An Apology from A Young, Christian, White, Middle-Class Woman

Look everywhere around this world and you will see a mess. People are messy, families are messy, need I even say that politics are messy. I don’t know about you, but living in this world bogs me down. Day after day I see hate screamed from Donald Trump and hear heart breaking stories of detestation towards numerous types of people in every news article I see.

This hurts.

I hurt for Muslims that have been targeted by ridiculous attacks against their religion. I hurt for refugees who aren’t welcomed with open arms after months or years of treacherous travel. I hurt for the LGBTQ community that faces ridicule even in 2016. I hurt for undocumented immigrants that receive a handshake from their employer and then are jeered at for “taking American jobs”. I hurt for Black Americans in Chicago and other cities who are told they live in crime and drug infested areas. I hurt for so many more.

The common thing between all of these? They don’t pertain to me.

I cannot begin to feel the pain that is laced within the rhetoric of people who spew hate. Even writing this I begin to cry for my brothers and sisters who have been attacked. Words have power. Words tear down.

I imagine you sitting in that white chair, surrounded by lush vines. I hem and haw over what I would say to you. So as someone who hasn’t felt the brunt of this hate, I need to apologize.

I’m sorry.

I am so sorry that there are many people who don’t respect your religion or even know that it teaches peace. I’m sorry that you are scared, for valid reasons, that the U.S. doesn’t want you here. I am sorry that there are still people who choose to judge and condemn you without knowing a single thing about you. I’m sorry that people stereotype communities and make rash assumptions. I’m sorry people find it easier to hate than to accept others.

The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.

I choose to see the world, and you, as someone in my family and someone to love. Someone to understand and someone to learn from. Someone to stand beside and someone to be strong with. Someone who has a lot more experience and knowledge than me. Someone who I want to understand. Someone who is amazing.

I am sorry for those who choose to see the opposite of these things. You are valued and you are welcomed. Even if everyone else doesn’t think this, you have one young, Christian, white, middle-class woman who cares about you for exactly who you are. No questions asked.

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When Losing Yourself Wins

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May I bear my heart with you? May I be vulnerable for a moment?

Being lost in a new place has slowly become one of my favorite things. It creates a sense of vulnerability that only comes up a few times in our lives.  It allows for adventure, new friends, parks to explore, and so much more. Now being lost in my life, that is not something I often welcome with open arms.

Each and every one of us will go through heartache of extreme kinds. The type where we can barely focus on the task at hand, let alone the daily tasks required of us. The type where our whole world and sense of self is shaken to its core. The type where sloth consumes our every being. Questions swirl around in our minds like a wind-whipped piece of clothing left on the line too long. “What if I had done X, Y, Z?” “What if I had just known not to say that one thing?” “Why did no one tell me?” “I felt God’s presence and heard His voice in this…” Have you been there? Are you there currently?

I have and I am.

God does not promise an easy life, He promises an abundant life. But what if abundant life isn’t full of pure joy and happiness?  This is something I cannot figure out and won’t claim to understand. The Merriam-Webster definition of abundant is, “marked by great plenty” or “amply supplied“. Could it be that we are abundantly given discord and confusion to draw closer to God. Or could it be that our own free will and ego gets in the way of this abundant life we are promised. These are a few of the things I wrestle with.

Philippians 1:21 is a verse recited in the Church often and one that Sidewalk Prophets made an amazing song out of, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”. A few of the lyrics go as follows:

If I grow, let me grow in You
Wilt the seeds of wanting more
Ripping pride out by the roots
If I’m still, let me hear You speak
Not the tone of my transgressions
But the song of the redeemed

My great desire is to be with You
But this is the place You chose for me
This is the place You chose for me
To lift my cross and give everything
This is the time You gave to me

For me to live is Christ
To die is gain

God will cover and see over us, especially in times of deep sorrow and strife. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” This life isn’t about us, which goes against our selfish nature. It’s according to HIS purpose, not mine, not my heartache, not those who have scorned me or turned a blind eye to me.

Heartache hurts. Putting your entire soul and worth into something or someone to then just be dropped without a second thought is one of the most painful things to go through. You feel as if you have lost yourself, while in reality, you have won. You have been given one of the most precious gifts, though I am very aware it doesn’t feel like this.

Through heartache, we are given the abundant realization that the only way to be whole is through Christ filling the space we place idols in. This idol could be work, being single, being in a relationship, technology, Facebook, tea, food, your cat! The only person who knows what your idol is, is you. All these things are good and are wonderful to be desired. But once it engulfs your “God Space” that’s when things get sticky. When that idol is taken or runs from you, you lose yourself, but not the you God intends you to be. You gain a true fullness in the space that once falsely consumed your every being.

Be strong. This is the place and time He has chosen for us.