About the Author

Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally...

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  1. Thank you, Kia, for risking that hard conversation, not simply because I’m challenged and encouraged by reading about it, but also because I think something happens in the big picture when one person moves outside her comfort zone and one pebble in the universe of opinion and understanding is rolled into a more compassionate place.
    Blessings to you!

    • Michele, although I wrote this post, I too remain challenged by it. I face the choice of whether to remain in the safety of my comfort zone or to risk stepping outside of it. It is certainly not easy but I am motivated by the reality that Christ stepped out of His comfort zone for me. Thanks for your words! – Kia

  2. Kia,
    I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. Most of the kids in my schools were white. You could say I grew up in my white suburban bubble. Thankfully, God has shaken that up quite a bit. Now, one of my very best friends in the world is black. I am very close to the staff at our school in the Middle East. We can talk openly about our similarities and our differences. It has given me a whole new perspective on what it’s like to live in someone else’s skin. Will I ever KNOW definitively, no, but it’s opened my eyes. And what spice it brings to my life to have friends of different colors, and nationalities. I love that their lives rub off on mine and I believe I’m a better person for it! Thank you for being so honest and risking vulnerability to have open conversations that build bridges.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev,
      Thank you for sharing your personal experience with race. It means a great deal when others truly make an effort to know someone: their hurts, experiences, backgrounds, and culture. Although difficult, it makes us better: broadening and stretching us to truly love like Christ. Thank you for your candid and encouraging words on this difficult topic. Be blessed! – Kia

      • Kia,
        Beautiful sharing and such strength & faith you have shown to others.
        I was particularly moved by your reflection about how you saw God in your interactions
        and the healing you felt in your soul which has inspired and encouraged you to take more risks and be vulnerable without knowing the outcome.
        Your example has encouraged me !
        Feeling Very Blessed Today By Your Actions & Sharing !

        • Thanks Mary K. God was definitely present in my interactions. He never waste an experience. In that moment I didn’t think I was going to write about what was transpiring in my heart but God took that single vulnerable moment and is using it to impact many. Thank you for commenting! – Kia

  3. Goodmorning everyone. Kia thankyou very much for writing this. My husband and I are Marvel fans so we were going to see Black Panther regardless of who was in it. But, the fact of who and what the movie centered on brought me to tears. For my daughters and son to see black people in a positive light.It blessed me as a black woman to see so much worldwide support. People of all races going out, spending their money to witness history. It saddened me that many didn’t see it because they may have felt” that’s a black movie” Thankyou for allowing me to leave a comment. God bless you all

    • Anna, my family never saw a Marvel movie before Black Panther but it meant so much for me and my entire family. I too was hoping people would see the film as more than a “black movie” but I wasn’t sure they would. This was why I initially asked the question and I’m glad I did. So much good has come from it. Being vulnerable doesn’t always work out, but this time it did. Thanks so much for sharing your heart. Be blessed! – Kia

  4. Kia, thank you for being vulnerable about this. God is stretching me on this topic. I live 100 miles south of Ferguson, MO where the national dialogue on race exploded a few years ago. I am in my fourth decade of life and I confess that I have been ignorant of these issues in my white bubble, like Bev described. My high school class of 285 students had perhaps half a dozen black students, so I have not had much local exposure. I scoured the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the Ferguson incident and started learning new things. Hard things. Such as this: black mothers said they have been teaching their sons since they were little to be silent and still anytime they were confronted or pulled over by the police. I looked at my two young sons and thought, “I’ve never had to teach them that.” There’s a whole world close to me I don’t understand. This summer when I attend a writing conference, I hope to gain more understanding from conversations with my black sisters in Christ from all over the U.S. Thank you again for inspiring me to stay curious and teachable, while being more sensitive to my neighbor’s feelings.

    • Sarah, I soooooooo appreciate these words. Thank you for your willingness to venture outside of the bubble. It is difficult, and I imagine quite foreign, but for me and so many other women of color, it feels like a cold glass of water on a hot day. There is an entire world beyond the bubble and it is filled with hard things, but Christ did not shy away from the uncomfortable, He dived in head first and so we too must follow His lead. This, my friend, is the beginning of something beautiful: real, honest, and uncomfortable dialogue between sisters in Christ. Thank you again for your word Sarah and be blessed! – Kia

  5. As a result of having a friend who is open about his experiences with racism, I am much more aware of this problem. Growing up in a house where never a negative word was spoken about any other race, I kind of thought it was a historical issue. One we had mostly put to rest other than the extreme situations that made headlines. I know better now. I believe this is an important topic for Christians to engage with but I’m always hesitant to be the first to bring it up. I don’t want to be insensitive. What do you think about white people being the first to broach the subject in conversation? Is that just bringing hurt to the surface uninvited? Is it insensitive?

