told him his stock values had dropped to negative $750,000. He then killed himself…but what he didn’t know, was that the app had glitched, and the data was wrong. It was too late for this kid. He based his very survival on what was false information….he made a quick reaction to what he thought was truth, and now his family is devastated. I feel like this poor kid is indicative of our world right now.
We read posts, and we hear stories, and we react (and we post our reactions). We have knee-jerk responses to anything and everything, and we spout off our opinions or our dramatic rebuttal. We’re so quick to pick up offenses and to drag them around like roadkill that’s hung up on an exhaust pipe.

We do not stop and take the time to take things before the Lord in prayer before we make permanent impressions with either our mouths or our keyboards, and we leave a trail of broken hearts and souls in our wake.
There’s a reason why I’m saying, “we.” I’m guilty.
I’m totally guilty of a knee-jerk, biting response, or an embittered eye-roll, or even of being a part of Cancel Culture in my mind. And I guess because I’m not publicly sharing who and what I think should be cancelled, I tell myself I’m not playing a part in it, but I totally do. I have people and establishments that are 100% dead to me, and I’m not proud of it. Resentment and bitterness are suffocating, and they’re a chain I believe we all risk carrying around…
And our world is beleaguered with it.
Like the Dickens tale taught us, I feel like we’re all a bit like Mr. Marley, with our chains and our boxes dangling around our necks, but we’re too busy squawking like a bunch of chickens, looking at everyone else, to notice that we’re about to go under…We’re all tired, and we don’t even realize that’s why.
These chains and these burdens are heavy, and there’s nothing to make them any lighter.

Yesterday, we celebrated Juneteeth (which should be a national holiday. Mr. Trump, please make it so), and we took notice far more this year than in any other year, of the weight of that day: The End of Slavery in America.
The chains were broken, at least physically….but we all know they’ve lingered for generations even still.
I sat in our home group yesterday and commented that when I read the passages in Ephesians 6 about slavery, I wondered how we as a nation got it so wrong? I read in another post today about how we as white Americans “Disney-ify” the Bible to make ourselves the Israelites—God’s “chosen” people—when if we really think about it, we were more like the Egyptians, building our cities and our country on the backs of those who were stolen from their own lands.


Ephesians 6 gives clear instructions about slavery; the term, “bondservant” was a more accurate translation. There was to be a working relationship between master and slave, a mutual respect. It was to be more of a worker/boss relationship, than an abusive relationship. Our ancestors, who came here under the guise of religious freedom, twisted it so much (and I believe the biggest parts of that were rooted in erroneous translations of the Scripture by the Church of England at the time, who were in cahoots with the royals…everything was bought and paid and traded for, and I seriously question the authenticity of certain translations/paraphrasings of the Bible based on the studies I’ve done on the topic. I digress.). They twisted the Scriptures and used them to kidnap, abuse, and enslave people and to force our belief systems on them, to support their deceptive ideas. The irony of it all—religious freedom is used to enslave a race?!?—is nauseating, and the more I learn the history of the African American people in our nation, the more my heart grieves.
I wasn’t taught any of this stuff in school. I learned a little bit about slavery, but outside of watching Glory, I didn’t get it. The Tulsa Race Riots? I first heard about it last week. Ruby Bridges? I had to Google “little Black girl, integrated schools,” because I knew the story but I didn’t know her NAME. Juneteenth? I learned about it when I was 31. In going to a Christian school, one of the things I’ve struggled with as I’ve learned and read more, is that the history we were taught was so whitewashed. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, and it was in the 80’s & 90’s. The truth remains, though, is that it was. There was a complete imbalance in the history of minorities and of women in what we were taught, verses the history of male achievements. What’s the saddest, is that I didn’t realize it until I was an adult.


There is a difference between rewriting history and writing history. I do not think the textbooks I learned from rewrote history, but I sure as heck KNOW they omitted history. I believe our history books need to be expanded to include the stories of the amazing contributions of women and of people of color. They need to even out the representation, and if that means our general history classes take 3 years to get through instead of 1 semester? GOOD. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”—Santayana. My high school history teacher drilled that quote into my head, and I think it’s truer now than it’s ever been. The more I learn about the gross abuse that people went through at the hands of our forefathers, the more I see it coming back for another round….
Because we’re not learning.
We’re not learning to Be Kind.
We’re not learning to share Jesus.
We’re not learning to Love…
If anything, we’re getting better at hatred, and it’s so sad and it’s so scary.
I have a child to raise in this mess.
I have a responsibility to teach him to love first and foremost…to teach him to “seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with the Lord (Micah 6:8)…to know his own privilege and to use it to stop the mistreatment of another human being at any cost…
I have a responsibility to set the example, myself.


When Ferguson happened, I was, “All Lives Matter.” I was challenged by a few friends who were digging into Civil Rights, into true justice, who led me by example to really pray about it. I started reading, and listening, and having those Uncomfortable Conversations where I realized that I was wrong—no one ever said that all lives DON’T matter. I started to understand that Jesus left the 99 to find the one, and that That One Mattered to Him, so why am I sitting here with my arms crossed, clicking with the 99? If He cares about That One, so should I…and so should my son, and so should anyone that knows me. I truly believe that Black Lives Matter, and I can say that without being disingenuous.
I still struggle. I still struggle with stereotypes, and with using the wrong words, and with being so afraid to offend anyone that I won’t say a word during the Q&A portion of the endless Zoom courses on inclusion and diversity that I’ve sat in on over the last few months. I still struggle with the knee-jerk reactions and the type of mentality that you get when you live in a primarily white, rural area and where you’re oblivious to your privilege (which just goes to show you how privileged you really are—that’s another diatribe). I’m not the poster child of Woke White People, and I would never pretend that I’m on some kind of Civil Reform Bandwagon…
But my heart has changed since Ferguson. My heart has grieved since Ferguson…for the sights that I saw in the aftermath, for the anger that burned the city to the ground, and for the pain that boiled out of people..people that are fellow Americans, that feel betrayed by this country that brought their ancestors here illegally in the first place. That pain is deep, and it’s a generational wound that I cannot understand…but I can listen. The protests that are happening in the wake of George Floyd are different this time around (and not just because the case is so clear-cut, or because we’ve gone down this road too many times before). The spirit of the protest is different, and the violence that’s trying to sneak in is much more pronounced in how it’s deviant of the true heart of the message.
People are crying out for real, tangible, measurable change, and they’re sick of empty words and ideas. I don’t know if we’re willing as a nation, to put the work in that making these changes will require. My cynical side says we have no idea what we’re asking for…and my spiritual side says the only way any changes will come is by the power of the Holy Spirit.


God is grieving over our nation and our world. His very heart is grieved…I believe, and I hope with all of my soul, that this world is on its way to the Great Revival that I’ve heard was coming ever since I was a child…that the heart of people would be so drawn into praying for change that an encounter with Jesus Christ is inescapable…The Civil Righteousness organization (www.civilrighteousness.org) is covering our nation with prayers for lasting change, and for “spiritual, cultural, and economic renewal” by way of intensive prayer, Hope Rallies, fasting, and more…I am agreeing with them in prayer that we’re on the cusp of a national breakthrough, and that all of the pain of the last few months is like the birthing pains for a new nation that seeks the Lord’s face as we head into what I believe could be the last days…


Because we’ve grieved His heart long enough…and the burdens we carry, and the burdens our ancestors put on other people, are heavy….and His word tells us that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
It’s time to lay our burdens down, and to seek healing and revival in this land.

Solidarity in the Midst of Confusion

Most of y’all know that I typically present as a regular ol’ Conservative, suburban mom…I (albeit, begrudgingly) have voted a straight Republican ticket since I was 18, and consider the issues of being Pro-Life as the pinnacle decision maker in any political choice. I know a lot of people are posting in anger about the protests. People have had trips ruined, concerts cancelled, businesses damaged, and the fear that is running through the veins of this city is suddenly palpable to everyone (not just the folks who live here).

When Ferguson happened, I started out just like everyone I knew: The protestors are horrible people! They’re ridiculous! They should all be jailed!!! However, our church began working with other churches in a prayer tent in Ferguson, and the longer they were there, the more stories and truths began to come out.

The more time I have had to reflect on Ferguson, and on working in the city during the process…the more cases that have come out that raise the questions about police accountability…the more my heart has changed. I don’t stand where I stood when Mr. Brown died. Do I agree with every case that has been brought to the press with the accusations of police brutality or racism? No. No, I don’t.

However…

The outcry is so great…the volume is so loud. How can we ignore the cry from the hearts of the African American community? We can say, “Well, just do what the nice police officer says, and no one will get hurt.”

Sure—makes sense…

Unless…

Unless you’ve done nothing wrong. You instinctively want to plead your case.

