The following post is something I wrote a couple months ago and never shared. But in light of the events of this past weekend, I pulled it back out. I think it’s a good time to share it. What took place in Charlottesville is heartbreaking and it’s a good time to remember the goodness of what it is to be American. It’s a good time to feel the heart of this country with the heart inside our own skin, and sit in the quiet of how God is using the past weekend in our own lives. For this is where battles are won. May we face the small feelings it meets us with and bring them to the one who is Light.
I sat on the wooden staircase, veiled and dressed in white, waiting for my dad to say it was time. In just a few minutes, I would live the freedom that did not exist for the nation just five decades earlier. Fifty years earlier, we could have been arrested for a day like this. But this is America, where our legacy has always been in striving to put away our prejudice and call all people equal.
Luiz and I were made for each other. We just happened to have different skin colors.
Taking my dad’s arm, we walked to the chapel doors. And when those doors opened to begin a new chapter of life, they opened to a freedom that had been fought for by generation upon generation of Americans who held tight in their hearts to the belief that people of every color, creed and nation were created in the image of God, just the same as they.
This belief in equality gave the strongest fight, not on a battlefield or in a war of words, but inside of individual hearts. It fought strongest in the hearts of people who admitted the prejudice inside their own mind, and determined to war against it.
Because of God’s grace, lived out in those people, I got to live my wedding day so freely. I walked the aisle of that chapel to take the hands of the one I loved. On that stage, I looked into his eyes and spoke my vows. There was one simple line that I was so proud and grateful to offer in front of so many witnesses. “Your people will be my people.”
The life my husband and I know today would look so different if America had not chosen this. My children’s lives would look so different. I am grateful to over two hundred years worth of a nations people who have lovingly sought to stand on the ground of equality.
As an American, the grace that can work through my one heart is the same as it was in all of those who made the freedom of my wedding day possible.
As an American, and even as my husband’s wife, prejudice tries to live in my heart too. It finds the most success when I say it’s not there. As much as Luiz and I are proud to belong to each other, and as much as we are proud to call each other’s people our own, we very much need each other’s help and accountability to see every kind of people with the same love.
Prejudice tries to creep in any way it can and it happens with more than just race. It wants us to suspect things about a person simply because of the family they came from, a group they belong to, or a word they said. It wants us to look at any part of them other than the heart inside them that was made just like our own.
But we have a God who is bigger with a love that is stronger than any prejudice we have ever known. He is able to give us the grace to take up the fight inside us, where the battle is really won. A legacy has been created in America because this is just what He has done in so many hearts already.
My husband was not born here but he is so proud to call himself an American. It is not a perfect country, nor does it’s legacy perfectly exist in every part of it’s soil. But the blemishes will never change the legacy that has been made here, the legacy that gave freedom to the open doors on my wedding day. To be American is to be part of all of this.
To be American is to stand in the beautiful victory already won by the years of battles in so many hearts. To be American is to continue to take up the battle to let God’s love pour through our own hearts to all the wonderfully made people in the world who are just like us.