i’m white and blonde. Texan and American. privileged. not rich, but definitely not poor. but as they say, i was born this way. and it’s true. it really is. i didn’t ask to be white.
i didn’t ask to have curly hair, a mole on my nose or a pinky toe that is actually a triangle depending on what angle you’re looking. I was born this way.
before i was born, God chose this life for me. knit me together in my mother’s womb, actually. (psalm 139:13)
have you ever seen someone knit? it’s a detailed craft. it takes time, diligence and a specific skill set – depending on what the desired outcome is. so why did God, the God who is good, sovereign and detailed, take His time, diligently knitting me to be a white female born in Texas?
i don’t know. He didn’t ask me. and honestly, it’s one of my top five questions that when I get to heaven and have the opportunity to sit down with Him and ask Him anything I want – it’s one of the top five things i’ll ask.
however, that day is not today. so the answer to why, well – it will have to wait till the other side. so for today, where does that leave me?
that’s the question I’ve been asking God since yesterday morning. when all the details surrounding Chartlottesville started to fully unveil themselves. and honestly, it’s the question i’ve been asking myself consistently for the past two years.
yes, you heard me – only two years.
i wasn’t racist for the other 25 years of my life. i was naive. i was silent. and when i wasn’t those things – i was ignorantly blind. blind to the hurt of my black brothers and sisters. and blind to casual ignorance and/or worse – privileged mindset of those that also check ‘white’ or ‘caucasian’ in the survey boxes.
so what changed?
you see, for years – i was silent because i was scared to say the wrong thing and also, conscientiously aware of how naive i was. i knew that i couldn’t understand. i never would. i never will.
but fear doesn’t lose power in silence – it finds it.
it’s like when i had this obsession over the Holocaust. read every book i could. came to love Corrie ten Boom like she was my own distant Grandmother. i wanted to get it. i wanted to understand for them all, how we – how i could be apart of race filled with so much hate, arrogance and honestly – fear. but because i never found answers – i guess to me, that meant i could never find the words either.
so i kept silent for years. until i slowly started talking about it, through fearful words expecting looks of disgust or anger – i just started asking questions. first with the girls of We Are Unveiled. a ministry where diversity is not only in our culture, it defines a huge part of our ministry. and i was met with love. with understanding – and get this, knowledge to understand how what to say and pray.
and then i met Jennifer Oliviah Oparaodu. she asked me hard questions. i asked her hard questions. we sat and talked for hours. and we have continued to lean and love on each other in the past two years. to look at each other one white woman to one black Nigerian woman and say things like…
“I hear you.”
“I’m for you.”
“You’re not alone.”
“I love you.”
and though these conversations are not recorded to be played for thousands. they are important. they are relevant. they are needed. why?
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” Luke 15:4-6
because she matters to me. she’s my one.
i do love her. and i do hate hate. she is not lost, but our nation is. this world is and believe it or not, lost people can hurt saved people. lost people – and get this, saved white people have hurt saved black people. maybe not with racial slurs – but with quiet looks down or refusal to talk about it or address it from the pulpit. it’s real – the hurt, the evil, the silence – it’s all very real. and it’s hurt Jenn. so then, it hurts me.
and though evil will not win in the end, it does hurt in the in between.
so Jenn and I continue to talk. and anytime something happens like the tragedy on Friday – it’s her i think of first. yes, yes – i think of those impacted directly and their families, immediately pray for protection over those trying to stop the hate, wisdom for our government to listen and help, and truth to be spoken in the press so that these black men and women are heard and seen.
but, because this world is large and seems overwhelming to me when i try to think of how does a 28 year old white woman in Texas impact any of it for good – thinking of the one is how i do it. it’s where i start. it’s how i act. it’s how i intentionally impact this world for good.
