I haven’t rested well the past few nights for the wondering. Benign phrases to the general population cut into my core like a knife dipped in acid, causing the seething, searing, nerve-disintegrating pain that comes with an awakening of awareness.
I’m disabled. Did you know that? A lot of people who find themselves on this blog are here because cancer has come to live with them like it has us, but every life is more complex than the tidbits we read about on the internet. I think everyone has some story in their history where they’ve felt isolated or singled out, a moment when they have felt distinctly “other” or maybe a situation where they’ve known they weren’t really wanted or needed by someone or some group of people. Learning to navigate different social structures and personalities, figuring out how you fit into various situations…it can be overwhelming for anyone. When you start every social situation with a physical trait that sets you apart, you have to work harder to be seen as “just a person” and not “that disabled person who is obviously incapable” or “that disabled person who is so inspirational because she’s smiling even though she has so many troubles”. I think the latter is the hardest one to manage, because what I do feels normal to me. It’s all I’ve ever known. I’m just me.
My disability is completely irrelevant in my life (unless it’s something funny). I do everything I want to do, and everything I don’t want to do but have to do (like dishes and laundry and changing diapers when my kids were younger, am I right? #worst), just like an “ordinary” person. Of course, in my mind, I AM an ordinary person. Completely. So when someone stands before the public and singles me out as an “other” because I fall into the category of “disabled”, I feel it. It is personal and it is always startlingly frightening how little regard there is for the human behind the facade of society’s labels.
“I have met with women who have, toward the end of their pregnancy…get the worst news one can get,” she said. “That their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term…Or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy…I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions.” Hillary Clinton
I am disabled, yes. That makes me a valueless person in the eyes of some people…so worthless that they would have me dead before I ever breathed my first breath. That knowledge sits on my chest like an anchor.
I read an article where someone was celebrating the so-called victory of Hillary Clinton’s statements in the recent debate. In it, the author (Christina Cauterucci of Slate) made the statement: “This is about women, about us.”
“About us?”, I thought. “About women?”…“But what about me?”
I am simultaneously the “us” of feminism and the “them” of the unwanted unborn. I am both “woman” and “something terrible” that has “just been discovered”. And I am not the “worst news”. I am not less human because I am differently formed than our society’s standard.
If Hillary wins this election (and if she doesn’t), I am committed to giving her something she would not have given me as a baby girl partially out of the womb. I will give her her humanity. I will see her life as valuable because it is life. I will see her as capable, as useful, as worthy of the breath she breathes. I will not seek to dehumanize her as she dehumanizes the hypothetical unborn me, telling the world she is not really human and won’t feel the pain. I will pray over and for her, asking the Lord to rescue her from her own brokenness, begging him to pour out His grace on her just as He has on me. I cannot vote for her, but I will fight for her like she won’t fight for me. I will fight to see her as a uniquely made life worth living.
Though she does not have my vote, because I am for life, I am for the person who is Hillary Clinton. I cannot claim to be for all life except for hers just because she is not for mine. I am for the women, too. I am for the moms of the living and the dead children alike. I am for females as adults and as children still in wombs. I want to see women empowered to be uniquely “woman”. I want to see them in the workplace, in the home, in the presidency. Wherever they are gifted to lead, I say let them lead…but first? First, I want the little girls to live. They cannot vote to save themselves. And we cannot empower dead girls to change the world.
Maybe, like me and so many others, you are confused this election year. Maybe you feel hopeless or fearful. Can I just encourage you for a minute? Often, we can’t see how much our perspective drives our reality, and so many people are operating through the lens of fear right now. But, friends? Do you know the glorious, freeing, never-changing reality of this election? The fate of our country, of our world, is not held in the dirty, blood-soaked hands of corrupt mankind; it is in the clean, soaked-with-our-blood hands of Jesus. It is safe, because it is His.
We seem to have forgotten that God is still God, and not one demeaning word spoken by Donald Trump into or away from a microphone nor one deleted email hidden by Hillary Clinton is unseen by Him. Not one. Not one moment is shrouded in darkness to the light of His eyes. Whether we give Him due credit or not, God is still sovereign over all humanity. He has not stopped knowing the intricacies of America or any other country, from the furthermost, most minuscule land mass to the largest, from the most desolate to the most populated of places. He is not surprised by the actions of people today, and He will not be shocked by our scandals tomorrow.
I don’t have the magic answer to your voting woes. There is just so much brokenness. But what I do know is that we needn’t fear November. Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves some questions about the posture of our hearts in the last days of this election. These are the questions I’ve been asking myself. Maybe they will help you find rest in Christ today:
-Is your heart yearning to see the salvation of the Lord come to the Clintons and the Trumps?
-Do you beg the Lord to pour out His grace on them as He has done for you, understanding you are equally in need, equally broken?
-Do you ask Him to reveal Himself to Mrs. Clinton as the Author of All Life as He did to Paul on the road to Damascus?
-Do you ask Him to show Himself to Mr. Trump as the Maker of Womankind out of man’s rib, sacred and equally important?
-Do you ask the Lord to make Himself known to both of them in powerful, life-changing, redeeming ways?
If your answer to any of those questions is “no”, then I urge you to take a deep breath and remember who is King of this world. And when you are done taking that breath, I urge you to take a knee.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16
Beautiful. Thoughtful. You are treasure among women.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Ashley!
Amen sister….sad to say but most christians in our churches every Sunday need to hear this message.