Every time i sit down to type, my mind goes blank & i stare at the cursor & watch it blink like a beacon on this blank white rectangle-page. Its been nearly a month and I’m still not sure I possess adjectives to do these big, important feelings justice.
21 men. 21 men that had families–mothers, brothers, wives, & children. 21 men just living their lives and working to feed those that depended on them. I’ve read articles that named their names. Listened to interviews with those left behind. Seen newsfeed that attempted to make sense of something so senseless. 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians whose lives were interrupted and whose heads became trophies for some repulsive idealism in one gruesome act that was flaunted for all the world to see.
And their lives & deaths make me wonder: Have I ever really suffered for my faith?
I’ve suffered because suffering is part of life and life is hard and people do and say hurtful things and sometimes those things leave scars that take a lifetime to heal. But I’ve been questioning lately: how much have i really suffered for the sake of the One in whom I say I believe?
Once upon a lonely, miserable, self-loathing time, i sat sobbing on my bed in the middle of the night and read some words that FINALLY made sense to my soul. That night, I went from just believing in God to actually living for Him. There are plenty of people out there who knew the me i was before i knew Him and over the years some of them have taken the liberty to make snide remarks because who on Planet Earth could believe that someone like Me could be loved and changed by someone like Him? I’m sure many of my social media “friends” still think of me as a young woman stuck in the middle of a massive identity crisis. They may recognize my face in photos, but the Me I am now is no more familiar than a stranger. And then there are those who’ve known me since i’ve known Jesus and they’ve seen the times I’ve done surrender as an art form as well as the painful messes I’ve made when I’ve decided to be my very own boss. I’m quite certain that a handful of them have kept a running record and few things would bring them more pleasure than to recount my many failures for all the world to hear.
All of this makes me wonder: those 21…what is someone like me supposed to do with the lives & deaths of brothers like that?
They spoke their words and bore their Crosses like badges of honor. They stood unashamed of their sins and the One who wore flesh in order to forgive them. And yet here I am: A Jesus Wimp. Because somehow I’ve let myself believe the liar who whispers:
Who do you think you are…? What right do you have..?
And right smack in the middle of the lie, I discover the Truth. i am nobody. I lost myself in Him many years ago. He defines me when i cannot define myself. He makes me worthy when i’ve done absolutely everything in my power to not deserve His Grace or Mercy much less a second chance. Even in the moments where i was not courageous enough to speak His Truth or call myself by His Name, He has known me and He has loved me with a Love that i can barely comprehend.
Just like those brothers, I get to be human. I get to stand unashamed because, although I make mistakes, I get to make a future that is not defined by them. I get to hang my soul on the pages of this blog and take whatever ridicule may come my way. I get to declare My Truth boldly to anyone who wants to read it and write words that tell my story and inspire others. I get to use my words as weapons for love, justice, tolerance, and peace because He loved the people that the religious ones deemed unworthy and He demanded that we be peacemakers and i wanna be just like Him when i grow up.
That is what I will do with the lives and deaths of my brothers. And I mean to do it well.