A few weeks ago, via an old professors Facebook post, I encountered this truly lovely song I wanted to share with all of you today.
It’s called “Dear Me” by Nicole Nordeman and I’ve linked it below for both your context and for you to enjoy. Fair warning, it’s theological challenging, painfully honest, and hauntingly beautiful. Completely worth your 5 minutes!
It’s a letter to her younger self, but with the admission that the thoughts and events of the letter are “much closer than they appear.” The song goes onto detail the racist, bigoted, ignorant beliefs she has held onto throughout her life.
And as I listened to it for the first time, and many many time since, I’ve had one thought: I am that girl too. I’m a racist, a bigot, ignorant, and judgmental. I’ve talked about the brokenness of “the system,” and how those in need are not deserving of help if they are cheating it. I’ve spewed hatred from my lips about minorities; I’ve sewn seeds of bitterness, I’ve judged from afar, and I’ve thought that those kinds of people don’t deserve the Gospel. They didn’t earn it. I’ve said and thought and believed those things. I still do, in so, so many ways, and the unbelievable shame I carry is like Atlas with the globe.
It’s there that my favorite word in the English language appears: but. But means hope, and that the sentence is not over yet. It means there’s opportunity. It means there’s room for Jesus. But the song doesn’t end there.
"You’ll see, you’re gonna take the long way And there is nothing you could do or say to separate you From the love of God who made you just exactly as He meant to And you cannot imagine all the places you’ll see Jesus But you’ll find Him everywhere you thought He wasn’t supposed to go So, go"
And hold all the mothers, whose babies bleed from bullet holes And feel all the hunger, the bellies and the bones Shout for the prisoner, cry for justice, loud and long And march with the victims, as Jesus marches on And sit at all the tables, ‘cause Jesus eats with everyone And dance to the music, if you can’t sing its’ native tongue And cry for the wombs, the mothers and the empty arms And hold high the warriors, fighting now for freedoms’ song
And love, love, love, love like it’s your own blood Love, love, love, love as you have been loved
Of course, a couple of those lines stick out more to me than others. God has allowed me to be intimately familiar with dancing to the music; Swaziland has given me such a gift in seeing other cultures and how God is moving. Freedom is also so close to my heart. My dad has given parts of himself to this world to fight for the freedoms that this country gives us.
And others of these? Petrify me. Scare me so deeply in my bones that I feel nauseous at the thought. To love like that? To live like that? To give everything for that? That’s the call. To go SEE Jesus. To go BE Jesus to others. To live as his hands and his feet and to show others his words and share this love. The fear threatens to overtake me; I CAN’T do this! I WONT’ do this! I’m not ready! I’m not equipped!
“God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.”
Dear Me You did not learn this in a day or two or three So ask a lot of questions But Jesus loves us, this I know And there are no exceptions
I’m going to keep asking hard questions. I’m going to follow my call. I’m going to fight and rage against my heart of slavery, bigotry, hatred, and fear. I’m going to hold onto the belief that NOTHING can separate me from the love of Christ – especially not my raw, fleshy heart. Jesus love all of us, and I choose to believe in the “but” of the Gospel.