    When my teenager saw Black Panther I was thrilled to hear her talk about the plot, how great it was, the acting, the special effects… nothing about the race of the actors. It didn’t matter to her – it was just a great movie.

    • Hi Kendra,

      I can’t speak for all black people but I am okay if the subject is brought up with me. In response to this article, several white women have indicated their trepidation in bringing the subject up. I think there is no cookie cutter answer on how to do this but I will say, love , REAL undeniable 1 Corinthians 13 love, changes things. It heals the most damaged relationships, comforts the broken, encourages the despondent, and mends what has been severed. I think there is power in asking God to help us love like this. And yes, Black Panther, was an amazing movie but for many people of color, it was so much more than that. Thank you for being vulnerable and asking some difficult questions. I hope it opens some doors to new relationships in your life. Be blessed! – Kia

  6. What a beautiful story and imagine the possibility of a beautiful friendship. It is truly when we open ourselves up to others and what may seem as a risk sometimes turns out to be the best thing we ever do. I know that if we all stepped out of our little box, we will find that we all are more alike than different and we had allow fear of the unknown, fear of being hurt gets in the way of what God’s plan is for us. Thank you for sharing.

    • Fear is the culprit often and sometimes our past experiences too. That was the case here. My previous experience left me feeling a little apprehensive about being vulnerable again. I think this may be the case more often than not, but God is a healer and a mender of hearts. This is my prayer for other women of color that may have had difficult experiences with other races and simply be afraid to try again. Prayerfully a move in this direction will open the door for transparent and real relationships between races. Thank you Maylee for joining this very honest and difficult conversation. Be blessed! – Kia

  7. Thanks for writing ✍ and sharing this Kia and taking the risk to be vulnerable…

    « …I’d be willing to take the risk to be vulnerable without knowing how someone might respond because the answer might be yes. And yes means hope of being known… »

    • Ada Joe, I am glad I took the risk too. God has taken my little yes and done immeasurably more with it. So glad you shared your thoughts on this conversation. – Kia

  8. Kia, I so appreciate this post.

    One, because of the vulnerability to write it, let alone experience it. Two, because it gives a glimpse (surely, a tiny glimpse) of what it may be like for other black women. This is important for me and other white women. Three, because one of my best friends is black and I remember learning so much from her about why this movie was powerful and rocking the nation. She explained a little before the movie, but just a tiny bit. She waited until I’d seen it. I didn’t even know what to say after wards, I was choked up and had the mix of Marvel love with learning to see this from her perspective. As I tried to put myself in her shoes in the fractioned bit I could, I cried for her. And her family. And so many others I know and don’t know. I also rejoiced.

    I attend a very diverse church in Austin which is growing by the Spirit of God. It’s amazing in so many ways. We work on reconciliation topics with intention. It’s been a powerful thing to be a part of. I’m listening and learning so much through the relationships found here and the messages that are regularly preached.

    I’m in a happy, moved, tearful place this morning. Connection is one of my geeky loves and you helped me feel a little more connected to your world. Thank you for that. I don’t comment here all that often, but I had to today. Thank you.

    • Jolene (WOW),
      Thank you for sharing your heart and seeing the movie. Thank you for leaning in and empathizing with your dear friend. It is so challenging to summarize the thoughts, experiences and feelings of an entire race. This conversation is best had one-on-one, in coffee shops, and in small groups with people who are willing to go the distance no matter how painful and awkward it gets. Racial reconciliation and justice take the supernatural power of the CROSS. Without it, the temptation to simply go to our corners is far too great to withstand. Thank you for the courage to pursue vulnerability in commenting on this post and in life. Be blessed! – Kia

  9. Risking vulnerability for me is a major step like walking on water. My wounds from childhood are still there very deep but our Heavenly Father has got through to my heart and is causing me to confront and deal with the stronghold of the major walls I had constructed to safeguard my heart and prevent future wounds. Without knowing what I was doing, I became a prisoner within those walls unable to have a relationship. I am learning to trust God in new levels I have never been before and am excited. This past weekend, I extended an invitation to several people to join my husband and I to celebrate our 61st wedding anniversary. Many did not show up and this the Lord allowed as it caused me to see and face the bondage much more clearly. By God’s grace, I was able to release those who did not come and am continuing to press into the Lord for total healing. Whenever we give love, we are sowing to the Spirit and will eventually reap a harvest of love (Gal. 6:8-9).

