Women: Making Change + Being Heard

The Women’s March has me incredibly stirred.

I think protests are incredible. Give me old black and white photos of Martin Luther King Jr. marching and I am moved in deep and profound ways. Footage of him being arrested while praying is one of the most painful and powerful things to ever be captured on film. I do not dismiss the importance of peaceful protest, and by no means do I think that those women do not have every right to be walking those streets today.

Right now I sit in the quiet of my apartment listening to a celebrity tell why she hopes that the new President of the United States will fight for her equality, for her healthcare, for her future.

While it is incredibly likely that she and I would disagree on most things surrounding politics, religion, lifestyle choices, etc. I’m proud of her for peacefully standing up for what she truly believes is right.

Nevertheless, I am frustrated.

I am twenty-four years old. I attended public school in this country, and then was later homeschooled. I have not graduated college. Until the last five months, I have not had health insurance for seven years. I am a woman. I am not married.

By society’s standards I could have labeled myself a young, single, uneducated, uninsured woman. To these women marching, I am someone they need to fight for.

But here are the facts: I live on my own. I pay my own rent. I pay a car payment. I buy my groceries. I pay for my Netflix. I buy coffee. I have a job (that was listed as requiring a college degree). Because of that job I now have health insurance. I have a savings account. I am working on my degree, but whether I finish or not, I have a future.

Marching down the street did not get me here.
The government did not get me here.
College did not get me here.
Healthcare and Planned Parenthood did not get me here.

Society told me I was less than as a girl very young in life. I was patronized, mocked, and dismissed as a girl all throughout my childhood. The little boys in my classes, men in the church, teachers, doctors, random people in the grocery store. I heard it all, just like every single woman on the planet has. It was disgusting, outrageous, painful, uncalled for. And you better believe that I have been just as fiery and ticked off at every single tragic thing our current President has ever said to demean a woman. It’s one of the reasons I chose not to vote for either candidate. I didn’t need him to degrade me, and I also didn’t need Clinton to pity me.

I have had disadvantages in society. I have been told I could and would accomplish less, but and the most incredibly naive thing I could have done was believe that the responsibility fell on anyone but me to prove that incredibly wrong.

The education and healthcare systems have done little to serve me in my life and it did not stop me from becoming a self-supporting, independent, health-insured female at the age of twenty-four.

The system was not in my favor. I don’t have a degree. My parents were not wealthy. No one got me this job. I don’t even live in the town I grew up in. No man had to secure this life for me. The government did not have to step on my behalf. My public school did not change my life. Planned Parenthood did not save me. I made smart choices. I did not make those smart choices because someone walked down a street (though, like I said, I do applaud peaceful protest).

Do you know why I made those smart choices?

Because every single day of childhood I had a mother that showed up.

She woke up every single morning and told me I was smart and beautiful. She fought for me. She told me I could be anything I wanted to be, even President.

She taught me how to read at the age of four.

We would sit in the floor and I would learn Hooked-on-Phonics, there was rarely a spelling bee in my life that I did not win. She helped me with my homework every single night. I knew how to multiply before everyone else in my class because she sat with flash cards and ice cream and drilled me. She built my creativity by telling me the most absurd bedtime stories, by giving me paint sets and novels.

When I was eight, she gave me a microscope for Christmas. At nine, she taught me how to balance a checkbook. At bedtime, we would sit on the couch together and watch the news. She would tell me about the Presidential Cabinet and about foreign affairs.

One day I came home from school and told her that a disabled child was being made fun of, she told me to stand up for her, no matter the consequences. When I had a teacher tell everyone that God didn’t create the world, she told me that I was allowed to stand up and say that there were two sides to every story and I had a right to share that one.

My mother is a fierce woman to behold.

She will likely be one of the strongest, most brilliant and well-argued women of her generation. Podiums will probably never have her lean on them, she will likely never march on the streets of Washington D.C. but she has a daughter who sits in her own apartment, employed, with health insurance who is happy and safe.

My mother is making a change, her voice is being heard. She is heard every single day of my life, and the world will always hear her. Because my mother has a daughter who is overcoming every single lie that society throws at her. The world will continue to hear it in my daughters and in their little girls.

