who is the gatekeeper?

I have had a long history of insecurity in my thoughts on immigration. My views on the issue have not always matched my otherwise liberal views on many other social issues. I have often been closed-minded and ego-centric. I have been more aligned with conservatives. (Not crazies, just more homeland centered thinking types.) Who gets to be the gatekeeper to our nation of immigrants? Who decides who gets in and who doesn’t? The course of American history is fraught with struggle over our borders and ports. This is not a new issue. Check out these resources for history on immigration in America:

Wikipedia

Immigration Policy Center

Library of Congress (ahem, great teaching resource.)

I don’t see this current crisis as a political issue. I don’t see this as an immigration issue. I know this causes crazy financial hurdles for our country. But I don’t know how I (we?) can look at the faces of children who have risked their lives for safety and say, “go back.” For me, this is a humanitarian issue. These are not immigrants, undocumented, or aliens; these are humans. And for me, a person who claims to be a follower of Jesus, this is one of the moments where I can shy away or I can follow the message of the Savior.

And when it comes to kids, I don’t mess around. Kids are not and should not be responsible for caring for themselves. Kids, who put their lives into someone else’s hands to escape violence, poverty, trafficking, and death are not just seeking a better life; they are seeking LIFE.

I have read a lot of amazing responses to these in the last few weeks, these wise souls speak better words than I so I offer them to you, with grateful thanks.

Broderick Greer: Jesus is Undocumented.

 

Gay Clark Jennings: Christians worship a child who fled violence in his home country.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori: Crisis of Unaccompanied Children on the Border

Bishop Mariann: Why are so many children leaving Central America?

Jim Wallis: The Moral Failure of Immigration Reform

Mother Jones: Children Migrants Surge

NY Times: The Border Crisis

And this one…from a guy named Jesus…

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me” (Matthew 25.40).

Praying for wisdom. Praying for our leaders. Praying for peace and working for justice.

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live to fight another day

During yesterday’s 14 miler, it started as a tightness, then pain around 6 miles. It proceeded to deepen in pain, soreness and crampy feeling until my gait started to be effected around mile 8. My upper left leg was a mess. A lot went through my head; “what is this new pain?”, “will this going away?”, “what is causing this?” None of which I had immediate answers for except 2; no, this pain was getting worse.

“But I’m the coach”, said my brain. I’m part of a team helping this crew to the finish. “But you know your body.”, said experience. I needed to stop. I needed to stop running. Stop moving. Get ice.

I consulted the coaching team, all agreed I would stop and call Sherpa Fiancé and head home. This was the wise choice. It was also heart-breaking as the new coach on the team-wanting to be a role model.

Then came the realization that this was a form of role modeling. Sometimes you have to stop, and as Sherpa Fiancé channeling Phil Liggett says, “live to fight another day.” Experienced runners know when pushing through is just going to cause more hurt. I could have hammered our the last 2.4 miles but at what expense? Six months is a long training cycle and cutting short one 14 miler doesn’t mean that I won’t have the chops for 3-20′s. It means that on this day, on this run, I needed to stop. Two cups of coffee, a protein laden breakfast, an ice bath, compression, 3 Advil, and a nap later, things seemed a little better. A walk today and maybe a run tomorrow, we’ll see.

This PLB coach (thanks Jeff!) will be back in stride ASAP. And hopefully set an example of “it’s ok to say uncle” when the body needs it.

the ice bath

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so many names, only one matters.

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Labels. Names. Some good. Some bad. Some easy to shake off. Some scarred onto the heart. There was a time when I let the labels others gave me sew into my soul and define me. I always took on the negative labels and allowed them to permeate my self-confidence, worth, and belief. No matter what positive labels people placed upon me, the negative would always win out. Sucker punched by names, some of which many of us face and some of which are not FCC compatible.

