The crisis at the border. Family separation. Immigration laws.
It feels like our world is in total disarray, and the images, videos and headlines surrounding this topic have flooded our news feeds, television screens and conversations. You might be numb to another voice on the subject. That’s okay; I have felt the same way.
This post isn’t meant to be another political response. This isn’t the church’s stance on immigration (If you would like to read Antioch’s official response from Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert, you can find that here). This isn’t me telling you how you should feel or giving you “three practical ways to respond to our nation’s immigration crisis.” This is simply me extending an invitation to process with me. It’s my way of saying, “If you’re hurting for our nation, if you’re not totally sure how to feel or if you have no idea how to respond, I’m with you.”
SO IF YOU WANT, LET’S PROCESS TOGETHER.
First off, I am definitely not a political expert. I am an informed American, but my attempts to fully understand the policies and the laws surrounding immigration have left my head spinning. I am not a theologian either. I love Jesus and His people, and I try to follow Him with all that I have. But I can’t give you a perfect answer for how we should respond as the people of God.
I can’t even fully explain how I feel because I have experienced a full range of emotions. Sometimes all I can do is sit on my couch and grieve. My heart hurts for the families that have been broken. I am filled with an anger that I can’t fully explain by a world that seems so unfair. In those moments, I am left shouting in my car and asking God for peace. Then there are the nights that I lay in bed contemplating a trip to one of the detention centers on the border because it doesn’t feel right that I get to rest in my comfortable bed. The fact that I still get to live my life without fear of my family being separated leaves me feeling guilty rather than settled. As a Hispanic-American woman, I sometimes feel like my emotions surrounding the situation should be more extreme.
IF I FEEL OKAY, AM I FEELING ENOUGH?
I feel ashamed if I don’t feel convicted to call my local congressman. Ultimately, I feel helpless, discouraged and longing for Jesus to come quickly.
It may sound strange, but I often desire to feel nothing at all. Maybe you’ve been there too. In that place between feeling everything and wishing I could feel nothing, there is exhaustion. We’re human; we naturally avoid pain. My admonition to you is to not push your emotions away. It isn’t easy, but we must fight against the temptation to become unengaged. We must fight the temptation to sit idly and wait until it stops. I’m fighting with you, and I promise, it’s worth it to allow yourself to feel and to go to those emotional places with God.
I ALSO WANT TO PAUSE AND TELL YOU THAT YOUR EMOTIONS ARE VALID.
As someone who is highly emotional, I constantly have to remind myself that my emotions are valid and God cares about them. There are plenty of people and articles telling us how we should feel, but don’t let that dictate your emotions or your conversations with God. As I have gone through my own process,
I sense God waiting there with open arms. He wants me to come to him with my anger, my sadness, my disappointment and my confusion. And I believe He is waiting for you, too.
HE PROMISES TO COMFORT AND FILL US WITH A PEACE THAT SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING.
Right now I am desperate for that peace, and He is faithful to give it.
I wish I could provide an answer to the problems of this world or solace for the pain so many are experiencing. I can’t. What I can do is share two truths that I hold on to when everything else leaves me confused –
- God is Faithful // This is the only thing I can be confident in. From the beginning, God has been for us. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” God cannot be anything but Himself, and He is a God who will pursue, rescue, comfort and wholeheartedly love His people. I have found that holding on to this truth is one of the only things that keeps me sane. The declaration of the faithfulness of God is the only thing that will stand through the ages. It is the only thing that gives me hope in the midst of the brokenness of our world. God is faithful, He loves us and He is ultimately victorious.
- God hears my prayers // Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14) There is an assurance that God not only listens to our prayers, but He is faithful to answer them. Just like our emotions, God wants to hear the deepest cries of your heart. I promise, my prayers are less than eloquent, but it’s okay. God promises to listen to me. Knowing that my prayers are heard pull me out of that place of helplessness.
These two truths help me in my process, but I mean it when I say that my heart is not to give you a formula on how to make everything better. I simply want you to know that I am hurting with you, but I am also for you. Sometimes I feel helpless, but I am convinced that is why God puts us in community. When we can’t always see how He is working, He puts people around us to help us press on. No matter where you are, I encourage you to not avoid, but to press in. Discover your own process and let God meet you there. He’ll do it, I promise.
I want to be there with you, too. Feel free to contact me here, I’d love to hear from you!
By Destiny Gonzalez – Communications Staff
Destiny serves as the Communications Coordinator, and manages the blog and social media pages.