How Pocahontas helps me see grace in confusion

My Amayah and I watched Pocahontas together this week. I hadn’t seen it since I was a child. But watching it with her touched some of the deepest places inside me. To me, the movie spoke to so many aspects of my own heart.

Growing up in one culture of people, and loving someone from another, brings all kinds of feelings to me as I try to make sense of life in all of it. Perhaps we all know these feelings in a way. Perhaps, whether it has to do with skin color or not, perhaps we all experience the confusion of seeing life from one place, then seeing it from another and struggling to make these very different things we’ve seen make sense in our hearts.

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Photo by Aaron Burden. Used with permission.

Whether or not the Pocahontas movie is historically accurate, I love it for telling the story it tells. When John Smith, in love with Pocahontas, accidentally calls her people savages to her face, it tells true stories of people loving each other beyond the fears that have kept them apart. When his friends believe that her kind is not trustworthy and when her father worries that his people are not trustworthy, they are really both friendly people who want the best for their families. They can’t get along because they are afraid the people with different skin mean them harm, when really they are so much more alike on the inside than they know. When Pocahontas and John Smith find their people at odds with each other, they are find confusion in their story. Pocahontas struggles with doubting herself. But when an act of her love spreads peace in a time of division, it finds me where I am.
I do find myself confused by my story. Trying to see the world as someone who grew up one way and deeply loves someone who grew up another way, makes the constant struggle for peace between peoples bring that much more ache to my soul. Seeing the world through so many stages of life, can try the soul, no matter who you are or what your story is.
Sometimes my heart aches to find the end of confusion, and I want it all to look as simple as when I had only seen it from one point of view. But I would not trade the beauty of the love I have known for all the simplicity in the world…

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And the truth spoken through John captures me today. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

A lack of peace is always caused by fear. And it is love that breaks that fear.
When Pocahontas threw herself in front of the weapon meant for John Smith, love broke fear in the hearts of so many witnesses. The story that day was changed by love.
When Jesus took the shame of our worst darkness, love broke fear in the greatest way, changing our own stories. And love breaks fear every time we give on the love He gave us.
And the story is confusing sometimes, but it doesn’t have to make sense to be a part of the beautiful love I’ve been given. And the thing that confused me becomes something that breaks fear in my heart and by grace on from there.
Even when it is confusing, sharing the story is sharing the love. I can testify to the times people have shared their story with me in confusion and in doing so they poured love into me.
For my own story, watching Pocahontas makes me remember what a blessing I experience in my own love story. It makes me want to say thank you. This country has been one that intends to strive for the equality of people. And there have been so many triumphs. We have walked away from slavery. People from all different backgrounds and cultures can vote today and be voted into office, actions that flow from beautiful triumphs. Different races now share the same schools and bathrooms. In 1958, Richard and Mildred Loving were thrown in jail for the “crime” of getting married across cultures. And today just fifty-nine years later, my husband and I are blessed to enjoy our own union at no threat of the law.
Today, even though it can take on so many differing forms, we see Americans from all viewpoints striving for equality. So many Americans strive for equality of the unborn. So many Americans strive for equality of immigrants and refugees. So many Americans strive for equality of the belittled and underprivileged. And with grace and love that carries beyond what our own eyes can see, Americans can strive for equality of all.
On the inside we are all in the same image, with the same feelings, the same struggle with fear, the same longing for love. We are made able to see each other with love, no matter what differences stand between us, and we continue to strive for that love.
We may be confused by the story, it may make us feel so many doubts and questions, but may we befriend the way it feels in the presence of Christ and tell the story still. This is grace: we do not have to understand everything about our stories, in order for God to use the sharing of them. When we share the story God is authoring in us, we share the love we’ve been given – love that breaks fear.

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Even in a Whisper: For souls who thrive in the quiet music of God’s glory

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My soul thrives in the smallest whispers of glory, in stories told by grandpa and the rag doll grandma made, in a friend who gave their lunch hour to sit with me, in conversations that may not sound revolutionary, may even sound insignificant, but are spoken with grace and love.

