It has been a long week! At Shabbat on Friday, I did something that I don’t do every week. I actually left my seat and danced the horah If you are not familiar with this, the horah is a line dance that the Jewish community does during Shabbat and other times of the week. This time that I did the dance there was few at synagogue who were participating in this. I was second to the end of the line standing next to a toddler. The toddler refused to hold my hand. Now, typically this dance is done in a circle. However, this time there were not enough participating to make a full circle that went around the large room we were in. As I was dancing, I felt isolated. It was kind of weird just two people dancing the horah when there was a whole line of people already doing it. As the song progressed, the toddler who wouldn’t hold my hand became the back of the line and somehow I became the leader
As all of this was happening, I was mentally blogging.
Earlier that day I had a conversation with a friend about attending a new church. Then we started talking about youth groups. To be honest, we came to the conclusion that we do not like youth groups. It is kind of like high school but the teenagers put on a Christian face for it. Honestly, I had one experience with youth group and it turned me off from wanting to go again to any youth group ever. During a brief period of middle school (note how I said BRIEF) my parents forced me to go to youth group. My heart was not in the right place. I didn’t want anything to do with God. I would start screaming matches with my parents before going. Part of the reason I didn’t want to attend is that I didn’t feel/was accepted. I grew up in a Messianic household. I didn’t want anything to do with God, but I was still protective of the faith of my parents. Many who claim Christ don’t claim Judaism. From experience, at protestant church events if you tell them that you are Messianic, people will treat you differently and rarely it is in a good way. So here I am, an awkward and quiet girl who had dyslexia so bad that it affected my confidence and my ability to get through the basic things in life and grew up in culture claiming Judaism but going to a church that didn’t. I felt alone and I kind of was. I didn’t have friends. I didn’t like to share about my culture but some of the things that were being taught were not the truth that I knew but didn’t claim. It was a lonely time.
Little did I know that God was preparing me for something greater. The next year my parents put me into a private Christian Academy. I thought that youth group was hard. This was even harder. Suddenly I had to learn how to defend the principals that grew up in. Though there were many things, the most important was to stand up for the nation of Israel. I avoided telling my classmates my denomination for weeks. It didn’t take long for me to be tested and stand up for the Jewish people. Most Christians that I had come in contact with have a sense of pride over the Jewish community. Although none would admit that.
Now I have just graduated from this school. God has worked on my heart in tremendous ways. I have rededicated my life to Him. Through my bravery to speak up I have influenced the way the school sees the Jewish people. It was not easy. At times I just wanted to scream, I’ve had to be obnoxious, and it was not a task that just anyone could do. How is it that I had to stand up for God in a Christian school?
Most any time that a paper was assigned and I was allowed to choose the topic, it had to do with something Judaism. This year I decorated the outside of locker for Chanukah. I kept The Complete Jewish Bible at school. I did a part of my big senior assignment in Hebrew. My written devotions that were turned in were not always completed in English. Almost any chance I had to share with teachers or students I would.
I received backlash for sure. I have had damaged relationships but I have also built stronger ones. I am a quiet young lady who prefers to stay invisible to the world. Often times I’ve wondered, why me? But what I really should be asking, why not me? This semester I have been blessed to have had many conversations about my faith with more staff members than I have had in my previous five years in the school.
If I hadn’t had to go to youth group, I wouldn’t have had to learn what it feels like to be alone for Judaism and truly feel different for being Messianic. I wouldn’t have learned how to keep going in spite of that. He was preparing me for my task at this school. It has been lonely. I cannot relate to the Christian traditions that my peers have. I didn’t understand some things that were being taught in bible class. I had to learn hymns when I was leading worship. I had to adapt to the schools culture, even though I didn’t understand it.
The very first time my faith was challenged I was terrified because I was physically alone. It was like I was dancing the horah by myself and my classmates were the toddler would not hold my hand. As time has passed by the end of my journey at the school I was in a way leading the school for messianic judism. Through Him using me, I have a few individuals who are interested in talking about my faith. If I only reached one person, it would make it completely worth the loneliness, but I was never truly alone because God was always with me.
What is cool about being sent to this private school to educate about Messianic Judaism is that through this He was also working on me for His will for me after high school. He is sending me to continue to be a light for Him. I am terrified but if I’ve done it in the past, and I can do it again.
Remember that God is always working, even when it does seem as if He has left. Blessings to you.