Monday, September 12, 2011

The Conversation I Wish I'd Never Heard.

Have you ever been there?


A few weeks ago? I was there. Nowhere to go. Overhearing a conversation that made my heart cry and my ears bleed.

The conversation about "race". 

I first started overhearing it about the time she said the words "And then [my daughter] asked what we would do if she wanted to marry one"


African American.

"I told her that I just want what's best for her...How difficult 'that life' would be..not being accepted by any race"

Yes, you're probably feeling it too, right now, I'm sure.

That desire to stand up for our children.

To butt right into these strangers conversation and talk about our beautiful brown-skinned sons and daughters.

To stand up for our friends who married for love. Not race.

I did, too.

Because the thought that my daughter? wouldn't be accepted by any community because of her family...or because of the color of her skin? Destroys me.

I didn't interrupt.

Instead, I prayed in the spirit. I looked through my amazing photo album of Sweet Girl.

I even looked up hair-style tips.

And I did my best to forget what I was now unable to stop listening to.

Since then, I have spent a lot of time in prayer about this. I truly believe that one of the easiest attacks of the enemy is to build on the fear that we will be rejected. To feed on our desire for community. You see? God created us for community. To live amongst our breathren. To love our neighbor as ourselves.

And, Satan? Hates that.  His mission is to destroy us. And telling us that a certain "path" will lead us to a place of not being accepted? is a cheap shot at God's plan for the Body of Christ.

And the fact that these conversations still happen suggests that our society is still broken. That we still have a long way to go.

But my confidence does not come from society and her dysfunctions.

My confidence comes from Christ.

And while my daughter's heritage is African.

And her culture will be a mixture of Ethiopian and American.

Her identity? Is in Christ alone.

She's not just an Ethiopian American. She's the daughter of those who have devoted their lives to the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth. Her family is not made up of biological and adopted family members, of all colors I might add, but also of the Body of Christ. Of the church.

She's the precious daughter of the Most High.

And we are honored that He would choose us to shepherd her life on earth. That He would share His favorite one with us.

I pray today, that the Church grabs hold of this in a new way. That 10am on Sundays would no longer be the most segregated hour of the week. That the Body of Christ would come together in unity and stand up to society saying "You've got it all wrong! THIS isn't how it is supposed to be! Our acceptance is not based on the color of our skin! We are all chosen by God and blessed because we believe in Him"

"For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him"  Romans 10:12

I don't know what trials we will face in our lives.

I don't claim to have many--if any at all--of the answers to the problems in our world.

I don't know that I will always handle every battle the right way.

But I do know that in situations that arise in our lives, our confidence remains in Jesus Christ.  My prayer, much like MLK Jr.'s was, is that my daughter will be judged and judge others by the content of their character, NOT the color of their skin. And that her marriage, someday, will be a glimpse and example to those around her, of the love of Christ for the Church.

I pray that society continues to work towards acceptance and stops allowing the enemy to use us as tools of rejection and separation against one another.

And I pray that, even if society isn't perfect in our lifetimes. Even if we have to walk through many of the trials that I so desperately want to shield her from? That even if there are cultural and societal dysfunctions that attempt to tear down and destroy our family and more specifically my children? 

That my daughter's Identity is never shaken. 

Because it never belonged to this world to begin with.

This is one of my favorite songs by Israel. When I hear it, I am immediately taken back to our trip to the Congo in 2007. We did this song with their worship team incorporating English and French. It was one of my favorite moments. I could feel God smiling down on us as we were in total unity!


Ashley said...

Great post, Ashley!

Anonymous said...

Ugh- I would be super frustrated too! Lord help us to be wise when these types of situations come up in future (as I'm guessing more will.) Randee

Anonymous said...

I wonder a bit about the age of the people who had that conversation. I mean, I can appreciate your feelings, and I can understand your frustration. At the same time, I know just a few short years ago life was extremely difficult for children of those types of marriages. I know because my best friend was the product of the marriage of a white man and an African-American mother.

Her parents married while still in college. Right out of college, her father got a dream job. Then a workmate found out about his marriage. Eventually he was fired for a minor mistake because the boss was just looking for a way to fire him without exposing the company to anything sordid such as having to pay him unemployment. She was the only person of mixed race in our community, or anywhere nearby. Things were so hard for her as a small child her family decided not to subject any further children to those difficulties and thus she was and is an only child. As a family, she and her parents had to deal with so much that was unfair.

I'm just saying perhaps these people were honestly thinking of the children and not the adults in this situation. I believe things are better now, because so many more people are like you, or at least I like to think so. I still am not certain I'd want to have children were I a young person now in such a relationship because I remember all the times I held my friend while she sobbed out her hurt and frustration. Unfortunately, there were as many from either race who hurt her. That's how I learned you don't have to be white to be racist. I would never want to put a child through that.

I also don't think this is the same thing as your child. I'm not sure how to express it well, so please try to understand what I mean. She will always have her own genetic heritage, and having been adopted by you won't change that. She won't suddenly become of two races because you adopted her. She will have her own issues to deal with and not the same issues as my friend. I pray strength of character and of will for you as a family to deal with that set of problems.

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