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.

njtzygd3imw-aaron-burden
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…

12308614_10153443949277196_6366455887292568265_n

10370369_10152682769397196_8063714885112777359_n

11046575_10152966658662196_6934575623436020120_n

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.

FullSizeRender (39)

FullSizeRender (36)

FullSizeRender (33)

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Keeping Ready: Birth and Grace

Setting up the changing station, putting clean sheets in the bassinet, hanging curtains to block the light, I’m preparing our home for Liesel. It’s not the only way I’m preparing. I go to doctor’s appointments, try to put good protein in my diet, and take vitamins for her to care for her now, though I can’t hold her, can’t see her. It’s because I believe she’s alive and that I’ll hold her soon. I’m preparing myself to give birth to her… I read up on the birth process, and do my workouts to gain strength for labor. It’s because I’ll soon hold her and care for her physically that I wash these clothes and stack them neatly in the dresser and ensure the bottles and toys are clean and ready to use. These are just some of the ways I’ve been preparing for her, for the birth that I know is imminent. This preparation, it affects just about every aspect of my life right now and this is my reminder to hold on to. This is one way He’s pointing me to the Gospel again. Because when Bro. Robby asks how our lives are affected by the knowledge of His coming, this is where that question takes me. Because if the knowledge of my baby’s coming affects my life this much, how does the knowledge of my Savior’s coming affect me?

The car seat, the bassinet, the diaper changing station, the baby clothes and toys… I’m keeping it all clean and ready with my bag packed for the hospital stay. She could come any time and I’m putting forward the effort every day to be ready for her. And my Savior’s coming is imminent too and how am I keeping ready? Grace trains us to wait for the blessed hope of His appearing. (Titus 2:11-14) It trains us to wait ready, not quitting life, but being prepared, expectantly, eagerly waiting. I don’t stand at the door, bag in hand waiting for the labor pains to come so I know to go to the hospital. And the ten virgins in Christ’s parable (Mt. 25) took a nap while they were waiting for the bridegroom, but five of those virgins slept expectantly with the oil for their lamps on hand, ready to trim the wick of their lamp and go out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were waiting, prepared even in sleep. And maybe the Titus passage gives me a better idea of what that kind of waiting looks like.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14

A life of waiting is marked by renouncing sin and striving after godliness, (Vs. 12) but it’s grace alone that trains us to live that way. (Vs. 11-12) Waiting ready is living in the light of grace. Grace is our lamp. We keep the oil always ready for the lamp of grace. We cling to the work our God has done, because it’s there that grace lights up our hearts, holding to the treasures of our moments that point to the grace of Jesus’ gift. Jesus who gave His life from the manger to the cross to become our life, the life that frees us from sin and makes us beautiful to be called His bride. That is the waiting, that is the lamp I daily keep ready. (Vs. 14)

_________________

Hoping to keep up with the blog better now that I’ve finished the book. More to come on lessons from life with baby. :)

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.