Friday, July 8, 2016

Hate and Blame Are Not the Answer

Yesterday I wrote a personal post about my family. This post was shared many many times.  My heart was overwhelmed with thankfulness. Not because I had written it and certainly not because I felt like it was super inspiring and well written. I wrote it because I wanted people to see the heart of a real life experience. I wanted people to see that we need change. I wanted people to begin to understand what is happening in our country. I wanted people to begin to acknowledge that hate exists among us.

Then, last night about 8:00, my husband and I both started getting text messages. "Have you seen the news? Did you see what's happening in Dallas?" No, no I haven't. We are grocery shopping before my husband leaves on a missions trip tomorrow. "It's awful. Officers have been shot. There are snipers shooting at them. There was a peaceful protest and it was ending and then snipers just started shooting. It's awful sounding."

My heart sank to the souls of my feet. My husbands face looked numb. It was almost like we couldn't speak. We hurried home to get the boys in bed so we could turn on the news. It was total chaos. The sounds of gunshots roaring through the air. Why God Why? This is not the change I had in mind.

Your heart should be breaking in to a million pieces right now. If it's not, you're part of the problem. If your heart is not breaking for Alton Sterling and Phinlandro Castile, you're part of the problem. If your heart is not breaking for those police officers last night in Dallas, especially the ones who were killed, you are part of the problem. HATE AND BLAME ARE NOT THE ANSWERS.

We cannot hate every officer for the actions of the officer that took place in Louisiana. Why? Because we end up losing our good guys. The officers last night had nothing to do with what happened in another state yet they are the ones who have suffered. They courageously and bravely stood up to protect those around them because that is their job. We have to stop grouping every officer in the BAD COP category.

We cannot blame every black person for the actions of the snipers that attacked the officers in Dallas last night. They do not represent the entire black community. Stop blaming black people for the actions of a few. Not all black people are thugs.

Friends, I don't have an immediate solution like so many of you asked of me yesterday. This has been a problem far longer than just this past week. At times it makes me question, is there a solution? If there has not been a solution before now, is there one? My thoughts lead to this, educate, be educated and don't dismiss. Don't dismiss what is happening around you. you will never understand what you don't acknowledge. Take off your blinders and don't dismiss the hate and the blame. Educate your children. Teach them from the time they are able to talk to love everyone. Teach them kindness and compassion no matter what. Allow yourself to be educated. If you don't understand, find someone who can help you. Don't be afraid to ask questions but when you ask them be willing to listen.

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ then I imagine this won't mean much to you but since I do this is what I believe. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. And he is doing just that. He is taking the lives of our people right in front of our eyes. He is turning us against each other any way he can.

We have got to stop seeing our neighbors as our enemy because of the color of their skin, because of their profession. I believe we are very close to seeing the return of our Lord and I want to be ready. Do you realize that there will be cops and black people (people of all color for that matter) in heaven? God does not pick and choose who he thinks deserves to enter in. None of us deserve it. There is no good deed that we can do that will give us a quick pass in to the kingdom. But by the grace of God and the salvation that we receive through him, ALL people who have confessed their sins and accept Jesus into their heart shall be saved and can enter in!  God is looking at the hearts of His people. Not the color of their skin. Not the job that they do every day.

Prayer changes things. We may not see it today, tomorrow, or a year from now. But prayer changes things. It's time we stand for what is right. Pray for those who do wrong. Weep with those that are weeping. And most of all, we need to LOVE our neighbors as Christ has loved us. God loves every single person that walks this Earth. He loves you. He loves you more than you will ever know.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Dear Friends: Promise Me You Will Read the Whole Thing

For all my friends that know me well know that I hate confrontation and arguments. I would rather just do what needs to be done and avoid it at all costs. But, for the last two nights, when my husband has fallen asleep, I have gone to the bathroom and cried. I have cried over the loss of a man that I didn't even know. I have cried because there is a fear inside of me that wonders if someday this could be my husband or one of my three sons. PROMISE ME YOU WILL READ THE WHOLE THING.

This is not a post about white cops killing black people so please just keep reading. This is a post about a wife and a mother wanting you desperately to understand the world we are living in and the reason we react to certain news stories the way we do. In fear.

