On Things I Must Believe

There are certain things I have to believe. 

I have to believe that God is good. Though it doesn’t always seem like He is. It doesn’t seem like His plans are always good. But I have to believe He is consistent in His goodness. 

I have to believe that God thinks black people matter more than I do. That He cares more than I do. That He is present with unarmed men as they die. That He is with armed men as they die. That He stands watch as the families grieve. That He witnesses their pain and that He grieves too. I have to believe that He empathizes more than I do. 

Shouldn’t that be easy? But it’s not. Not always. Because sometimes He feels so far removed. The God who defeated death. Surely, He is bulletproof. Surely, He allows things to happen. But why? Why injustice? Why repeated injustice and oppression against specific peoples? Why deaths that are justified and explained away?

And sometimes I look at the Church. His Church. And I see the disregard. The shrugs that come with “We gotta wait for the facts” but don’t they see that a man is dead and can’t give his facts? Don’t they hear the pain of their brothers and sisters of color? Yet the church plugs her ears and closes her eyes. It is more comfortable to ignore it. Maybe it’ll go away. And where is God? Standing, ears plugged and eyes closed? Or pulling at His Church’s hands?

I have to believe that God is wide awake. And present. And feeling. And strong. I have to believe that He has a plan. A plan that is stronger than capitalism and systemic injustices and built up bureaucracy and the majority’s comfort. I have to believe that He is at work. Moving people. Bringing people together. Starting movements. Planting ideas. 

Because if I don’t believe? If I don’t, I lose it. I am hopeless. I carry everything on my own and stare at our current state, hands down, mouth slightly open, and I’m frozen. There’s so much to do and I don’t know where to begin. 


I cannot believe that we will, once again, end up on the wrong side of history. I can’t believe that we will ignore the Lord’s direction for empathy and love and compassion. I can’t believe that people’s pain will be met with shrugs and apathy and pleas for “let’s just be logical.”

I think this is an opportunity we have. And this is the time we have. And if we have to begin somewhere, let us begin with the people who are supposed to follow a God who heals the broken-hearted. Who cries with those who cry. A God of compassion and love, who reached across the aisle—all the aisles, the greatest aisle of all!—for love. 

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Restraint & Deprivation

If my life were to have a theme, it’d be of restraint. Deprivation. The things I didn’t do.

That time when I didn’t say anything when the 9th grade health teacher assumed I’d plagiarized a research paper.

The time when the coworker said she didn’t see me as a person of color.

When my voice teacher said she didn’t see race and didn’t think my being Latina was important.

When my dental hygienist said she wasn’t OK with immigrants who just sat around and did nothing.

I’ve held my tongue many times. I guess it usually happens when the ground is uneven—it’s a teacher, a superior, or someone with metal tools inside my mouth. But holding my tongue isn’t the only way I’ve practiced restraint.

One of the biggest ways is my decision to not date when I was younger. A decision that lasted into adulthood.

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I was raised very Christian and the way it was presented to me—filled with rules and requirements—worked. I love rules. I followed them to a T. After all, when we do certain things for God, He replies with good things back, right?

I was taught that if I served in church for long enough and avoided guys and “set myself apart” and “dated Jesus” and bettered myself enough, I would get married at like the latest 24. Hence my only ever having one boyfriend.

I said no to dates. I avoided romance. I admit I even went so far as using my weight-gain as a way to avoid attraction from any guy. I did it because I thought it was what God wanted, you know?

And I’m at a point now where I’m realizing that the purity culture I was brought up in was all a sham. (I’m embarrassed it took me so long to see it.) It was the way the Church knew to control us and keep us from admitting our sexuality. The worst part? Though guys like Josh Harris have admitted their mistake, the Church has yet to admit to it.

But what do I expect? A collective apology?

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Well, yeah. That’d be great. But these are people who don’t even admit to their involvement in the oppression of black people. So I won’t hold my breath.

Meanwhile, I’m only responsible for myself. And I’m a rigid, awkward, scared-of-men, self-aware, overthinking woman with father abandonment issues. Who barely knows how to talk to single men. Who wonders if I’ll ever be able to find someone who shares my same core values and is also Christian. (I admit I feel more at home with people who share my political beliefs than my faith. I’d rather be in a room of people who wouldn’t call me “an illegal.”)

And I’m someone who is tired of having my life themes be restraint and deprivation. I want to be known for things I have done, not things I haven’t.

But what does that even look like? Where do I start?

I don’t know. And this is where I end this. If I figure it out, I’ll let you know.