    • Gail,

      Anyone who has experienced 61 years of marriage (Congratulations) has weathered far more pain than my mind has known. I should be learning from you. (wink) Thank you, my sister, for the courage it took to write this post and for steps you are taking to forgive and invite others into your life ( even in the face of rejection ). Well done. I pray God would grant you the healing your soul longs for and that you would know and experience, on this side of eternity, that John 10:10 life Christ promised his children. Be blessed! – Kia

  10. Thank you Kia for sharing this! Keep it up! I grew up in mostly white “bubble” also, but thanks to my older brother for mixing things up in the 60s & 70s, I’ve always sought out friendships with other races. We are so much stronger when we share our stories. One of the ministers at our church started her sermon one Sunday with Black Panther reviews! It was great! I continually pray for racial healing, racial reconciliation and so want our churches to reflect ALL the Body of Christ. I’m praying for you as you continue to share and to heal.

    • Thank you, Paula! I think the 70s mixed up a lot for all of us. You are so right, “We are much stronger when we share our stories”. God loves and created diversity for a reason. It can be so beautiful and challenging all at the same time, but a life without it is lacking in the rich color I believe God wants us all to experience. Thank you for your words and prayer for me as I walk this road of being vulnerable. Be blessed! – Kia

  11. Kia,
    I am so happy that you were vulnerable! I think we all need to try but it can be difficult. I am a white woman in her 30s and I work in Residence Life at a university. I oversee the Resident Assistants on campus. I love so much that I get to use what leadership potential my students have and build on it. I also get the joy of learning from each of them. In getting to know the students so that we can be in service to each other, we dig in deep and have amazing conversations about our life experiences. I appreciate the conversations on race the most. I get to create a safe space for my students to share and we truly do share. Together we are the human race and we need to love each other more than we do. More safe spaces need to be created.
    Black Panther was amazing for so many reasons. The Black Panther was cool and all but can we talk about Danai Gurira and her role as Okoye?! The guardswomen were so fierce and beautiful! They made my heart happy.
    My favorite mail man always says, “Have a blessed day!” So Kia, have a blessed day and thank you for creating a safe space.
    Monica

    • Monica, you have such an AMAZING opportunity to influence the lives of your resident assistants. I love that you are tackling the difficult subjects and being open to learning from your students as you lead. I hope it leaves a lasting impact on them as they prepare to create new narratives for their generation. Thank you for the work that you do every day and thank you for your words in this post. I am humbled and incredibly honored that this post has created a safe space for so many. Prayerfully, it will spill over to our world. Be blessed! – Kia

  12. Very beautifully written. This post really makes me think Kia. When I was in elementary school one of my best friends was black. I would invite her over to spend the night at my house all of the time; she never did. I always thought the reasons her mom told her were a little odd but I believed them. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I wondered if it was really because I was white. That thought never even crossed my mind and it made me sad.

    • Julie,
      The difficult truth is, it may have been because you were white. That reality is neither good nor bad, it just is. I recently listened to a children’s book , “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry”, by Mildred D. Taylor and I was in tears a BUNCH. It unpacked so many things for me as a black woman that I never even considered, and I’m pushing 40. Race, and all that comes with it, is difficult to comprehend and it takes on all types of nuances for every person, depending on their age, experience, geographical location and so many more variables. It could have been fear, insecurity, cultural barriers, etc. etc. that kept your friend from sleeping over. I don’t know, but what I do know is that when we are faced with any obstacles love, does, in fact, conquer all. Maybe not immediately, but eventually, in the end, it will. Thank you for your comments and be blessed! – Kia

  13. This gets me tears-eyed just thinking of the possibility of bridging the gaps in our world. This is God’s way—that we step out in risk for one another, humble ourselves, and do what we can to understand one another. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

    • My pleasure Dani and yes the possibility of bridging the gaps in our world gets me too. I think that’s why I stood in that misty rain and bawled like a newborn baby. This is the HOPE we cling to in the gospel. Christ (THANK GOODNESS) offers us all the possibility of peace, healing, wholeness, reconciliation, salvation, grace and so much more. Thank you for your comments and be blessed! – Kia

  14. Thank you for your post. I believe we all want to be known and accepted no matter our color.
    I have an adopted 18 year old granddaughter from foster care who is African American. Also a granddaughter almost 3 from China. I’d never have imagined our multicultural family back when I was raising our kids BUT GOD did. He is good and we are family. Again, thank you for sharing. You are being an instrument of healing in the Redeemers hand.

