Tag: Love

Dear America

Dear America,

Up until the early hours of Wednesday morning, I thought I was going to address this letter to Madam President.

Oh, from what lofty heights we fall.

I don’t know what to say, my friends. And yet, I don’t know how to stay silent. The words spill from the overflow of my heart.

Fear. That is the word I hear being repeated over and over today, as we transition to a new presidency. People have come into work crying. Some are questioning whether the things that define them have now made it unsafe to live in this country.

And it seems that a good chunk of the Christian community is a little too quick to brush off such sentiment with hurried reassurances that as long as God sits on His throne, we have nothing to fear.

This is true. He is still King and He is still Lord of my broken heart.

But, America.

Jesus wept.

Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

John 11: 30-35 (NASB)

As a witness to the unspeakable grief of friends and family, Jesus wept. Jesus wept despite knowing, more certainly than anyone else ever has, that this story, that no story, ends in death. So perhaps grief and fear are not one and the same but ultimately, the tears of Christ remind me that we are entitled to sadness.

Remember that, America. It’s okay to be sad. We can take a moment to mourn the future we had planned and process the reality of the present.

And because He is our perfect example, we can turn to Jesus to show us what to do in the midst of our tears.

So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”

John 11: 41 (NASB)

I wonder if I’ve been staring at this glass ceiling for so long that I have neglected to look heavenward. Maybe we all have. But if we look to the Lord in prayer, we can say with full confidence that He hears us.

America. Land that I love. God hears us.

And since He hears us, we can go forth and do. Because after Jesus prays, He calls Lazarus from the dead.

Death is not the end of our story.

I do not pretend to have the wisdom to know what will heal the divisive wounds left on this nation but I remember what Scripture tells us: There is no fear in love.

Some of us wonder what exactly people are so scared of today. And of course, much of it centers on policies and promises and potential reforms. But as I watched the numbers pour in last night, the thing I was most afraid of was an environment of hatred. A pervasive and debilitating allowance for intolerance.

But love is a choice, America. And no matter who is in office, we can choose to love.

They say love is blind but I don’t know if that’s true. I think love sees full well the faults and flaws of its beloved. But it chooses to love anyway.

Which is why I think we’re called to love our neighbors, America, even if we don’t agree with them. Our neighbors of color who are afraid of having years of progress erased. Our Muslim neighbors who maybe thought twice before donning a hijab today. Our LGBT neighbors who don’t know if there is enough grace left in this country for them. Our neighbors across party lines. Our neighbors who hate us and what we stand for.

Oh yes, America, even them. It is perhaps the hardest choice we will have to make but if Jesus chose love on the cross for us while we were yet sinners, I think we need to do the same.

And maybe this is too much to include in an open letter to the United States but to the daughters I hope to one day mother. My precious girls. In this life you will see unthinkable evil and experience grave injustice. Fight against it. Stand in the gap with the unwavering conviction that you are dearly loved and uniquely capable. And while I pray that I will be someone you can look to in uncertain times, I know the better bet is Jesus. Fix your gaze on the one who sits at the right hand of your Father in Heaven.

Because there are no ceilings in the kingdom of heaven, my dears.

There are people who want to leave you, America. I will not. I pledge my allegiance to this flag.

But it is God in whom I trust.

God bless you, America.

Love always,

Me

On Valentine’s Day

It is the evening of Valentine’s Day and I am in my parents’ house where my presence is always welcome and the food is always free. I’m wearing my comfiest pajamas, have no makeup on and my hair is knotted in a mess at the top of my head. It’s only 8 pm but I’m nestled under warm sheets with a movie loading on my laptop and I have no intention of getting up until tomorrow morning. I am gloriously, wonderfully alone.

Most people think there is something wrong with that.

What is our aversion to singleness, you guys? Why is the only good version of Valentine’s day the one where you’re out on a date? And why, WHY, do I want that version so bad?

Oh, I’m sorry. Were you looking for a post teeming with self-confidence and assurances that I am perfectly happy not having someone to call my Valentine? Better keep looking, y’all.

The truth is I don’t know if I could say I’m perfectly happy being single. In fact, sometimes being single really sucks. It sucks when I pass a couple arm in arm and I realize I have nowhere to put my hand except my pocket. It sucks when I want to go out but my best friends have significant others or, even worse, spouses to go home to. (You know who you are.) It sucks when I outwardly roll my eyes at the over commercialized shamble Valentine’s Day has become but secretly think it might not be so bad to have someone send me flowers and chocolate and a sappy card to boot.

And these sucky parts of being single on Valentine’s Day? They started many, many moons ago. Back when we used to exchange valentines in elementary school and I realized some kids had bigger piles of cards than I did. Or middle school when we upgraded to candy grams and cheap carnations and I’d sit hoping that someone would drop a package on my desk. Just one, please, please, please. But they didn’t.

I think at the core of it, being single on Valentine’s Day brings up fears that perhaps I am not wanted. Perhaps I’m not good enough. Perhaps I am inherently less than because I’m not part of a pair.

This deep-rooted fear of mine has provided the soil for some of Satan’s biggest lies. And like most lies, they start out sounding kind of charming. A little idealistic. Like something you read out of a fairytale.

“You complete me.”

Umm, you guys? What? You “complete” me? What does that even mean? That I’m walking around like a fraction of myself, hoping that someone will show up with the missing piece?

I don’t buy it, you guys. It doesn’t make sense because it contradicts what we read in the Word, which is the living truth and an account of the One who is trustworthy. The Word tells us that in marriage, “two become one flesh.” Two become one. Not one half and another half become one. Two, completely separate yet completely whole individuals, become one.

The truth is, even in my singleness, I am complete. Not because I have it all together, but because Christ crucified lives in me. The fullness of my identity is hidden in Him and by understanding more of who He is, I find more of who I am. And who I am is already loved. Loved to death.

So to all my single friends: you are not lacking because you are not in a relationship. You are not any less of yourself. I know it can be lonely but I will be here for you like you are here for me and we’re going to be fine.

And to all my friends who are not single: forgive me for my moments of jealousy. Please be patient with me. Know that I am truly happy for you and I’m grateful for the lessons you and your loved one teach me.

To all of us: Happy Valentine’s Day. May we always know that perfect Love has already chosen us. May we always know that He is enough.