Last night I gathered around my table with the community of young women who have become my family. It is hard to believe how much has happened since we last met. It seemed appropriate to take a break from our current book discussion and spend the evening sharing about how we are feeling about the election and recent events instead. As a community of individual people our thoughts and emotions are varied, and yet our love and respect for one another is consistent. This is community at it’s best. And why I am committed to my calling to inspire others to create and engage in authentic community as well.
I wrote this for my Monday night community of sisters, and I want to share it with you as well:
So many thoughts and emotions stirring in my head and heart this morning. Our conversation last night was really helpful in broadening my perspective on how this election deeply affects everyone, but not necessarily in the same ways. It is a beautiful testimony to how uniquely created we are. Even though we share the identity of Christian and women – how we feel, interpret, and engage with the world around us differs. And yet our faith and and the testimony of Christ’s followers in scripture gives us hope that despite variances, we can still experience a deep sense of unity and caring for one another. What I experienced in a small way last night, is the foundation for my big dream and hope for my nation. Our time of sharing is a guide to how I’m going to pray for my country. It also deepens my commitment to listen and truly consider what others are saying – with a willingness to let what I hear shape what I think, rather than just trying to get my point across.
What I want most is to be light where there is darkness, and yet this is also where I feel the most challenged. This election and so many events of this past year have brought to light deep brokenness and inequality in our country, but how to move from awareness to action is something that feels much harder. Because the problems in our nation that have come to light through the cracks of brokenness are so deep and so overwhelming that I can’t get a handle on where or how to place my actions. So for now I’m going to spend a lot of time listening and praying and being thoughtful about my words. All the while asking God to prepare me to engage with this world in healing ways. May God grant us all the wisdom and courage to act every time an opportunity opens up before us – big or small – that invites us to be a part of the love, grace, and truth that brings hope, healing, strength, and unity to this world.
I also hope that what was shared last night by everyone is the beginning of an ongoing conversation, not a one time event. And that God will weave healing, hope, wisdom, unity, and calling into all of our conversations as we move forward together.
I just started reading the She Reads Truth 2 week study on the Beatitudes. It feels like divine timing to read scripture and commentary on this upside down world:
No matter how comfortable the house, we’ll never feel fully at home in this world; we were made for the coming one. But while we’re here, we have a job to do. Our job is not to earn our blessings; Jesus did that. Our assignment is to be salt and and light to the very world that makes us fidget with discomfort. As those who carry the life of Jesus around in us, we have a message of hope to offer a dying world (2 Corinthians 4:10). We hold out the Word of Life, inviting our neighbors “to taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). (excerpt from a commentary written by Amanda Bible Williams)
That is the end of my letter to my girls. Two minutes after I hit send a homeless man knocked on my front door. I answered the door and said hello. He asked me if I had any rice or oatmeal that I could give him. I said sure and went to my pantry to get the biggest bag of rice I could find, while my yellow lab rubbed up against his legs, wagging her tail while he pet her. I handed it to him, we both smiled, and wished each other a good day. And he left.
As I sit back down at my laptop I am sensing the movement of the Holy Spirit within me whispering to my heart that this man is a part of my community too. It seems that the first action step that I’m called to in response to all the listening is just broadening my view and definition of who my community is.
I should have asked that man his name, and told him mine. Next time I will. These are the small actions that move all of us towards healing.