    • This is true Cindy. We do all want to be known. I think for people of color ( all people of color) there is a little more to it. I could be wrong because I am only one voice. In my wanting to be accepted, I sometimes question whether rejection I experience is because of my skin color or not. Maybe you are aware of this because you are raising children of color. I am, however, grateful that when we experience the rejection of man we are always accepted by God. Thank you for sharing your heart and be blessed! – Kia

  15. Hi Kia,
    For me the sentence that stood out the most was the one about your friend… by her going to Black Panther, it communicated to you that she wanted to know you. How wise of you to not denigrate your friend’s effort to explore what you conveyed meant something to you and did not scoff or denigrate her action to see a movie that held importance to you. She heard how important the movie was to you and wanted to convey a connection to you.
    The dominant narrative of race is not necrssarily a healing one that allows for authentic conversation or change. I say this as a student in a predominately minority university where the dialogue is more about pointing fingers, getting “social justice” through blame and basically seeing all white people as the same, the “other” and guilty. From this stance satan sows division and discord. I cannot be a part of this. Being a victim means the victim doesnt have to take any resposibility or accountability or work towards reconciliation and sees everyone as perpetrators. This is not how I believe we are called to be. I am thankful that you continued to endeavour to find ways to reach out to this white woman. My feeling is that you did so in a manner with a heart that had a different motivation and agenda than to blame her or see her as offensively “privileged.” Thank you. Praise the Lord! Your manner and approach gives me hope and helps me to know there is a narrative to talk about race that can be healing and not divisive. I think we can only do this is the power and blood of Jesus and I thank you for having a heart and mind made available to Him.

    • Hi Ms. CK,

      Let me just say you have happened to catch me when I’ve processed, prayed, cried, and vented to my friends. Because of the saving grace of the cross, I am always trying to “make every effort to live at peace” but sometimes I completely miss the mark: I’m human. I too, know people who are more divisive than peace-making and BUT for the GRACE of God, I might have been one of them. I have seen RACE impact my kids, my husband, my friends, my parents, and the black community (as I am sure you have too). Over time, that can wear on a person. My encouragement to you is to pray, love and be patient with those who are divisive in your life. Hurt people hurt people and it takes the love of Christ to melt the coldest of hearts. The good news is, it is possible. I love your heart for reconcilliation and believe God will use you mightily. Thank you sis for these words and be blessed! – Kia

  16. Hi Kia,
    I thank God for people like yourself who open themselves up to being real.
    More than ever we as God’s people need to fully open our hearts, minds, and homes to eachother in the hope of strengthening the message of Jesus Christ.
    I don’t typically watch marvel movies but can’t wait to see this one!
    God bless you dear sister.
    Love Maggie

    • Hi Maggie,

      I am grateful God gave me the grace to walk through disappointment and then write about it. You are so right, we as a people need to open our hearts, minds, and homes to each other. It is often easier said than done but it is doable. I pray God would grant us all the courage, patience and unconditional love that is needed to do this. Also, if you do check out Black Panther you will love it! Thanks for your comments and be blessed! – Kia

  17. Kia,

    Reading this today made my heart happy! I struggle with the challenge of being a middle aged white woman, who has bi-racial family members who have struggled most of their lives with race. I often feel like I’m in a tug of war.

    • Hi Christine,

      I can’t imagine the challenges you’ve faced having a bi-racial family. That is such a tough situation especially in the time in which we live.
      I pray that you are able to find comfort in 1 Peter 5:7 and the fact that God is intimately concerned about the things that concern you. I also sincerely hope you find a tribe of people that love your family without judgment and complete acceptance. Thank you for being vulnerable and be blessed, my friend. – Kia

  18. I love this Kia! Your honesty and encouraging interaction with your friend injects hope into the race conversation. Well done. I’m sharing this powerful post with others!

