Free Blog

I’m broke

Dear friends: I am broke. I’m not talking the cutesy afraid to check your bank account balance because it is too low broke, I’m talking full on, paycheck to paycheck, cashing in coins broke. How did a college educated, relatively accomplished woman find herself in this situation? Simply put? I followed my heart and listened to the still small voice within that told me to make a change- to do something new. Yes, I fully weighed my options and the repercussions of these choices beforehand and still, against my better judgement went for broke. Why? Because I needed to.

I felt God calling me to draw out of my usual patterns- to let go of the death grip I have over [the allusion] of security in my life. So why did I need to drop an income bracket to do this? The easy answer- I’m hard headed. I have a calculating mind that we have already established can talk me out of anything. So when I asked God to tell me where to serve and I heard ‘Iraq’, I naturally talked myself out of it. Who could blame me? I’m a Christian woman, going to a place that doesn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for those who identify with either group. And while I’m not seeking a ribbon of honor for mission work, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the thought of doing God’s work in Iraq scared me more than a little. So I rationalized that taking a new assignment closer to home that allowed me to do God’s work would be an acceptable substitute for my cowardice. So what, if it meant taking a $16,000 pay cut? I had lived on less and am smarter now, so I could make it work.

Cue the car accident and added stress and the move that added up to more dollar signs. I started to panic- to question myself. The self-talk that ran through my brain questioned ‘how could you agree to these things without having a safety net big enough to catch your irresponsible downfall?’ I had effectively out calculated myself into a corner. My life couldn’t be rewound to undo any of the choices, to bring back the relatively comfortable status I had grown accustomed to. I recognized how my overcompensating for being disobedient had tuned into a situation that wasn’t what I had anticipated, but I still wasn’t knocking down walls to get to Iraq. I felt in my spirit that it was time for a challenge, but was reluctant to heed God’s call. So I did things my own way and found a set of challenges that I wasn’t altogether asking for.

A few months ago, I was in a Bible study group, openly grappling with a bit of scripture in 2 Corinthians. In chapter 12, verses 7-10 talk about prudence, grace, glory and weakness. I couldn’t see the logical correlation. I didn’t see how if God’s almighty grace is enough for us, how then can our failings perfect this power? I didn’t need to stew in this conundrum for too long because my real life crash course in Paul’s letter was on the way.

my-bank-account-broke-meme

Now friends, please do not mistake this as a message on spiritual smack down. I know that the challenges I encountered were my doing, not God’s, but that doesn’t mean that God didn’t use them to teach me something about myself and how God sees me. You see, I know that I can be stubborn and that I let pride get in my way. These are obstacles to my growth, crippling me from reaching my fullest potential. Stopping me short from grasping what will help me step into what is next. I like how The Message translation of this scripture speaks to me on this.

Because of the extravagance of those revelations and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size-abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Folks, that’s exactly how it happened. When worries about my new budget would arise, I lost myself in meditation on God’s provision. I started to search for peace in communion with the Holy Spirit- turned my mind towards the blessings and strength that I do have, rather than operating from a mindset of lack. Do I still have worries about my future and how I’m going to make everything work? Of course. I am not operating out of some blissful, naiveté that God will sustain my missteps forever so that I can go on ignoring what my spirit yearns for. I am choosing to trust in the ultimate truth- one that supersedes my understanding and reason. I am choosing to believe God for all that I need.

Lately, my commuting worship jam sessions (aka- car praise-it’s a thing) have been fueled by a song that immediately lights my soul on fire with recognition that my trust compass is pointing in the right direction. The lyrics are simple:

It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you. This is how I fight my battles. Nothing is as strong as your blood – Surrounded by UPPERROOM

It goes on in an empowering loop that keeps me sane when I want to hide in a cave of blankets and tune out the world. This is the message that I choose to help me push through each day- this simple affirmation of faith is my spiritual reset button.

Sacrifice is generally regarded as a noble virtue. While, I would rather be closer to the Jesus side of self-sacrifice, I know that I will never measure up to that because I am selfish and totally human. The desire to do and be more can be so strong until it smacks up against a reality that you aren’t prepared for. What I have come to realize recently is that the expectation is never to measure up to an impossible standard. The goal of our relationship with God is to live and grow in love.  Love for ourselves, each other and most of all love for God.

