From Paris to Syria With More Questions Than Answers

Monday morning she walked through my classroom door. I had anticipated her arrival. My student from France. I knew her hurt would be the same I’d felt for days and weeks and still from 9/11. Pain without words.

Her eyes were heavy with the burden of sadness. I offered all I had—an embrace attempting to squeeze hope into her heart.

Because hope can bind the most broken of souls.

My voice has been quiet this week. Words have been few while my mind swirls of a thousand thoughts and questions. Words have escaped while my heart clenches tight at the whole-wide, broken world.


They jam-up, collide, skid through my news feed. Running together so fast they blur in my salty tears.


Paris. Terrorists. Refugee. Syria. Muslim. Christian. Jihad. Love. Hate. Good. Evil. Fear. Courage. Forgiveness. Bloodshed.

Polarizing. Splitting down the center of my heart. My core. My soul.

I don’t know anything but a broken heart for this world.

And I don’t have answers. I’m not a member of our brave armed forces with special clearance of classified information. I’m not a statesman with foreign policy expertise. I’m not a theologian with years of biblical study in the original languages.

I’m a privileged, small-town, white American girl with zero understanding of what it’s like to live in fear.

I know nothing about running for my life.

And I know nothing about fighting to make sure my countrymen keep their freedom.

I lock my doors at night. And I wonder—is that the same as locking our country’s borders? Is that the same?

It seems the collective mass of social media has an answer for our world-wide brokenness. Overnight we’ve become experts of foreign policy and theology. And when the two try to shake hands, we turn to fear and shout we’re all doomed because every refugee is a terrorist.

Maybe I wish more would admit their hard questions and silent grapplings than to see quick judgments of hate and sudden knowledge of how to solve everything.

When I hear the words Syrian refugee, there are so many things I don’t know.

How do I connect the words of my Jesus in Matthew 25 to the role my country should play in protecting its citizens?

“Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’” (Matt. 25:24-25)

Words that are hard to ignore…

God calls us to be wise. But is that the same as safe? I don’t know of any scripture in which God promises us the safe. He called prophets to the lion’s den and tent makers to martyrdom.

The Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission. To love God and to make Him known.

To make Him known.

Yes. Here in my small circle of neighbors and friends and community. But also. Also to the ends of the earth. The splintered cross of Calvary isn’t just for me. Jesus came to save the entire spinning world of humanity and yes—that includes the Muslim.

It’s not wise to welcome the terrorist. I get that. Yes. A resounding yes. But won’t they come anyway?

And do we turn away the literal thousands and thousands of heaving, broken souls who are desperate for a shred of hope, a sliver of light because of our fear?

Because for all the fear that wells up in my soul, my thoughts cannot escape, cannot run fast enough away from one image. Just one.

The refugee mothers.

To know the horror of fleeing with my babies. Trying to hold tight to their hands. Desperate to let their tiny souls know a life outside of fear. Having to watch as evil wins, and they perish before my very eyes.

To imagine spreading newspaper on the cold ground for my children and calling it a bed. Hiding behind walls and jumping at the slightest noise. Looking into the eyes of my son and daughter knowing I can’t tell them, “It’s going to be okay.”

Motherhood is a binding experience. Human. Connective. The strings of my mother heart reverberate with the tormented days of the refugee mothers. And when I attempt to imagine walking in their shoes?

I cannot. Cannot turn away.

Because who will bring them hope if Christians do not?

Call me a bleeding heart. Call me naïve. Call me ignorant.

I’ll agree.

I have more questions than answers. But maybe that’s the place to begin. Because in the end, I am left with only these words—

Sweet Jesus. Please. Bring us to our knees, to ask you collectively, what shall we do? Oh Jesus. What would you have us do?

And give us the courage to do it.

Light in the DarknessPublic domain image, royalty free stock photo from Imagine

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For the Teacher Desperate for Hope

My classroom feels heavy right now. A weight I can’t lift.

Most days I can get past it. Most days my students are the reason I teach. Most days I’m the first to jump up and defend my teenage learners.

Most days.

Some days I feel unhinged and undone as I look into the faces of students with blank eyes and body language that tells me they think they have better things to do—like they couldn’t care less about what I have to say.

Those days I want to throw my computer across the room. Slam my palms against the desk. Scream, “Pay attention!”

Anything. Anything to get them to wake up.

Wake up!

For one blessed minute.

Wake up!

