Is There Hope In These Dark Times?

Is There Hope In These Dark Times?

In a time when our country is turning on itself, what do you turn to?
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Over the past few weeks, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have exploded with the opinions of millions on the recent events in Minnesota, Louisiana and Dallas. Movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter have been supported, debated, argued, attacked. Our society is confused, hurt and panicking.

In the midst of this, our country is torn between two presidential candidates who have seemingly created more controversy than support. Hilary Clinton is clearly an intelligent woman. However, the FBI’s recent investigation of her emails during her time as secretary of state found her “extremely careless.” Though the director of the FBI did not recommend charges, the damage to her reputation has caused 67 percent of voters to find her untrustworthy, according to the New York Times. As for Donald Trump, no one can deny he’s a successful businessman. Yet, his childish behavior during interviews and debates, as well as his openly racist and sexist comments, have not created a favorable image. As a result, he’s not far behind Hilary in the public’s distrust, with 62 percent finding him untrustworthy, according to the same New York Times article.

So, here we are, America. We’re sitting in a big pot of turmoil and unrest, with a wonderful side of division. And a dash of hatred, just for taste.

Yet, all of this brokenness in our political and social world is not surprising; it’s expected. For some, I’m sure it’s terrifying. It might feel like it’s the end of the world. It’s not. Yes, I am saddened by the state our country is in. The amount of corruption and violence and hatred is horrifying. This is the kind of thing you read about in history books and think, Goodness, I’m glad I didn’t have to live through that. Over the past few weeks, the brokenness of our world has become a constant fixture in the news. But it’s not surprising or unexpected or the end of the world. It’s simply the evidence of an age-old fact: People need hope in something greater than this world.

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. Ephesians 6:12

My war is not with the people around me. It’s not with the people who have different opinions than me. It’s not with the people who post those violently worded opinions on social media. It’s not with the people who have caused so much pain by acting out on their hatred. It’s not with corrupt and untrustworthy politicians. No, my war is not with them.

My war is with the spiritual forces of evil. My war is with sin. My war is with the very real demons who have turned the hearts of this nation, a nation once dedicated to God. But really, it isn’t a war. The war was won two thousand years ago when a man, who was also fully God, perfect and blameless, died on a Roman cross. He was crucified by his own design. He died of his own free will, as the ultimate sacrifice for his creation’s sin. Three days later, when he rose again, the war was won. The death of sin had been conquered, for all who would accept the salvation he offered. So the war is over. But the battle still rages. We’re still fighting.

Those forces of evil would have us believe that we’re fighting each other, that another person or organization or movement or government is our ultimate enemy. Don’t listen. We are not each other’s enemies.

My hope is not in the world or the people in it. My hope is in the one who created the world. My hope is not in any governmental system or politician. My hope is in the one who created governments and the countries they rule and the very land on which they stand.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

That is my hope. That is my assurance. I have faith in the God who created this nation, this government and every person around me. Some might ask, If you believe in God, where is he in all of this? Oh, trust me, he’s here. He’s working. He hasn’t turned his back on us. He’s certainly not turned his back on me. Our God controls all things, but he is not a controlling God. He lets people make their own decisions, and he lets them face the consequences of those decisions. Our country has decided to turn its back on God and now we’re facing the consequences. This, my friends, is what a country without faith looks like. This is what a country without hope looks like. So, yes, in this time of turmoil, I fear for our country’s fate. I do not fear for myself, for my hope is in something greater.

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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My Hometown Just Experienced A Mass Shooting, If We Don't Do Something, Yours Could Be Next

You never think it will happen to you until it does.

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I was on my way out the door to work when I got a panicked call from my mother.

"Can you look at the news online?" she said quickly. "There is a mass shooting somewhere nearby."

My heart stopped. For me, Aurora, Illinois is home. I was born there, I grew up around the area and I attended high school there. My siblings go to school close by and my boyfriend works for a neighboring fire department.

How could my beloved hometown become the victim of the latest tragedy?

After calling my boyfriend, who was at the fire station getting ready to deploy ambulances to the scene, I discovered that it had taken place at a factory nearby. My anxiety hit an all-time high as I watched the updates on all of the local city Facebook pages and groups. Officers down. Gunman at large. Mass casualties.

Hours later, all of the facts came out. A former employee of Henry Pratt's Company, a local industrial warehouse, had recently been let go and decided to get revenge. He entered the warehouse with a gun and began to shoot at random, killing five people and wounding many others, including five police officers. He was killed by local SWAT forces.

I am the kind of person who is pro-gun and pro-gun rights because of the second amendment and all of the freedoms I believe we deserve. But that doesn't make what happened okay and it never will.

While this situation doesn't change my mind, it does change my view of the world.

Why would somebody decide that shooting former coworkers was the way to go? Why would anyone want to hurt others? These are the questions that flooded my mind in the hours after the mass shooting. I don't necessarily think we have a gun issue in America, but issues with mental health and valuing life.

We pass bills to kill unborn children. We repeal bills that take away healthcare from million. We devalue life in its most basic form and respect those around us to still have enough respect for each other's lives. We stigmatize those who need psychiatric care and expect things to still be alright.

This is not alright.

Our country, our system, our values, and morals, they are all broken and backward. We have let mass shootings become normal and violence becomes accepted. It needs to be stopped. There needs to be a change.

One of the people killed was an intern from a local college during his first day on the job. Being a college student applying to internships myself, this hit far too close to home. Nobody deserves to die, least of all in their place of work while trying to further their career.

Five people lost their lives due to someone's disrespect of them. Yes, a gun was the weapon, but a mind was the actor. I pray that someday, our country will return to valuing life and respecting others enough to help them instead of pushing them away. This is not the first mass shooting, but it can be the last. If, and only if, we make sure of it.

If you want to help the victim's families in any way, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses

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