We all walk our own path when it comes to spiritual growth and whether your next step is starting a new Bible study or building a ministry, there is one simple truth that I hope you will be led by. God is greater than every worry, any objection ,any pitfall that you can imagine. God’s love for us is so big that even when we misstep, we are still guided and sustained by an unsinkable Creator.

 

Advertisements
Free Blog

Bless this mess

If you’ve known me more than 5 minutes, you know that I am incredibly strong willed. On most days, I consider this a strength. It is very useful when I have a goal or am advocating for something important. Some of my closer associates count this willfulness as a character flaw when it pans out as stubbornness or extremism. Recently, this hallmark Tonia trait has played to my detriment as my unswerving determination has come up against my wellness.

Another fun skill that I have is the ability to talk myself out of anything. Shoes, boyfriends, vacation plans-yep, I am a world class manipulator of my own mind, which is another bonus/flaw (up for further discussion on another day). So, what’s the problem you ask? You have a strong desire to be well and can put your incredible mind to the task of self-care, right? What you haven’t accounted for, dear reader is my destructive little habit of people pleasing.

For as long as I can remember, expectation and the need to over deliver have been major forces in my life. More often than not, checking all my boxes and not wanting to disappoint others have been some of my most powerful motivators. I will go to great lengths to get a job done or make people happy, even if it means a headache for me. This over extension comes at a great price-my compromised well-being. Once again, you may be thinking, “Silly, Tonia-sit down somewhere. You’re only human.” While I am painfully aware of this truth, I cannot escape the barrage of mental baggage that ensues when I think about going against the grain of my people pleasing MO. I know that no one will truly hate me if I cancel plans or think me completely irresponsible if I leave a few things undone until the next day, but that disconnect between reality and my guilt is a trouble spot that I have been grappling with recently.

At the beginning of last month, I sustained a concussion and in typical Tonia fashion, kept pushing because I didn’t believe anything was really wrong-until 48 hours in when I failed a relatively simple cognitive test. The specialist I saw gently reassured me, but said I needed to get some mental rest. I promptly left his office and went straight to my office to finish some tasks, because what else would I do? I felt a fresh wave of guilt as I called my supervisor to tell him I was taking the rest of the day to rest but would try to come in the next day, if I felt better. I spent the rest of that day asleep (much to my surprise) and blissfully guilt free. I hopped right back into most of my usual commitments the next day, despite pain and weakness. Pain is temporary and weakness can be overcome was my constant mantra-until I wrecked my car just a few days later. Surely, this was cause for an all stop- NOPE. I went back to work the next day because there is too much to be done and so many counting on me to do it. If you’re questioning my masochistic tendencies, don’t. I don’t enjoy pain. My issue stems from balancing priority and expectation as they relate to my abilities.

Before you call the asylum to take me away, let me say that I fully understand my role in all of this. I realize that I am a (mostly) reasonable adult who is capable of saying no and advocating for herself. The problem is that I have mostly seen the two as mutually exclusive. I can’t turn my back on people/things AND fully take care of myself. Before you start whispering “God complex”, consider the following.

As modern women, we are praised and considered at the top of our game for having and doing it all. I was raised on the idea that women could do ANYTHING and somewhere along the way, I lost the concept of personal limitations. So how do we resolve our limitations in light of our Christian belief? I for one struggle with 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  because it seems at odds with 2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. As I strive to live a life rooted in scripture, I run up against walls that conflict with my everyday experiences. When do I leave scripture behind and take up prayer? When should I fall back and when do I step up?

What has become increasingly clear to me throughout this trial is my need for greater trust. Trust in the fundamentals of my faith that tell me that God means everything to work together for my good. Trust that even when it feels like everything is falling apart, I am never falling alone and God is there to restore me when I stumble. Most of all that being strong in the Lord and rejoicing in his strength are the keys to finding balance between expectation and experience. We can do many things, but not everything. Trusting that God will do his part is a critical acknowledgement on our spiritual walk.

