Even if You’re Alone

            A few years back my husband Tim and I attended a peaceful protest at the Texas capital to speak out against the unjust treatment of refugees and immigrants at our borders.  We made the decision to take our kids with us.  We made signs, talked with them about why we were going to this protest and the importance of it. 

            If there’s only a few things that I ever manage to instill in my children it is to always stand up for what is right… even if you are standing alone.  Jesus himself has spoken on the issue of taking care of the weak, oppressed, the foreigners, the widows, and the orphans.  The way that we have treated refugees is wrong.  After posting a photo of our family at this rally, I received a long message from someone I know, but am no longer associated with stating their disgust for us including our children in this protest.  I have no shame in teaching my children to do what is right.  This is a proud parenting moment for me.  I will never be ashamed for teaching my kids to show up, and speak up against the wrong that is happening in the world around us. If someone has an issue with my choice to instill these values in my children, then they are the ones with the issue.

            Doing the right thing has never really been popular.  You will get criticized by anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with you.  That’s OK.  It’s not our purpose on Earth to be liked by the most people.  It is our duty to love the world around us and to point them to Jesus.  I will always do my best to show my kids what it means to love big, show kindness and compassion, and to do what is right even when it’s hard.  The world will never be your friend.  People will try to tear you down, criticize your actions and bring you down to their level.  Standing up for your beliefs and convictions sometimes means that you feel like you are standing alone, but when you’re walking in righteousness with the Lord, he will always be with you. 

Zechariah 7:9-10 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

My little cuties learning what it means to stand up for others.

Stop Allowing The Republican Party to Use Your religion to Manipulate Your Vote

Over and over again, post after post, I am constantly seeing Republicans trying to manipulate how people vote based on religion. The Republican Party has snagged it’s claim as the “Christian” party, but that’s just not the truth. Democrats can also be Christian too. The constant lies told by the other party about Democrats not being believers and such is just so very far-fetched. Election after election, the Republican party has worked tirelessly to steal the votes of the church on the sole issue of abortion. If you’ve read my other posts, you know my stance on it, but just to reiterate, I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-life, but I choose to not vote on this one single issue… especially when there are so many other things at stake.

I don’t know the man personally, but from everything I’ve heard him say, every behavior he has publicly displayed, I have very low confidence that this man is actually a Christian. Anyone can claim to love God, or be a believer, but your life should also be a reflection of that. NOTHING I have seen from Donald Trump has been a reflection of Jesus. That though, is something that God himself will deal with in his timing.

What is so very frustrating and disheartening is how so many believers are praising this man for his Godly values… claiming he is Godsent and will save our nation. Donald Trump is no savior. That would be Jesus. So stop acting like it. He has lied constantly, separated children from their families, cheated in the first election, is attempting to do it again by suppressing the vote, demolishing the United States Postal System, he’s divided the nation against itself, sat idly by while downplaying a deadly virus that has killed over 200,000 Americans, praised dictators, has lightly tossed out the idea of running for an unconstitutional 3rd term, and so much more it would be an entire essay if I continued.

Nothing he has done has been a representation of Jesus or his teachings. This man is a fraud, and has been trying to use religion to manipulate and guilt Christians into voting for him. There are so many more things at stake in this election including the integrity of our country and the importance of upholding the Constitution.

The Republican party has lacked integrity for so long and it’s so sad to see what they are allowing to happen to our nation. They are more concerned with winning, than playing by the rules of ethics and morality. Don’t be blinded by a lie that they are the “Christian” party when they lack the conviction to do what is right.

I’m tired of people playing the “holier than though” card. As a Christian, I try my best to walk and live out a standard of righteousness with my words and actions and the way I conduct myself. I also want that for our nation’s leaders and that is why I choose not to vote for Trump. The disrespect and condescending attitude of others who consider themselves religious when disagreeing with my values and beliefs can be quite disappointing to say the least.

Our allegiance should never be to one person, political party or even religion. As a believer in Jesus, our allegiance should be to him and to him alone. All the other things can be flawed and influenced by our sinful nature as human beings. Whoever you vote for, let your vote be based on your own convictions. Don’t let someone tell you that you are ungodly or un-Christian because you voted differently than them. We all have to account for our actions one day, and God judges each person based on what’s in their hearts, and only he can truly see that.

My prayer today is that God would pluck out the wicked that are in our government and that he would raise up righteous and God-fearing leaders that would hold up our nation with a sense of integrity and morality that we have been lacking with this last administration. I pray that there would be repentance and remorse for the things that have been committed, and that the evil that has been done in darkness will be exposed and dealt with for what it is.


The Day I Learned Racism

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”-MLK Jr.