These whispers can sing a sweet music to my soul that a shout doesn’t do.

And these same whispers are what my soul thrives in singing itself.

But when the loud shout of it all is what I hear, something in my soul hears so many questions. Where the world feels as if it sings it all in wonder, the heart inside me feels a silent joy that wants to wait in the whisper. The questions that come in the waiting ask why the shout doesn’t sing the same song in my soul. They ask what’s wrong when I don’t thrive in the shout as so many others seem to do. I want to sing the glory of this moment too; the shouts look so normal. I can find a quiet rejoicing knowing others are blessed by the shouts, but I need to hear the whisper…

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Today, in cups of coffee, in new kittens and old screen doors the moments whisper to my soul the sweet reminding truth that speaks grace to me. That maybe I struggle to remember we’re all made differently.

These questions felt as they are, teach me things about myself, about how I was made. Without them the whispers wouldn’t be on my mind today. Without them I wouldn’t hear the voice that tells me where God places me right now.

Maybe the moments where my soul feels out of place, are the voice of God telling me where He has made my place…

Where perhaps He’s here whispering a message I truly need. That people I love will thrive in the shouts and I may not always understand, but God has them where He has them and His story is good and these people are beautifully made by Him.

When I don’t feel like I can join in the shouts with the people I love, that is fine and good. For today, my place is finding beauty in the quiet and speaking God’s glory in the quiet myself. I can trust that this place is good, that there are other’s like me who hear the beauty in the quiet too. Maybe you are one of them and we need each other to be okay in the quiet because in some of us, this is where God speaks the words that reach to hearts, from me to you and you to me.

So today, when life makes us feel small, we will listen for the whisper speaking through. We will live the small words and the tiny steps that the Spirit wants to give through us in our own little way. There is a reason He wants to say it in us. There is a grand purpose behind the whipser that we cannot see. But we can trust that it’s there.

His power works best in weakness. When I can’t see it, I can trust the promise that is so empowering. His power works mightily even in my quiet personality, even in my flaws, even in my quirks. When I can’t see it, by faith through grace, his power flows through even me. Even in a whisper.    

P.S. When I think of God working mightily through whispers, I think of my grandparents who both went home to Jesus this past year. I have paired my words with pictures of their home. I hope the whispers of glory lived there sing some grace to your heart as they do so beautifully to mine.     

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When truth is but a candle

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Truth stands bold and small, a candle lit at the feet.

It bids the one its offered to follow its humble but trusty light that knows the path. Because Truth is the Way is the Life that gave first breath in a cattle stall. The Life that walked the path that knows struggle and victory, hardship and peace, bitter disappointment and unfailing hope.

His life is the gift that lights the candle at our feet, lays hope before our broken steps.

As sure as the candle stands, the questions come back to my head. I look down at my candle and I am distressed that I can’t see the road far ahead of me.

I look down at my candle and I feel fear to follow it’s light in a direction that I don’t know how to explain to the world around me.    

I follow it’s light down paths that feel sublime and paths that feel wounding and paths that I cannot understand.

When it hurts, I struggle to process the pain. I wonder how I should feel, and what to do when I don’t have an answer for what to do with all the feelings. It’s hard to embrace the gift of this next step. And when it’s wonderful, I struggle to receive the gift without feeling guilty for receiving something so good.

I try to filter my candle’s light, and I struggle to embrace it’s gift.

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It was just before Thanksgiving when the Wilson’s showed up at the farm to meet a need we had. When my first reaction was guilt to receive their gift, it showed on my face and I struggled with what to say. And Mr. Wilson, told me straight, he wasn’t doing this to make me sad.

His words hit something inside me that went further than that day. If each step the candle lights for me is a gift lived for me by the Jesus I worship this Christmas, perhaps each step is given to be embraced. Perhaps He desires for me to really embrace the gift of these steps and not be so concerned with trying to filter the way I feel about each one.

