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  • Writer's pictureShelby Hughes

For Those "Stuck" in the Middle

So many have formed their opinions. The church seems divided on many issues surrounding this pandemic. Some churches are open in the name of faith and some are closed in the name of faith. Many families are making varied decisions based on what they've seen and heard on the news and social media, never once stopping to pray over their decision or to consider it from the lens of scripture. Even if they are prayed over, the decisions that must be made and the opinions that must be formed are both difficult and unexpected, and the intensity we all feel causes guarded walls, making empathy and compassion our least concern. But at least opinions have been formed because like a country song once said "you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."

But then there's me.

Can I be honest without backlash? I don't know where I stand. Yes, my husband and I are making decisions for our little family and I'm thankful for his leadership, but I'm still uncertain. Everything has hit everyone full force and it seems most have their head above the water while I sputter to figure it all out. I feel frustrated that I can't see things as clearly as others on one side of the spectrum or the other.

With the weight of hearing so many voices with differing opinions along with my husband's work adding new regulations week by week, all of my emotions surface. While I usually write for two hours after my husband goes to bed, I found myself staring up at the stars and weeping while the lyrics to this song played on my phone:

"I'm caught up in Your presence

I just want to sit here at Your feet

I'm caught up in this holy moment

I never want to leave

Oh, I'm not here for blessings

Jesus, You don't owe me anything

More than anything that You can do

I just want You

I'm sorry when I've just gone through the motions

I'm sorry when I just sang another song

Take me back to where we started

I open up my heart to You

I'm sorry when I've come with my agenda

I'm sorry when I forgot that You're enough

Take me back to where we started

I open up my heart to You

Nothing else

Nothing else

Nothing else will do

I just want You"

Nothing Else, Cody Carnes

I can pray and pray for God to heal our land. That's my heart cry right now and I'm continuously reminded of this scripture:

"If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

It's not enough to pray healing for our land. There's four things we must do.

We must humble ourselves.

We must pray.

We must seek His face.

We must turn from our wicked ways.

My husband has been praying for me today after I poured my heart out to him last night. He's praying that I will have peace and resolve regarding an opinion on everything that's going on.

Here's my opinion.

Growing up, I was the middle child and constantly in the middle of sibling rivalry. My siblings would fight and they'd come to me and plead their case because they wanted me to take a side. They wanted me to determine right from wrong, good from bad. Oftentimes, I refused to take sides, especially if I couldn't determine what was most right or most wrong. Though I wouldn't choose a side, I always tried to listen. I tried to fully hear both sides of the argument because I cared deeply for my big sister and little brother. Still do. (Love you Amanda panda & Lyle the crocodile. <3)

I can't choose a side to the many pandemic arguments because I care deeply for people on both sides.

While it's frustrating to be stuck in the middle sometimes (hello middle child syndrome), perhaps that's exactly where God purposed me to be. The thing about being in the middle is that I have this beautiful opportunity to see both sides and love both sides and realize that many issues are not black and white. Some issues fall into this gray area.

As a little girl, I read the beatitudes and immediately knew which one I fell under. It was peacemaker. To be a peacemaker is to reconcile parties that are at variance. I've been doing that with my brother and sister for as long as I can remember. I developed peacemaking attributes just by being the middle child. Sometimes they'd get frustrated with me for not choosing a side, but they'd always eventually reconcile with one another when they realized I was firm in not siding with one or the other because they both had fair points. Staying in the middle allowed me to have a close and special relationship with both of them.

For my brother and I it was hours spent outdoors letting our imaginations go wild as he included his tomboy sister in fort building, playing Cowboys and Indians through the sumac trees, and when worn, reading many books together.

For my sister and I it was sharing in girlhood together. It was giggles over I-don't-remember-what and helping Mom inside, though my sister did most of the chores and often covered for me so I could escape outside again.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9

It's my humble opinion that I do not need to pick a side just to make you feel better about your opinion and position. Why? Because for me it's not about the mask opinion, the freedom opinion, the open church opinion, or any other opinion surfacing in the middle of a pandemic.

My position is not founded on opinion or ideals based on the news and media. It's founded on God's word. And while this world feels a bit scary right now, I will lift my eyes to the God holding me and holding you and holding this world in His hands.

I'm not stuck in the middle. I stand in the middle.

With that off my chest, I'm going to go drink coffee before my own middle girl wakes up. I write, but I mostly try to keep up with three little girls all day. I'm human just like you. Please keep any and all comments kind. God bless each and every one of you.

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