It happened when I was about 6 or 7.  It was an ordinary day in my childhood.  I was with my family at one of our rental properties in Corpus Christi.  The tenants had just moved out and we were doing a bunch of repairs and cleaning on the little old wood framed house.  This was a typical weekend in my childhood as my parents had several of these types of small rentals around town and working on then was a family thing.  Everyone did their part.  Even at 6 I was old enough to hold and use a paint brush on the old wood siding or a wet rag to clean the dirty baseboards.

The little old, white, frail lady who lived next door had asked my mom if she could speak with her for a moment.  She was holding and eating a sandwich while we walked up and down the sidewalk as she began… Now it’s been quite a while from the time this occurred but she said something along the lines of this…”Now I don’t mean to sound racist, but please don’t rent that house to no more ni****s.” I’ll never forget that moment.  The first time that I can remember in my life witnessing racism.  It was the first but definitely not the last. 

Let me start with this… Anytime I have every heard somebody say “I don’t mean to sound racist….” Or “I’m not a racist, but…” the statement is almost always 100% followed by a statement that is absolutely racist.  Even at the age of 6 I understood that what this lady was requesting of my mom was so incredibly wrong and hateful.  I don’t remember exactly what transpired after that, but I do know that we rented the house to another black family. 

When I hear people say that racism isn’t a problem anymore, it’s very frustrating because that’s just not true.  The Confederate flag for example is one way that we still allow racism in our country.  I hear the argument that it’s a part of our American history.  Germany does not have a bunch of swastikas on display around their country although it is a very big symbol of what happened in their history. It represents a horrible time in their history and it’s not something they choose to celebrate.  The Confederate flag for America generally represents the South that fought to keep slavery in America.  Why would we as a nation feel the need to parade that part of our history around?  It’s shameful what we Americans allowed to happen to other human beings.  If you feel the need to have it as a historical artifact, fine.  Put it in a museum.  It should not be flown on government buildings.  It is a representation of suppression.

It is very disheartening to me when I see people proudly parading it about.  And I can tell you this that almost every time I see someone driving around with a Confederate flag on their vehicle or home, it is accompanied by a Trump flag.  That in itself says a lot. 

Some people say that people are being too sensitive or getting offended to easily. These comments and beliefs that I hear from people are almost always out of the mouth of a white person.  I am a white woman born and raised in America.  I will never ever claim to know or fully understand the suppression or racism that some of my beloved friends of color have experienced in their lifetime.  But what I can do is educate myself and try my best to change the way things are.  And if any of my actions or words are ever hurtful to a specific group of people I will do my best to educate myself and have empathy for how those actions may cause hurt to someone.  Their feelings of suppression and hate should never be trumped by my “freedom to express myself.”  When your freedom of speech and freedom of expression start infringing on other people’s rights, it’s a problem. 

A lot of people get upset about the whole Black Lives Matter movement.  To this I say you need better education.  Over and over and over again we are seeing the unfair and unequal treatment of black people by the police.  There are bad apples in every batch so I’m not by any means saying that all cops are bad. There are many wonderful men and women putting their lives on the line on a daily basis for the betterment and protection of our country everyday and I am so grateful for that. But there are bad cops.  And until we start holding them accountable for their actions, we will see black people murdered over and over again for something a white person would get a slap on the wrist for.  So when you get upset because somebody kneels during the anthem.  Or you get upset because of peaceful protests.  Remember they tried to have their voices heard, and we ignored.  They cried out for the injustices they have been experiencing even today and we were silent. 

As a follower of Christ it is my duty to speak up for those that are being oppressed, to want justice for everyone, and to love my neighbor.  Being silent is not loving my neighbor.  Being complacent is not loving my neighbor.  Allowing inequality is not loving my neighbor.  Supporting someone who calls members of the KKK “good people” is not loving my neighbor. 

““Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” – Isaiah 1:17

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8

As a 6 year old child it was so clear to me that what this little, old, neighbor lady was saying was so wrong, hateful, and ignorant.  It’s hard for me to understand now as a 33 year old woman that a 6 year old could recognize the evil of racism and so many grown adults still can’t.


The Vote

My heart has really been heavy lately and I just feel the need to speak on some of the reasons why.  Our nation is in what seems to be a civil war right now.  It’s not the North vs. the South, it’s the Democrats vs. Republicans.  This is so frustrating to me and has really had a toll on my emotions lately.  Right now, my beliefs most closely align with the Democratic party.  One of my biggest struggles is that a lot of my friends and family do not and that has really put us in some hard conversations and some pretty negative feelings with each other.  I don’t necessarily claim to be of a certain party.  I vote based on the issues at hand.  I am not married to a party.  I’m willing to cast my vote on the issues not because I have committed to a certain person or group of people. 

Over the last four years America has not had the beliefs of “let’s work together and make America better.” It’s been “Us vs. Them.”  Christian Conservatives vs. The Liberal Snowflakes.  As a Christian, it truly saddens me that many of the Republican friends and family of mine have resolved to this idea.  It is also truly saddens me with all the name calling and hateful comments.  I also love Jesus and want more than anything for the world around me to know him.  Just because I don’t vote like you doesn’t mean that we don’t share similar beliefs. 