I want to take their faces in my hands. Look deep into the glazed-over eyes and plead. Beg. Implore. Please. Just hear me. Important things can go on in this room. Possibility exists, if only you listen.

But they don’t wake up. They don’t hear. And they just don’t care.

Some days.

It’s a dangerous gift this handing of my heart pieces to teenage minds. Yes, I put my heart in their hands. Every day. At some point—every day—it gets broken.

Frustration and hurt sit close together when apathy heaps heavy on our teaching shoulders.

Because I’ve done everything to engage the student—the video teaser, the deep questions, the personal applications, the relationship building, the excitement pouring from my soul. All of this and maybe even a purple pony too.

All of this and my audience only sighs with daydreaming faces.

It’s tangible pain to watch students at the edge of world with me wondering if they’ll know what to do with that big-wide future. To know their next steps can really be make or breaks. To watch potential throw itself away.

And it hurts even deeper to know apathy sometimes isn’t apathy at all. It can be the veil worn to cover scars and wounds and hunger and questions and abuse I will never understand.

But. I remind myself.

I don’t have to teach these students. I get to teach them.

I get to pry open the seal of apathy and reach in deep. I get to give everything I have to a classroom of students. I get to watch the days when knowledge lights a dark face.

The hard teaching days? Those are the days I want to give up. Stop trying. Lock the classroom doors forever.

But Hope stands in the doorway. It lifts my head and shows me the places apathy has fallen away or even just cracked a bit.

It gives me a reason to stay.

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The thing about hope for teachers? It’s hard to see. To catch a glimpse, we need to know we make a difference.

Yet seeing the difference we make is like attempting to view the Eiffel Tower with a magnifying glass. We stand so close to the tower of art, our vision so focused on the here and now, we cannot see the breathtaking beauty of the whole masterpiece.

To see the magnificence of the Eiffel Tower, we need to step back. It’s in the stepping back we begin to see hope. We won’t find it examining every bad day with our magnifying glasses held tight to our eyes. We will miss hope when we add up the ways this job is hard.

Stepping back lifts the weighted stone that student apathy sets deep in my soul.

Hope wants me to pull away and number the amazing moments of this beautiful career. Hope asks me to remember the student that emailed last summer after passing his AP exam. His message? “We did it.”

(I still swallow hard. Because we.)

Hope calls me to see the big-picture masterpiece of my students’ lives.

The college freshman asking me to help edit his first few papers. The student texting me the book list of his university’s American Lit. survey course just to share. The one who emails to say thanks for preparing her for the writing—all the writing professors require.

Apathy only seems larger than hope when we spend our days ticking off the list of ways our students defeat us, weigh us down. When we only look at apathy, we stop caring.

But when we step back searching for hope? We find ourselves looking for ways to crack apathy’s shell. We remember the reasons we love this job. We remember it’s worth it.

Begin to list your beautiful moments. Make tally marks of the brilliant lights who remember to say thank you. Watch for the former students who pass by your classroom, look up, and smile. Take note of the beauty.

When you choose to look, you will find hope. It may be small, but it will be there.

On the undone days, I’m left with this—when I walk into my classroom I have a choice. I can choose the bitter or I can choose the hope.

Only Hope can lift the heavy.

So tell me, dear friends, tell me of the beautiful moments you’ve witnessed as a teacher. Let’s find hope together.

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When Our Children Fight Us

Her ballet class had been cancelled, and there was no homework. We had an afternoon that wasn’t defined by a dizzying pace of here to there and back again. A first in weeks. But our home was filthy. Regardless of how many times I douse toilets in bleach, mildew creeps back.

One of Ella’s best friends was to spend the night in just a few days. With no time to clean between our free afternoon and her friend’s arrival, I knew what had to be done.

I gritted my teeth.

Because I knew. I knew the stomping and the sighing and the eye rolling would begin.

Click here to continue reading over at Orlando Moms Blog. Have a beautiful day, my amazing sisters!

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When You Feel the Need to Impress

My hand-eye coordination is about the worst thing you can witness minus the acting abilities of Keanu Reeves in Much Ado About Nothing. Sorry. But Shakespeare and Keanu? Just no.

But seriously. I have zero coordination. The fact I played JV softball in high school says more about the compassion of our coach than my prowess as a player. Though our team never won a game (another blog for another day), there was one thing I could do.

Miracle of miracles, I could hit the ball.

Though I wasn’t your homerun hitter, I rarely struck out.


