Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

On Wednesday I cried.
I cried a lot.
My heart felt broken.
I knew there was hope.
I know there still is.
But I had to grieve.
I had to mourn.
Just like one of my favorite movies (Inside Out) shows sometimes we need to feel sad.
I didn’t cry because I was so sad Hillary Clinton didn’t win.
But I did cry because Donald Trump won.
There is so much misunderstanding right now.
I’m still very confused.
I’d love for you to read why I cry.
I hope no one feels attacked by my words.
They are in no particular order.
No matter if you cried or not, I’d love to hear your heart.

I cry because the KKK wants to hold a celebratory parade because of Donald Trump’s victory. He may have denounced them once, but I cry because I don’t see him denounce them daily. I don’t see it publicly. I don’t hear it loudly. He now has a whole lot of power and a whole lot of people watching and I cry because I don’t see him using it to bring equality to the races. I cry because every one of my nieces and nephews will have darker skin than me, and though none have been born yet, they will all be just as valuable as I am.

I cry because I live with and love people who have immigrated to this country both legally and illegally. I know them. I love them. I know why their parents brought them here. I want them to be safe. I want others to be safe too. I do not want them “sent back home” because this is the only home they remember. When you come before kindergarten it isn’t really your choice.

I cry because of shame. I’m afraid I won’t be personally effected. Don’t get confused. I don’t want pain, or to be degraded, or to feel unsafe. I only wish we really were equal. I wish my roommate felt safe walking home in our neighborhood at night, but instead she’s staying with friends in another part of town this week because she has dark skin and feels the people around here are unpredictable right now.

I cry because I am so grateful for my faith and the freedom to worship in my country and I am nervous what could happen. Many Muslims are scared. I am scared for them. And I’m scared for me. I will fight for their freedom to worship. If I will not fight for theirs who will fight for mine? Sure, I’d love it if everyone believed the same things as me, but I most definitely do not want to force people to share my beliefs. Don’t you see…if it’s not a choice it’s not a true belief.

I cry because we have become so divided. Us vs them, left vs right, pro-life vs pro-choice, dems vs reps, him vs her. I don’t always fit into a party or a group. I grew up as a third culture kid. I know what it is to not fit in. I know what it is to have views that people don’t understand because they’ve never heard of them let alone experienced them. I’m willing to be patient while people ask borderline offensive questions if they truly are trying to understand. In my life it’s been “do you speak African?” “Are there tigers in your backyard?” “If you’re from Africa how come your white?”…the list goes on… now there are different questions. Questions that cross party lines. I’m afraid people will be too scared to ask them. I’m afraid people will go on living in the seclusion of their bubble and not try to ask, hear, listen, and learn from the “other side”. Two sides are not enough. So many of us are like third culture kids – caught or bouncing or stuck somewhere in the middle.

I cry because my 2 brothers at black and brown. I’ve had nightmares of one getting shot. I’ve witnessed both of them experience racism. Just one example each is one being referred to in a derogatory way as Mexican (though he is not) the other being questioned for being in a church (when he was 6) because “they do come in sometimes” the lady who was questioning him told my mom. I clearly know that racism has been around long before our president elect, but I am afraid of people thinking now that what was done in secret is ok to do in public. I’m afraid of people feeling confident using the N word, touching women inappropriately, telling a transgender person that he or she is not valuable or worthy, or making fun of someone with a disability. I’m afraid things like the Black Lives Matter movement will be targeted and discredited even more now than they were before.

I cry for my housemates who went to bed Tuesday night wondering what they would do without health insurance. Wondering if there is an insurance group that will cover them if Obamacare gets repealed. Schizophrenia and Crohn’s are not something insurance companies often want to cover.

I cry because I have always been the optimist. I’ve always had hope. I have to believe people can get better. I believe my friends in jail can, I believe my friends without houses can, I believe my friends stuck in addiction can, I believe my friends who have, but don’t understand privilege can… but I didn’t want to believe our president elect could. I just wanted to be angry. I cried because my heart was hard.

I cry because people are misrepresented. As I talked to a white, middle class, evangelical christian man at church today my eyes brimmed with tears again as we discussed what could be next. He, as I, has felt targeted by the media for being the cause, when he didn’t want it either. As we discussed our fear for his gay son and my black brother we were saddened by the fact that media says we chose this simply because some people who share our faith voted for this.

I cried really hard when I read articles making fun of those crying after the election. The tears are real, they are not a show. Please be gracious. Recognize there is a time to mourn. There is a time for fear. We will pick up the broom and keep sweeping the mess after we have mourned, but please, oh please, don’t make fun of the tears. The protests are one of the freedoms of this nation. Give them space. Please don’t think I approve of of violence and vandalism. But a peaceful protest may be someones best way to mourn, to say they are hurting, to share their fears…

I cry as I ask, are we more divided? Or has our division simply been brought to light? My hope and prayer is that we choose to acknowledge the pain. Acknowledge the fear. That Christians would live out what Jesus commands to love like He loves…to the outcast, the hurting, the broken, the most degraded and say that because of Him they are worthy. I hope we will be willing to lay down our comfort for those who need comfort. I hope we will admit our wrongs and apologize for them. I hope that we will be willing to stop trying to hide our nation’s problems and start finding ways to work together to deal with them.