I feel like I can’t have a real conversation with people about the issues that are at hand.  When voicing my beliefs regarding politics, I am often attacked.  People that I have gone to church with, people who claim to know and love Jesus have behaved in such hateful behavior towards me because they believe differently than I do. Someone once told me that they are voting for Trump, because they refuse to vote for the Devil.  So not only am I a liberal snowflake, now I’m also a Devil supporter. The demeaning and hateful comments bring about no fruit.  I refuse to be defined by shallow and untrue statements and assumptions.   

My intentions are to never shame or belittle anyone.  I do often post news articles sharing information that is actually happening in America and some people become very aggressive with their hateful comments.  Like I stated above, I never do this to shame anyone or hate on a political party but I absolutely believe that we must be aware of what is going on in our country.  EDUCATION is POWER.  KNOWLEDGE is POWER.  How can we fix this broken world if we refuse to acknowledge the injustices that are taking place right here on our own soil? We have to stop sticking our heads in the sand and pretending everything is ok.  It may be ok for you and me right now, but it’s not OK for a lot of people.  As followers of Christ, it is our duty to speak up for the oppressed, take care of the weak and mistreated, and hold our leaders accountable for their actions.  How can we make the world a better place when we fail to do these simple things?

One issue that I know is a hot topic for Christians when it comes to voting is abortion.  Republicans are traditionally known for being “pro-life” and Democrats “pro-choice.” I wish things were that black and white but really they aren’t. There is so much messy grey area in all of this.  I absolutely hate the idea of abortion.  It is a sad, unnecessary (in most cases) loss of life that I truly believe grieves the heart of God.  BUT when you say that you are Pro-life, shouldn’t that mean that you are Pro- everybody’s life?  What about the precious children that are STILL locked in cages at the border.  Are their lives also not important? Does America locking children in cages and separating them from their families not also grieve the heart of God?  If we are pro-life, shouldn’t we also care about the vulnerable, and at-risk people whose lives are in danger because we as a society think this pandemic is some type of hoax? “I’m healthy, I should be fine even if it is real.” People refusing to wear a mask because it infringes on their “God given American rights,” but we lack the care and responsibility to just care about our neighbors and sacrifice just a little for them.  Where is our compassion?

The Republican party has been in the White House for the last 4 years and guess what? Abortion is still legal.  You can still get one. The issue of abortion and preservation of life has been such a selling point for them every time there is an election.  They’ve had the ability to make changes and still abortion is legal.  If you are voting solely on the issue of abortion here is how you can make a real tangible difference.   Donate your time, money, and resources to pregnancy resource centers.  Check on the single parents in your life.  Give of your time and resources to help those parents who are struggling.  Offer to watch their kids when you know they just need a break.  Be an encourager and let them know that they are not alone.  Be a shoulder that they can lean on when things are tough.  Raising kids is not an easy thing and I can’t imagine how difficult a decision it must be to decide to go it alone with no support.  Be the support.  Be the first… the first to offer to bring them a meal, the first to encourage, the first to acknowledge that having a baby by yourself is hard, the first to tell them that they are doing an amazing job, the first to tell then that it gets better and that they can do it, the first to tell them that you are there for them.  Just because I vote Democrat does not mean that I don’t grieve for every baby’s life that is lost and for every would have been Mother that has to live with that devastating decision the rest of her life. 

Let’s talk about Gay Marriage.  Maybe your religion disagrees with it.  That’s your right to believe that.  But as a Christian, we have been called to love our neighbors no matter what walk of life they are in.  Jesus doesn’t say “love your neighbor if you like them, or love your neighbor if they live like you, look like you, or love like you.  Jesus himself hung out with all sorts of people.  People whose lifestyles he didn’t necessarily agree with, but he loved them anyway.  So if you believe the misconception that the Republican party will get rid of gay marriage and therefore get rid of homosexuality, that is two completely different things. 

Let’s talk about this pro-life thing a little more.  Do all lives matter? Do all children’s lives matter? Then why in the world are we still locking innocent children in cages at the border? Let’s talk about this a little deeper.  I hear the argument a lot that the kid’s at the border’s parents broke the law and therefor they deserve the situation they are in.  So with that reasoning, should we also put all of the American children who have parents serving time in prison in cages also? I mean, their parents also broke the law? Why should it be different- because they are American citizens? Doesn’t everyone deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.   A lot of these people are running from very terrible, unsafe situations and are desperately trying to give their families a better life.  We say that we would do anything within reason to protect our children yet when someone from a different nationality does the same, we treat them as criminals. How can we rationalize in our heads that our children’s lives are more valuable than someone else’s.  I’m not saying by any means to have open borders.  I’m saying that without a question these people at the very minimum should be treated as fellow human beings.  They are being deprived of sanitary living conditions and basic care.  We have turned a blind eye to the evil that is taking place in our own borders because it’s easier to stick our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not really happening.  Someone else’ own personal hell doesn’t have to be real or exist because it’s too hard to admit that we don’t think it’s a problem.  Not my family. Not my friends. Not my fellow American… not my problem.  Do those desensitized beliefs not also grieve the heart of God?