Fast forward five years. College intermural softball. I signed up to play on a team with a hot guy I was dating. He was the pitcher. And it turns out he became Prince Charming.

Our first practice and my one-day-husband pitched. I never hit a single ball. There, in front of the entire team, I choked. Big time. My nerves were a mess. What was everyone going to think? I just knew everyone wondered why I was even there.

I was angry. I was frustrated. I was defeated.

When I’d showed up to practice, I had one goal–to prove myself to a group of friends. Instead I proved nothing.

That afternoon on the intermural fields of Florida State became a metaphor for my life.

You see, I have a drive to impress and a desire for affirmation. Always. I’m not sure why those roots extend so deep. Maybe it was Lake of Fire known as middle school. Or the group of friends who turned their backs on me senior year. Or possibly seminary classes filled with men.

Whatever it is, I’ve always wanted approval.

When I choked on the softball fields? My attention had been on the crowd. I wanted to impress and awe those watching. I wish I could say a lot has changed in almost 20 years.

Still, I struggle with the need to impress.

Instead? I need to learn the power of an audience of One.

Once practice was over that day so long ago, I looked at Michael and told him he was going to pitch to me until I hit the dang ball. He didn’t have a choice.

We went to the batting cage. It was just my love and I. He pitched, and I hit every ball he threw. Every one.

What made the difference? My audience had shifted from a group of individuals, acquaintances, to one—my Prince Charming. It was an audience of acceptance no matter what. His view of me didn’t quake or tremor based on my lackluster skills.

There is a King. A Heavenly Father. One who loves unconditionally and without reservation. I cannot earn His approval. I cannot work hard enough, be good enough, perform fast enough to deserve His love.

I can’t do enough because He already does.

He is my audience of One.

When I sink into His presence, the crowd fades. My desire to impress becomes a pin-prick spec on the horizon. I find gulps of air when I no longer stare at crowds but look into the eyes of my Creator.

I’ll strike out in an audience of thousands because I can never be enough for the world. I can never please all the people.

I’ll still choke. I’ll still miss the mark.

But my audience of One? My Jesus? For Him, I’m already enough.

I don’t have to prove anything to Him. I just have to love Him. In that loving my Audience smiles.

And the pressure’s gone.

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Learning to Cast

Anxiety. Worry. Stress.

I know these words. I pack them everywhere I go. Sometimes I take them out, shine them up for all to see.

Anxiety and I are close—tight, bonded. Friends even? She wakes up with me and speaks to me, as I get ready for work. Never wasting a moment.

Every single second she has something to say.

The essays need to be graded during first period so you can get them passed back fourth or your students won’t have what they need for the essay their turning in tomorrow.

You haven’t posted a blog in almost two weeks. You’re letting everyone down.

Ella needs an appointment to have her eyes checked. I can’t believe you haven’t done that yet. Call today.

Have you called your Grandmother lately? The prescriptions need to be picked up from Target. Are you really eating frozen pizza for dinner again? Why aren’t you paying off more debt? You need to read those books on the nightstand to help you get a grip.

The conversation continues all day.

The darkness it brings lays a blanket heavy on my soul.

And for me? Depression and Anxiety like to gang up. Hang out. Get comfy and stay awhile. I know what it’s like to be buried deep without air. To cover my head with the pillows desperate, hoping the darkness will fade.

The cycle tortures.

Depression sucks my energy. I get nothing done. Then Anxiety comes knocking. Because I’m an adult with responsibilities. Yet all I do is pull the covers higher.

Back and forth—they play tug-of-war with my life.

I’m scraped across the mud.

The game ebbs and flows. Times I call on Jesus, pull myself out, and walk away. Then there are times I wave my white flag, grateful for Jesus and modern medicine.

But whatever time it is—Jesus is always a part of the anxiety killing.

I drove by a fisherman on my way to work this morning and wished for my camera. The rising sun glistened on the water, light hitting the man in a glorious spectacle. I imagined time standing still as he cast his line in to the water.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

There is a flinging in the cast. A pulling your arm back and slinging the line into the deep blue. A letting go.

A release.

And when I do? When I cast my anxiety on my Jesus? Shoulders unfurl and my chest expands with deep breathing. It’s a glorious, wonderful moment.DSC_0118DSC_0146DSC_0129

But the thing about casting? I tend to reel my anxiety back in with nothing on the line but the heaviness of worry and stress. I try to catch peace by reeling in emptiness.

There are some in this life that can fling their anxiety to the heavens never to reel them back. I envy those souls.

