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Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel

Are you tired? I’m tired. Today at work, we had the news playing on mute in the background, so I was treated to eight hours of people- mostly men- debating a woman’s sexual assault. My facebook is variations on the same theme. Last week, I sat through a lunch where two of my male co-workers offered their hot takes on the event.

I feel like I could sleep for a week.

And I wish I had something magical to say to you to help you feel better. Some of you are survivors of rape or trauma; probably all of us can recall a time when our body was handled without our consent. I certainly can, and more times that I was harassed verbally, and any number of times that I’ve put myself in between other women and the men who were harassing them.

And if I had to guess, the fact that I hear and see and believe you doesn’t drown out the other voice you’re hearing today. You know the ones.

I’m Sister Mark and you’re reading a Christian blog, so you won’t be surprised to hear that I am trying to cope by looking for my faith. Sometimes it’s really hard to find- I won’t lie to you about that.

When it came time for prayers tonight, I sang “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel”. Yeah, the Christmas song.  This is a nice version- you could listen along while you read. I hope it helps. It’s what I need today. Not Christmas the holiday, exactly, but Christmas the event. I need Jesus so badly today, because men have been refusing to believe women since long before Jesus’ women disciples mistook the Lord for the gardener and went to tell the men the Good News. But God knew their worth and trusted them, and so He came to the women first.

And I am clinging, so tightly, to the fact that He sees me, too. And he sees my friends and my cousins and my colleagues and He knows our worth and He knows what we’ve been through. Belief? It’s not a matter of believing. He was with you then and He is with you now. Then why did it happen? I have no idea. I’m not a theologian and I know I’m not God. I don’t know why any of it happens. But I hold tighter than anything to the knowledge that He is here and He will not leave us. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

So I sat down and sang, begging God to come. Do I want him to show up, literally, right here on Earth, tonight? To just be with me? I don’t know. But I know that the hope of Him and the promises He made to us gets me through when I don’t know what else to do. It doesn’t fix my problems. It doesn’t stop me from being sad right now. But it reminds me that in the end, God came to us. And then Christ died, and Christ is risen, and Christ will come again… and His kingdom will have no end.

This world is a letdown. God made it beautiful and full of wonders, and often it’s nothing more than a huge letdown. So I pray for Him to come and save us and I cling to the knowledge that, someday, somehow, He will.

 

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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”

Lamenting

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

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

When was the last time you told God you hated him?

Anyone?

Mine was last week.

Thankfully, God is large enough and loves me unconditionally to withstand that awful sort of treatment.

Why the harsh words? I’m still wrestling through grief with Him. In one of my angrier moments, those words came out. In fact, it was one of several times over the last two years I’ve hashed it out with Him. It’s a process, and I’m still taking it one day at a time.

Continue reading “Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

Lamenting

Lamenting My Sexual Harassment

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

The summer before my sophomore year of college a boy I liked started talking to me. He started talking to me a lot. I was obviously a fan. He started talking about wanting to kiss me, which in my 18-year-old mind, meant that he wanted to date me. Until one day, the day I got my wisdom teeth out, he called me and told me that he wasn’t really looking to date me, but he wanted to keep talking. My mouth was still sore and I couldn’t talk back, so he hung up.

But he kept saying that he wanted to kiss me. I was confused. I started thinking that maybe I could change his mind. I told him that I didn’t want to kiss him if we weren’t dating. He didn’t back down. Neither did I.

Continue reading “Lamenting My Sexual Harassment”