    • Hi Joy,
      Thank you for this encouragement and for the share. I, like many, am figuring things out as I go and praying for God’s guiding grace and wisdom. I so appreciate you joining the conversation and be blessed! – Kia

  19. “Hope of being known.” How’d you get that last sentence in flashing neon lights? (Or is that just on my screen? 🙂 ) I was just sharing with our small group the other night that everyone has a need to be known. — I love that you reached out and risked feeling unheard, unknown. And, so glad you ultimately found your yes. 🙂 (And, I bet you were her “yes” to something that day as well. Maybe she needed to be seen, or acknowledged, or not feel alone, or whatever.) So thankful to be part of this beautifully diverse family of God. I can only imagine what it will look like in heaven. All the colors and accents, worshiping in unison the God who brought us together and made us His. ♥

    • Hi Brenda,
      That phrase, “hope of being known” does succinctly describe the desire of us all. This innate longing is universal to mankind. Unfortunately, when we seek acceptance sometimes it is met with rejection. Which is what I feared in my post and what so many fear when risking vulnerability. Thankfully we can all find the unconditional love and acceptance in being known by God when we face rejection by man. Thank you for your comments and be blessed! – Kia

  20. Thank you for your post and being open about your experiences. I am white and have always regarded black people as being special and unique. As Americans living in another country for almost 9 years on a particular island in Canada, my husband and I have experienced a tiny bit of racism, if you want to call it that. It’s about being “from away.” It’s not the color of your skin. It’s a particular prejudice or indifference towards outsiders. Though the “natives” can be friendly, and the island is tagged as being friendly, some can be standoffish – even neighbors – and it invades the Christian (true believers in Christ) culture here, as well. Especially when it comes to Biblical principles of admonition and exhortation. (We preach reconciliation, but we don’t actually apply it. We have to be nice to each other. Ignore the problems. Don’t touch them. – That seems to be the general attitude.) There were other issues as well and it was clear we didn’t fit into the culture, and it’s a white culture. It’s funny that the neighbors we actually have a great friendship with are “from away” as well. It’s been an experience the LORD wanted us to learn from and in a few days we’ll be moving back to the States to live in SC (instead of MA where we’re from), and so we’ll be “from away” still. Hopefully what the LORD has taught us here in Canada will equip us for the next chapter in our lives. We are grateful for the experience and the spiritual maturity it has given us. And that road to spiritual maturity is never ending. 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing your heart with us. 🙂

    • Hi Linda,
      That is quite a unique experience you and your husband had in Canada. I pray that it will provide you with tremendous incite as you prepare to return to the states. We are a much different country than we were 9 years ago and any experience you have had with prejudice will come in handy. Prayerfully God will help you to extend the love and community you longed for to those who are different from you in SC. Thank you for sharing your experience and be blessed! – Kia

  21. I am so glad that you found someone you trusted to share with. I was blessed to grow up in a diverse community, but then as an adult we moved. Sadly, I quickly learned what discrimination was like – as we were rejected by the black community. I would never treat anyone the way we were treated – especially my son. It was horrible. It made us more aware of how we need to treat all people, no matter how they treat us.
    We all need to work harder to respect and accept one another. I’m so glad you were courageous enough to step out of your comfort zone and start trying to make this world a little better.

    • Hi Suzy,

      I am not sure what race you are but I am sorry to hear you experienced discrimination from the community you were a part of. The difficulty I and many others have faced is not ascribing character qualities experienced by one person to an entire race. I hope that is your resolve. Although you experienced discrimination in that particular community not all black people will treat you that way. I learned this in my post when I risked being vulnerable again. I pray this will be the case for you if it has not been already. Thank you for being vulnerable here my friend, and be blessed! – Kia

  22. Thank you for your courage. As I write this, it is “multiculturalism day” in my small town, where I represent most of the “diversity”. As much as I love sharing my culture, I’m still hesitant to bring it up as a topic of conversation because most people are just proud of having friends of different races and refuse to believe that even in this day there are challenges. I think what hurts perhaps the most is when people tell me they “don’t see colour”, because to me that’s not an accomplishment – that’s making my story invisible. I think a more helpful approach to celebrating similarities (and differences) is to hear each other’s stories, like you were able to do because of your vulnerability ♥️

