White Christians: The Danger of Passivity & A Call to Repentance

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This one has been brewing in me for a long time. It’s been a long process for me, a lot of unlocking areas of my mind that I didn’t realize needed unlocking and pushing buttons that I wasn’t sure even existed. It’s been countless hours of hard conversations about racial issues and endless stories told in history class. It’s been extreme frustration, wondering why I didn’t care enough, and being utterly convicted at the fact that I have been passively oppressive/racist my entire life.

I’m prepared for the opposition I might receive for this post. It’s going to make you uncomfortable, more than likely, if you are white. So if you want to live a comfortable life, you should just stop here, but if you want what Jesus wanted for us—a completely uncomfortable but full and righteous life—keep reading, friend.


We are oppressors.


You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. Our ancestors did all the enslaving; they were the ones to separate the families. Our grandparents and great-grandparents were the ones denying our fellow African Americans education and suffrage.

Yet we see the drugs, violence, homicide rates, poverty, broken families, and wonder: Why? Why is the African American community so broken?

I was recently told by an elderly black lady about her mother, who at an orphan at the age of 13, was denied the right to education simply because she was black. She worked as a housemaid (as a young, orphaned teenager) to earn her keep and finish high school, only to be told that teaching was her only option as a career simply because her skin was darker. (audible story)

Clyde Ross worked his entire life and served his country for his family, only to be completely cheated out of his home because of a greedy white man who also cheated plenty of other Afro-Americans in Chicago. (Clyde’s story here)

Not to mention those people who wanted only to not be under the authority of men who could separate their families in a matter of a few days. (The story of Mary Meachum: a little history here)

This is only an insanely minute portion of the injustices that past African Americans have faced.

Now, if you’re like me, your initial reaction to this is “well I didn’t do that; that was my ancestors. I haven’t oppressed the African American population.”

Well, let me offer the truth: there are no innocent bystanders in this.

I stand by this claim:

If you, as an able white Christian American, have not fought to right the repercussions of the injustices done to the African American community, then you have taken part in this injustice.

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This isn’t an idea of my own. Jesus specifically expresses the danger of passivity in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

The Samaritan didn’t directly cause the man on the side of the road to suffer, but when he cared for the man, he fulfilled the most important law: love your neighbor as yourself.

If instead, he had chosen not to care for the man, he would be disobeying the commandment of Christ and ultimately choosing sin over righteousness. Instead of being the hands of healing, he would have been a participator in the man’s anguish.

So, yes. As an able white Christian, if I have ignored the cry of the oppressed (in this case, African Americans), then I have sinned greatly against God and my neighbor.

They have been and are oppressed. Sure, it might look different now, but the odds have been stacked against blacks since the beginning of America. I strongly believe that an extremely high majority of us have set aside, subconsciously thinking, well just don’t be poor; work harder. Just own land after being slaves for your whole life and owning nothing. Just outsmart the real estate owners who won’t sell the house to you. Just take out the loan that the banks won’t give you. Just go get paid for the jobs that you won’t receive. Just read, write, and count, with all the quality education you haven’t received. Just be confident in the skin that our society has deemed inferior. Just ignore the fact that your family has been torn apart by drugs and alcohol because we pushed many of your people to illegal measures and the habits have been passed down to the following generations. Just get your act together.

It’s hard to admit, I know. I don’t like admitting that I have done wrong. I don’t like saying that it was me that has been the oppressor. I don’t like seeing my race’s sin and the repercussions of it on the innocent kindergarteners in the low-performing 99% African American public school, but I can’t ignore the truth: As a person who previously did not actively fight against the oppression of the black community and instead stood on the side-lines, I have been the oppressor, and I have not shown the great and unconditional love of Christ in this situation.

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A repentant church is one with an open heart, one ready to let go of sin and to hold fast to true righteousness, even if it hurts us. A repentant church takes up its cross and bears the weight of our brothers and sisters. Repentance brings action, and action precedes healing.

So, this is my confession to you, African American readers:

I am deeply sorrowed.

I am sorrowed that I have not spoken out more harshly against the casual racism that infects my small-town smalltalk.

I am sorry that I have subconsciously perceived you—my fellow brothers and sisters—as “others.”

