Simply Sather


It’s difficult not to want to use fear or worry to motivate people to care about what you care about. We see it all the time on the news and we share those posts on our social media feeds.

When I posted and shared “part one” of our shutdown stories yesterday, I really did want people to know about and consider what it would be like if THEY THEMSELVES had to change where they shopped or rely upon the generosity of others for basic necessities like food.

What I did not intend was for people to feel sorry for us.

It’s frustrating and difficult to be in our position, but we’re not destitute; at least right now. And our families would move money and resources to care for and help us tend to our needs, so we really will be “good” in the event that this ordeal continues for several more months. It will be challenging, but we have a path marked out for us.

The thing that I am wrestling with is feeling like people really care.

Let me explain.

A friend sent us a list of resources in the Metroplex for furloughed government employees (click here) and so we went and checked out Romano’s Macaroni Grill.  We were warmly greeted and sat immediately. No need for menus as the offer was pretty clear – spaghetti and meatballs (which was so yummy and plentiful that we have leftovers). Halfway through our meal, another woman came in by herself.

She sat behind us and we got to chatting after I heard her ask if they’d had many other federal employees come in to take advantage of their generosity. We struck up a conversation and learned that she works for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She’s an essential employee working from home with the lightest load they can possibly carry while focusing on only their “high profile clients”.


Think about that. There are restaurants, grocers, and other food and drug places that are not being given the required regulation and production attention because of this shutdown. I want people to think about it. Or at least feel like they’re thinking about it. Without freaking about it.

Which is what we’re constantly trying not to do around here. I won’t lie. We worry about this knowing what the Bible says about it. We struggle with it. We sometimes complain and point fingers at the screen when watching snippets of the news. We cheer one another up when the other is down and sometimes we watch a healthy dose of Trevor Noah on The Daily Show and laugh and giggle our way through this mess. (You can laugh or cry about it, right?)

Our struggle is not to go do down the rabbit hole trying to predict how long it’s going to take, how many repercussions are coming, what the long term implications of all of this may be. Often times before sharing other non-shutdown related things on social media, I wring my hands and rub my forehead because all I want to do is scream our frustrations into the boxes. I wag my finger at the Facebook prompt “What’s on your mind?” with sass and irritation because I know that sharing EXACTLY what’s on my mind at that moment will do no good in having a conversation or sharing my heart.

I really just long to have people understand that this is really a sucky situation and that it’s hard feeling like pawns in it all. I want people to feel what it feels like, how it stings. How much effort goes into reminding oneself that this situation is not bigger than God, nor has He been surprised by it.

I get it. What everyone wrestles with.

Whenever life is happening, and we remember how out of control we truly are, we reach out for help in the form of people understanding our situation. We move into wanting to fix or command the chaos back under an umbrella of understanding we can stomach and explain.

And in this situation, we just can’t. And sometimes, that just feels overwhelming.

Here is where we must dedicate intentional time to prayer. We’re at the place where our prayers and petitions to God for provision, peace, and resolution NEED to outweigh the questions, arguments, and points we feel compelled to make. And I don’t care what people pray for, I just want people to really pray.

For prayer warriors to pray for the leadership and lawmakers of our country to heed God’s loving direction. For us as a people to try harder to look across our differences to the things that make us better together. For us to pray about what God may be using this shutdown to do/show us in our individual lives (bank accounts, schedules, relationships) whether directly impacted or not.

Here a few verses about the importance (and power) of prayer:

James 1:6-7 | Psalm 51:16-17 | Proverbs 15:29 | Matthew 7:7-11

In the meantime, we will continue to take advantage of the free resources, kind gifts, and donations that are offered and are especially eager to receive the prayer covering of the faithful. In the end, what other choice do we have? It’s a hard position to be in, but much more difficult for those attempting to do it without people who know them and a relationship with God who supplies all of our needs.


Simply Sather


Yesterday, my “non-essential” furloughed federal government employee husband (with the USEPA for 28 years) and I went to a local food pantry about 30 miles from our home to get some food.