    • Hi Addie,
      Wow! I can totally hear your heart through this comment. I am so sorry where you have felt unseen because of the statement “don’t see colour”. I have often been encouraged by the interaction between God and Hagar when she ran from the mistreatment she received from her mistress Sarai. I am not sure if you are familiar with this passage of scripture but Hagar was pursued by the angle of the Lord and this was her response to Him in Genesis 16: 13, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” I believe he is saying this to every person of color who has ever felt invisible by those who say “I don’t see color”. He is saying I see you, EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU, and I am well pleased. You are seen Addie, by the One who matters most. I pray this is an encouragement to you Beloved. Blessings to you my sister. – Kia

  23. My oldest and dearest friend (who is now with Jesus) was a white female. I will always maintain that once the outside is stripped off–what does one see? Only male or female–the way God intended! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Barbara, I understand what you are saying. It is, however, very difficult to separate a persons culture, background, and experiences from who they are. I think these nuances are aspects that many people of color don’t want to be dismissed by seen and accepted. This is what I was longing for from my friend. Although yes we are both female and have needs to accepted because of my experiences as a black woman there are some undeniable differences between me and my young white friend. Thank you so much for your comments and be blessed! – Kia

  24. Kia,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes! I pray that God reveals opportunities in the future for more of these honest conversations in my life as well!

    • Rachael Kobe,

      My pleasure and isn’t it amazing what God can do with our willingness? He can do “immeasurably more” than we could ask or imagine with our little mustard seed prayers. I am excited to think of the opportunities God will create in your life because of your desire to be vulnerable for Him in this area. Thank you for your comments and be blessed! – Kia

  25. Love this! Thank you Kia for your raw, honest, and beautiful words! This blessed me today, Thanks!

    • Hi Jess,
      My pleasure. I am so honored that these words blessed you. I honestly wasn’t sure how they would be received and I have been blown away by everyone’s genuine response and vulnerable comments. Thank you for your words and be blessed! – Kia

    • Hi Lucretia,

      That is what our faith is for. Sometimes with sweaty palms and knocking knees, I timidly walk towards faith not knowing what will happen. I’m so grateful God takes my little and makes it MUCH! Thank you for your words and be blessed! – Kia

  26. Kia, beautiful writing. I am a white woman who is closer to your age. I’m approaching 50. I am so broken that you have been hurt and rejected time and again because of race differences. I think you are brave to start this conversation about race with your friends and on line. Keep writing. You have a lot of power with your words.

    • Hi Julie,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I am also grateful for the grace of God to talk about it in such a way that it brings healing to my soul and that of so many others. God truly has a purpose for the pain we face in this life and He makes it all, the good, bad and ugly, beautiful. Thank you for your comments and be blessed! – Kia

  27. Loved this! I’m slow to befriend people because I’m self-conscious and always second-guessing myself. This article was empowering and lovely to read!

    • Hi April,

      I think I am your exact opposite. I usually dive into relationships head first and then end of getting hurt later. It’s a blessing and a curse. I am so grateful that sometimes this results in beautiful friendships, like the one I wrote about. When it doesn’t, somehow, God always brings my tender heart through the pain and enables me to risk being vulnerable again. Be encouraged sis! Thank you for your comment and be blessed! – Kia

  28. Kia, we’re so honored to host your story here on (in)courage today. I feel like everything has already been so beautifully said of all these (in) sisters in the comments above. But i join in the chorus of thanking you for your courage and authenticity, for helping us see one another a little more clearly, and inviting us all to risk awkwardness and vulnerability for the sake of loving one another well with the well-placed hope of being known. xx

    • Hi Becky,
      You’re honored? Girl, I’ve been trying to write for (in)courage for 4 years. But after reading and responding to all these comments I am convinced, GOD’S TIMING IS PERFECT! I was supposed to write this post, at this time. I am truly honored and absolutely blessed by the response to this post. I hope it encourages some, inspires others, and challenges us all to lean into the subject of race, no matter what end of the continuum we find ourselves on. And may it open the door to real and sometimes messy relationships that reflect the heart of our heavenly Father. Blessings to you! – Kia

  29. I grew up in a small town with people of various races living together mostly well. We all went to work or school,fulfilled our responsibilities, and went about the art of living. There were people whose fear and ignorance came out of their mouths, but they were unkind to everyone. Looking back, they must have been hurting inside. I don’t understand divisions any more now than I did as a child, but I know they exist, and I know people are often nasty for no reason. Even so, I still feel in my heart people are better together. There is a richness of variety we lack when divided. Thank you for taking a risk and reaching out, in spite of past hurts, towards God’s children living Jesus together. I am better because you bravely did. Because you did, I will have courage to live from my heart and do the same. Sincere thanks and deep admiration along with apologies for this long comment.