Jesus was the teacher for this. He taught us all that the one can make more difference than the crowds. even in the crowds, he chose one or two to call out.
my white friends and family. please start with the one.
start in your circle. in your home. and more than anything in your own heart. maybe you were like me – naive and/or ignorant. i get it. it’s not the way we were raised. most of us weren’t even raised to hate, but we also didn’t have to go out of our way to accept or love through barriers much either because well, everyone looked like us. i get it. we didn’t choose where we were born or what race we were born into.
but we can choose love, now. we can choose acceptance, now. we can choose realizing that never once have most of us had to deal with being followed in a retail store because of the color of our skin. or the second or third glances in convenience stores. or the constant other examples i could give of the daily, HOURLY hurt that most of our black men and women in America still have to deal with.
so, yeah – this is me. the one speaking out for the one. i may not be able to change the course of all around hate, hurt, fear, pain, chaos in our nation/world – but i can choose to not be silent. to not be a coward in fear of being wrong. but be a woman, choosing to love the one in hopes that it inspires you to love the one you know.
because one plus one can only continue to multiply.
and love multiplied can and will diminish hate.
we have that ability to impact this world. not all at once. but one person, one conversation, one hug, one blog at a time.
will you join me? this week, love on those outside of your race.
black friends and readers, love those that are white around you. i can’t imagine how hard it might be – but i promise, the fear they feel to say or do the wrong thing is real and sometimes, even paralyzing – maybe not relate-able or even understandable at this time (it’s okay, we get it), but it is real.
and my white friends, family and readers – choose love. choose to speak love rather than coward away in silence. choose to open your eyes to see the real and relevant conversation that is needed in our culture right now. this is not an issue of the past – this is a tragic reality of today. racism is very much alive and we, white men and women, have to choose love past race or it will not stop. and please, i’m not saying everyone write a blog – but send a text, give a genuine hug of love and appreciation, just please – show love and compassion however and whenever you can.
and to my one, Jenn…
you are not the only black friend of mine. but you are the one who has consistently gone to hard places to show me, a white woman, how to love black people well. someone who has chose to fight the lies of the enemy saying ‘i’ll never understand’ to try and help me understand. and you’ve listened as I’ve told you what i couldn’t have controlled that unfortunately, lead the way for white transparency to be a true struggle for me.
thank you and i’m sorry. two so very real sentiments that i pray you and every single black man or woman hears when they read this.
thank you for giving me a chance to fall on my face, stupid with naivety and ignorance willing to rise wiser and with more intention to change the conversation and open eyes.
and i’m sorry for the pain that my race has caused you and your family. pain and hurt that stems back generations that i’ll never try to make sense of.
thank you for choosing to see me, as me – and not as a white female who could hurt you. but one who genuinely wants to love you well, not as a black woman – but just as a woman. a friend.
and i’m sorry for all those who have chosen to not get to know you or the world-changing heart and mind that is within your beautiful, perfect black skin. it really is their loss, truly.
thank you for choosing to fight past barriers that i’ll never have to and choose forgiveness at a level i don’t know i’ll ever understand.
and i’m sorry you ever had and/or still have to do that.
thank you for loving me and i’m sorry other white men and women haven’t.
my heart will always break for what breaks His. and until the end of my life i will choose to love the one. the one God puts in front of me. the one that He leads me to. whether to show love despite race, or past sin/hurts, or sexuality, or XY or Z. I want to love and fight for the one. to speak for the one who can’t. to speak for the one’s who’ve tried.
why? well, because it’s what Jesus taught us to do first. He went for the one. So…I will to.
and one day, when I get to heaven and get to meet Him face to face, I pray He turns me around and shows me the fruits of my ‘one.’ Not for any kind of accolade, no not any of that. But because then, that day, the enemy will get to finally see that all those days like August 11th 2017 when he thought he was winning – he wasn’t. he didn’t.
love your one, so love will win.
for the one isn’t just for that one, it’s for the next one and the next one and the next one.
Who’s your one? Will you be for them this week? Love them. Fight for them. Speak for them. And watch as your one multiplies.
for my one, Jenn – i love you. always. and i’m for you. standing with you. always.
“In my dreams and visions, I seemed to see a line, and on the other side of that line were green fields, and lovely flowers, and beautiful white ladies, who stretched out their arms to me over the line, but I couldn’t reach them no-how. I always fell before I got to the line.” – Harriet Tubman
dedicated to jenn, to alyssa, to chelsea, to jessica and to every black woman – this is me stretching my arms out to you. even when you fall before the line, i’ll jump the line to come pick you up. help dust you off and say – let’s go to the green fields with lovely flowers together. i see you. i hear your cries and feel your pain with you. when you fall, i fall. when you rise – i rise.
all my love, jess