My life is a practice in casting.

But maybe? Maybe for some of us the beauty waits in the practice. Anxiety creeps in, but my Father beams light in its glorious spectacle when I cast it back out. He loves to see me practice the cast—flinging obedience His way.

Again. And again. And again.

There is beauty and delight in those moments.

A Heavenly Daddy cheering His daughter on in the practice, knowing one day she will fling and never reel emptiness back in. One day she’ll be an expert in the casting.

Until then? I’ll keep practicing, learning to dance in the light shimmering all around—living carefree before my Jesus because He is careful with me. Holding my fragility in His gentle hands.

Keep casting my sisters. There is bouncing, dancing Light in the practice.

Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. 1 Peter 5:7 (MSG)

Learning to Life Free and linking up with my friend Suzie Eller today. Do you struggle with anxiety as I do? Join other bloggers just like me today as we look for ways to #livefree from anxiety and fear. Click over now and breathe deep.

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When Balance and Writing Don’t Co-exist

There are those days. There are those days you cling to the edge with white-tight knuckles and you email a friend just so she can keep you afloat. Today is one of those days.

Because we try to balance everything, but I’m just not sure balance exists in the way I would hope. So then there are those days I have to remember to breathe.

But God breathes for us. Our souls still in the silent, in-between spaces.

I’m honored to be sharing some of my story with the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference blog this afternoon. Words I wrote weeks ago, but words I needed to hear again as God whispers quietly that He is my breath. He is my air. He is my stillness.

The following is an excerpt, but I’d be ever-so grateful if you’d click on over?

The house where I grew up had steps leading down to our backyard gate. It was my hiding place. Quiet and cool under the willow shade that made Momma shake her finger at Daddy for planting it so close to the house.

I loved it.

In that space I would dream. I would write. Stories of girlish dreams—teenage angsty things. But never once did I allow the dream of author to seep into my soul.

Even as a writing major at Florida State, I never considered writing as something I would actually do. I chose the major because it was the end of my junior year and an advisor said—PICK SOMETHING.

So I did….

continue reading here

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When We Attempt to Groom Perfect Children

Flawless hair. Big colorful bows. Smocked dresses from Etsy for each holiday.

For the first several years of life, my sweet Ella-girl always looked perfectly put together. Every hair on her cute little head in place. Outfits coordinated for each event and ribbons to match.

Because what would other mommas think?

Hair messed up from the playground? Let me fix that before you slide again. Dress stained from the jelly dripping down her chin? Oops. We need to change before we go into Target. Shoes brown and scuffed? Only wear those in the backyard.

I had it wrong. Dangerously wrong.

Don’t misunderstand. Teaching our children to take care of themselves and to dress appropriate for a given occasion is important. But teaching our children they must look perfect wherever and whenever they go begins to instill a self-worth steeped in appearance.

Just a few years ago Ella and I were with another young girl and her mom. We were headed to an event, but before we left the mom primped and fixed her daughter repeatedly.

In that moment, I was faced with my failings as a mother. I was looking into my own cracked mirror as I watched the face of my friend’s daughter. Defeat and shame spread thick over her young shoulders.

I wondered. How often had I done the same to my own beautiful girl?

How frequently had I “fixed” what she might have already deemed perfect? How many times did I teach her to care about her looks instead of her heart? How habitual were my lessons in looking pretty when she never needed to notice pretty in the first place?

That night I gulped shame so dense it wouldn’t stay down.

I had asked my girl to hold my self-esteem in her tiny hands. I cared more about how she reflected my parenting than I cared about her emotional security.

How dare I?

When our own self-esteem is rooted in the perfect appearance of our children, we heep soul-crushing pressure on their backs.

Mommas. Can I talk the difficult with you? Can I just be real?

We have to stop.

We have to stop forcing our children to carry the weight of our self-esteem—their own esteem is already fragile, splitting under our power. We have to stop forcing our daughters to shoulder the burden of our identity—they have their own to discover. We have to stop our incessant worry over what society might think of our sons—they worry enough about their own peers’ assessment.

Perfectly dressed children do not make perfect children.

No. This isn’t a rant on smocked dresses and beautiful hair bows. I still love them, and if I could get my tween Ella-girl to go for them, I would. No. This is about protecting our daughters and our sons from the burden of carrying our adult self-esteems in their childhood hands.