So what does that mean for you? I would hope that my cautionary tale and reflection inspire you to look at your motivations and where they come from. Are they rooted in some societal vision that is totally out of step with your values? Perhaps a person, with unrealistic expectations of you? Whatever is fueling you should be something you’re proud to proclaim daily. Whether the answer is faith or something externally created, we can still work to align these forces to be true to our modern Christian lives. Lay your shortcomings at the Creator’s feet. Trust in God to walk the path of peace with you and allow yourself the grace to be who you need to be on any given day.

 

Free Blog

What are you waiting for?

It’s Advent. The season of anticipation where we are all looking forward to the coming of our Savior. The time where even the most impatient Christian is expectantly seeking the promises of Jesus.  Yes, Advent is the happiest season of waiting in our spiritual year. All of the traditions point us toward being in countdown mode- Advent calendars, the lighting of the Advent candles, watching shipping updates on deliveries from Amazon-the symbolism of the season sets us up to wait. In this modern era, where we are irritated to wait more than a few minutes for our coffee, what does this season really teach us that can transform our lives?
Do we find ourselves magically more patient on Christmas Day or do we rush back into the fray of modern life on December 26th? I am not of the belief  that there is anything wrong with either of these scenarios. What I propose is that we don’t wait for Advent to experience the peace and spiritual growth that all of our devotionals encourage to prepare our hearts for Jesus.
Each day that we are granted is an opportunity to rejoice in the gift of Jesus. An opportunity to embrace and share our God given gifts. To show gratitude for God’s ever present love that directs our lives towards ultimate good. What I am suggesting, dear reader, is that we don’t wait until it’s time to cash out all of that PTO before we take a moment of spiritual pause to take time to celebrate why you were created. Luke 10:40 calls attention to this tendency towards imbalance. We’ve all heard the story of Martha who “was distracted by her many tasks and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand. The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things,but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Christian Standard Bible)
So readers, I am urging you to channel your Mary. Meditate on your Creator who possesses an incredible, generous and loving spirit. Bask in these blessings. Allow the light of them to strengthen and beautify your life experience, beyond the final gift being unwrapped. Pray bold prayers for all that is beyond your grasp and rejoice in thanksgiving that good will come to pass. It is my prayer that these words have served as a reflection on why Jesus is the reason for every season. It is his example that extends beyond the manger into the very fabric of how we live and serve as Christians today. 
Book Review

Creed: What We Believe

Hey, hey, party people! Welcome back to our corner of the world, where ideas are free and love is fierce. 💓

I want to share my thoughts on Adam Hamilton’s Creed: What Christians Believe and Why in hopes that Christians who are on the fringe (new to faith, distancing self from faith, or somewhere in between) or are struggling with doctrinal red tape will reconnect with the origins of Christian faith and establish a stronger relationship to it based on the very basics.

Story: The book seeks to define Christianity through analysis of the Apostles’ Creed. The book is broken into 7 chapters- an introduction followed by 6 chapters focusing on the key elements of the Creed which include God, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, The Church and the Communion of Saints, The Forgiveness of Sins, The Resurrection of the Body. Hamilton also includes an appendix which features various historical editions of the Creed, including some other key Christian influenced creeds, namely the Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedonian Creeds.

PerspectiveWhile Hamilton and I belong to the same sect of Christianity, this book doesn’t come across through that lens, which I appreciate. Labels have the tendency to become convoluted and the essence of the Christian faith is not something that should be. Creed does a fine job of reminding us of this. Every chapter presents a balance of how each piece of the Creed relates to the Christian faith, both on the individual and corporate levels. Hamilton’s writing is accessible to those who have done some theological study and easily relatable to those who may still be trying to find their way as Christians. I must commend Hamilton for well placed usage of conversational tone, as it makes the text easier to connect with on the key points.

Style: Full disclosure: I was prepared not to jive with this oneI previously read Adam Hamilton’s Half Truths: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn’t Say and had a difficult time connecting to his style, as it seemed very pedantic and mechanical. I was pleasantly surprised to find something different in Creed. Hamilton engages the reader by simplifying the themes and concepts of the Creed while weaving in historical perspective, language considerations and personal anecdotes that paint a clear picture of what Christianity is truly all about. Hamilton is also candid about many of the hang ups that people have with organized faith/religion. While I don’t use these terms interchangeably, people’s perspectives on one are often informed by the other which Creed illuminates in an objective manner that helps the reader to check bias in light of what is being presented in the text. Check out this except from the intro.