 For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your ancestors forever and ever.
Jeremiah 7:5-7

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.
Zechariah 7:9-10

Alright, let’s move on to morals, ethics and the Constitution.  Without saying “well so and so did this”, or “so and so did that”… Answer me this… Is it ok for the president to break the law? Is the President above the law? If your answer to this question is yes, then I really have no argument with you.  What is right is right.  What is wrong is wrong.  It can’t be ok for one person and not another.  It can’t be ok, because well “everyone just treats Trump unfairly…” I firmly believe that when you break the law, whether you be a beggar on the street or the president of the United States of America, you should absolutely be held accountable for your actions.  We all know there is such a double standard here in America and that’s not how things actually work, but morally I believe that’s how they should. When you allow someone with so much power to become lawless, and unregulated, you are opening the door for a lot of trouble.  The manner in which Trump conducts himself is embarrassing to me as an American.

He has constantly demonized anyone who doesn’t fall into ranks with him.  He doesn’t like what the media says about them.  The media is now the enemy.  He doesn’t like what science is proving, science is the enemy.  He doesn’t like climate change, it’s fake news.  He doesn’t like that the numbers show he’s failing as a president, fake news. He doesn’t like the protests against police brutality.  Black Lives Matter Bad.  Praises the KKK and claims that some of them are very upstanding people. He is demonizing teachers and putting people in charge of the department of education who profit from the defunding of the public school system. So many school shootings, and he demonizes the victims speaking out for gun control.  Gun control bad.  NRA good.   He won’t admit the pandemic is real and calls it a hoax for months.  Now there are thousands of dead Americans and it’s not his fault.  He doesn’t like that people think he mishandled the pandemic. Now the CDC is bad.  Now the white house controls what the American people get to see regarding how “great America is doing at beating this virus.” Secret unidentified police are attacking peaceful protestors and throwing them in unmarked vans. There is no accountability. No responsibility.  THIS MAN IS DANGEROUS. The Holocaust didn’t just happen one day.  It was a gradual process.  We look back in history and wonder how such horrible things could have been allowed… could have been tolerated.  It started with complacency. Little by little things got worse and worse. If more people would have stood up, spoken up, rose up, do you think it could have been stopped?  Now is our time as a nation, to rise up, speak up, and stand up against the evils we have allowed to creep in. 

Fake News.  Every time I hear someone use this phrase as a defense of some sort I want to pull my hair out.  Every time I hear this phrase, I literally imagine a five year old holding their hands over their ears saying “I can’t hear you.”  Just because you disagree or don’t like what you hear, doesn’t mean that it’s not real and not happening.  You just don’t want to acknowledge it as so.  We can’t just live in some lala land pretending that all the crap going on around us in the world is not real and not our problem. 

I do not hate Republicans.  That is not the point of this post.  Like I said before, I have many people in my life who I love and care for dearly who support the Republican party.  I just often feel so attacked and demonized for my own beliefs by those who think differently.  I often feel stuck in this weird, well I’m a Christian and all the other Christians seem to be voting for Trump so am I the crazy one? I’ve heard lots of people use the reasoning that we prayed for Trump to win and God answered our prayers.  To this I have to say that even in the Bible people asked for not great things and God gave them what they asked for.  Even in the Old Testament people asked God for Kings.  God gave them those kings.  Those kings treated the people badly and didn’t always follow God.  God has given us this thing called free will. Free will allows us as human beings to make our own decisions… even if those decisions are stupid.  Stupid decisions usually come with consequences.  Not because God wants to punish us or give us what we deserve, but because like the loving father that he is, God corrects us so that we can do better and learn from our mistakes.  AMERICA, we CAN do Better.  We can learn from the mistakes we have made.  We can ask God for forgiveness for our bad decisions, from our pride, from our self-absorption, and our lack of love and kindness that we have shown our fellow man.   Let our prayer be to not make America Great, to not make Trump great, to not make ourselves great, but to be humbled before the Lord of all creation so that we would become small and his name great. That we would love our fellow man no matter how they vote or what they believe.  I pray that there would be reconciliation in our families and friendships that have been torn apart by politics. Let the enemy not destroy us from within but let us be united in love and for the mission that is to reach the world for Jesus.  Let us proclaim the name of Jesus above any other name.  Above any candidate, above any political party.  Let us always remember that evil will bring division, but love unites.