Even with a life firmly rooted in faith, the names can still seep into my mind and allow myself to spiral down the rabbit hole of pain and doubt. But they shouldn’t. I am first and foremost, Sarah, a princess, the daughter of a King. If this is who I am first and I daily am graced with new mercies, why would any other name matter? It only matters if I let it. If I let the world break past my faithful assurance, I am prone to hurt, prone to take on the labels that come from the world and come from myself.

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As we learn from Ruth, Naomi, in her hurt and exhaustion, gives herself the name Mara. She has seen her life go from Pleasant to Bitter. In the pain of losing her husband and sons, she returns to her birthplace a broken woman. Through the great plan of God and through her daughter-in-law Ruth, she is restored. Ruth too is restored by her humble faith and becomes the mother in the lineage of Christ. They are restored. They are redeemed. The only names they need are beloved.

When we allow the world to enter our hearts and minds and give us any label other than those given to us by God, we are contributing to our own downfall. We can break away from these names, these labels. We can write the Word on our hearts and surround ourselves with the message that we are loved beyond measure. We are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. We are restored. We are worthy. We are ALL daughters of the King. This is the best label of all.

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#shesharestruth: Titus 2

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Titus has been a really thought provoking study for me. If I were to synthesize it’s message into three words, they would be: teaching, self-control, and obedience. In Titus 2, we hear from Paul about how elders should behave and what they should teach their younger charges. The themes remain the same-temperance, sound teaching, self-control, obedience, integrity, fidelity, and godliness through grace. All noble and wonderful pursuits.

The devotional piece (day 4)  about mentoring or spiritual mothering really struck a chord with me. I read Lean In last summer and there are pages telling of Sheryl Sandberg’s experiences with mentoring in her professional world. While I am desperate for mentorship in the professional world, I had never really thought about mentoring in the spiritual realm. I have women I admire in my church and a large swath of female clergy to whom I look for inspiration and teaching from the periphery (mostly on facebook.) But I have never sought out or been sought out for mentoring or spiritual mothering by anyone. And of course, I need it. I long for someone who will teach me in the ways life through the lens of Christ. I need someone who will challenge me on my walk with God and encourage me to first seek the biblical view. (And then I feel pangs of guilt in thinking somehow this means I am denying the awesome and incredible power of my own amazing mother, which I certainly do not deny. EVER. Since my Mom is one of my five blog readers, I feel like I should make this explicit! Then I remember the concept of “it takes a village” which I think, knowing Mom, would be ok with her.)

While Sheryl Sandberg would say, “don’t ask someone to be your mentor!”, I figure we live in such a big world and I go to such a big church in a crazy metro area where self-advocacy might be the only way to stay afloat at times so….I am opening up the courage box and reaching out. This is scary as it implies that I am seeking help for what seem to be selfish need(s). Our times are not like the times of Paul and Titus where the village raised up around its people. Our times are busy, crazy, and revolve around a much more complex world. So if it is wrong to jump out in faith and courage and ask for a spiritual mentor, then I’m ok with being wrong. For this crazy Christian walk, we need each other. And I’m so thankful for the courage and grace to take the leap.

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Titus 2: Teach Sound Doctrine

But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine. Tell the older men to be temperate, serious, prudent, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance.

Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured; then any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.

Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back,10 not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior.

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all,[a] 12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior,[b] Jesus Christ. 14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

15 Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority.[c] Let no one look down on you.

 

 

Community (p31)

As part of the proverbs31 community, I am joining in for the blog link-up. Our prompt this week is:

COMMUNITY – What does community mean to you? What do you need from community? What can you give to community?

The societal definition of community has changed so much with the advent of social media that it is hard to determine where to start. My initial response would lead me to define community as a group with a common vision or mission living, working, growing, and supporting that commonality. We interweave our communities in person and online as we try to lead our best lives.

I am part of large communities-the global running community, Bearcat alumni, teachers, Christian women, etc. I am also part of small communities-my church group, my running pace group, my prayer warriors, and the gals I shoot the breeze with at work. When you add the large and small communities on social media, a whole new realm forms.

For me, I seek affirmation and love from community. I seek the opportunity to join with like minded souls and those who will argue intelligently with me. I seek inspiration and challenge. For my community(ies), I hope to give affirmation, encouragement, challenge, and love. I think these traits cross the lines of time, space, activity, subject matter, and belief.

In Matthew, Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Whether we gather face to face or online, in large groups or small. The force of community is strong. A community can wield a mighty power for good or evil, or somewhere in between. A community can be held together with bricks and mortar or needle and thread, but as long as two or three hold dear to a common belief, vision, mission, or need–the community can be strong.

As I link up to this new community with Proverbs 31, I pray that I may be a voice of affirmation, encouragement, challenge, and love. columbia people tree

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#bringbackourgirls

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I’m having a serious CJ Cregg moment. My frustration and anger about the kidnapping and violence in Nigeria is overwhelming me with grief and leaving me stunted for a way to help. I have read two inspired and strong posts that have pushed me to the keyboard to add my voice in love and outrage.

Why is this not plastered all over our news 24/7? Why am I seeing more about the White House Correspondents Dinner than this? What could possibly be more important in the news cycle than the violent abduction of 200 Nigerian high school girls?

Taken. In the night. By terrorists who believe that God is telling them to do this. Men whose extremist view of religion means subjugating women by any means necessary.

Why? Because they were in school. Because they know that women who are educated can change a nation and a world. Brave, intelligent, beloved girls taken. Their families distraught with little aid from the international community.

So what does one small voice like mine do? Shout! Shout to anyone who will listen-Bring Back Our Girls! Pray! Pray for the girls, their families, their communities, the government of Nigeria and the international community; that they may find swift solutions to bring the girls home. Pray for their captors-that God may open their eyes to the message of love and peace.

What shall you do? Let your voice be heard to anyone who can or should hear you. Until they all come home.

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the 1:10 flock

Slow and steady wins the race. Learning about pace is one of the hardest things a runner can learn. My addiction to my garmin and a year with the San Diego Track Club taught me everything I know about pacing. Add 8 more years of running and a ton of enthusiasm and I felt cautiously optimistic about pacing my first 10k this past weekend. I would be pacing the last pace group, 11:15 pace or a goal finish of 1:10.

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I practiced for several weeks, going out to maintain an 11:15 pace for 5-6 miles on my usual courses. On race day, I planned to wear two watches. One Garmin for current pace and distance and one Timex for chrono and self marking for each mile. I met the team of pacers on a bright, beautiful spring morning. I took my spot at the start of wave 4 with my giant 1:10 sign waiting to see if anyone would join my flock. My desire to do right by these folks was deep. Having the added pressure of being the only one in the field wearing a bright orange shirt marked 1:10 just added to the nervous excitement. A few folks introduced themselves and I to them, we took our spot at the starting line with a woot and a holler and off we went.

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Along the race course, I was my usual self-chatty, encouraging, loud, and filled with dance breaks. Also along the way, I was meticulously calculating each .25 mile. How was our pace? Are we too fast? Too slow? Should I account for that “rise in the pavement?” I had great feedback from my team-lots of thank you’s and laughter. Each mile seemed to fly by-at a nice 11:15-11:20 pace. In my mind, I knew we would get to mile 5.75 and the steep downhill would allow runners to finish strong. So as we approached that spot, I wished many of them farewell as they flew our 11:15 nest and took off. I continued to shout encouragements all the way down. I finished in 1:09:47. I feel like 13 seconds differential is a pretty good first shot at pacing a race.

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Big Hill

It was after the race that I felt such deep pride for the runners from our flock. Many said encouraging things like, “this was my first 10k race” and “I have never run all 6 miles before” that just made me gush with delight for them. The best reward for pacing this group was to know that they had met and exceeded their race goals. It was awesome. I am so proud of them.

I can’t wait to pace again!