Our most important beliefs, whether expressed in the Apostles’ Creed or in other ways, affect our understanding of what it means to be human and our convictions about values, morality and relationships. Ultimately our most deeply held beliefs or convictions shape our goals, ambitions, hopes and dreams. These kinds of convictions are seldom scientifically verifiable; nevertheless we should carefully consider and question them and should be able to make a compelling case for them.

My recommendation: I feel especially called to recommend this book to those who have questions about their faith. While this isn’t an encyclopedia of Christianity, I believe this text tackles many of the issues that Christians often grapple with. As someone who doesn’t have too many questions about where I stand in my faith, I was encouraged to learn more about the roots of where that faith came from and pleased to walk away with language that I can share with others that reflects the essence of the Christian faith, doctrinal commentary aside. There is a small group study video that can be used as a great tool to open discussions among friends or in your faith communities. My church used this resource and I enjoyed the additional perspectives that were shared on the DVD. The chapter on the Forgiveness of Sins was calling to my soul with every page. I hope that you will find similar, life giving wisdom in Creed.

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.

 

Free Blog

Conviction & Swimsuit Season

So, it’s that time of year again when all of the ads start selling the swimsuit body. By now, you’ve likely seen a zillion commercials for fitness programs, meal prep plans and pills that will (maybe) make you look like the ultra thin model they have chosen to promote their product. The barrage of these messages can wear on our nerves and our relationship to fitness, to the point that we find ourselves ignoring them. That is unless, we aren’t. No matter how “good” we’ve been throughout the holiday season, the ad market is constantly telling us we need what they are offering. We all need the impeccably chiseled bodies that prance across our screens. We all walk our own walk when it comes to body image and wellness and some of you may be further along in your fitness journey, rising high above the media influence. Kudos to you. For those of us who aren’t, this one’s for you.

As modern women, the pressure is higher than ever to look the part. Mothers are expected to present perfectly coiffed and polished children, complete with sparkling appliances and hip mom hair. Singles feel the pressure to always be flawlessly manicured, made up and pliant- because how else will you catch a spouse? The emphasis on physical appearance has become so important, that women are actually killing themselves to keep up. Young people between the ages of 15-24 with anorexia have 10 times the risk of dying compared to peers, Journal of Eating Disorders, 2015. Even more disturbing, is the other end of the age spectrum. From 1999- 2009, hospitalizations involving eating disorders increased for all age groups, with those aged 45-65 increasing the most, accounting for 25% of all hospitalizations, Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, 2011. So where do we stand as Christian women in addressing this oppression? Are we circulating scriptures to help with weight loss (read: THOUSANDS of pins on Pinterest) or are we looking at ourselves with the love of our Creator?

Reader, hear me: I am by no means claiming to have mastered this. I love my pedicures and balyage as much as the next Kardashian and am in no way trying to shame subscription to current beauty norms. What I do know is that the standards perpetuated by our culture that lead 7 in 10 women and girls to report a decline in body confidence and increase in beauty & appearance anxiety (Dove Global Beauty & Confidence Report, 2016), which they say is driven by the pressure for perfection from media are pervasive and REAL. What I want to discuss is our confidence and the source that it stems from.

In Hebrews 11, we are reminded of all the Old Testament stories of those who exhibited great faith and were blessed and/or honored God with their acts. The Message translation spells it out nicely.

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. Hebrews 11:1-2

Let’s unpack: If faith in God is the source that makes life worth living, what place do dissatisfaction, imperfection or comparison have in our lives? If we believe that God is all powerful, good and loves us more than we could ever comprehend, how could we possibly allow a commercial to debunk these truths? How could we see ourselves as anything less than divinely beautiful? Dear reader, I know you may be thinking “Get real, Tonia. We live in the 21st century. Appearance matters and last time I checked, God isn’t following me around breathing heavenly dust over me to make me a 10 to everyone I meet, nor is He whispering sweet nothings to me when I roll out of bed looking electrified.” And while I’m not trying to start a fight with you, I would argue that He is.

