Choosing Love In A Divided Nation

Choosing Love In A Divided Nation

The election is over, but citizens of this country still have to vote: will it be love or hate?
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We are a nation divided and that is far more dangerous and powerful than Trump will ever be. Before he has even taken office, we are destroying our own country through hatred, miscommunication and terror. Please, please can we all just take a moment and breathe? Just breathe. No, we’re not going to all agree and be one cheery, happy family with no problems. There’s no simple, quick-and-easy fix for the racism, sexism, xenophobia and many other issues our nation already faces. The media has amplified the faults of both candidates through the entire election and now, it’s creating mass hysteria. Trump is not president yet. Our country, and the people in it, is still alive. Yes, our future is uncertain and shaky and not full of political comfort, but we’re not dead yet.

And as I Christian, I’m finding peace and hope and stability in the simple truth that there’s still God. He’s still here, even though it may look like he doesn’t care or doesn’t really even exist. He does, but so does sin. So does hate. Our country turned its back on him long ago and now we’re facing the consequences. Christianity has earned a reputation for being a religion of hypocritical bigots. That’s not what I stand for. I stand for love. I stand for grace. I stand for a God who knows me by name, a God who knows every detail of my life, a God who is intimately aware of my faults. I stand for a God who is far greater than me or the country I live in. I stand for a God who is ultimately in control, no matter who our president is. But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to let us live with the consequences of our actions; we do have free will, after all.

As I’ve been wrestling with the reactions to the election, I’ve found myself returning to the book of Isaiah. During a time of great fear and political oppression, God gave his promises to his people, reminding them of who he is. Isaiah 45:7 says, I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.” Israel was in turmoil, just like our nation today. They needed to be reminded of whom God was and that he had a very specific plan of hope and salvation—but it would not be easy.

Isaiah 46:8-10 says “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.”

There is no other. Right now, I need to be reminded of that. In this time of fear and division, our country doesn’t need a political leader that’s going to make it great again. No man can do that. No government can do that. Our country is in desperate need of God. His counsel alone will stand and, no matter what the political leaders or citizens of this country believe or do, he will accomplish his purpose. I don’t need to be afraid of Trump or his hateful propaganda. Rather, my trust should be placed in a God who sees and knows all, a God that will accomplish his purpose, a God who forms both light and darkness. I also do not need to fear the hate and division I see even now in our nation. Right now, my social media feed is pretty much overrun with hurt and terror. There are people who want to remain divided because they are angry and frustrated and offended by those who supported a different candidate than them. People are terrified of the promises Trump has made and the consequences those promises will have. I get that.

But we can’t let fear and different opinions divide us. That’s letting hate win. By choosing division and hatred for those who voted differently than you, you’re letting our country continue to spiral down the path of terror it’s been on for a while now. No matter whom you voted for, we now have Trump. There’s no longer a choice to be made about that. But we still have a choice to choose love or hate. I know where my vote is going. My vote is going with God, with love, with faith in a creator infinitely greater than any politician or political system. Ephesians 6:12 says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” My fight is not with Trump or Clinton or voters of either candidate. My fight is with the darkness and hatred and fear being spread by forces greater than we understand. Satan is real and so are his demons and this rapid division and terror is coming straight from him. We are currently a nation divided and fearful and desperately in need of God—an easy target. So I’m fighting back by choosing God, choosing love, choosing faith. I’ve found peace in all this turmoil because my hope is not in this messed up political system. It never has been and it never will be. My hope is in God, and with him, I’m moving forward in love and hope and peace in a time when those things are hard to find.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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