We were looking to subsidize what we already receive from our Blue Apron subscription (3 meals a week) before another missed paycheck arrives this Friday.

The experience was humbling. We were humbled because we thought of those who rely on places like that every week. Humbled because of those who may not even be able to afford the gas or have a car to get there. Humbled because we had not regularly given thought to those who need facilities and resources like this one.

We were also overwhelmed because while the volunteers meant well, they looked at and treated us like what I believe zoo animals might feel like – strange…

Mister had to explain that he was furloughed to three different employees and then listen to each of their opinions and thoughts about why the politicians are or are not coming to a compromise (we kept our mouths shut tight).

We were humbled because our choices – the ones we don’t even think about having any more – were limited to what was in this fridge for produce; the profuse apologizing for the lack of choices made it clear that we had come on the wrong day to get the usual bounty (how would we know?).

I was tempted to feel shame. Because this is what people do when we’re uncomfortable or feel out of control. Rather than attempt to empathize – we take to sharing all of our political opinions or thoughts about what people should or should not be doing in these situations never thinking it could be us.

Well, it IS us and 799,999 others and their families. Many of them “essential” employees meaning they have to go to work without pay or fear of losing their jobs. Can you even imagine the morale in some of those places? They don’t even have time to go and visit a place like this one because they are still required at their workplace.

We are so thankful for places like the food pantry we visited, God’s provision is evident. It’s not easy, but we are living Acts 14:17 as we walk out our shutdown story.

I’ll be back in this space tomorrow to share about our experience with a free meal at a local restaurant and an FDA employee who was there taking advantage of the blessing; she works in food inspection y’all.

Simply Sather


I can recall when schools were open on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and a quick announcement over the intercom sufficed for information given about him.

I’ll be the first to admit that “we’ve” come a long way in the area of equity and acceptance for black people in this country, but am also soured to have to admit, it seems we still have quite a bit more journeying to do.

I want to be transparent.

For all of the years Black History Month and a few black people whose contribution to our society and the people of America have been sanitized and put on repeat, I’ve not gone as deeply into the history and understanding of King and his life. I mean, well deeper than many, but not as deep as I could.

I got stuck when I learned that he was not the idol or image of perfection that I think we can sometimes offer to people looking for a leader, a change agent. It was at a time that I learned that someone I dearly loved had stepped into a similar moral failure and I was just hurt. It shut my heart away from hearing King’s words and virtually denouncing his efforts because of that one thing. (Can you understand why one of my words this year is ‘grace’?)

Over the years, I’ve struggled to determine or declare what King’s contributions mean to me. And I suspect I’m not the only one. Last week, I asked the question, “How have the efforts of the Kings influenced your life” and only got two responses. Maybe people are doing their lives, perhaps the Instagram algorithm changed (again) or it could just be that this is a difficult question to answer.

How could it not be?

When I myself have wrestled with burying my blackness in favor of fitting in with those around me. Or when I’ve judged those who are seemingly aggressive about being heard and taut those who could be great allies. And well, it’s just messy.

We bring our humanness, upbringing, and experiences to the conversation as well as the fear of not having enough if everyone gets what they need and the scales that measure justice remain unbalanced.

Mister and I listened to Dr. King’s sermon, “A Knock at Midnight” on the record player. It’s an album my parents gave me and I couldn’t help but get emotional thinking of them listening to it from afar and realizing how very many things he said apply to how we’re living today. A pastor, King’s words speak to my faith as he addresses matters happening in society, referring to the Vietnam War and the “race problem” of the day by taking Mt. Zion Church back to the words of Jesus.

I so appreciate that y’all.

This man, who in that sermon, shared that he was worried under the threats against his life, continued to speak out boldly, preaching the Good News of Jesus: love.

You can go to so many posts on social media today (and some during Black History Month – don’t get me started) to see so many quotes about justice, overcoming fear, taking bold steps and unity, but very few posts will share about King’s affinity for the Word of God and his love of and trust in Jesus.

It so warmed and convicted my heart.

Later today, I’m heading to my public library to grab a bunch of books about the Kings and hope to expand my understanding of them and their contributions beyond what I already think I know.