When I met Nick, I met a funny, smart, incredibly good looking man. A black man. A black man that became my husband and the father of my three amazing boys. He and my boys did not get to choose what color of skin they have. God did that. And since God is the perfector of all things, I would say their skin is just perfect. Imagine if you had a son/daughter born with down syndrome, mental retardation, born without an arm or a leg, etc, imagine if one of my boys or me and my husband made a joke about them? Remember now, it was only a joke. It would anger you to the core. It would hurt every fiber in your being. Why? Because they didn't choose this disability. They are your son/daughter and you love them no matter what. So imagine when you make a joke to me or my husband about a black stereotype. "Oh Nick doesn't like watermelon. I thought all black people do."It hurts. It's not funny. You may see us laugh it off and shake our head, why? Because if we say anything to you about it, you become defensive and say Oh I was just joking. It was just a joke. It's just a joke to you but your joke is part of the problem.  PROMISE ME YOU WILL READ THE WHOLE THING.

Two weeks ago my husband and I were in Walmart. He saw the lady watching him the whole time. We were in the self-checkout. We rang everything up, checked out and left. She was still watching him. We are almost to the door and the cashier comes running to us. "A customer didn't see you scan the two air mattresses. Can I check your receipt?" (A customer?) Yes mam, here it is. "Oh there it is. Sometimes things just don't show up. I didn't see you ring it up." Wait, you first said a customer. Now you say it doesn't always show up. Now you say it was you that didn't see it. See, I know what you are thinking friends, we are making it a race thing. We have had plenty encounters to know when he is being targeted for race and when he is not. So please, don't try and dumb this down to being nothing. That is part of the problem.

Let me ask you a few questions: Have you ever had your 3 year old nephew come home upset because his white friend said he didn't want to play with him because he was black? (Explain that to a 3 year old) Have you ever ridden with your husband through a town where the KKK is still active and fear grips his face because he is just praying we make it through there without breaking down and before it gets dark? Have you ever had someone in the store ask you, "Oh is he yours?" talking about my son. Have you ever had anyone ask you, "Oh, where is she from?" talking about my niece because they thought she was adopted. Have you ever been asked if you are still with THE daddy because you couldn't possibly have the same dad for all three boys and still be with him. Have you ever gone to school to get your Bachelor's degree and people just assume you are there to play sports? My husband did not go to college to play sports. He went to further his education.

I hear what you are saying. Trust me. I know you know us. I know you know what kind of man Nick is and how we are raising our boys but society doesn't. Not everyone sees him as a well educated black man. A black man who was a coach, a middle school teacher and now a High School Youth Minister. Not everyone will see the big heart he has, the hard worker that he is, the compassion that he feels for those in need. They will only see him as a black man. Someone they need to watch closely. We are raising three boys to the best of our ability. God fearing, respectable, hard working, compassionate, kind to everyone. We can do that. We can pray for their protection and pray that they always follow God's heart. We also have to prepare them for the way they will be treated because of the color of their skin. Their skin. Something they did not choose. PROMISE ME YOU WILL KEEP READING.

We always hear that it takes a village to raise our kids and we do. But I need to know that my village is not part of the problem. I need to know that you don't dismiss every story you hear because "people are just playing the race card again." I need to know that you are teaching your kids to love everyone despite their skin color, how much money they have, what kind of car they drive, etc. I need to know that when you pick up my baby that you don't see him as the cutest mixed baby (because apparently all mixed babies are the cutest which just isn't true) but as world changer. I need to know that if someone is being mean to my kid because of the color of their skin that you will have the guts to stand up to them. I need to know that you want to see this world change from the hate that is in it to a world where people are loved not because of the color of their skin but because they are a human being.

And here is where I need you to PROMISE TO KEEP READING because this is where I'll just be real honest. Don't you DARE tell me I shouldn't fear for my husband and sons because it will never happen to them. Don't you DARE tell me that it's different because my husband is not a "thug" and he acts right. Do you know how many people have "acted right" and still been killed? Don't you DARE tell me to sit and talk with an officer about all the crap they have gone through until you have set with my family about all the crap we (including my in-laws) have gone through. (This happened this morning.)

You see, this is not a cop vs black people problem. It is a society as a whole problem. We don't want to acknowledge it unless it affects us directly. I have told stories of things that have happened to me and my husband and people act shocked. "No, not here. Not in our town. I just can't believe that would happen. It must have been a misunderstanding." This is part of the problem. You don't want to see it. You would rather keep your blinders on and hope that someone else fixes the problem.

As a wife and mother, I try not to fear anything for my family. I pray and I try my hardest to trust God in everything. This is what I do know. My family loves the Lord with all their heart. We will serve him despite the news reports. We will serve him no matter how we are treated. We will tell the good news to those who need to hear it. We will raise our boys to be God-fearing men. We will love those who love us and love those who hate us. Will you join us? Will you love no matter what? Will you seek to help those no matter the color of their skin? Will you get out of your comfort zone and try and understand someone else's footsteps who are not like you? Will you be part of the change?