It’s about telling society – Yes. That’s my son crawling onto the Target shelves in his Kool-aide (gasp) stained shirt and clay-marked shoes. You should see his heart. You should see the way he picks up dropped items for strangers and helps me unload the groceries.

I don’t have the answers. I’m not perfect.

I am one flawed momma doing her best to raise flawed children.

I once bought into the mistake of displaying my daughter for the world to see so I would appear the put-together momma. But no more. Because if my two joy-carriers can’t see me be real and flawed, how can they ever understand authentic living?

Our children do reflect us as parents. That’s a reality. But what image do I want my children to bear?

In me, I am clinging to the hope they will see a reflection of my Jesus’ grace and acceptance of them. Because that’s what I see when I look at Him. He opens His arms of love to my dirt-smudged soul.

The heart of our children. This should be our most expensive investment. This should be what we fight for, sacrifice for. Their hearts should be the beautiful we take pictures of. Their hearts should be the beautiful we display.

Not because it makes us good parents. But because their hearts will be what lead our world before we can blink. Dresses and bows and suits and ties never fed a hungry soul. But hearts? They take care of humanity.

These days? My Ella-girl walks out the door with wet hair.

And I smile big.

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Not a perfect picture but a picture of perfect joy. This is the real. And it’s beautiful.

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To the Young Woman Looking for Prince Charming

I know you. I’ve been you. Your heart aches to share your life with the one. The one who will hold your hand, calm your soul, capture your heart.

I’ve so many things I want you to hear. So many things I want you to know—deep down, where our secrets lay buried.

No. A husband won’t complete you. He won’t make you whole. You don’t need a man to survive. But you already know these things because you’re beautifully intelligent and passionately created.

Yet your heart still yearns to share your life with Prince Charming.

Don’t let anyone tell you that’s not okay. Because wanting a husband? There’s not a single thing wrong with that desire.

But marrying the wrong husband, just because you’re scared to live a life on your own? You’ll cleave your heart to the hammer pounding you into a million shattered pieces.

I watch you. In my classroom. In my life. In the world. I watch you willingly give yourselves to less than you’re worth. And my soul squeezes tight for the tears you will shed.

Marriage is beautiful and ugly, tender and fierce, and if you were my daughter, there would be some quiet things I’d want you to hear.

Will you lean close?

Because I have the whispered questions your heart needs to ask of any man you choose. Questions that draw a chasm between just any guy and a man who could be your Prince Charming. Questions that may be painful to answer true. Questions worth the asking because your life is worth the answers.

Does he see you? He won’t understand all of you. Not like your best girls do. Women are created to be stunning mysteries full of wonder. It’s why he’s drawn to you. But does he really see you? Or is he trying to change you into something he wants you to be?

Can you twirl and spin and be your most authentic self when you’re with him? Because forever is a long time to live as someone you were never meant to be.

Does he help you be your best self? Do you regret the things you do or say in his presence? Or does he lovingly help you with the wise choices. Choices that empower and strengthen you.

Does he make you feel beautiful? All the time? Even when you’re sweaty or have a messy bun or a face without paint. Even when you can barely acknowledge your beauty to yourself. Does he say you’re stunning? Because you are. And if he only ever points out flaws, you will never stop spinning to achieve a nonexistent definition of beauty.

Does he make you laugh? Gut-busting, belly-laughing giggles. A marriage without laughter is no marriage. It’s a prison.

Would he be a good father? Because you don’t have to want children to ask this question. Because a man who can love children, is a tender man that will hold your heart with gentle hands.

Does he appreciate how strong you are? Or is he intimidated, taking every moment to make you feel smaller because you’re a woman?

Is grace a word he understands? Because mistakes will always be made. Meals will be burnt. Important things will be forgotten. Feelings will be crushed.

Can you trust him? I mean right now. Can you trust him? Trust can be built, but it’s a tall mountain to climb. Are you both willing? And if the same trust is broken again and again and again, a ring on your finger doesn’t suddenly keep him honest.

Does he protect you? Your emotions. Your worth. Your heart. Your body. Do you know if your every part is safe in his hands?

Does he know how to wipe your tears? Or does he just laugh and call you emotional?

Do you share the same beliefs? Does he love Jesus like you do? Faith doesn’t promise a strong marriage. But unless he shares your faith, there will be an entire piece of your soul he will never understand. And that will always hurt.

Are you a team? Because now that you’ve asked these questions of him, can he ask them of you?

No man is perfect. And no couple is guaranteed a marriage of bliss.