Unless you’ve done something wrong. You instinctively do not want to get caught; is dying, worth it? Why is death the first option?

Unless you’re scared that your name may be the one on the protest banners as another person who fell under the banner of, “my life felt threatened.” How flexible is that reason? And where is the outside accountability? Who holds the police department accountable? Internal Affairs? Who monitors IA?

Never let it be thought that I do not support the police department and law enforcement—I 100% support the police. I believe you can support a cause but ask for reform. I support the Republican party, but look at that hot mess! I most DEFINITELY support reform for that cause! So, yeah—I support the police. I’ve been pulled over before, by a cop who was having a bad day, one time—it was 1 out of the 5-6 times I have been pulled over—but that little encounter was enough to make me not like the police in a particular part of town, and I know good and well that if another one of “those” copes pulls me over? I’m probably going to have a ‘tude. And that’s after just ONE encounter.

When he’s older, I can let my son walk down the sidewalk in my neighborhood—even in my redneck neighborhood—without fear of getting derailed by police.

There’s no derelict building in my subdivision that houses drug dealers and addicts. There’s no abandoned building that we’ve BEGGED the city to take down, where a man abducted a little girl from a bus stop, and raped her.

When my son gets his license, I most likely won’t have to worry about him getting pulled over and never coming home again.

When my son gets his CCW, he most likely won’t have to be afraid to tell a police officer that it’s in the car.

My son’s school doesn’t have a breakfast and a lunch program through the summer, because I can’t provide food for him year-round.

I have a good job, I received a decent education, and I had teachers in my community that helped me succeed. No one side-eyed me because I was “different,” or wrote me off when I struggled, because I didn’t look quite like them.

I don’t get funny looks when I walk into a high-dollar store in the mall (as long as I haven’t rolled up in my sweats and a ball cap, LOL—they do look at me, then). No one usually looks at me like I don’t belong there, or follows me around the store. Frankly, if they did, I’d confront them, and the situation would be sorted out, and I would leave the store in my own vehicle, on my own terms.  Security most likely wouldn’t be called, police wouldn’t be called, and the drama would be over…for me.

During Ferguson, I learned about this concept called “white privilege.” What a crock, right? I mean, I worked hard for what I have. My mom worked her ass off, as have I—I grew up with a single mom, then a stepdad, and they worked hard every single day. We didn’t have a single thing handed to us…however…

I received scholarships based on academic performance, talent, and interviews. I’ve received job offers based on face-to-face interviews.  Things weren’t made particularly easy for me, but I’m learning that the simple fact that the opportunities were made available, is a form of privilege. I’ve never felt racially oppressed or profiled—that’s a form of privilege. Have I felt discriminated against? As a woman, yes. As a white woman in particular, no. My race has never once played into any feeling of oppression, hostility, etc. Not. Once.

I don’t know how that feels.

So how can I say that I can’t understand or empathize with those that do? How can I discount their cries for justice, when I have never felt their INJUSTICE? How can I brush them off, because I don’t see, or don’t know what they’re talking about?

WE CAN’T.

Jesus tells us to love. He tells us to listen with “gentleness and respect” (I Pet. 3:15). He tells us to have compassion, and to let our hearts break with what breaks His heart. I promise you, His heart breaks over racism.

He grieves for St. Louis, right now.

He grieves for the police who are being treated terribly right now…for those brave men and women who are dealing with the worst kinds of disrespect. He grieves for their families. He grieves for the African American community and their anger, for the injustices they have suffered throughout history, and for the children who are seeing this behavior as part of the “new normal.” He GRIEVES for the civil destruction and for the hearts that are being hardened by the fear that cloaks this city.

Our inconvenience—our ruined trips, cancelled concerts, blocked streets—are NOTHING compared to the hurting hearts of every person that is out there right now.

As a white chick, what in the world can I do? My own family disagrees with my positions on this issue, and that’s okay—they deal with things in their own ways, and God will work within them, if they listen.

I can listen.

I can tell my African-American friends that I do not discount their pain because of the things that inconvenience me.

I can stand for peace and discourse, over destruction and violence.

I can stand for compassion.

I can love.

And that’s where I am.

Do I understand where they’re coming from? Nope. I’m white. That’s an automatic, “no, you just don’t understand,” regardless of the environment or place you grew up. You’re white. Stop playing.

I don’t have to understand in order to have compassion.

I don’t have to understand, to show love.

I don’t have to understand, to be like Jesus.