I confess that I have been the by-stander, and as a result of my lack of action, you have had to claim the title of disadvantaged. 

I repent of my barely-shaken apathy simply because I was on the upper hand of the deal.

I cringe and lament at the fact that I have subconsciously judged your character on the basis of skin color within the first glance of you.

I admit that I have not fought hard enough to make your voices heard, to fight for your equal treatment, and to make it known that your lives matter.

I’m sorry for my ignorance for so long; my belief that somehow, you didn’t work hard enough or didn’t care enough for the advantaged life that I have received.

I weep at the fact that I when I look at the sweet children from the Bible Club, my sweet two-year-old friend with a toothless, shy smile and a gentle spirit, that I have not fought enough for her right for quality of life as an American—really, as a human.

I pray, Lord, that You help me see the depth of my heart more and look to You more each day for the ability to see all colors, shapes, and sizes completely equal and to love them without restraint just like You do.

 And this is my challenge to you, fellow white Christians: let’s lay down our pride and humbly confess of the passivity many of us are guilty of. Then, we can step forward and fight for that justice God’s speaks of and loves so much. Then, we can set things right.

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'”  – Matthew 25: 41-45

“The people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.”

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”   Matthew 14: 15-17

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” – Revelation 7: 9-10

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan,as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” – Luke 10:29-37


the danger of dreaming & never doing

Last year, I wrote a post about the importance and goodness of dreaming (see here). In this post, I am encouraging you to not stop there, but to continue through with those dreams, not settling for false sensations, because we were made to live for the gospel, not a trailer of it.


our days

I think most of us have probably been there.

We dream of the day when we will  ________________.

You fill it in. Pray without ceasing, live without a certain sin, climb that mountain, go to and serve Africa, pray deeply for that person, donate that money, write that book about that thing that needs to be heard, adopt that child, visit that place and care for that person, start that ministry…

The danger of all of this dreaming, along with the virtual sensations we have through modern technology is that it’s so easy to have the illusion of doing. Getting a little taste of our God-given desires can come so effortlessly through the endless inspirational articles, sensational pictures, heartfelt videos, and what have you found on the big World Wide Web. While it’s great to share these experiences, watching and reading all these things can give the illusion of reaching ___________, without really achieving it. Leaving you and me with a placebo instead of the real thing, and never knowing the fullness of Christ in that situation that we deeply yearn for. 

I’ve been thinking about the effect of this lately. The endless articles, telling me why I so need to travel when I’m young, what I should do in college, how I should read the Bible, which way to pray, how to simplify my life, etc. The list never ends.

And all the while, the world that is telling me, “Go! Do it all! Be the adventurer! Climb that mountain Make those A’s! Go to that med school!” isn’t doing much of that adventuring and mountain climbing themselves.

So I’m beginning to discover the danger in all this telling, writing, speaking, etc. without the doing world that we so often participate in, fellow Christians. It’s really a toxic cycle, this talking and never doing, this dreaming and never pursuing.

So all these thoughts are running through my mind, and I decided to see what Jesus said/did about this, and I began to discover that Jesus almost always began his words with action. He healed, and then ministered. He performed miracles, then he preached. He restored, then he gave his benediction. And those times when he didn’t act and spoke only, was usually to his disciplines who had seen it all anyway.

He knew that words without action were toxic, empty, and never fulfilling. 

He knew this world needed much more restoring than an “it’ll all be okay.”

He knew the crowds were much more thirsty for real water than a picture of a stream.

He knew that his children needed much more than good intentions.

He knew humanity was in much greater need of redeeming sacrifice than the thought of it.

I’m sure that there are multiple reasons that we don’t “do” as much as we talk about doing. Maybe we aren’t sure where to start. Maybe we aren’t moved enough. Or maybe it’s simply because we are just darn lazy.

As for me, I know the reason. I am so afraid of “doing” because I’m not sure where it leads. God promises it’s a good place. He says that so much joy is found in the struggle of doing, but my heart is so afraid of the unknown, of rejection, of failure. My heart can’t let go of what it knows in this toxic cycle of dreaming without doing.

St. Francis of Assisi once said “Preach the gospel, and when necessary use words.”

