Election hangover

This morning, I woke up blind with tiredness.  I reset the alarm for a coveted 15 more minutes – hoping in those 15 minutes everything would fix itself and I could start this day with a spring in my step.  Not.

Dragging myself out of bed, a lack of sleep stung my eyes.  I stayed up into the wee hours last night watching everything about the election, then fell into bed with a huge sense of disappointment and a feeling of dread about the future.

As I scurried around on my good foot this morning (now running late since I overslept) organizing lunches, breakfast, laundry, etc. my thoughts were completely preoccupied with bewilderment, confusion, and anger at how anyone thinks we are so better off now as a nation that we want to continue this for four more years.  I am utterly drained from the intellectual and emotional investment I made into the campaign season.  I feel physically sick to my stomach about the thought of the repercussions our nation faces.  But, there is a day to begin.

I woke up my daughter, and the first thing she asked was, Who won?

Telling her the results, she replied, So are you going to wear all black today?

She remembered that sometime during the election season, I said that if my candidate didn’t win, I would wear all black the next day symbolizing my mourning.

When it was time for me to get myself ready, I stood at my closet and stared blankly into the abyss of textures and colors.  Reaching for my black pants, I glanced at my tops.  Fingering my way down the rack, I look intently at the few black tops I own.

Hmm, I muttered to myself, what to wear…

I thought about my daughter and what I had said, and in that moment of decision I chose not to play.

Nope, no black for me, I said to myself pulling my favorite blue jeans from the rack.  Wearing all black seemed like giving into the feelings of angst that taunt me today.

Leaving the house, I plucked my political sign from the yard and tossed it in the back seat.  The heaviness and hopelessness in my heart was so strong it made my head hurt.

Driving in a daze of the sobering reality that awoke me this morning, I turned on the radio to drown out the sea of thoughts rolling through my mind.

One song after another sang of God’s faithfulness, His love and His encouragement to finish our race strong.  Note by note, lyric by lyric, His presence began to cut through the dark cloud that hung over my head.  I found myself ever-so-slightly humming the tunes to these familiar songs.  Then, I began to mouth them in the middle of morning rush hour.

Without warning, I was raptured in praise and my eyes were taken off this world and fixed on what is to come.  In a moment, my perspective snapped back as I shook off the negative attitude.

So, what did this election do for me?  It makes me very sad for my fellow citizens who will be affected by penalizing healthcare changes, mandatory work hour decreases, and the vulnerability we face with a decreasing military defense and increasing terror threats and actions toward us.  I could go on.

However, the stark reality of this life made me almost giddy about the life that is to come.  The one that will last forever.  This life is so short – but a breath – but what will come is eternal (James 4:14).  I’m not saying that I am going to be ignorant to the issues we face, or run from the fight to protect the unborn and the sanctity of marriage, as well as respect and care for the elderly, and advocate for religious freedom (Micah 6:8; James 4:17).

I am saying that in middle of this fight, my perspective remains on what is constant, not shifting like shadows or the tide.  I am a citizen of another country in the unseen realm.  There, there is no political divide, no fear, no harm, no sadness.  There is peace, wholeness, and holiness.

These election results almost made me slip in my outlook on life (Psalm 73).  Instead, I am empowered by loosening my tethers to this world as I look forward to God fulfilling His promise to me about what is to come (Hebrews 11:39-40).  I could be bitter and angry, but instead I will run my race stronger in hopes that others who do not call Christ Savior will one day and join me in the awesomeness that is coming (Hebrews 12:1-2; Philippians 3:13-14).

I realize all over again that believers are indeed strangers, foreigners to this world (1 Peter 2:11).  We speak nonsense to those who don’t know Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18).  Our values are different.  Our purposes are driven by divine inspiration, and our empowerment is given by a force (the Holy Spirit) that nothing in this tangible world can take away (1 Corinthians 2:14).

What began this morning for me as an election hangover (proverbially speaking), God redeemed in me as a reassurance of where my eternal citizenship belongs (Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3: 18-21).

Will there be hard days of change?  Yes.  Will I get frustrated and even downtrodden?  Most definitely.  Will I lose hope and fear God has forsaken me?  No. (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5)

Believers throughout time have faced generations of difficulty (Matthew 5:12).  We can succumb to its bullying or remember where our loyalty lies and follow God’s ways – even if no one else around us does.

Life is short.  Time is relative.  The eternal promise God has given believers remains in tact.  Strong.  Powerful.  Unstoppable.  Reliable.  Trustworthy.

For the days God has ordained for me to traverse this planet, I will surrender them for His glory – come what may.  Jesus never promised us an easy life with no difficulties or disappointments.  In fact, He promised us there would be hardship and instructed us to pick up our cross and follow Him anyway (John 16:33).

Regardless of who calls 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue their temporary home address, I am excited about a life waiting for me with a permanent home that neither time or circumstance can take away.  Until that day, we plug on doing what He has called for us to do today, as today is all we’ve been given.  And, we aren’t doing this thing called life alone.  With the day that we’ve been given, God has given us what we need to complete it.  So be it.  Let’s get started, because the gift of salvation we were given wasn’t meant to be kept on a shelf in our souls.  It was meant to be shared.

I was in a bookstore today and saw two nannies enjoying coffee together.  The boys they had with them were just little guys – toddlers.  Peanuts.  Two of the cutest boys you’ve ever seen.  The nannies were getting ready to leave, when the sweet boys embraced each other tightly.  With their little bowl haircuts and lisps, they hugged and said goodbye.  Their tender hearts were so evident when they said they hope they see each other again soon.  What a moment to savor, and everyone – including me – did.

I thought to myself, I wonder if they will be divided by political party or controversial issues when they are older?  Will they grow closer or farther apart?  Will their hugs today turn into competitive, insincere handshakes later?  They are so innocent now.  What could prove to sever their friendship when they’ve grown into men?

It’s true.  What we feel passionately about draws boundary lines in our lives.  I was shocked to see that our neighbors had an opposing political sign  in their yard yesterday.  Shocked.

As believers, can we put aside the things of this world to extend a friendly handshake or hug or help to those who oppose us?  Not only can we, but we have a responsibility to be salt and light in this world.  As the hands of time tick closer to a day when all things will cease, and as issues grow hotter – along with tempers over them – may our hearts remain like these little guys I saw today…genuine, tender and kind.

In heaven and on the new earth, there will be no political parties.  We will be people, conformed to the likeness of Christ.  Let’s take every opportunity, while fighting the good fight of faith, to practice this on earth because many still don’t call Christ their Lord.

Driving home this afternoon, I glanced at the trees that lined the streets like soldiers.  Burning colors of red, orange and yellow lit the skyline as bright as any sunset I’ve seen.

They reminded me that, just like the seasons of the calendar, everything – including an election – has a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).  This upcoming political season doesn’t excite me.  Rather, it disappoints me.  Nonetheless, it is just a season.  One that God controls, not man.  A season that will bring about God’s glory one way or the other.  May we be part of the work that lets Him shine.

Hebrews 13:21, May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him,through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

~ Kristi

***Here is a great article regarding post-election perspective.  Check it out! http://onenewsnow.com/perspectives/peter-heck/2012/11/07/a-message-to-discouraged-christians

An unexpected election response

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.