To receive the steps of life that bring joy with abandoned celebration and to receive the steps of life that bring pain with abandoned grief. For it’s the raw feelings of these moments that give us the gift inside them and point to the God who alone makes each of them a beautiful gift.

With the changes of my year that have scratched on old wounds, the death of my grandma this summer, my cousin this November, my grandpa this Christmas, I have had a need. And trying to push pain out of my heart feels like trying to push God out of my heart. This year, meeting God means meeting the pain of these steps and letting them sit raw in my heart for all the gift God wants to give me.

And some of the truest beauty on earth may just live in the moments where life is received like a child who takes it raw and open and honest, where Job fell on his face and David tore his clothes and Ruth lifted up her voice to weep and Jesus was in so much “anguish” before his crucifixion that his sweat was like great drops of blood. (Job 1:20, 2 Samuel 13:31, Ruth 1:9, Luke 22:44)

We are made by a God who grieves and is angry and maybe we forget what image we were created in. (Gen. 6:6, Deut. 32:21, Gen. 1:27)

In a culture that may frown on outbursts of emotion, I quickly forget the beauty in the raw feeling of the moments I’m gifted.

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This raw embracing of the step my candle offers, without seeing the whole path that it’s leading me down, makes me feel cracked and broken sometimes, like I am less than enough. And that is the beauty of it.

The Gospel comes to us wrapped in stables and mangers, cow dung and animal feed.

And brokenness is the stable through which He tells the story in you and me.

Good News is spoken through us in humble wrappings, in insecurities and pain, and when I don’t keep my composure, when I know I don’t have it all together, something beautiful happens. My own strength that never can measure up is released and His own strength carries me.

It’s how He wraps Gospel in us. It’s always wrapped best in weakness. No, my candle does not call me to despair or to anything less than hope, but as I embrace the steps it lights in front of me, I am revealed as weak and struggling and He is revealed as strong.

What a beautiful gift to embrace each step, feelings felt and lifted up to the Father who carefully takes these most broken pieces of ours to wrap His most beautiful gift.   

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When you want a map for the path through hurt

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There are hurts in life that are hard to put a finger on. It’s hard to explain them to a friend, hard to make sense of them in your own heart, and hard to learn to bring them to the God who authors the story and cares to hold the hurting heart.  

Maybe it’s the loss of someone you love. Maybe it’s your own inadequacies to meet the needs around you. Maybe it’s the discovery of waking up in a world that is different than you thought it was. Maybe it’s a big life change that leaves you unsure of how to find your footing again. Maybe it’s past rejections that you still don’t know how to move on from. Maybe it’s things in life that bring back painful memories that you just don’t know what to do with. Maybe it’s many of these things combined that make life look and feel foggy. Maybe the filter that you’ve learned to experience life through feels a little dusty. If you’re there, you’re in good company, because I’m right there with you, and I’ve been trying to write through it for weeks.  

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Maybe you need time to dust off the filter, whatever that means for you right now, but it seems the time is scarce and there’s Christmas lists and people to care for and work to be done and laundry to do. And distractions too, lots of distractions that can numb it all for a little while.

Because there’s a desire to just move on and then there’s a questioning how. I like to try to patch my hurt right up, but patching isn’t always what my hurts need. Hurts come with so many questions, and when I patch the hurt I try to shove the questions right back in that little place they came from. That can feel smart because really, I don’t have the answers to all of these questions, and the inability to answer them can really put a sting in my heart. On the other hand, somewhere there’s a burning knowledge in my soul that those questions are there for a reason and that they are each sent to me to deliver a gift to my soul. There’s a need to let the questions come, because though they are hard, though they try me, though they burn things that have sat in my heart for years, they are sanctifying and they are gift.

Cousin Kenneth spoke it at Janie’s funeral this weekend. “God is here with us, He is weeping, mourning, and hurting with us in this time and place. He is here and He is encountering it all with His love, His grace, and His mercy… How do we move forward? We let ALL of these emotions, all of them, transform us, knowing that God is in control and that He is here with us.”

