“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”
I’ve been thinking a lot over the last little while about how we live in both pain and gratitude. Pain, grief, worry, heartache and incompleteness live alongside faith, love, life, gratitude, and blessings. Highs and lows always come together and we find balance in the ups and downs of life.
I haven’t quite figured out balance. I don’t know exactly how to climb out of my rock bottom gracefully, or how to find gratitude in my grieving or how to be grateful for the fall.
Someday…maybe. For now all I can do is have faith, cry out and do my best to find the & in life, to embrace life’s duality, and to sit in the present.
I grew up in the way most white people do from small towns. Our family lived a simple life not dirt poor, but sort of at the bottom of middle class when true middle class existed. My dad worked a blue collar job and my mom had two teaching jobs to put my sister through college.
My parents took us to church and we were taught from a very early age that we were to be kind to all people. My maternal grandmother had adopted two African America daughters and before we were ever taught about adoption was and how we came to have two aunts that didn’t look the same as any of our other aunts and uncles, we never thought a single thing was out step with all of our other white friends’ families. People were people and we loved every single one of our aunts equally. I like to say I was color blind for a long time.
While I am grateful to have grown up in an era of colorblindness not learning hate based on skin color, I think we were done a disservice. It’s not the fault of the adults around me, but I wish that I would have asked more questions as I got older. I wish I wouldn’t have just sat quietly by when I started to notice pain and hurt in the black community.
I am ashamed by my prolonged period of quiet while pretending to understand, especially since I have an incredibly open aunt who is willing to discus any topic with me “Aunt Style” (you aunties know what I am talking about…talking to nieces about the important stuff and imparting wisdom without being like a “Mom“). Asking now just seems like an empty shell of an effort. But I did. I am going to share a few thoughts.
My Aunt shared this video, I know your have probably seen it, it’s been floating around for quite a while. She shares that it isn’t just the white kids being ahead but that some don’t feel guilty about it even once they realize what is happening. That is me. I have seen how she was treated my whole life. I know what is going on. I know how hard it is for the black people in this nation to get ahead. One of her comments though was “It’s not about feeling guilty for your privilege…it’s about how you use it.”
So while I see a lot of my white friend putting up black screens across social media and “muting” themselves until June 7th in a show of support while listening, I will not sit silent. I will lift up the voice of my loved ones who I pray for daily. I have worried too many times after reading a headline of a black man dying at the hands of the police, or a black woman being killed by a white mass shooter, I worry about the names I would read once clicking though all while praying it isn’t someone I love.
I have never once been scared for my life while being pulled over. I have never been scared of a police officer. I have never once been judged by the color of my skin. I won’t stop amplifying the voices of those who have, until they feel as though justice has been done. I pray it will be in my lifetime.
After graduation I was a little lost for what to do with myself. I knew I was supposed to be relaxing but I didn’t relax in a healthy way. I was on my phone way too much and Facebook sucked me in and made me sad. Following the advice of my amazing doctor, I deactivated my account, I read more books, I got back into healthy hobbies, I didn’t dwell on the drama others created. It was the best! I didn’t miss it for even a second! I have been taking my medicine, trying to eat better, studying my bible, leaning on faith and really trying to take care of myself. It has been good and I am starting to feel good again.
Enter coronavirus. I no longer have the opportunity to catch up with my friends each Sunday at church. I don’t get to wish them happy birthday or share fun activities with my church kids. I don’t get to talk to other moms waiting for kids or hang out with PTO mom’s at school.
Long story, not so short, I have reactivated my Facebook account so I can effectively do my job as a youth ministry coordinator. I feel it is the most utilized tool to get information out and get realtime feedback from kids and parents. This season of doubt and worry is when we all need each other the most. I have been feeling the call to share faith, learning, and stories with my church kids so strongly and I miss them all fiercely.
I will be adding as many resources here as I can, but also sharing the links and information on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I will share a schedule of things, activities, and live chats, studies, and zoom meetings as soon as possible.
For now there are a lot of links here I hope will be useful to you. Know I am here for you praying and wishing I could hug you all tight.
I’ve been leaning into my faith pretty hard as of late. I’ve been embracing grief and dealing with so much change. Faith is the only constant in my life.
This week I’ve been sinking deep into the meaning of the Beatitudes, the impact of the sermon on the mount, and the cultural importance it had in the time. I have learned so much in preparation of teaching. While things may be foggy in the distance, I know there is a path clearly defined for me. I may not know what is in my foggy future, but God gives me the ability to be joyful in my now. He gives me the tools to survive shock waves and stumbling blocks, grief and doubt, hardship and pain.
With love and humility I can embrace the beauty of life, my family around me, and the surprises presented. I really love this life I’ve been gifted, all the twists and turns, the ups and downs, the struggles and so very much joy.
I haven’t been this excited for a Sunday in a while. A Sunday where I get to teach and a Sunday where I get to listen with my whole heart.