This morning, I left my home to vote. Hobbling through the doors in my surgical shoe, I followed protocol and stood in line. When it was my turn to vote, I stepped behind the machine and suddenly halted in my tracks.
I just stood there, staring at the electronic board. Months had culminated to this moment, and I could almost feel an electricity in the air.
Inhaling a long, deep breath, I voted. In the middle of casting my ballot, an applause broke out in the room. Startled, I looked to the woman next to me voting and asked what everyone was clapping for. She pointed to a pretty, 18 year-old young woman and said it was her first time every voting. I was so proud of her!
Once I finished, I left and texted my husband, telling him to come right away as the line wasn’t long. He’s on crutches, so the less standing time the better. It’s a tradition for us to take our kids with us to vote. They’ve been to countless elections. I want them to be knowledgeable and comfortable with the process. This year they got to go with Dad. A treat!
Perhaps some of my passion for our children coming with us to vote is because, to this day, I vividly remember walking into my voting precinct at 18 and feeling utterly lost. I had no idea what I was doing, and was embarrassed that it showed all over my deer-in-headlights expression. I want our children, when they turn 18, to confidently know how to educate themselves on who to vote for and then make the time to do it.
America’s voting percentages have been pathetic at times. We have been granted a privilege, and it is our responsibility to vote as citizens of this nation. If I may be so bold, my philosophy is this…vote or don’t complain later. Voting is our opportunity to speak, and if we forfeit that gift which was bought by the blood and sacrifice of countless men and women who have paid the price of our freedom, then don’t bother complaining later. Harsh, I know. But, it’s how I believe.
In the parking lot of my precinct, a wave of emotion hit me completely unexpectedly. Tears welled up in my eyes and a lump swelled in my throat. Bewildered, I simply let the emotion flow. When I paused, I thought about what I was feeling, and realized it was an overflow of relief and release over this election.
For months, I have followed this election extremely closely. I’ve listened to the debates, watched countless interviews and analyses and read many, many articles from every angle. The only “information” I ignore are political ads. Rhetoric. And, for the first time in my entire life, I stuck a presidential candidate sign in my front yard.
After months of praying, pleading and begging with God to find mercy and grace on this incredible nation, today I awoke with no words. I told God, I feel I am out of prayer over this. I am exhausted over this election.
Instead, I have sung worship and praise songs that speak my heart – and prayed some more as the hours pass.
Emotion overwhelmed my soul this morning, even way before a result is rendered, and now that I have taken the last step and voted, I wait knowing there is nothing else I can do except continue to pray. As an American voter, we are each a part of a very large team. That team is running a generational marathon. As a team member, I have done what I have been able to do in my own power, and casting my vote was my finish line. The baton has been passed.
However the results turn out, I can sleep at night knowing I did what I could – in the midst of surgery, my husband’s injury, and the blessed, chaotic daily grind.
That is what I want our kids to take away from this election and every election. Every person is important. Every vote is important. And being part of the process is important. They are the next generation who will will lead this country. We must be an example for them to follow.
Ultimately, we place the election outcome in God’s hands. He is bigger than this election. He is much larger than either candidate. His plans have been set since before the birth of this planet and nothing can change them (Job 42:2). He gives and takes away. He loves always. He disciplines. He extends mercy and grace. His ways are higher than our ways, and thoughts His are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). He is good all the time.
We may be electing the next president of our country, but my faith is in my God who created and sustains this world we live and vote in. My trust is in Christ, who gave me citizenship through salvation in a country not of this world – one that will outlast everything we know to be normal. My joy is in knowing that God is sovereign, and although the seat of the president is up for grabs every 4 years, God shares His throne with no one and never leaves it. He rules. He reigns. God is God – yesterday, on election day, and forever.