The Lesson I Learned From A Woman On The Street

The Lesson I Learned From A Woman On The Street

"I continued to think about this woman the rest of that night and the next morning."
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It was a Wednesday night. I had just finished getting dinner with some friends downtown to celebrate a birthday. My roommate and I paid our bill, left the restaurant and headed down the block to her car. As we were walking, a woman approached and I knew she was going to say something to us, just as she had to a girl who had already passed by. She had a scarf wrapped over her head, sweats on, and looked intently at us. "Could you help me get something to eat?," she said. We paused and I spoke up and said, "I don't have any cash, I'm sorry." I lied. I had $10 in my wallet. We passed the woman, and stopped at the crosswalk. Ugh I lied, I thought. I didn't know what else to say. I could've easily gotten her something to eat... but I didn't. As we walked, I continued to make up excuses for why I didn't say yes to the woman. I was kind of scared. You never know what people might do. I just spent money on dinner. What if she really didn't need it. Stupid excuses. I pictured how much more it would've meant to the woman if I had said yes, taken her to the restaurant across the street, bought her a burrito, and sat down with her in a booth to ask her about her life. To sit with a stranger and acknowledge that they are somebody, that you care, that they aren't just a needy person on the street continually getting shut down by people who just pass by. I continued to think about this woman the rest of that night and the next morning, I sat at the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee, and I thought of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise.'" - Luke 10:30-37

Just like the beaten man, the woman I passed was in physical need. Just like the priest and the Levite, I selfishly passed this woman by. I missed an opportunity; an opportunity to witness to the woman, an opportunity for her to possibly see the light of Jesus in someone else, an opportunity to just make her day better, an opportunity for her to know that there are people in this world who care, who will give up the time and the money they have to those in need.

In church on Sunday, I was reminded of this woman again. Pastor J.D. preached about the 8 Beatitudes that Jesus preached to His disciples on the Sermon at the Mount (Matthew 5:1-11).

His commentary on verse 4 especially stuck out to me.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." - Matthew 5:4

Here's what J.D. had to say,

"Jesus doesn't say why we are mourning here. But mourning goes along with being poor in the spirit. When you feel powerless, weak, and unrighteous you mourn... and God comforts you. But I also think, based on Jesus' future teaching, that mourning means a willingness to enter the pain of others and mourn with them. So write this down: 'Mourning means being relationally connect to others.' I think of Jesus' most famous parable, the Story of the Good Samaritan. Two men pass by, and one stops to help. He didn't have to. He didn't know this guy. There were probably lots of excuses why he shouldn't. He had other stuff to do. It was dangerous. Costly."

Wow, I thought. The fact that the Story of the Good Samaritan has come up twice this week... that is not a coincidence, I know.

God used the woman on the street to remind me to live differently. I will mess up. I am not perfect. None of us are. I do not have to check "helped a woman on the street" on any checklist to earn heaven. By the grace of God, I do not have to rely on myself and the things that I do to gain salvation. But I am reminded that faith without works is dead. And God still calls us, as His disciples, to be set apart. To live our lives in grateful response to the mercy that Jesus has given us. To live differently. I was that woman in the street. I was in need, hungering for something more. Jesus did not pass me by, but He embraced me and all of my imperfections in His arms and showed me mercy.

Lord, help us to be unto others as you have been to us. Teach us how to embrace those who are hurting and those who are in need with open arms. Our world is hurting, our country is hurting, and we know we need you. We need you to intervene, to guide us, and show us how to be a light of You to others. Help us live in response to your grace and when we encounter people in need, give us the ability to say yes. Amen.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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To The Christian Girl Against Feminism, Religion Isn't An Excuse Not To Fight For Equality

Religion is not an excuse to not fight for feminism.

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When I first read the article "I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist..." I thought it had to be a joke. Unfortunately, it was a sad reality.

I am a privileged white female. I came from a middle-class family with a law-enforcement father. I still am smart enough to realize we NEED intersectional, no strings attached, unconditional feminism. Anyone who disagrees is just wrong. In this case, the author is trying to base her outdated sexist beliefs on the Bible, and I am appalled.

At first, I thought it was a joke, I genuinely read the title out loud to my father and even he said it had to be a man pretending to be a woman. As I read the article I realized that sadly this is a girl who has had religion corrupt her life.

Religion can be a beautiful thing, it can change lives and give people hope that they need. I have heard countless stories about how finding a god has made people better, and that is incredible. However, using religion to say women don't deserve the same as men is absolutely absurd.

Part of me wants to scream in her face that she can't be ok with being a victim, another part of me wants to throw my hands up and give up on her and like-minded individuals. However, in a time like ours where women are coming so close to being equals, I can't sit down or act irrationally.

So here are the facts:

1. Women who work fulltime only make 77% of men's salaries on average. African American women only make 64 cents per dollar and Latina women only make 56 cents per dollar. Imagine being just as capable and trained just as well but a guy makes more money than you because he has a penis.

2. One in three women around the globe has experienced sexual violence. ONE IN EVERY THREE. YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY SURVIVORS. If women were considered equals that would not be the case.

3. Only 24% of high-level management positions are held by women. That's worldwide. 195 countries. Let that sink in. This isn't because women aren't smart either, 60% of all United States college degrees are awarded to women.

4. Women are not allowed to vote in many places, like Saudi Arabia or the Vatican. Imagine not having the right to vote! YOU GET NO SAY IN ANYTHING.

You can thank women for your right to work, vote, get an education, practice a religion that you chose, a range of professions, windshield wipers, bras, dishwashers, diapers, need I go on?

Women are strong as hell and your misinterpretation of an outdated book does not dimish all of the amazing things women have accomplished and will continue to accomplish.

To quote one bad bitch, "Power's not given to you. You have to take it." — Beyoncé Knowles Carter.

Now ladies let's get into our feminist formation and fight for our rights!

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