I used to want to be a world-changer, but now I am a diaper-changer. I used to travel to far-off lands and now I cringe when I think of taking my children to the grocery store. I used to be a professional teacher and now I strap shoes on little feet, wipe yogurt off walls and lamely answer the question "Why don't you know?" about a hundred times a day. I used to live in another culture and speak another language and now I live, shop and worship in Homogeneous Land of All Same.
I used to write in a journal with a metal lock, but now I write on the internet for strangers to rifle through my thoughts as if they are sifting through my bedroom closet.
Lately, as the world seems to be clattering down around us (and I need to propel my 8-month-pregnant body to make dinner for our family of four with no groceries in the house), I literally want to curl up on the couch, pull our plush throw blanket over my head, close my eyes and disappear. I tried it yesterday, actually, and we eventually ended up sharing three grilled cheese sandwiches and eggs for dinner.
So when I start reading about not being silent in the face of injustice, speaking out, and standing up, it makes me feel...tired. It reminds me of those over-worked disciples warily looking over the fields of thousands of people and saying to Jesus, "It's late. Should we send them away for dinner?" And gentle, irrational Jesus calmly saying to them, "No, dears. YOU give them something to eat." They managed to scrounge up a meal for thousands from one little boy's contribution of five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus made much of their little.
I've written about it several times already, but I was recently moved by Lisha Epperson's piece called "One Small Square" because she broke down our responsibility to confront injustice into an attainable goal that I would summarize like this: do what you can, where you are, with what you have. We offer our meager loaves and fish.
The average person doesn't write on the Internet other than the occasional Facebook outburst, but those of us with writing blood must spill it online for all to see. And whether we have 25 readers a day or 25,000, whether we write books and publish for big-name magazines, or write for free, we have a platform to launch our voice that others do not have. And because of that, we have a responsibility to stand up and speak out--no matter how tired, weary or befuddled we are.
For the past six months I've been digging into the race issues in America. Many days I've driven through the mountains of Colorado after my kids have fallen asleep in the car, listening to podcasts on racial injustice and weeping. As a white stay-at-home mom living in a nearly all-white area of America, it seems ironic that God would break my heart at a time when I don't even interact with people of color. And yet less than a year ago, one thing led to another and I started this little blog, opened a Twitter account and started a business Facebook page.
So when I read about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and saw that other white people like me were beginning to see and wanting to get on board with our African American sisters and brothers, I published my simple offering--what I've been learning. In less than two weeks, that post has been visited nearly 60,000 times and 170 books on racial issues have been purchased on Amazon. God has multiplied my offering and used my bread and fish to feed hungry people.
I'm not writing this to brag, but to encourage you. You have no idea how or when God is going to use the offering of your words. Like me, you might have a little blog with just a few readers. But let your voice ring out into what feels like the void. Offer your loaves and fish to God and to the masses and wait. Perhaps God will do a miracle with your simple offering.
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Linking up with Grace and Truth
On (most) Thursdays this year, I'll share thoughts, tips and inspiration for writers. I'm
not an expert, but hope to seek personal encouragement in this art and
want to share with anyone who's also trying to find their way as a
writer. These short posts will come from books, articles, the Bible, my
own thoughts, and other people. If you're new to the series, check out the posts you missed here. Please introduce yourself in the comments--I'd love to meet you and hear your thoughts on writing.
Labels: divine coincidences, race, Thursday Thoughts for Writers