Speak Up

I will admit that I have been hesitant to write this post today because I am not sure that I have the right words to say, but I do feel like it is my duty as a Christian to speak up.  What is happening in our world right now hurts my heart in so many ways.  My heart aches for all of my friends who are black.  I won’t even say that I can imagine how you are feeling right now because I know that I can’t.  I cannot even begin to fathom what it is like to be automatically judged by everyone because of the color of my skin.  I have never experienced it and likely never will.  Seeing my friends pouring out their hearts on social media in anguish and fear makes me sick.  It has to stop. 

I was raised to know and love Jesus Christ.  Because of that I grew up knowing that God called us to love above all else.  The song “Jesus Loves Me” was sung to me many times by my grandmother when I was little.  I can still hear her voice singing it right now.  She would tell me that Jesus loves us all “red, yellow, black, and white” and that we are all “precious in his sight” just like the song says. I believed her then and still do now that I am grown and she is gone.  In God’s eyes, we are all equal, but in this world here on Earth we aren’t.  We never have been.  What is happening right now is proof of that.  We are not living out God’s word in real life.  The golden rule is to love your neighbor as yourself, and I can’t say that any of us are truly following that rule.  We may love those neighbors that look just like us, but do we really love those that don’t?  If we did, these senseless killings would not be occurring at such an alarming rate.  People wouldn’t feel the need to riot to have their voices heard. Men wouldn’t be afraid of being harmed while on a run in their neighborhood. Mothers of boys who are black wouldn’t be scared to death to raise their sons in this world filled with hate.  We are not following the golden rule.  We are all guilty whether we believe we are or not.  It’s the hard truth of our world, and it is sickening. 

I strongly believe that God also calls us to fight against the injustices of the world.  I know that my God, the God of love, hates injustice.  He desires for us to put an end to it and speak out against it.  We can no longer remain silent and ignore what is happing right in front of our faces. One race should not be treated any differently than any other, but that is what has happened over and over again.  I don’t have all the answers on how to fix it, but I know that it starts with love in its purest form, the love of Jesus Christ. Without it, this hatred will never end.  As another popular song says, He is the “Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, and Light in the Darkness.”  I truly believe that. If anyone can bring about change, it is Him. I pray with all my heart that we can come together as one nation and make real change happen. It starts with more Jesus, more love, more peace, and more justice.

To all of my friends in the black community who are hurting, I am sorry.  I am sorry for every wrong that has ever been done to you because of the color or your skin.  I am sorry for all the fear you have had to live with every day that I can never understand. I want to you to know that I am blessed to know you and to call you my friend.  You are loved by me, but most importantly, you are loved by God. You are strong.  You are held. You belong.  You are a child of God. That above all else is the message I want you to hear.  I am standing with you and for you, and I will do my part to try to create real change.  

Anchored,

6,933 Days of Imperfection

In just 6 days, my husband and I will be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago and in other ways it seems like a few weeks ago.  I am not going to sit here and lie to you and tell you that it has been 19 years of wedded bliss.  I can’t say that, and I believe that anyone that does is either lying to themselves or to you.  No marriage is absolutely perfect.  No marriage is without arguments and struggles.  While I cannot say that the past 19 years have been absolutely perfect, I can say that I would do it all over again, including all the heartache and struggles.  Those things have made me who I am now, and I am sure that my husband would say the same thing.  I think we could both say of each other that we are very different people than we were 19 years ago.  I know I was a young, naïve, skinny little thing who had no clue what military life was all about.   I had dreams about the perfect little family with the perfect house.  I had dreams that I was going to change the world as a beloved teacher who was making a difference in the lives of children with special needs.  The perfect life. While I did get the family and the house, and I think I made a difference in the lives of many kids, none of it was perfect.  None of it was without struggle.  My image of perfect didn’t really exist.  It wasn’t realistic.  I am not telling you that I have had a bad life or a bad marriage by any means.  In fact, I would say that my marriage is pretty darn good. It’s just not picture perfect all the time, and I no longer want it to be.  

Marriage is hard in general, but throw in military life and it is even harder. Military life adds a whole aspect to your marriage that those that aren’t military would never understand.  I can assure you, your husband’s traveling doesn’t compare! You can never fully understand unless you have lived it, and I don’t even think I could adequately explain it. If I were to add up all of the days that my husband has been deployed, I would not be exaggerating to say that he has been gone for at least half of our marriage. He has missed so many things, and I know that weighs heavily on him.  It has changed us both.  People tell me all the time, that I am so strong and that they don’t know how I do it. I am strong when I have to be, but all those people didn’t see what happened when I was in my room all those nights feeling a deep loneliness and the weight of the world crushing my shoulders knowing that I had to get up the next morning and brave it all again alone. It was hard, and no amount of strength could have made it any easier for either of us.  One of the hardest days of my life and my husband’s was a day when we should have both been rejoicing.  It was the day our youngest daughter was born.  He wasn’t there.  He was deployed and unable to come home.  By some miracle, he happened to be pulled into a port that day, so he did get to talk to me on the phone that day and knew that she had been born and she and I were fine. He literally went back to sea minutes after she was born, and we didn’t have any communication with him again for 6 weeks.  I can only imagine what torment that was for him.  I know how hard it was for me, but I know it was even worse for him.  He didn’t get to meet our daughter until she was 3 months old.  I know that is something that will haunt him for the rest of his life.   Another struggle that military life brought was having to learn to live with and share life with each other over and over again. There was always a learning curve adjusting to life together and apart every single time he left and every single time he came home. It wasn’t easy.  I can go on and on about the struggles of military life, but that isn’t what is important.  What is important is that it was hard.  It did affect our marriage and who we were as individuals and together.  

Yes, I could say that I would have rather not have experienced any of that, but that’s not entirely true.  I proved to myself that I could do hard things. I had strength that I never knew existed inside me. It forced me to step way out of my comfort zone over and over again. It shaped me into the person that I am now.  That person is someone that I am proud of, someone I want my girls to look up to. That young, naïve girl from 19 years ago is gone. In her place is a woman who loves her husband more than anything in the world, knows that life isn’t perfect, has strength beyond measure, has fought her way through the tough times, and has dreams that are far bigger than anything she could have imagined years ago. No my marriage isn’t perfect. We fight, we argue, and we even dislike each other sometimes; but none of that matters.  At the end of the day he is my person and I am his. We love each other beyond comprehension, and we will continue to grow and change together through whatever life throws us until we are both no longer here on this Earth.  Then we will spend eternity together in heaven where we will walk hand in hand along those golden roads. I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true.  We joined together as one that day 19 years ago, and we will stay that way forever.  As I look back over the years, I see lots of struggles and hard days, but I also see so many days of happiness, love, and pure joy. I don’t want to erase any of them.  I want to hold them all tightly in my heart.  There is plenty of space left for all the days that are to come, and I can’t wait to see what they hold for us.  I have said before that I am perfectly imperfect, and I can totally say the same thing about my marriage.  The past 6,933 days have been perfectly imperfect. Here’s to many, many more! 

Anchored in love,