The Truth About White Lives

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her.”

Proverbs 4:7-8 English Standard Version

I wandered around my happy place Friday evening. I haven’t been to my happy place in several months due to Covid 19, so when I walked through the doors of Barnes and Nobel and that aroma of brewed coffee greeted me…

I heard music.

I wanted to open my arms and swirl around in the aisle like Maria did on the mountaintop in The Sound of Music, but I was wearing a mask and already having trouble breathing.

I meandered over to the Christian aisle to see what new books had come out. There, a boy around my son’s age looked at the Bibles. He glanced back at me. I thought it was because I had gotten too close. I took a step back to adhere to social distancing. A few minutes later…

“Ma’am, do you know anything about Bibles?” he said. “What is this type called that has the original text side by side with a normal Bible?’

“Oh, that’s a Parallel,” I said. “It’s set up so you can see the exact wording from the original text.”

“I want to find a Bible that doesn’t have man’s interpretation,” he said. “The real thing.”

“The New American Standard and the English Standard Version are considered good literal translations.”

We discussed study Bibles and those with pastor’s notes. He claimed his grandma’s Bible which he’d been reading had Jimmy Swaggort’s commentaries in it.

I laughed. “I don’t know much about Swaggort, but Tony Evans has a good commentary Bible.”

“I don’t know who he is. I’m new at this.”

Later, while checking out, I found him behind me.

“Did you decide on a Bible?” I said.

“Yeah, I decided to get the parallel one. I want to be sure. You know?”

He wanted to be sure.

I’ve been under scrutiny. I suppose you will be when you are a blog writer and put your life out there as much as I do. Several young people have criticized the phrase I posted in a blog post written in 2016 “I chose to stand on the rock of my salvation for all lives matter, no matter what the color.” To be honest, I didn’t even remember it was there, and I’ve since deleted it. I would in no way want for a person to read my post pointing them to my Heavenly Father, and be distracted by one phrase.

But I’ll be honest, it really stung that one line written in 2016 would delete my whole testimony against racism and warrant criticism as if I was a racist myself. Furthermore, the criticisms came from white people.

In 2016 the Black Lives Matter movement exploded on the scene in car fires and looting. According to God’s word we are not to participate in lawlessness. Their message seemed interlaced with hate, and I being married to a black man and raising four bi-racial children steered clear of it and instructed my kids to do the same.

Time has passed and hearts broke when George Floyd begged for air. All hearts.

We need to be seekers of truth. Find it. Hold onto it. Want some truth?

The truth is white lives have always mattered. We as whites have never had to feel as if we don’t measure up because of the color of our skin; and that’s exactly why it infuriates people of color when our response to their message is “all lives matter.” They don’t need our correction on this issue when we’ve never walked in their skin. Besides, they know all lives matter. In order to move towards healing it starts by at least acknowledging the lives that have been treated unfairly matter. We also need to acknowledge the horrific injustices that have been administered to them, and, if we’ve held any hate in our hearts towards anyone of any color, class, or creed to repent of it.

Another truth, we need to stop dissecting people–trying to find something wrong as if we are the racist police. That’s not loving–it’s pride. We could all use a bit of humbling these days.

Another thing, we need to stop allowing the terrible deeds of some bad weeds to set fire to the entire crop.

Not all cops are bad.

Not all white people are racists.

Not all black people hate white people.

And yes, all of us matter to God who created white, black, and everything in between in His image. Maybe if we see ourselves through His eyes we’d treat each other a lot kinder.

How’s that for truth?

I neglected to mention the young man I met Friday evening in my happy place was black. I knew in that moment God plopped this southern blonde right there helping a young black man in which Bible to buy. At the same hour other young people his age protested in the streets, he was on the hunt for truth. He was new at it, but he wanted to be sure he got his hands on it. He was willing to pay his hard-earned $50 for it. He stated that.

We could all learn from him.

Just to make you smile. We could all use a little humor these days too.

Out of the Boat

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Out of the Boat

The day I posted my painting to social media and titled it “Out of the Boat.” I neglected to share what inspired me to paint it. Last year, I felt a yearning to move to the farm, but I didn’t know if this desire was from God or myself, so we began praying last fall for confirmation. Around January, I noticed within sermons, devotions, emails etc. the story of Peter stepping out of the boat onto the water kept popping up. I dreamt this painting. I saw myself looking across the deep at the light of Jesus. As I painted, I stepped back and saw the monsters in the water. Through all of this, I knew God was telling me, He wanted me out of my comfort zone, but my farmhouse is the epitome of comfort.

Jay and I scheduled a tour of the best and closest Christian school, a thirty- minute drive from the farm. We told each other if we felt comfortable with the school, it was meant to be. We would move. We stood in the stained carpet hallway with the moldy vents when the bell rang. Hoards of dark-skinned giants (football players) flooded the hall along with all the light-skinned students who looked a bit rumpled and wearing their stiff pants. It was a far cry from the campus at our private school in Orlando, the picture of perfection. Waves

We toured the football field. Hoping to find our comfort zone. Christian is our football player and this school has one of the best football teams. Our guide rambled on about the school’s championship wins and the college coaches that attend their games. The field looked more junior high stacked next to ours. Under the bleachers weeds grew up between the weight equipment. Waves

We returned to the car. “Well, that was disappointing,” Jay said. I felt the same. I didn’t have my peace that we were supposed to move.

We drove back to the farm and I stared out the window down those country roads. Confederate flags flapped in the wind, and we passed several pick up trucks with the good ole Dixie hanging off the back or in the window. What am I doing? Moving my bi-racial family to a town like this? A town filled with good ole boys. Waves

            Black versus white…in all honesty, I’m uncomfortable in the cultural extremes. I’ve found my comfort spot in the warm, buttery brown, where cultures blend and bleed into each other easily.

I pray and pray for what’s best for my children and Peter keeps stepping out of the boat onto the rough seas over and over again. What are you telling me Lord? My father-in- law (Ompa) recently said, “At least Peter had the courage to get out of the boat.” That stuck. It takes courage to step out into the uncomfortable… the imperfect…the inconvenient.

I see Orlando through a different lens now.I drive around passing luxury vehicles and perfectly manicured shopping centers.The boy’s school has a sparkling new gymnasium complete with large screen tv’s. Tourist flood here to savor perfection, a place to get away from their own bitter waters for a bit. Orlando is beautiful and takes constant polishing to keep it that way. It is not real, not true to life…It is a facade. I have to ask myself, is God’s plan for His followers to be so comfortable when it is in the moments we are uncomfortable we feel more alive and closer to Him? We reflect back on those times as spiritual growth, a time when God showed up or we felt Him lean in close.

I’ve had to examine my heart, and go to the Word for my answer to prayer, rather than find it through my biased viewpoint and in my feelings. The Bible is called the living, breathing Word of God. It has all the answers. It speaks to us as individuals and in whatever situation we are in. It convicts, answers, and helps us to get know God on a more personal level. Although, there are other ways God speaks to us, we need to trust the Word to have the last Word in our lives. Peter is stepping on the waves. I am stepping on the waves. My boys will step on the waves.

Do you wonder how to find the answers in the Word of God? Stayed Tune to part 2. Next, how to Abide and Hear from the Lord through the Bible.