Because the kind of woman that makes a change in this world is the one who does the small and faithful things. It is the woman who spends her life sowing seeds of truth the girls in her home that will profoundly change the next generations. 

It was Mother Theresa, a great mother, and a great woman who said “Do not wait for leaders: do it alone, person to person.”

Today, if you march, march. But after that go home and raise your children faithfully and beautifully. Do not whine about the systems, the healthcare, the government. Do not stomp your feet and then watch your Netflix. Do not depend on a college education, a government funded organization, or a President to teach, raise, and love your daughters.

Go home and teach your girls to balance checkbooks, read novels, understand the branches of government and their powers.

Stop waiting for the system to serve you; go and serve your daughters.

 

 

 

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As all of America responded, there was only one word I could say.

I fell asleep before the final results came in.

But I already knew which candidate was going to be the next President of the United States.

I woke up this morning and let it sink in. I scrolled through my social media and didn’t move for a long time. I finally crawled out of bed and slowly went to sit on my couch. I sat for a long time in silence.

Finally, one word came from my mouth as I began to weep.

“Father,”

This morning as America responded, that was the only word I could say.

I knew from the beginning I would be disappointed with either candidate having a victory. I have already spent months grieving both a President Trump or a President Clinton.

So, I did not cry this morning because of the results.

I cried this morning because many of my Christian friends called this election a victory for the church. I cried for the endless posts that said “God heard His people’s prayers”.

I cried because what they told the world was that God didn’t hear or honor the prayers of those who did not vote for Trump and that they are not His people.

Whether they meant that or not, this morning, that was what many heard.

I wept for the women in my life who are in an identity crisis. For the women who think Clinton was a role model. I wept for the women who believe their suspicions were confirmed: that they have to fight dirty in order to succeed and that even then, they will lose.

I wept for those who woke up with a smirk on their face and prideful words on their tongue because their candidate won. I wept because many of them believe God has put his stamp of approval on this man’s anger and immorality.

I wept because though I understand a sigh of relief from those who were afraid for a Hillary presidency, I cringe at their exaltation of a Trump one. I wept because many of my friends said it “bothered them to vote for him and they were doing it hesitantly, but he seemed a better option.” I wept because when they rubbed it in people’s noses this morning, it did not seem that it was hard or that it bothered them at all.

I wept because “How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great.” (Bill Bennot)

I wept for the way that many of my Christian friends chose to walk with the broken this morning.

I wept because as a person who voted third party, I was condemned, criticized, mocked, rebuked, scorned, and belittled. I wept because I cannot even fathom what people on the other side have endured and will endure. I wept because many of these are people who claim to operate under a law of love and a Gospel of peace.

My heart broke at those who sincerely asked Christians, “How do you explain this to your minority, Muslim, LGTBQ, and disabled friends?”  I wept because I know that many of the Christians I know do not have those kinds of friends.

Later, as I ran to get coffee, I found myself weeping again in the car. But this time, I wept because the barista told me that he liked my shirt that says PRAY. I wept because we are different genders, different races, and together we looked at one another in the eye and agreed that more than anything in these times, we need to PRAY.

I wept because God pulled me close and told me that He heard and hears my prayers. I am not a Trump voter, but I am His people and He heard and hears my prayers, too. 

I wept because though I am broken, I am thankful my hope was never in either of these candidates. I wept because I am thankful that I stood my ground. I wept as I told God that even though I was mocked, condemned, rebuked, I want to learn how to show others what it means to be a disciple who does not sacrifice their influence among Christians and non-Christians for an earthly government.

Today, I continue to weep because many voted for Trump believing he will help maintain their religious freedom. I weep because my prayer is that this freedom and their Christian influence does not become tainted by a pride, condemnation, or judgment of others.

Today, I weep as I pray that we have not pushed and will not cause those around us to say, “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Today, I weep, but with hope that God is faithful. His grace is sufficient. I weep, asking for faith to believe that His true church will wake up and will be known for their love.

I weep today and I cry out “Father”. May He be merciful and forgive us in these times when we know and do not know what we do.