    • Rebecca,
      I am the descendant of a long-winded Baptist pastor so there is no need to apologize for a long comment. I totally agree that hurt people hurt people, and it is unfortunate. I think some of my challenges with race haven’t always been overt interactions. Sometimes it has been an invitation to coffee that was ignored, or a dismissal of my opinions and feelings when they were expressed or even an unwillingness to lean into the pain I experienced when I shared it. So much is encompassed in that: spiritual maturity, background, comfort level, perception, bias, cultural norms etc. etc. it is hard to reduce these experiences to one variable. Christ, however, demolishes whatever barriers exist, if we allow Him to do so. I am so grateful that this post has given you the courage to risk being vulnerable and I pray that will result in more authentic relationships in your life.

  30. We have so much to learn, Kia. So much we don’t even know we need to learn. Praying that all throughout our churches, we’ll be open to more of these “messy, real, uncomfortable, and redeeming” conversations to chisel us to become the body of Christ he intends for us. Love your heart, friend.

    • Hi Lisa,
      As I age, the statement “the more we know, the more we realize what we don’t know” becomes more real to me. The temptation is to stay here in this place. But I believe God is constantly pulling us out of our comfort zones into the unknown in every area of our lives, to include that of relationships with other races. May we become the church and may it change our world. Thank you, friend, for your words. Be blessed! – Kia

  31. Love this! Thankful for conversations like this. I would love to have more open conversations to understand our differences and experiences better!

    • Hi Erica,

      Honestly, some days I would and somedays the thought of these conversations make me cringe a little, but I know this is the way we experience genuine relationships. Thank you for your comments and be blessed! – Kia

  32. Kia,

    I grew up in a town where blacks & whites were forced to go to school together – think desegregation. Blacks were bused to white schools from 1-5th grade. Whites were bused to predominately black schools 6-7th grade. The area I grew up in was predominately white. I personally have no animosity towards blacks or people of other cultures. My belief is that we can learn a lot from each other. We have to get out of our comfort zone & talk to various peoples. For a number of years I worked at a university where we were seeing more Middle Eastern students. It was intimidating at first, but then you can get to know & understand both them & their cultures. Jesus asked us to love one another as He has loved us. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone & going first. I pray we can all be brave & try going first.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Hi Beth,
      The time period you grew up in is so foreign to me. I cannot imagine forced desegregation and all the thoughts and feelings that went along with it. I believe a lot of what we are experiencing now between races is tied to the history of our nation and people of color. When we examine how perceptions and opinions affected families, what was taught in school and discussed in communities, what was accepted as normal and how one’s skin was used to marginalize we can see parallels to the challenges we are currently facing. These challenges didn’t arise overnight and will take time to heal. Maybe our entire lifetime in some cases but I am grateful that God is always at work. Thank you for being willing to be so vulnerable. Blessing to you. – Kia

  33. I’m tearing up just reading your story, Kia! Thank you for being brave and going first and asking questions. And sharing how (sometimes) it goes amazingly well. Hugs!

  34. Thank you Pear,

    I don’t really feel brave. Mostly, I feel like a woman who is attempting to follow God and say yes to what it means to live out my faith in this world. I appreciate your words and hope this post will inspire you to take a few risk of your own. Blessings! – Kia

  35. I am white! However, we are all the same on the inside! Jesus died for all of us, God created all of us and His word teaches us to love one another. Love thy neighbor does not just mean the people next door, our neighbors are the people we live with on this planet.
    I am not a stranger to being left out or criticized or made fun of. I was left with a partial paralysis from a polio vaccine given as a child. It left one side of my face paralyzed. The kids called me monster and no one would play with me or sit by me. So, I think I can fell the pain many of you do of not fitting in. My faith has taught me, God makes no mistakes and He makes beauty with the ashes. He catches every one of our tears. As my children grew, they had Hispanic friends, black friends, and Korean friends. I taught them not to see race or color but Gods creation. Our home overflowed with with color and love for all. I made friends with their moms and it was great. We just need to look at one another as God’s masterpiece and realize everyone is unique and one of a kind. Love to all!