I have spoken out personally, for certain. Every day. Every single day. In the days after the election, I found myself mourning. Deeply mourning. It was hard to go to work the day after the election. To meet with my high school group that I mentor-- the young women with the interests in science and the big dreams. It was hard to look at young people. Hard to try to give hope for women or science, let alone together. My heart has been heavy for my friends, many of which are racial minorities, Muslim, or a part of the LGBTQ community.
In my mourning, I've talked with friends, I've cried, I've reconnected to my church small group, and I've spoken out to anyone with ears-- often on social media. You all know me well enough, I trust, to know that I don't argue, but that I am not afraid to stand up, to present facts, to challenge some of the assumptions of Christian culture when I feel it does not match the heart of Jesus' ministry.
Speaking out is hard. It's painful for me. Disagreeing with people I love, feeling so truly misunderstood-- is heartbreaking and lonely. And that's added to the mourning I was already feeling. So I knew that I needed to find peace and rest-- and I decided to pick up some of the books that I've been meaning to read, by the authors that often give me solace and healing, that often remind me that I'm not alone in all my feelings and thoughts about God. I started reading Sarah Bessey's Out of Sorts and Lauren Winner's Wearing God.
Sometimes I wonder why I read the way I do-- I'm terribly inconsistent. I am routinely reading two or three things at the same time. It takes me ages to finish anything. I likely have 10 books started at the moment, and I'm not sure that's an exaggeration. I fall behind and race ahead-- in my Bible reading, in my school reading, in my pleasure reading.
And then God hits me with just the right words at the right time (over and over again) and I'm reminded that He works all things for good--that He knows me--that in my wild, undisciplined reading schedule, He provides. He shows up.
Wearing God explores a number of biblical metaphors for God. And wouldn't you know that as I flip back and forth between that and Out of Sorts, the same metaphors come up. God as a bird, God as clothing. First Winner, then Bessey, at the different paces that I'm reading each book, they're still perfectly, oddly, almost disturbingly, in sync.
I am reminded today, as I read, that God shows up. That God provides. That I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. That God stands ready to teach me something new, to make my eyes attentive to things in Scripture I've never seen, to let new metaphors and new experiences deepen my thoughts about God.
The simple, the practical, the 'secular,' -- they're all sacred. All reminders of who God is. All opportunities for God to show up. All invitations for us to show up and meet God.
And I'm reminded as I mourn that God shows up. He shows up in the places of pain and the tears and the heartbreak and the lonely. My mourning this week brought back many memories of my mourning for my grandparents five years ago. It was my first real experience with deep grief. I had lost people before, but not people who I'd interacted with daily. The grief was unrelenting and frightening, and I fought it at first. I don't remember if I read it or if someone spoke it to me, but I remember receiving the words that in the measure we mourn, that is the measure to which we are comforted. That it was ok to go deep into grief, because the depth of His comfort will always be equal to the depth of our grief. I still find it unpleasant that I can't help but feel all the feelings sometimes, but I am no longer afraid, because I know He meets me there. God shows up. He inhabits our praise. He inhabits our tears. He makes His home among us. The name and the promise: Emmanuel, God with us. The very good news. God shows up.