He spoke the reminding words that Jesus wept when death happend, Jesus threw tables at the sin in His Father’s house, and Jesus knew the feeling of being forsaken by God when He was at deaths door.

I have spent weeks looking for the answer to a question that I’m not really sure how to ask. How do I refuse to patch, how do I sit with the hard questions and be honest with them without giving in to the hurt they make me feel. How do I honestly feel the pain in my soul that I don’t even know how to put words to without giving up hope? How do I embrace the gift of all of the emotions while holding on to the love my God has shown me. What do the dark things I feel have to do with the God who I am loved by. How do I embrace the gift of them both simultaneously?

I’ve wondered if there’s some strange secret, some curious set of brain waves to travel to get to the end of hurt, some near magical combination of thoughts to reach all the way through the hurt and find the way through to the other side. No one has ever given me any secret recipe for that.

One thing Janie’s funeral is still teaching me in a way I haven’t learned it before, is that there is not a secret path for me to walk through the hurts of life; instead there is something much better. There is One who has already walked that path for me and has given me His own life to claim as mine. Because of the Gospel, I am loved as the child of the One, holding the hand of the One, filled with the Spirit of the One, who has already walked the hard path that all these questions take me on. He doesn’t give me the complicated roadmap all the way through a life of hurt and leave it to me to find my way through. He gives me something I can handle. He holds the roadmap for this path He has already walked through and He gives me this gift. I can boldly speak all the dark feelings at the foot of His cross where I am loved beyond measure and He tenderly lifts my foot in His own power to take that next step in front of me. Just one step at a time, as a beloved child of God, I walk through a world that hurts, by the power of the faithful love and victorious grace of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.         

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When I Am Shy: On the journey of learning that I am free to love

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There is a longing in my soul to be independent and responsible, and there is another longing to be okay with being needy.

There is a longing to do all the things right and there is another longing to avoid being the people pleaser.

There is a longing to serve but sometimes that comes out of a longing to be loved for my serving.

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I don’t know how many people can identify with these shy struggles, but I have a hunch someone can and I know for myself that when I see myself in another person’s struggles it gives me a strange encouragement to know that there are others fighting the same struggles with me. So as much as I can feel like my mental process is such a complicated mess to try to share, connecting with people over the shy stuff of life is where I feel called so I’ll just keep writing and trust that it’s useful.

I’m a people pleaser who likes to drive in reverse. I just mean that I often do whatever I can to keep people from thinking that I’d really like for them to like me. And so, in a roundabout way, I end up being a people pleaser who weighs in on the other end of the scale.

Last week I had the urge to tell someone that their words were a huge encouragement to me, but before I let those words come out, I stopped myself because I was afraid that I was saying that just to try to please them, or maybe I was just afraid that they would think that. I do that more often than I like to say and let the fear that people will think I’m a people pleaser drive what I say and do. Somewhere along the way, I developed such a fear of being a people pleaser that I would go as far as avoiding kind words and deeds, in order to hold on to that.   

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And God has used so many people this week to tell me that it’s okay to just chill a little. I live so often as a person who constantly questions why I want to do everything I feel the urge to do. There is nothing wrong with questioning my motives, but when I question my motives so much that I live in fear that I will do something with wrong motives, I am living as a prisoner. Maybe sometimes I even tell myself I’m questioning my motives when really I’m questioning the way my motives will be perceived. Either way, when I choose to think this way, I’m still living as a prisoner when, as a child of God, prisoner is not at all who I am.

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On Sunday, Pastor Jeff shed a light on the idea of kindness and I saw the freeness of a life of Christ-centered kindness. And over the week other’s words keep bringing me back to it and the more I think on it the more I realize that that life hasn’t been something that I’ve been embracing.

