While I’m ready to let this specific court case become history and trust that I wasn’t there when it took place… or in the court room and so I don’t feel I have room to say that the verdict was right or wrong. Growing up in Alaska, being one of the only members of my large family who doesn’t have a concealed weapons permit, and having been around police officers and men who value justice and safety highly I feel like there is a side many who are raising their voices will never see. As a mother who knows that her son will face all sorts of wrong judgements as a young black man in America I also see a side many will never see.
My heart has been heavy because of the extensive conversations about race… I have cried over the ignorance on both sides and yelled at the TV because I wish people could hear how they sound… I’ve said enough and turned the thing off and even then my thoughts race. It’s frustrating and even comes with a lot of cognitive dissonance because I can’t just think as a mom or a white person… I have to think as a white mom to a black person. I have to acknowledge that America has big problems but also celebrate how far she’s come… I have to teach my children that each of them have unique stories of how they became Chappells and celebrate those stories but also teach them that each of them will have different obstacles to face as they grow up as Chappells and fight with and for them through those obstacles.
I hate racism. I hate ethnocentrism. I’ve had my fill of both the past few weeks. It makes me sad. It makes me feel passionate. It makes me feel inadequate to be the mom my children need. It makes me want to get rid of my TV. It makes me excited to watch tv in the years to come with my kids and have deep conversations about social issues and more. It makes me excited for the years ahead as change comes. It makes me scared for the years ahead as we drift away from biblical principles in our country. It makes me so grateful I have a reason… several reasons that I can’t just look at this issue from a single angle. But it also makes me realize that if I’m honest I can only look at this from a single angle…..the angle as a Believer.
The thing I’ve found most is that all, is that this is making me lean on the promises of God in His word and rely upon His wisdom and strength to wake up and to moment by moment show each of my children that while, yes, God made them each uniquely beautiful and gifted and that He is enough for every challenge and every imperfection this world will throw at them… He’s most of all given us the only Identity we need and the only one that really matters. That identity will guide them through the worst of situations, through the most private of moments, when they are in a crowd, when they are all alone with only their thoughts, through the highest of accolades and through the cruelest of judgements, it will be their armor through social misconceptions and their vulnerability when it comes to loving people. It will be their boldness to speak out against injustice and for those who can’t speak for themselves and it will be what quiets them as they listen to the hurts around them and as they listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It will give them peace amidst fear…. wisdom amongst fools… hope in the face of hopelessness. It will provide them a worldview to hold to so that when the things going on in the world around them do not make any sense and come with all sorts of shades of gray they can look to the One who is the Truth and who shines into the darkest of grays.
I have had to tell myself to stop telling myself all the things that I will need to remember to teach my kids as they grow up black in America. I’ve had to stop reading what other blogger moms feel about racism in this country. I’ve had to stop being afraid of whats to come. And as I’ve taken off the spirit of fear and anger and frustration I’ve had to put on the Spirit of love and power… A Spirit that will give me the strength and the wisdom to show Christ to them each and every moment I can. That’s the only person I want them to be like. That’s the only person I want them to consider as they treat other people. That’s the person I want them to listen to as they post to Facebook, with each time they step outside their doorstep, as they walk down the sidewalk, as they interact with both kind and unkind people, as they encounter racism and ethnocentrism, with every word they speak, with every word they hear, as they breathe in and breathe out. May it all be as a young man or woman whose identity is solely in Christ.