Photo credit to the woman who captured wit with a Sharpie, @heathermount.
I felt nervous and scared for Dr. Ford and Justice Kavanaugh two weeks ago.
I found myself swinging between anticipation and anxiety as I considered the weight of their impending testimonies. My heart thumped a little more quickly that morning as I listened to the news analysts’ predictions, speaking from my treadmill’s television screen. Even the pulling in of my inhale and the release of my exhale seemed more dramatic than usual. Deep breaths can be calming, only to a point.
I found myself praying for peace for both parties in the midst of unrest. TV news anchors, online media outlets, voices from political parties, and Hollywood — everyone had something to say, even before Dr. Ford and Justice Kavanaugh were given a chance to speak.
I wasn’t alone. Most of you were there, too. Checking your favorite news app or live streaming the hearings. Some of us joined in with roughly 20.4 million people tuning in on six broadcast and cable networks, according to Nielsen data released the following day.
And here we are. We have witnessed mud-slinging and attempts at character deterioration, directed at both parties. We have witnessed protestations — inside the courtroom’s walls, dressed in suits, and outside on Capitol Hill, waving signs and chanting support . We have witnessed Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
So, what now? For some of us, relief is real as we look at our sons and husbands, thankful that innocence was presumed before sufficient evidence impelled guilt. For some of us, we look around and wonder what it was all for. We feel helpless, our voices seemingly muted by Politicians who mock and Power who laughs. What good does it do to speak up?
The Female Body
Spurred on by the hearings, people spoke up.
According to The Washington Post’s poignantly written article on September 28, women across the political spectrum called in to C-SPAN during hearing breaks to talk about their experiences being assaulted. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reported a 201 percent spike in calls Thursday as well as “unprecedented wait times” for its online chat.
Individual women, on their own accord, felt empowered to speak up about the experiences they have felt ashamed to share. Fear of being judged was cast aside, if even for a few days. Victims, many who chose to remain anonymous, embarked on unchartered territory, brave and powerful. And they claimed some sliver of victory over their own lives because they said things that were true and hard about their personal past hurts.
The female bodies we live in are a precious part of our soul’s makeup. Our physical experiences in this world are part of the stories we tell. Moreover, our physical experiences are part of our redemption story. Women, please be empowered to speak up! For all sexual assault incidents. For all physical abuse that intimidates women, children, men. For all weaknesses and illnesses that tyrannize the bodies we live in, that could have been prevented with better and earlier help.
What Is At Stake
The Questions We Are Left Asking Now
1. Who was lying?
2. Who was telling the truth?
3. Does anyone even really know the truth?
The answers to the questions paint a picture that illustrates what is at stake. So, here is my shot in the dark. Brief and Direct.
Who was lying? Satan was lying. He was scheming and threatening and raging and manipulating in the courtroom on September 28 during the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings. Just like He does in my living room or in my childrens’ schools or in my husband’s workplace. Because as long as He is a given a foothold, He will do the only thing that He has the power to do. Cower in fear and threaten people into corners so that they’ll join him, scared.
Who was telling the truth? The Holy Spirit was telling the truth. He was alive and well, compassionate, and loving. Bending over to cradle shoulders of women and men, alike, the Holy Spirit comforted the weary, uplifted the oppressed, and emboldened the not-enough.
Does anyone even really know the truth? God knows all the truth. I’ve heard my grandmother say it with a cigarette in her right hand, swirling her coffee mug in her left. She would sometimes contemplate human behavior out loud, staring outside her country-home breakfast window. I can still hear her voice, “Only God Knows.”
Yep, that’s all I’ve got. Nothing fancy or fantastic. But, maybe we don’t need fancy or fantastic. We just need truth, based on God being who He says He is.
We need Jesus to be enough. He will be enough for many Christian women and men, faithful and steadfast, as they listen to a variety of worldly opinions concerning this case. The still, small voice of our Savior is always more change-provoking than what the broadcasting voices might have us believe.
When we believe that Jesus is enough in really tough situations, then we can muster courage to face what is at stake. What is at stake is our love for all kinds of people. My pastor preached a word last Sunday that left our congregation floored by the power of transparency and invitation. Through his sermon, God reminded us that our willingness to love all kinds of people is the kingdom business in which we are privileged to take part.
Trusting God to be enough as we venture to love all kinds of people is not easy, but it is imperative. Men or women. Republican or Democrat. Fearful or Brave. Trapped or Free.
Thank you for your passionate and well-reasoned responses over the last few weeks. Join me next week as we begin a 6-part series on Silencing Body Shame. If you’ll be so kind to share your email above, I’ll drop it in your inbox. Easy.