The truth is that I am free in Christ to express the kindness that He puts in my heart and I don’t have to bother with fear about how that kindness will come out. I am afraid that I won’t do kindness perfectly, but I forget that Jesus already did it perfectly.

I am found in Jesus and free to let the kindness flow. My habits don’t live there, but I am loved by a God who renews minds (Romans 12:2) and gives all the grace I need to turn from my kindness stopping habits again and again and again. (2 Cor. 9:8) Though it’s a habit I’ve learned my whole life, I’m holding to the promise that when I fall, He is able to lift me up and keep me moving forward to let the kindness flow. It might come out funny, people might misinterpret it, sometimes there might even be streaks of people pleasing desire that come out with it. What matters is that I offer my imperfect will and let Jesus use it.

His grace is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9) Any kindness that can come out of me will be coming from a weak, imperfect body, but that is what makes His grace and glory shine through me all the more. Praise God that he can use my desires for kindness in all of its imperfection.   

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When agreeing to disagree is harder than ever

Sometimes situations look so black and white. Sometimes so much so that we feel to be silent is to evade our responsibility to stand on truth. The past few weeks I have felt so confused about this – confused about the situation and confused even more about what was happening inside my own heart. Maybe I haven’t been as alone as I have sometimes felt. 

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Sometimes its easy to agree to disagree with our brothers and sisters in Christ and other times, it can feel as if it goes against everything inside us to do so.

Sometimes perhaps we all have to say what we believe we must say and sometimes the members of the body of Christ do not agree.

Sometimes Paul and Barnabus each have opposite convictions about an issue, so much so that they cannot agree on a compromise. And perhaps neither one of them is wrong. Perhaps unity in the body is not a matter of agreement, but of respecting and understanding that we will each follow the decisions God is leading us to make even if we do not agree. And perhaps the matters of my heart have been a matter of finding peace with this.  

For several weeks I have been confused by all of these things more than ever. I have been concerned and I have let that concern rule me. Though I’ve tried to be respectful, I have still refused to choose God’s peace in my heart over the decisions that my brothers and sisters in Christ are making. I have been wrong to do so and it is healing to say all of that.  

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If you can relate to all of this in some way then maybe the same things that fill me with grace today can fill you too. Today the story of Peter is filling me with my God’s grace right now. Peter was so ready to say and do without a thorough examination of his heart in the light of Christ. I’m grateful to read the story of God taking a person like that and delighting to work on him and use him to share the good news of His kingdom.

Today I am grateful for physical reminders of how much he treasures me – for meeting Ms. Martha and seeing her artwork last week. For she has chosen to hang her museum worthy art pieces that are painted on clean white canvases next to things that many people wouldn’t give a second glance. She has chosen old gourds and scraps of wood and pieces of bone, and she has cleaned them up and painted them pretty and displayed it for all to see as a masterpiece that she delights to display.

I’m grateful that God delights to take people with flaws and crooked edges and display them as if on a shelf with all the rest of His handiwork. He calls me beautiful because though I may feel like my edges stick out most unbecomingly, I am most importantly a reflection of Him, not based of anything I have or have not done but because that is what He has found it in His heart of love to make me. 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10  

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Quiet Mama Meets New Town: When you need to know that you are free to love

When you move across cities, it’s your heart’s cry to find people you can call family who live where you are.

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When you leave the town you’ve always lived in, the home of your parents and grandparents, your brothers, home to your closest friends, home to the church family you love, fear tries to tell you that you’re trading a life of relationships for a life that is scratched of them – a life that is lonely.

Fear is the voice of a liar.

And when you so quickly find a group of people who welcome you with open arms and treat you and your children like you are family and give themselves to meet your needs, you are awed and grateful at how God provides. And even then, fear pokes up it’s ugly head.

You may be in the middle of a conversation, when it whispers that the real you is someone they’ll never trust, when it tells you to be someone else. It may ask you if these people could ever truly say that they believe in the work that God is making in you.

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Fear speaks words of doubt and worry and nothing from the hand of God.

