Fatal Run

Ahmaud Arbery’s murder strikes a deep chord in me, as it should in all of us. His murder is senseless.

I remember one morning I sat curled in the fetal position on the bathroom floor wondering if I should walk out the door to run. Following some unusual activity on my running app, I had been warned that men may hunt me down on my GPS or memorize my running schedule. As a woman who had been stalked in college, this did not seem entirely unlikely to me.

I can ruminate endlessly on all the factors surrounding my fears, and the sources that augmented them at the time. But what I remember the definitive moment that I began waking up at four and not thinking about it anymore. I stood next to my bed a bit later that day and thought, “If I die, I know where I am going.”

I got up the next day and kept running anyway.

I confess, fear for my own life is far less than fear that I have over those I love. To think someone that I love, one of the girls I have lived with, or my friends’ children might die in such a senseless way is beyond tragic.

Sometimes I am tempted to think, “What can we do about it?”

I don’t want to compare my fear to what actually happened in this man’s case. As a woman, I do live thinking about how I might be assaulted by a man. I did take a group of girls I love to self defense class.

And yet, it doesn’t matter how strong you are when you face a bullet and you are unarmed. As a woman, I may fear assault, but some of my fellow image bearers have faced murder simply because of the color of their skin.

I wish acts like this would become so reprehensible to the public that shame keeps people from such senselessness. But the truth is—there are wicked people in this world who are beyond being shamed by anything.

They persist despite their shame. They keep going and acting in ways I could never fathom.

And yet, I speak. Not often, and not always. But sometimes I just cannot help but say something as we all weep over a senseless tragedy. As we thank God for some semblance of justice even as we ask how an act like that could happen.

 

Please Help Spread the Love

I have been sitting here in quarantine with the rest of the world. It is a frightening time for many people. Some of us may be more fearful than others, and some have far more at stake. Some people may be overloaded with work, and others may feel useless in their new circumstances.

I am in a place in my own life, where I am trying to learn my new place. Its been a hard year for me. And I appreciate relationships now more than ever.

Today, I happened upon a Facebook post from a stranger who is saying goodbye to her family as she faces quarantine in a hospital. She is young, and will likely survive, but that’s little comfort to someone facing her situation.

As I thought about it, I remembered a point when I was young when I questioned, “What if the plane I am getting on crashes? What do I want to do before I die?”

So, I sat down that night and began writing letters to friends and family. I wanted them to know how much I loved them. How I saw them. How precious they are to me. My mom does not even remember this.

But as we look at all the graphs depicting how one action of staying home can keep this virus from spreading, compared to how one action of going out can send it around the world, I cannot help but think this. What if every person who stays home sends a letter to contact all the people they can think of in their life who have impacted them, who have mattered? Imagine what a giant curve of love we could spread worldwide. Even if you just write 5 people who are truly important in your life, what a giant curve of love we could spread while we are flattening our pandemic curve.

I want to ask all of you to please join me in this task. Surely staying home isn’t all we can do. Let’s spread some love around the world!

 

Dear Faint of Heart

Lately I have felt as if I have been pruned down to nothing. I sat confused yesterday under the preaching of God’s word wondering why the Lord had taken so much away. And yet, I can believe the tempter’s deception that because much has changed that now I have nothing to give.

Maybe you have felt that way before, too?

Its true, I don’t have much to give. I am at one of the lowest points in my life begging God for answers. And while I have often felt as if my voice has been stripped from me, Satan has not won that battle. God has given me a voice with which I can still speak.

I wish I could offer more than my words to you. As I look around and see parents who have lost children and friends who have had relatives murdered, my pain feels small. We can be tempted to compare both blessings and suffering and think “What place do I have to speak?”

I don’t know your pain. I have fumbled all over the place trying to walk with people through their pain over the years. I don’t know what its like to live in a war-torn country. I haven’t had to steal food to survive.

But because of that, I have often at times neglected to mourn over my own struggles, difficulties and hardships and find those who could mourn with me.

We do live in a cursed world, and to look around and deny it would be foolish. When I sit and wrestle with all that has been stripped from my life lately, I can offer you the same hope and encouragement I have found.

When it feels like I have nothing else, I am not alone. I serve a God who upholds me in my sorrow. He is a steady rock when all else changes. He holds my tears in a bottle. He hides me in the shelter of his wings. He will never leave me or forsake me. He is gentle and patient though I don’t deserve it.

As I face trials in my life I do not understand, I know he sees all and rules. When I feel crushed by pain, I can remember that compared with eternity this pain is a light and momentary affliction. When I don’t know who I can trust, I can still hold on to his promises and his word.

I wish that today I could step in and lift you from whatever pain you are facing, as I hope also that I will be lifted from mine. As I come to terms with how often I am incapable of doing what I would like to do for others, I can still point you to the God who upholds me in my time of trouble.

“Though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

This is My Father’s World

Maltbie Babcock

My faint heart

Is not enough

This shattered soul

Is not an offering

My mind is fragmented

Here it is

My strength

Is feeble and frail

Here I am Lord

If you can use me

That is truly a testament

That Jesus Christ is Lord

Who also has the power to resurrect the dead.

Speechless

The wordsmith loses her words

What can I say?

Children packed in cribs

Their memories haunt me

I am powerless

The child behind the door

Another orphan checks her pulse

It’s faint

Who is there to care for them?

Leaders display power

Leaders?

There must be some other word

The people cry out in the streets

Gunfire

The smell of feces and urine overwhelm

In shacks and sheds

Starving

Men and women have no room

For more mouths

Governments fight

Still no policy prevents this

You, O Lord, are our only hope!

Have mercy, Father