I can’t say that my tears are done.
But I do promise to fight for today.
And tomorrow I will fight for tomorrow.
I will fight for equality.
I will fight for safety.
I will fight for love.
Because love trumps hate.
Because peace is better than war.
Because my God is a God who saves.
I will hold onto hope.
Will you?

Ever since I attended Journey Church during college I’ve been doing “Word of the Year”. It is just a thing some of us do to kind of help us keep our focus. It’s picking a word to focus on between just you and God. Last year, my word was greater. Before that (and before I was blogging so no stories with those) I had intentional – 2013, pursue – 2012, and delight – 2011.

For 2015 my word is overcome.

65522_10151426703024284_1570391911_n

This guy might not be able to imagine where the water is, but it’s there. With just a few steps he could overcome the grass, but he has to be brave enough to face the challenge and simply try.

I feel like there are multiple meanings to attach to this word, or reasons for picking it. What’s crazy is that I have a whole year to figure out why God put this word on my heart, but so far here’s what I’ve been thinking about… I want to overcome the daily issues in my life instead of being overwhelmed by them. I know that God’s got it, so I want to focus on overcoming. Another thing is that I think it’s easy to look at the problems of the world and be overwhelmed by them and say that they are too big to solve. Things like racism and knowing that #BlackLivesMatter, but not knowing how to make the world see that. Things like the human sex trade and trafficking. I cannot stop them by myself, but I can do things to raise awareness. I can stand against them and do things like #Dressember. It doesn’t solve the issue, but it is a start. It is doing my part to overcome. I cannot resist the temptation of drugs for my many friends who are addicts, but I can pray for them.

Just yesterday I had asked a friend if she had time to meet and pray for me about some difficult stuff going on. She read some verses that she felt God had put on her heart to share with me. The were the perfect verses to go along with the word overcome…

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

Feel free to remind me to overcome this year. I can always use friends checking in, pushing, stretching, supporting. Life’s a journey. It isn’t easy, but it’s exciting. It’s always an adventure. It’s not too late for you to pick a word! Think about it…there’s so many good ones out there. And if you do pick a word, let me know! I’d love to share the journey with you!

Sometimes the world is overwhelming. It seems like there are problems that are too big to solve. Maybe there are. It seems like one voice is too quiet. One attitude is too weak. One belief is not enough.

When I think of Ferguson. Racism. Modern day slavery. Homelessness. Orphans. Inmates. The problems are bigger than what I can solve. That my friends is just a basic fact. You all knew that. I know that. I sadly cannot fix the world.

But when I stop to think, I stand corrected. There are a lot of times when one person made an impact that shook the world. Jesus. Mother Teresa. Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi. Rosa Parks. Other than Jesus, these people weren’t really a big deal. They were individuals who didn’t have much of a voice, but they took the lead. They made a difference. They impacted the world through whatever means they had. I can too. One voice does make a difference.

  • Ferguson: I cannot go there to listen to peoples stories (black and white) and give people hugs, but I can encourage those around me to respond well. I can share the facts and refrain from sharing the negative commentary. I can pray for the families involved (black and white) and for the many families who never made the news but have experienced the same loss, unrest, injustice. One voice does make a difference.
  • Racism: I can love well. Share truth. Encourage people to celebrate diversity instead of pretending it isn’t there. I can refuse to be a part of any racial jokes or derogatory comments. I can find my identity in Christ and not the color of my skin and encourage others to do the same. One voice does make a difference.
  • Modern day slavery: I cannot put an end to it myself, but I can wear a dress everyday for a month to raise awareness that it still exists. I will be participating in “Dressember” (on Moldova’s team!) which raises funds and awareness to stop human trafficking. I personally am not raising funds, as I am not yet fully supported for my own ministry, but I can raise awareness. One voice does make a difference.
  • Homelessness: I don’t have a home to offer to my friends without, but I do have hugs, smiles, encouragement. I have a voice that stands up for them when I hear people make generalized comments and gently remind people that “the homeless” are not just a group, they are wonderful individuals each with their own story. And I have a chance to hear a couple of those stories. One voice does make a difference.
  • Orphans: As much as I would love to, I cannot adopt them all. There’s too many and I don’t have the other half of the family that it would take yet. But I can love my brother. I can babysit kids in the foster system. I can raise awareness and help struggling Mamas to know how to take care of their kiddos. I can support other peoples work with orphans. One voice does make a difference.
  • Inmates: I can’t get them out…nor do I want to try. I can’t give them all hugs (which I seem to think is the answer to everything). But I did just get it ok’d after much begging to buy the 56 women I interact with in jail a Beth Moore Bible study workbook for Christmas (Let me know if you’d like to sponsor an inmate for Christmas by funding one book – about $16 each – don’t buy the book though…I will have to order them all together and ship them to my office in the jail).

Basically, there is a lot I can do. And I’m not just one voice…I am one of many. There are so many who care about these same things. Jesus has the power to bring healing to our broken world, and He choses to work through people. Broken people. In a broken world that He wants to redeem. That’s why He came back to save us. Don’t be overwhelmed…follow Jesus. He has a plan for your life that may not always make sense to you, but it is better than you could imagine!

And listen to this advice from Mother Teresa: “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” – Mother Teresa