Fear speaks words that could drive you away from the very people God is pointing you too. In questioning the love people have for you, fear tries to kill the love you have for them.

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The joy is in the knowing that fear has no power in a heart that belongs to Jesus.

If I was found in the goodness of shy Maggie, then when fear speaks I would have no strength of my own to stand.

But shy Maggie is dead and buried and fear’s words can stay in the grave with her because fear is powerless in a life that is found in the person of Jesus. He calls me free.

On the day He made me new, His Love found me where I was held captive by fear and made me free. I am free to love.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:1

“So if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

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The Quiet Invitation of New Beginnings

We pulled in to this new city we’ll be moving to, went to order dinner and asked the cashier what she liked about Paris, TX. She laughed, a hysterical laugh, and answered with, “nothing… work, eat, sleep. That’s all there is to do here.”

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Then we met Sergio. He hopes to leave his parent’s town soon and go to where we come from – Dallas. He has wonderful hopes for a future there.

I think somehow I really wished to hear from one person that night who was thriving in this little town. In a last effort, I started talking to Holley, the cashier at the dollar store. Holley told me she tried big city for a few months and decided she just couldn’t stay away from the small town that feels like home. Thank you, Holley.

I walked out the door to this, my Maker’s artwork and a reminder that the same God who forms the skies forms our life. Thank you, Jesus.

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Of course, location is not the key to happiness, but our spirits sure know how to let us know when the place we live isn’t suiting our soul, or the purposes we were made for right now. Earth won’t give us the place that is suiting to our soul. Yet, God gives it to us to be where our purpose takes us. That is why we are moving.

And maybe the small feelings of changing places, or being the new person around, maybe these big changes invite us to see the value of little moments.

It’s the small things of life that follow along behind you, no matter how the scenery changes. They don’t need to be packed in boxes, and driven across cities to remain a part of your life. And while parts of them might stay where you came from, there are pieces that always come with you. And you see the life you’ve been living stripped from its outward parts.

So maybe it’s these small parts of life that matter the most.

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And in my life I’ve felt the need to pray over big changes, but in the big changes my Maker bids me see that these little things of life might just be so important that I want to pray over them much more than what appears to be so big.

These little moments are where life is lived and where our purpose takes on shape.

Maybe sometimes I think of living for Jesus as productivity and “work, eat, sleep” life. But maybe it looks more like being present and hearing the small questions of our spirit, so we can take them to the Holy Spirit who knows what we were made for in this moment.

Maybe I need to know that times of silliness and laughing with people I love can be an offering of presence and what I was made for.

And even when I feel like I’m not sure how to do that, the Spirit is the One there ready to teach me in each small moment when I listen for His leading.

Somehow I forget that I can go to Him, not just for the big things, but the tiny things too. The tiny feelings of our moments always invite us to His presence where we can fall freely into His direction. And it feels like being a dependent sheep who is free to not have the path mapped out. He doesn’t know where he’s going or exactly why and doesn’t need to because he’s following his Shepherd just one step at a time.

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There are Blessings Inside the Pains

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This is my precious grandmother’s embroidery and the shoes my Nano gave me to promise that we are always a pair. They are things that speak to what has been on my heart over the past two weeks.

As the past fourteen days have seen hurt piled on hurt, and the struggle to process it all, I’ve been reminded in a such a sweet way yesterday and today of those things inside the hurts that I have to be grateful for. There was a pain that overshadowed the week last week and a deeper pain that overshadowed that this week. Yesterday the two pains both spoke to the same need in my soul to see the graces.

