Tuesday, March 12, 2013

She Had A Name

There isn't a way to prepare yourself for the headline.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

And I hold my girls on my lap as I read the article. I feel sick to my stomach. My hands shake.

Photo Credit: DNA Info/Sam Cholke
There is no reason why this needs to happen. And I wait to hear an outcry from my "side" of the city and I don't hear one. It doesn't matter that she lived on the southside and I live on the northside. And it doesn't matter that we both call Chicago home. It matters because we were both created by the same God. We are both loved equally by our Heavenly Father. And the grief I feel as I hear of this doesn't compare to the grief of our Father.

And I sit at my dining room table, typing these words, hoping someone will read. I'm crying out into the darkness, into the silence. I'm calling on my brothers and sisters in Christ to be outraged. To decide that human life is more important than political ideologies. To claim as our banner Prince of Peace, not the Second Amendment. 

Don't tell me "Guns don't kill people. People kill people."

Don't tell me that this is just part of a gang culture.

Don't tell me this is isolated.

Don't tell me anything unless you are weeping. Unless your heart is breaking. Unless you are grieving.

Photo Credit: http://asharedlens.smugmug.com/Other/Stock-Metal/25063983_bCBD3f#!i=1944077749&k=9359RMk&lb=1&s=A

She had a name. Jonylah Watkins.

Tonight I get to rock my babies to sleep. Jonylah's mother doesn't get to.

I've come to the point where I can't fight for everything. I can either fight for my political rights or for the Kingdom. And my Jesus didn't fight for his political rights - He ushered in the Kingdom. He showed us a new way to live. 

I want to be part of what God is doing RIGHT NOW. And he is not picketing, and yelling, and fighting, and feuding. He is not name calling. He is not assigning blame. He is not victim blaming. He is holding a grieving family and crying over the loss of His daughter.

My God is calling us to be part of His Kingdom. To follow the Prince of Peace. To be a part of bringing His Kingdom here on earth. To proclaim freedom for the captives. To turn our swords into ploughshares. To do things radically different. To give up our rights.

To give up our rights.

She had a name. Jonylah Watkins.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Update: For a way to show your support, check out the 500 Campaign. 


  1. I agree with the grieving we should all be grieving for this culture where death means nothing unless it fits a political agenda and the "bad guys" seem to be around every corner. I think as people and as Christians though, we can fight for both. We can fight for our freedoms as a people and for our love for others. It isn't one or the other. And typically if you look at both sides of the coin, love is on both ends if you take away the political agendas. My thoughts on gun control might be different than yours, but my feelings on a culture where killing children and death in general is nothing of import probably looks a lot the same. The deeper issues go beyond who gets guns and who doesn't. The deeper issue is why aren't these children being loved before they turn into "the bad guys". Why are the gangs inviting? Where are the families that should fill these children up from the insides so that they don't feel the need to have that desire met in such a fallible way. Where is the outpouring of Christ's love on these, the least of them, because that is where the war is really raging. I don't have the answers, just more questions.

  2. Oh Brenna, this was so so hard to read but I'm really glad I did.

  3. Dear sweet Brenna, you are right. There is something so much higher (or maybe deeper?) than being right and having rights and politics. You call to the tender side of us all, the place where hearts of stone become hearts of flesh. May we listen. And be changed.

  4. "Don't tell me anything unless you are weeping. Unless your heart is breaking. Unless you are grieving." Yes.
    An old song came to my mind as I read this. The lyrics said "soften my heart, Lord, from all indifference set me apart, to feel your compassion, to weep with your tears."
    And gosh I pray for this for the church, that we'd not harden our hearts to tragedies like this.

  5. Grieving with you, friend. There has to be a better way than this.

  6. Thank you for your witness, Brenna. Maybe you'll think about joining me at CrossWalkChicago? www.crosswalkchicago.org.