(Due to the sensitive nature of this blog, the author has written anonymously. However, if this story speaks to you and you’d like to talk with author, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. )
Not too long ago my dear friend Nicole Kelp wrote a great blog on why we should love immigrants because Christ first loved us, and I encourage you to read it. However, I am not here to talk about why I think she’s right, my political opinions, or best practices to help undocumented immigrants—though if you want to hear about any of that, feel free to reach out to me. Instead, I want to share with you a small piece of my story and the truths God has taught me through that.
I was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico until I was 12 years old. After my parents’ divorce, my mom, brother and I, moved to Washington to be near her side of the family. Three months after being here, our visitors’ visas expired, and we were officially undocumented. Since then we have done our best to make it work for us. I enrolled in middle school when I first got here, then high school, and after that I came to Washington State University to get my bachelor’s in psychology. For the last 12 years I have had to take the longer route: I had to make sure the “Be a US Citizen” box wasn’t a part of the criteria when applying to scholarships, I had to manage without health insurance, I had to work jobs “applicable” for me, and after receiving my degree, I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t actually be a psychologist. Though to it me seemed like I had to work a little harder than most people around me, here’s what I’ve learned:
1. God is always faithful
We live in a broken world where sin reigns; therefore, there will be hardship, sickness, abuse, poverty, death. While our world may not always be pretty, our God is always good. Philippians 4:19 tells us, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory of Christ Jesus.” “According” is our key word here. God doesn’t promise us worldly things like wealth, health, or even someone to marry. However, when and if He gives us those things it will be solely for His glory.
When I got to WSU I wasn’t sure if I would make it another year. My family had given me all the financial help they could, and with my scholarships running out I really thought I would have to move back home and dropout. At the end of that year God allowed our government to pass a law that allowed undocumented students to apply for financial aid—to me this was a miracle. And because of that miracle, I ended up staying at WSU, getting involved with Resonate, and giving my life to Jesus December of 2015. God passing that law was His faithfulness to Himself, not me. He didn’t just do it so that I could continue school, He did it so that I could have a relationship with Him. With every blessing, God intends to love you and at the same time use you so that others may know Him. He is always faithful, and He should always get the glory.
2. My identity is in Him
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 is one of my favorite verses, and I’ve had to be reminded of this time and time again. After I became I follower of Jesus I struggled with holding on to my past identity (sometimes still do). I wanted people to know I was undocumented and that I had become a strong resilient woman because of it. If people talked negatively about undocumented immigrants or said the name “Trump” near me I would get so angry inside and say mean things in my head. This wasn’t a righteous anger out of a desire for oppressed communities to be fought for, it was an anger that came from an attack at what I was claiming as my identity. Being undocumented is a part of my life that I get to use for God’s glory, but it is no longer my identity. If there is any old identity you’re holding on to, I invite you to surrender it to Jesus and remember that you have been set free (Galatians 5:1).
3. We must remember
The word “remember” appears in the bible near 200 times. God asks us to remember because He knows we will forget. When we find ourselves in a season of hardship or defeat, we will forget that He is good, faithful, and loving. I have learned to fight to remain steadfast and rejoice in my suffering as Paul pleads with us in Romans 5:3, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope...” I really believe that the only way to rejoice like we are asked to, is by remembering that Jesus loved us so much that He gave His life for us (John 3:16). We must remember that He died on a cross for us, but when that gets hard, remember what He was done in your lifetime—I like to remember that He allowed a law to pass so that I may know Him.