In Hebrews 11:3, we learn that the world is called into existence by God’s word-what we see is created by what we don’t see. That means you and me and People’s Sexiest are all created in the same spirit of light and love, and regardless of our waistbands or teeth whiteness, we are all perfectly and divinely created. God’s word says we are wanted, chosen, beautiful and more precious than rubies, so who are we to doubt this? So what if those jeans from last year don’t fit. Why does it matter that your contouring technique isn’t perfect? Would you really let the fact that you went to work with eye boogers contradict the overwhelming love that God has for us, flaws and all? NO! As, Christian women, we know better. We know that we serve a God who made us in an image of strength and love. My challenge to you is to live in it.

Resist the urge to compare yourself to the woman in the next fitting room. When you have days of doubt and self loathing, lose yourself in the Word. Open your heart to receiving the loving Spirit of our creator, day in and day out. I promise you 10 minutes of Pinterest spiraling on love/beauty scriptures will change your attitude (DO IT). If all of this seems too fluffy and sunshine-y to break down the spirits of dissatisfaction and insecurity that have been speaking over you, I invite you to sing a new song.

Consider that your identity is essential to the world. You are more than eye candy. God created you for a specific role in His Kingdom, to reflect the light and love that our Creator has for each of us. Any force that contradicts these truths is an enemy to all that God has planned for you, which is greater than you can imagine. Still not convinced? Meditate on this:

We already are what we want to become. We don’t have to become someone else. All we have to do is be ourselves, fully and authentically. We don’t have to run after anything. We already contain the whole cosmos. We simply return to ourselves through mindfulness and touch the peace and joy that are already present within us and all around us. I have arrived. I am already home. There is nothing to do. -Thich Nhat Hanh

You are perfect. You are loved. You are divine. Seek confidence in our Creator. His supply is endless and He gives it freely and without judgement.

wj

My heroes, Wendi & Jessee who love Jesus, themselves and fabulous swimwear

Blog Updates

We’ll Be Back

Hello to all of you readers out there, we know it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from us, and we’re sorry that we disappeared quietly.

It wasn’t intentional, we promise. It’s just as most of you know, life sometimes has a way of sneaking up on you, and not always in the kindest of ways.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes a break creeps up on you when you actually needed it? But sometimes that break also comes at a time where you really should have been pushing into your community even more? We had one of those times happen, except looking back on it, we probably needed our community and sisterhood more than ever. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of pushing away when you really need to be pressing in.

That’s why, when we decided that G&F was important to us, and doing important work, but we also realized that a few of us as contributors really need our community and sisterhood right now, before we’re able to pour out into all of you.

So, we’re doing two things: one, we’re looking for more contributors and an editor, and if that seems like something you’d be interested in, keep reading. Two, we’ve decided that since we’re introducing new sisters into the fold, we want to take the time to grow together as contributors and be accountable to each other. Real life is hard and messy, and in order for us to feel okay about sharing that with all of you in a very real way, we need to be more cohesive as a unit. We work on something called “consensus-based decision making”, so once we find who we believe God is calling us to work with on this collective, we want to grow as a unit and decide together when the Lord has called us to start writing again.

We’ll be back, we can promise you that. We haven’t abandoned you, and we’re excited for what 2018 brings. We can’t wait to walk through this life with all of you together again. In the meantime, we’re going to seek the Lord, and you’ll see us again when He has spoken to all of us (those of us you know, and those of us that are joining us).


For those of you interested in joining us as a contributor or an editor, here’s the information you need:

We’re a Christian Feminist Millennial blog, and we’ve decided going into the new year that we really want to build a sisterhood among the writers first before continuing to write.

Does this sisterhood appeal to you? Would you be willing to be your honest, whole self in blog posts in the year to come? We want to hear from you. We’re not pressed for time. Let’s all get comfortable with each other and decide as a consensus when to start again.

To be a contributor we ask that you identify as a millennial Christian feminist, but to edit we just ask you identify as a Christian feminist.

If you’re interested, please email graceandfeminism@gmail.com for more information. We operate on a consensus-based model, and we would love to hear from you.

 

Lamenting

Eight Months

I should have been gone for eight months now.

By gone, I don’t mean dead, I mean on the trip of a lifetime. I was going to be on the World Race, with this tiny little squad that had become family. We were going to be working as missionaries through 12 countries in 11 months, seeking God and letting him guide our steps.Training Camp had been a real doozy, but we were stronger, and I was committed to working on myself more so that I would be my best self when I went. The only thing was, I still had to raise $5,000 more to reach my pre-launch goal.