Choose to believe it or not, but we are living in an anti-Christian world. Very few of those that claim Christ love even a little like He does.  And the people of my generation, and really any person with a rational mind, have learned that talk is cheap. Although beautiful, it requires very little sacrifice. I’ve begun to learn myself that sure, the little things matter, but the big things matter the most. The big things say the most, because this broken world needs much more than a hand full of change thrown into the offering plate. This world is oozing blood, and no cutesy Hello Kitty bandaid is going to fix this gap.

This world needs men and women who tackle this hurting word with gentle passion, deep love, unwavering faith, and a yearning for true righteousness.

I could tell you what that looks like, but that might be for a different post. I think I need to figure that out a little more myself before I try to tell you. Just know God is faithful, and His kingdom stretches far and wide– so don’t hold back.

So dream on, dear friends. Dream, dream, dream, but I beg of you: don’t stop there. Don’t let fear get in the way. He didn’t give us that spirit of fear, but one of love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Just do it. Do, do, do it.

Because He didn’t just consider us His children; He made us His sons and daughters.

God didn’t just say He was going to send us a Savior; He sent us a Savior.

He didn’t just accidentally go to the cross; He gave himself up for us.

It’s time that we give ourselves up to a God that didn’t just intend to.

He did.


What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. – James 2: 14-17

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:18

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. – Hebrews 6: 11-12

it’s not christmas yet

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(Cartoon is purely for humor. Please don’t slap people when they mention Christmas.)

It’s not Christmas.

You probably know this, but I thought I’d just remind the rest of America, because they seem to be confused right now.

Just the other day, I was walking through Walmart, when I saw Christmas lights and trees, ornaments and tinsel, Christmas cards and tree toppers everywhere.

Then, JC Penny informed me via email that it was time to start stuffing my (imaginary) children’s stockings.

And next thing I know, I’m listening to an advertisement for the Christmas Radio on Pandora.

One girl told me the other day that it would be amazing to have Christmas for six months. I would die. I would crawl under the tree and cry.

It would be the official Nightmare of Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong… I love Christmas just as much as the next person. White lights on the tree, extended and close family everywhere, stuffed stockings, the nativity scenes, the carols, Christmas Eve church, the smell of gingerbread, etc. I’m a Christmas-enthusiast.

The day after Thanksgiving, it’s time to deck the halls and have a Micheal Buble Christmas concert.

Even if we are singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” in 75-degree Mississippi.

But I do NOT want Christmas for a whole three months, a whole one-fourth of my year, a whole 92 days.


Because there is a season and time for everything.

“O every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

  • Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a season for everything, and once we indulge too much in a good thing, it loses it’s specialness. I don’t want to miss out on the specialness of Christmas.

In order to fully embrace the goodness of the seasons we must enjoy them at the proper time.

It’s also said like this:

“Lord, let us be focused on the least, a people balancing a fasting with the feast.”

(The focusing on the least part is SUPER important, but that’s another thing for another post.)

Do you feel good after you eat five cookies? Probably not. Do you feel satisfied when you work straight for nine days, non-stop? I’m guessing you don’t. Do you want to dress up in a formal gown every morning when you wake up? I know I don’t.

Cookies are yummy. Work is satisfying. Formal gowns are fun.

But when we over-do these great things, they lose their luster.

Humanity seems to think that joy only awaits us in the feast, but there is so much to bask in during the fast.

The fast is a time of pruning. It’s the part where we grow.

The fast is when we learn more about ourselves and about God.

The fast is where God is faithful, even when the days seem dull.

The fast is when the mundane routines are comforting, calling us to practical service.

The fast is when we experience God in our day-to-day lives, growing closer to Him with every desperate prayer and plea.

The fast is just as intimate as the feast.

We can’t enjoy the fast without the feast, and we can’t enjoy the feast without the fast.

So, to America, and other eager Christmasers, thank you for your enthusiasm. I really do love it! I love a soul that’s ready to celebrate our Jesus coming to redeem us.

I also am super excited to celebrate Christ’s birth with the rest of the world.

But I am also very content in this season of fasting.

And I invite you also not to miss the magic of the fasting.

Or you just might miss out on the feast.

In Him,

Mary Madeline

“harsh” love

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My time in the Word has been so fruitful lately. God has really answered my prayers with understanding of His Word that often seems too much like a scholarly article and a workout for my brain. Recently, He has given me insight into verses, and I better understanding of so many aspects of the Bible. There has been a specific discovery that has really spoken to me, and I thought it would be good to share. I pray that this enriches your time in His Word also!

One of the challenges that I have always faced when reading some parts of the Bible is that at times it seems so…. well…. harsh.

I’m sure you’ve felt the same way. We often skip over the parts we don’t like or understand.

But today, we are going to read a few of them: the parts we like and the parts we don’t like.

And I hope after reading this, you can have the boldness and wisdom to understand those verses that never seemed loving or likable before.

“The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness” – Psalm 10:15

“But because of your stubborn and your unrepentant hearts, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” – Romans 2:5

“Then they will call to me, and I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated the knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.” – Proverbs 1:31

“For, as I often have told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven.” – Philippians 3:19-20

Now, some of you might be like “Umm… God is just doing justice here.”

And you are right. He is. He is punishing the wicked for their sins.

But as for me, I think, “Man… what about the wicked? I mean, I was the wicked once. Don’t they get shown love also?”

And the answer is yes.

They are being shown love right then and there; we just can’t seem to grasp that most of the time. Our brains think:

punishment = hatred

destruction = hatred

letting them eat the fruit of their ways = hatred

And we must get out of this mindset; it’s causing us to view God as a “hater” and not our one true lover.

Because He is being loving towards the wicked in this situation.

And this is how:

#1) He is warning them.

God must show justice. He is a just God, and sin deserves punishment.

But God isn’t threatening them—threats come from a place of insecurity and hatred. No, God is warning them. Warning from a place of love, in hopes that they will change their actions.

This is like when you were small and your mom yelled at you “Don’t you touch that oven young lady/man! It will BURN you!”

She loves you too much to let you burn yourself, so she harshly warned you. She knew you wouldn’t listen otherwise.

God is warning the sinful that “the wages of sin is death.” He is telling them, “Hey, listen up! You better watch out. This life is not fruitful! This is not how children of the light live. The life you live leads to destruction! Actually, it’s going to kill you if you don’t turn to Me.”

#2) He punishes them. 

But sometimes you don’t get the message with the “Young lady/man” yelling, even after twenty sessions of scream-warning.

And so your mom lets you touch the stove.

God is does the same thing. After a while, He lets the wicked touch the stove. He is showing them they the way they are choosing is not the way of life. It’s death. Sometimes we must experience our failures just to know that we were wrong in the first place. God recognizes that, and He lets us suffer so that we turn to Him. He lets us “be filled with the fruit of our schemes” in hopes that we will turn from them.

God’s warnings and punishment come from a place of deep love. They come from a place rooted in wisdom and compassion: He is begging the wicked to turn to Him, but their faith is weak, so sometimes they must see for themselves that the fruit of their labor is rotten.

Love comes in so many forms.

So next time you read when God is rebuking the wicked and such, relish in it.

I know, it sounds weird to me too. Relish in punishment or sin? But yes, please do. It shows that we have a God who cares. He cares enough to show us that our way is not the way we really want. We are relishing a God that loves them so much that he lets us them touch stove in hopes that they will see their ways and turn to Him who offers more life than they can imagine.

Know that God knows what He says in the Bible and He means it. If at times things don’t seem to line up with the characteristics of God, realize that you need to ask for wisdom, and He will grant you a new understanding. Look at the context. Talk to a friend about it. Pray about it. Wrestle with it. We will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts (Jer. 29:13). Don’t ever stop searching for the love of God in the Bible—it’s in every word, even those that seem so harsh.

So, if you leave this page with anything, just know that He is faithful when we ask for understanding of the Bible and that He is who He says He is. He is love. I asked for understanding, and He has slowly been giving it to me, and piece by piece, I am discovering more of His unconditional love.

In Him,

Mary Madeline

dear me


“Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.” – Luke 12:24, The Message

In three days, I will pack up my joyful, sun-filled, relaxing summer, and head to senior year at RNHS (Residential Nerd High School, duh).

And I am SUPER excited…. but I am also nervous.

Let me tell you why:

I have this thing that I do… and you might do it too.

It’s like, when things aren’t going the way I plan, I get upset. When there’s scheduled a meeting at 4:00 for Future Physician’s of America, but swim practice is at 4:30, and it’s already 4:12:37, yet the speaker isn’t there yet, my day has crashed and burn right then and there. Or say that I ran out of stay-in conditioner (#curlyhairprobs), and I JUST went to the store yesterday, only to find out I that I don’t even have time to pee today, much less run to the store, so frizzy hair will be my crown for the next six days. Or that the quiz I studied 2.78 hours for returns to me with a 46, and I’m like that’s out of 50, right? (Wrong.) In these moments, I just want to scream “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE WORLD WHY NOT MY WAY AGHHHH!?” (If that makes sense…)

Yeah, basically I just get stressed out often.

And so, with the up coming year, I want that to change. I want to be the Mary Madeline that trusts her time is in Jesus’s hands. I want to be the MM that spends more time praying than worrying. I want to care more about how I am serving God and my neighbor than how I am serving my GPA.

So, in the spirit of preparation, I have decided to write my future college-application-writing, work-service-doing, Campus-Crusade-running self a letter to read during those moments where I am trying to choose between pulling my hair out or sobbing into my pillow. And maybe you’ll find it a good idea to write the future (fill-in-your-name) a letter for those moments too.

Dearest Stressed-Out Mary Madeline,

Firstly, I need you to take a big, deep yoga breath.

That’s right, fill those lungs up with O2, baby. And let that CO2 go.

And again.

There you go, that’s better. Breathe.

What is that I hear? Oh, yeah. That’s your blood pressure and forehead wrinkles thanking me.

Right now, the world is not turning the way you desire. There are 241 things packed into one 24-hour period when you only have room for 103 things plus four hours of sleep.

Or maybe the ACT is tomorrow and heaven knows that four #2 pencils and six erasers will never be enough for all the bubbles and mistakes.

Or perhaps your dorm room looks like Dorothy’s twister just came through, and you are wishing it would come back and take you to Not In Kansas Anymore because anything would be better than this physics test tomorrow.

I’ve been there. I know that feeling.

But let me make a suggestion:

Maybe an FPA meeting isn’t worth valuable time in prayer.

It could be possible that instead of the extra 30 minutes of cram-study-review, you need 30 minutes of Jesus.

God could be whispering that your plan for today isn’t as good as His.

It’s even probable that right now, in giving in to all this madness, you are missing out on His opportunity to love someone else today.

So let go. Unclench your fist from the control.

Because you are holding on to nothing but air, darling.

Don’t buy into the Enemy’s lie. Jesus pays little attention to the events scribbled into your planner. He is looking for the time spent with Him and serving Him.

He does not measure us by the commitment to our club meetings.

His love isn’t dependent on the ACT score on your college application.

Your Jesus doesn’t care if your hair is a mop or a spitting image of Taylor Swift curls.

Don’t sacrifice great communion with Him for adultery with the world.

Because your strivings are not enough, and they won’t ever be.

You were made to live in a thriving romance with a loving God, but you have a choice to either join God in your purpose of communion or to reject a day at the beach for making mud pies of your plans.

So take another yoga breath and decide:

Who will you serve today?

The false god of control, stress, anxiety, and worry that won’t change a thing


the God of peace, hope, and love that is in control?

Who will I serve?

Make the right decision, love.

(Literally) yours,

Mary Madeline

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. 

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

– Luke 12: 29-34

Set apart.

Really needed to be reminded of this today. It’s crazy how I have had all the same thoughts before, and you have put them into words. Thank you for being authentic! It means more than you know.

Borrowed time


Sorry dear friends, it has been so long since my last post!  With senior year coming to a close (I graduate two weeks from today!), the days have been filled to the brim with deadlines, papers, tests, and trying to leave time for God to work in the middle of the chaos.  I really do miss talking to you guys though; I promise to attempt sitting down and making time to update you on the happenings of my life and all the ways I am learning to live in step with Jesus. Speaking of senior year, last night was none other than prom.  It’s the day so many girls look forward to, a right of passage if you will.  However, I will not remember last night for the glamorous evening that it was, but more for the lessons it taught me.

To give you a picture of my personality, I woke…

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