The hard work of partnering for life? It only just begins with I do. But saying those two words to a man who doesn’t understand that love is a choice? That love is always a verb? My heart aches that you would consider yourself worthy of anything less.

Because you are worthy of a Prince Charming.


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What it Means to Show Up

She was too young. Too young for cancer to steal her last breath, but that’s what cancer does. It steals time, money, life.

The mother of my daughter’s friend is gone. She joined Jesus early this summer, and we were left reeling. Heartbroken. Floundering.

Beyond the ache in my heart, I wondered how to help my daughter, Ella. How would I help her help her friend? At 11 years old, Ella is sensitive and aware. But this was a first for us.

Turns out I didn’t need to teach my daughter anything. Instead, she taught me the beauty and grace of pressing in…

I’m just thrilled to the tips of my toes to be sharing with my friend, Michelle Cox, over at her beautiful blog, Just 18 Summers. Please click on over and hear how my sweet Ella-girl taught me a most precious lesson.

(Two blogs back to back-to-back friends!?! What is this craziness? Don’t get too excited. It will probably be another week before I come up for air again. The mom life. You know what I’m talking about. Sending love to you from my very-unlike-fall Florida. Someone send me some cooler temps. Pretty please, with a pumpkin spice latte on top?)

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Don’t You Know You Belong to Each Other?

The class laughed. They laughed at him.

Not an I’m-laughing-with-you-laugh, but a you’re-an-idiot-and-no-one-likes-you laugh.

His mouth turned down. His eyes stared at the ground. His shoulders sagged under the weight of ridicule. His heart pieces fell to the floor.

My fury boiled hot anger for this broken boy. One of my students. One of mine hurt by those who were also mine.

And I knew how he felt.

Sitting silent at my desk later, the haunting memories of my own teenage years hung like a cloud. Times I felt unconnected tramped across my consciousness.

Times I didn’t belong.

We each have a deep ache in our souls to be accepted, to be known. Drifting on the outskirts of belonging, we attempt acts of desperation. We change our hair, our nails, our clothes, our weight, our interests, our demeanor, our activities, our values, our beliefs just to be welcomed into the fold.

And if we’re not? If we somehow don’t fit the rules of society? We hunker down behind walls of bitterness, all the time praying someone would just reach a hand in our direction.

That’s what we should be doing—reaching our hands to the outstretched fingertips of those looking to belong. Because they already do. They already belong.

In my classroom that day, as my heart burned and ached all in one breath, I wanted to take each student by the shoulders, look deep, and ask one thing:

Don’t you know? Don’t you know you belong to each other?

We love a Jesus asking the same question. Can you hear Him? Can you hear his voice echoing in your heart? He’s looking deep. Asking:

Don’t you know? Don’t you know you belong to each other?

Two thousand years ago Peter sat with the risen Savior at the water’s edge. With toes in sand, our Jesus told Peter three times, “Feed my sheep.” The Shepherd casting a vision for His flock. The Shepherd making the family responsible for one another.

We are the keepers. We are the tenders. We are the shielders.

Yet. How well do we love the unlovely?

I’ve stood on the fringes looking in, but I’ve sat comfortably on the inside too. I have to wonder if I really understand we all belong to each other—if I take care to reach my hand out to those who don’t know they already belong.

My mind drifts to a woman I knew. She wasn’t so good with people. She was loud, overbearing, and didn’t recognize social cues. I struggled hard to love her. I’m embarrassed to admit I would sigh deep inside when she came my way.

We belonged to each other, but I didn’t take care of her the way I needed to—the way she needed me to.

It’s not just the hard to love at work. But the ones we can never agree with and who hate our positions with narrowed eyes. And the ones on the street, clothes stained and torn with grit creased into haggard wrinkles. And even those in our world who may bring fear to our hearts with their need seeping from worn souls.

Do I love the unlovely? Do I know we belong to each other? Do I realize God asks me to live out family with humanity? Do I understand, really own, that the cross was for the world as much as it was for me?

Christ did not suffer His crown of thorns or nail-split hands more for my lost soul than any other human.


The belonging we crave? The acceptance we long for? It’s our responsibility to extend the same to all we meet. A responsibility to say you are welcome here.

I’m desperate for my students to learn what it means to welcome each other with open arms. I’m desperate for my own eyes to see humanity through the lens of the Creator. Because His call is a whisper echoing loud in my soul.

Don’t you know you belong to each other?


Posted in Beautiful Life, Relationship with God, Struggles | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments