My Son

When they lay Him out on the wooden table, I remember the frankincense and myrrh. I still have it. I saved it for this day that I always knew, in the depths of my heart, would come. And now here He is a broken shell, empty and lifeless.

He is my son.

My flesh and blood.

My baby boy…

I carried this man in my womb and felt His kicks. Not too long ago, it seems, I placed my hand on the taut roundness of my belly and felt His little body press back. His heartbeat danced to the same rhythm as mine. I sheltered Him. I prayed over Him.

Now, I place my hand against the side of His battered face where blood has dried and matted in His beard. I barely recognize the grown man that called me mother, even just hours ago. I can barely recognize this Son of God, Yeshua, Savior and Messiah.

The world murdered my Son.

My flesh and blood.

My baby boy.

He shall be called King of Kings, they told me on that starry night thirty-three years ago. I was holding His warmth in my arms and nursing Him, staring at his round cheeks and tiny fingers, amazed that such  tiny bundle could create such chaos in this quiet world. To me, He was precious…darling…baby boy…my son. He was the King of My Heart.

Tears are hot in my eyes as I dip the muslin into warm water and begin to wash away the dirt, the blood, the sweat, and the dirty path where tears had streamed down His face. The pain must have been intolerable as they beat Him, but I knew the tears had been for much more than the pain.

“Why did this have to happen,” I whispered into the darkness, my chin quivering as emotion swelled in my chest. I hadn’t been ready for this. I thought I was, but I wasn’t. It was always in the back of my mind, the memory of the One who told me that I would bore His Son—the God of Abraham, of Isaac…

Somewhere in the darkened room, Mary lights the incense and the smell of the frankincense is heavy in the air. My head swims. I work methodically. I’ve prepared bodies for burial before. I know each step and carry them out with tender care. But this time, it is hard to see through the tears; It is hard to breathe as the wounds lay open before my eyes and my heart takes in the scope of the great suffering my baby boy endured. How will the world ever be able understand—truly—what He has done for them? They will never see His body torn and broken like I do now. They will never know the scent of the flesh and blood, acidic and sour lingering with the incense. They wouldn’t know that my tears fell…or His.

My baby boy…

How could they know what I know? I nursed Him. I raised Him up. I tended every scraped knee and runny nose; every illness and great fever; every tear was wiped away by my hand; every word of encouragement whispered against this tiny ear.

He was God’s first. Yes. But isn’t every child?

“This is not the end,” I say softly, as I gaze down at His face, my fingers tracing the length of His broken nose, the width of His bleeding brow, just as I did so long ago in the darkness of the night when achy tummies kept us up through the hours. I press a tender kiss against His temple where once He nicked on rough edge of our potter’s wheel. He had cried, only four year-old, at the time. He sat in my lap and I held him until the pain was gone, the vessel on the wheel had nearly been complete…

    “The stone the builders rejected,
    has become the capstone;
    the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

I remembered those words. He spoke them aloud not long…and they pierced heart. Now here He is before me, and I cannot see how it is marvelous. My heart is broken. My son is gone. Tears roll down my face and drip from my chin. They land on the corner of His mouth, washing at the dried blood.

“The snares of death encompassed me, the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the LORD; "O LORD, I beg you, save my life!"... For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I walk before the LORD in the land of the living...
What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD... O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving…”

The song Yeshua had sung only a few days ago as we celebrate Passover fills my mind. I fall to my knees, one hand reaching to clutch my son’s. He is and was and still is…the Son of Man, The Prince of Peace, the Emmanuel. And I realize now that I am God’s handmaid. I must loosen my bonds. I must let Him go. I must believe that my baby boy was much more than simply my son.

And I will have hope.

This is not the end.

Mary is by my side with a gentle hand upon the top of my head. She helps me up, and together, we finish preparing His body for the tomb.

This is not the end.

We have hope.


When My Children Learned The "N" Word

When you homeschool, you sometimes tread into “big” and “serious” topics a little earlier than you would like because your children have more opportunities to ask questions. Because of this, my children are asking lots of questions that force us to have long conversations about racism in America. It’s not exactly easy…or fun.

It might have started months ago when I was reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and my daughter heard some discussions I was having with her daddy about the book. Lucy, my incredible nine year-old, is always watching me. She is always listening to me. And she’s always very interested in what I am watching, reading, and creating. When I was reading To Kill A Mockingbird, she wanted to read it too. I told her no, that it was too “big” for her just now. But she kept asking.

Last weekend, I went out with my grandma, my mom and my aunts to the Indianapolis Repertory Theater and saw a production of To Kill A Mockingbird. Lucy desperately wanted to go and was crushed when I told her it was still too “big” for her and that she should read the book first, even although I wouldn’t allow her to read the book just yet. So what did she do? She sweet talked my mom into letting her borrow a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird and started reading. There’s simply no stopping that girl when she is determined.

Lucy was maybe two pages into the book when alarm shot through me. I looked at her dad and said that we needed to quickly speak to Lucy a bit more on racism, in particular, the word “nigger”. So we called Lucy in. She marched into the living room with her nose in the book and we asked her to sit down. It was an uncomfortable conversation. We explained to her the history of the “bad word in which we should NEVER use” and told her we were explaining this to her now because the word appears in the book within the first chapter. When we finally said the word out loud, she giggled…uncomfortably.

That’s how silly and ridiculous the word is. Children laugh at it. It sounds silly…dumb….and the very idea that people gave black humans this moniker sounds ridiculous to them.

We then explained to Lucy that black people use this word today when speaking to each other. Maybe it’s not nice, but it’s their right to take that ugly word and make it their own. Even although they can use the word, we never should, because it was white people that meant the word to lower black humans to a place much below ourselves.

And now today.

Today I had to have another long conversation with my son. He read a book for school about Ruby Bridges and has seen how heroic her actions were. He keeps telling me he wants to go to a school where only black students go and be the only white person to attend. Sadly, that’s not very hard to do if we lived closer to the city.

Teddy started asking all kinds of questions, thinking that racism in America was ended when a little girl was escorted into an all white public school. I had to explain to him that it has only been quiet in America, waiting for it’s moment to return. And it has.

Teddy sat quietly as I explained to him about poverty and education and how statistics show that black Americans still have so much more obstacles to overcome to have the same opportunities we do. We talked about how, today, the public school Ruby Bridges attended in an attempt to end segregation is now mostly black students because the white children attend private schools. Segregation is happening once more because of economic injustice. Of course, I had to explain this in different ways he could understand. We spoke about how there is a movement growing in our nation to “take back America” and what that meant: immigration reform and deportation and prejudice against Muslims and African Americans and Hispanics. He has seen snatches of news and violence inflicted on others that are simply different than the average white Christian. Maybe that makes me a bad parent? Maybe that makes me irresponsible? But I know my children. I can see their hunger to learn and grow and change the ugliness around them. They are deep wells of love and compassion and warriors…

I held my son when tears gathered in his eyes. “Teddy, when you were still in my belly, I knew that God whispered to my heart…that you were going to be a very important man. You can change things.” I pressed a kiss to the top of his red head and squeezed him close.

I pressed upon my son the importance of education: This is the powerful tool that would bring change, not fist and guns and swords (he likes weapons and heroes and battles). I told him that anyone scared enough could use a weapon, but educated people could evoke something more powerful with beautiful words.

I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know what my children will do. But they will be given every opportunity to serve and love and change things through education, through the arts, through music and theater. These are the things that reach the hard heart and stir the stagnant waters of compassion.

They will bring powerful change.

They will love big.

They will create a new world.

They will help salvage the mess history has handed them.

I will stamp out fear by raising educated children.

I will let them have glimpses of our reality so they can create something more life-sustaining.

Please, friends, allow our children to be the ones that end racism in our world.

Give them the ability to think and feel deeply.


It Is Not Time To Be Silent

“Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again?”
 ~Rosa Parks

We try to pretend that people simply won’t shut up about racism in America. We try to shrug it off that it’s just a bunch of self-absorbed people unable to move past our nation’s sordid history. We say, with an edge in our voice, “It wasn’t my people. I didn’t do it.” We close our eyes. We don’t look. We don’t listen.

And what fools we are.

In our silence, we pull the scar off over and over again, allowing the undercurrent of racism that surges through our nation’s veins to flow back to that wound. It never heals. We are being shoved back to a time when the fight for civil rights spilled blood…

Don’t believe me?

Here’s some proof: Donald Trump is surging in Republican polls and walking all over our disenfranchised as he marches on towards the White House.

How ironic.

The White House.

Make American Great Again.

Former Klu Klux Klan leader, David Duke endorsed Donald Trump this past week, quoted as saying on the David Duke Radio Program, "Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point, is really treason to your heritage." I perused Mr. Duke’s FB page for about five minutes in an attempt to pull some quotes but could not stomach sifting through his feed. The hatred and disgust is clear and evident. The fear of the “white race” being wiped from America, I assume, is his main drive to “Make America Great Again”. One post read that supporters were rallying behind Trump because the white race is dying in America.

Hatred. Fear.

And it’s 2016.

Listen up friends, THIS is why social movements like #blacklivesmatter is important right now. These are reasons to fight to preserve Black History Month. This is why talking about racism in America is so important. If we continue to pretend that black folks just won’t “get over it” then what happens next in our nation is on us.

People have been telling me, “But don’t all lives matter?” Of course! Yes! But we do not ask Chinese Americans to put aside their culture. No, in fact, we enjoy their food. Same for all ethnic groups that have made this nation their home. We eat tacos and hamburgers and Indian fry bread, curry and Pho. We love jazz and hiphop. Do NOT pretend that white Americans have not enjoyed every bit of the culture American immigration has given us. So why do we think that African Americans should not have a month long celebration to educate young black students about African Americans that have become iconic heroes?

Upset that you don’t have a White History Month? Take a look at what you do have?

President’s Day, which up until our current president, was nothing but white men.
Christopher Columbus Day (white)
St. Patrick’s Day (white)
Easter (because, for some reason, Jesus is white in our Sunday School books)
Fourth of July (Independence that was won even while Africans were slaves in our fields)
Thanksgiving (Because Native Americans were kind enough to save our butts when we couldn't survive those first harsh winters)
Christmas (because once again, Jesus is white in our Sunday School books, as is Santa)

Racism is a serious problem. It is not over. And it would be wrong of us to assume that it isn’t gone simply because black people won’t let it die. African Americans have more stacked up against them than the average White American. They outnumber us in poverty, incarceration, high school drop outs, teen pregnancies, police violence, homelessness and more. This is why racism is important. This is why it still exists.




All these years later.

All these years later…

We have never stood up to the voice of racism that is loud and clear in this nation. We have never stamped it out. We have never fought back. Instead, we have chosen to be silent. We have chosen not to listen, see, hear and stand by them—lifting them up. Maybe it’s because we simply don’t know what to do about it, but pretending it’s not our fault isn’t the answer. It is.

And now, we’re scared that our own race is dying out.

So we rally behind a racist. We hail him as the next great leader that can save our nation.

Don’t be confused. Don’t wonder how a man like that could possibly sit in the White House, because it was the condition of our white hearts that allowed it to come to be.

If that’s not how you feel? If that’s not what you want for our country, the stand up and say so. Do something. Get loud enough to be heard. Take the hand of the black community and demand that America raise her standards. We can do something. We can change this. We can heal the scar!


NOTE: This post in no way condemns police officers in this country. Police are important. They save lives. They deserve a place of honor. However, they are a key factor in racism in America, as they were in the 1960's. Not all people are bad. Not all police officers are bad. Some people are very bad. Some police officers are very bad. Also, many of the links in racial statistics paragraph contain information that shows racism is also deeply affecting the Hispanic community, a target of ugly hearts as well. We can do better. We need to do better.