Since I became one with my Nano on our wedding day four years ago, I have felt the tension of prejudice in the American culture in a way I’d never seen it before. Interracial harmony is something my marriage must thrive on and when interracial harmony in our culture is threatened, it saddens me in such a personal way that’s hard to put words to. It hurt in a hard way to see that tension displayed tragically as it was last week in the two who lost their lives. Then we hurt for the men and women in blue who have so violently felt that same kind of prejudice displayed towards them because of the uniform they wear. Even then, much deeper pain has been felt since Wednesday when much of my grandmother’s mental abilities were taken from her so suddenly and the family was told to expect the worst. And the other pain was overshadowed by the pain of wishing I could redo the last few weeks and spend more time with my grandma. To think, in the still moments, that I may never get to have that last conversation with her, or hear her cute laugh again or say the little things I wanted to say, broke my heart.

Today I’ve been reminded of the blessings inside the hurts. In each of these hurts I have been given graces. Today I heard an, old, true story that gripped me of an American man and woman whose lives were at risk because they dared to marry interracially. Today I am so very grateful that though issues of prejudice are still very alive in this country, that there is somehow a difference between what was and what is. I’m thankful that interracial marriages are not under the threat of the law today and I am married to the man I love in freedom.

Today I’m grateful that though we’re unsure as to what is in store for my grandmother’s upcoming days, her life has pushed beyond doctor’s expectations. Because of that I’ve had the opportunity to stand by my grandma’s bed and say the little things I wanted to say. Though she wasn’t able to respond in clear words, the fact that she reached for my hand to squeeze gives me faith that she heard me. I was so glad again to get to sing to her for a little while yesterday. Though we don’t know what’s in her future I’m so grateful to have these little moments with her.

Each of these pains gave me a unique way to experience a blessing and for that I am so grateful. I have faith that even when we can’t see it, our God gives unique blessings inside of each hurt we face. Not every marriage exists in freedom. Not every person gets to have the bedside moments with that person they love. Still every hurt carries grace.

Today the chapter of Psalm seventy-seven speaks to the things on my heart.

“Has God forgotten to be gracious?”

“Then I said, I will appeal to this.”

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord.”

“You are the God who works wonders.”

When hearts are hurting and grace is difficult to feel, may we hold on to faith that the graces are there.

The Psalm speaks of God’s unseen footprints. I’m so glad that even when I don’t see it, God walks right along the path of all I face giving grace inside each painful moment.    

Where smallness is victorious over the boldness of hate

Hate speaks loudly. Boldly.

And trying to stand in a world of it feels small.

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It feels small to offer love and find yourself pushed to one side of something that can feel like a battlefield. It feels small to be in a world that is so confused by hate that love itself can feel like hate. It feels small to stand for things that looked so clear only to find that they are so much more complicated than our minds can understand. To speak to things that we all see from different places. To want love and justice so badly that we have trouble seeing it ourselves.

There is a certain smallness in being one person in a world of people who wants somehow to bring your own offering of good to it all. Because none of us know how to do it just right.

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It is confusing to try to love two sides of something that can feel divided. To want so very much to love and support one side hard then love and support the other just as hard. It is hard to raise any flag of truth without getting knocked onto a side.

Maybe, just maybe, we all get lost in it sometimes. Maybe somewhere inside us we were all made to stand for good and against evil, but somewhere, in our own mess, we blurred up the lines between the two.

And maybe in the confusion of all the loud voices around us we can believe that in some curious way the smallness of it all speaks victory over the boldness of hate. Maybe the small feelings that come from living in a world like this are the invitation to the answer. The small feelings ask us if we do it right, ask us who we even are. Questions that invite us to the answer. I don’t do it right, but Jesus did and who I am is Loved by Him. Whoever we are, black or blue, brown or white, the small feelings find us where we are and invite us here.

I am not right.

You are not right.

But, we desperately want to be right, to do right, to give ourselves right.

So, Jesus is right for us.

And He calls us all loved.

His righteous Love has already won victory in this battle we stand in and that victory brings us together. When the small feelings come and you question yourself, listen closely because when you reach inside the questions, the victory shout of Jesus whispers through. In a world where we are never perfectly right, He is. He called all of us wrong people loved and His victory was won. In every little moment, He gives me the right to claim it too. He whispers through the questions and offers Himself as the Rescue.