And then I did it. With 3 days before my money being due, I hit that $10,000 mark, and I’ve never felt my faith so strongly in the Lord. He delivered! Just like He said He would. I hit every deadline before it was due, this is what faith in Him looks like.

Until the very next day, when it was all taken from me. I got a phone call from one of my coaches that the leadership team had decided I would not be launching in January. They would not allow me to launch with another squad even, I was essentially, cut. I could, however, attempt to go at another time, but there was no guarantee that this wouldn’t happen again. Three weeks from when I was supposed to be leaving. I had nowhere to live, and my job at a startup was unable to afford employees any longer. I was homeless, and jobless, with everything all set for me to leave the country for a year.

The person who told me made me promise them that I would call them back the next day when I’d “calmed down”.

I didn’t keep that promise.

Continue reading “Eight Months”

Blog Updates

Further Up and Further In!

We’re deviating from your regularly scheduled programming today to introduce some really exciting new things happening here at Grace and Feminism. When we all got together in mid-June to start planning, eagerly texting each other and building our community, we had no idea where this blog would end up.

We’ve been up and running for just over three weeks and we are astounded at the work God has done. The comments we have received on our blog posts and on social media are both heartbreaking and encouraging. While we hate knowing that our sisters have suffered from discrimination and oppression in many forms, we are encouraged to keep this project alive. We see that this work, the writings and explorations of imperfect Jesus feminists, is needed. As we start to think ahead to the long-term future of this blog, we know that this ministry is needed more than we ever could have thought.

Continue reading “Further Up and Further In!”

Freedom

Say His Name

Every Friday, Grace and Feminism publishes a series of posts under a monthly theme. The theme for July is ‘Freedom.’

Sybrina Fulton starts her book with a Bible verse:

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” Luke 8:17 (ESV)

And all I can think about is how so many of us failed her.

The name Sybrina Fulton might not sound familiar to you, but I bet the name Trayvon Martin does. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his story, Trayvon was a seventeen-year-old boy who, while wearing a hoodie, walked to the local convenience store to grab some Arizona Iced Tea and Skittles. On his way back to his father’s townhouse, a man by the name of George Zimmerman decided he was a threat, pursued him, and eventually shot him, despite being told by 911 phone operators not to. Right before shooting him, he said, “These assholes always get away.” Last week was the anniversary of George Zimmerman’s acquittal, and he was able to walk free after murdering a child.

Sybrina Fulton? That’s Trayvon’s mother. And the one thing she clung to throughout this entire travesty was the Lord and her faith. You’d think because of this the Christian community would have rallied around her. Supported her pursuit of justice. Listened to our black brothers and sisters as they shouted “I am Trayvon!” in the streets. But so much of the mainstream Christian community did not. What did they do instead?

We used the freedom that the Lord gave us, the freedom from shame and fear that Jesus himself gives us every day, to bury our heads in the sand. To combat the phrase “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” while actively supporting refugee bans from other countries. Put simply, white Christians abused the freedom they’ve been given to refuse to rock the status quo. Do you know who was all about rocking the status quo? Jesus. That savior, king of kings who gave us all this freedom.

Continue reading “Say His Name”

Free Blog

A Home for Your Heart

I remember the day I decided that the Fourth of July was my favorite holiday.

I’m a third generation Arizonian, which means the majority of my Fourths were spent in the sweltering Phoenix heat. This could be a variety of things actually: anything from sitting on the porch of our two story house heat, watching fireworks, attempting to sit on the porch as the monsoon rain came down meaning we had no idea IF we would even get fireworks, there was even a year when we went to visit my cousins in Peoria and there was a Fourth of July accident—the house of the man who was going to light off the fireworks house exploded in the early afternoon meaning no fireworks at night—or it was like this night. Hot, sweaty people packed into a park, blankets to cover the grass that made me itch, and me debating on whether I actually wanted to be there.

I can’t tell you how old I was, or what grade I was in, or when any of this happened, but I remember the moment. The moment I realized why I loved fireworks.

Continue reading “A Home for Your Heart”