How My New ‘Shaped by Faith’ T-Shirt is Helping Me Triumph Over Tragedy
Here at Townsquare Media, we are home to seven local radio stations in the tri-state. Our littlest station is WOMI out of Owensboro, KY. WOMI's programming consists mostly of syndicated talk shows that we pipe in from all over the country. There is one local radio show that airs a couple of times each week: Shaped by Faith.
The very lovely Theresa Rowe is the host of the radio program and faith-based fitness brand by the same name. I adore Theresa - her life is a testament to her undaunting faith and she uses her passion for fitness instruction to inspire people both locally and all over the world to strengthen their bodies and hearts.
Last week, she sent me an email asking for help with a graphic design for a Shaped by Faith t-shirt. I'm definitely not a graphic designer but I do enjoy whipping up small projects for friends. It had been a minute since I stopped to see what Theresa had been working on in her fitness brand so I hopped over to www.shapedbyfaith.com to take a look.
While I was there, I perused her online store. Immediately, the *Prayer*Coffee*Workout* shirt caught my attention. I have the coffee thing down but the prayer and workout areas of my life are definitely in the "needs improvement" category. I thought, "Maybe if I wear this on a regular basis, I will be motivated to do more of both." Sounds COMPLETELY rational, right?! Don't you judge me!
Anyway, I sent Theresa a text and asked her if I should order the small or medium. She very graciously insisted on not only giving me that shirt but also her brand new shirt. On Saturday, I ran by the station in Owensboro, grabbed my bag and went to one of our promotions.
I realized Sunday night that I had the shirts in my car and threw them in the washing machine to wear today. I had planned on wearing my super cute *Prayer*Coffee*Workout* shirt but quickly examined what the other shirt had to say...
The words read, "Born for such a time as this..." Esther 4:14
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
My personality type is generally highly empathetic, meaning I am intuitive with emotions of others - even taking them on internally. As a media person, I can't turn off the news. I have to painstakingly pour over ever horrific detail.
As you all know by now, yesterday there was a mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 59 dead and at least 527 people were injured. The mayor of Las Vegas immediately took to social media asking people to pray for Vegas.
I laid in bed last night wondering why horrible things happen, why I was placed in a time when tragedy was so widely broadcasted and why I was in a job that inundates me with it.
Almost immediately, social media posts surrounding the tragedy were a barrage of finger-pointing and calls for policy change on everything from dealing with mentally ill to gun control. One of my friends even stated, "Instead of prayer, I wish our country would start taking mental illness and firearms more seriously." At first, I was a little taken aback by this statement. And though I do not fully agree with what he said, I think there is some merit to the words.
In the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible, Persian King Ahasuerus brought all the maidens to his kingdom to choose a new wife. The King chose Esther, an orphan Jew. And after various conspiracies were brought to light by Esther's family, she had to go to the king to plea with him to spare her people knowing that revealing her identity as a Jew probably meant death for herself and her family. Even approaching the king without being called was an offense punishable by death.
14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” -Esther 4:14
When Esther's uncle got word that the Jews are going to be annihilated, he basically tells her in Esther 4:14, "You can't just ignore this. This is the hardest thing you'll ever do but it's your destiny to save your people. God put you here for a reason. It's no accident that you are a Jewish girl and now the queen of Persia."
Gah, heavy stuff... Can you imagine being "chosen" for such an assignment? The thing is... you kinda were. And so was I.
You and I were BORN for a time such as this. No matter what your religious beliefs are, you being here was no mistake. We were born to make a difference. And, I'm not talking about being a keyboard warrior and pounding out your beliefs on social media by sharing some half-truth "news story" of the day - LIVE your beliefs.
- Research and become educated about the issues. Don't just consume what you want to hear. Vote for the people who you think will make the best choices for our country.
- Advocate in healthy, positive ways for your beliefs. But, be kind in every thing you say and do.
- Donate generously to causes that support the changes you want to see in the world.
- Be passionate - do not push others but instead become a leader so others will follow.
- Look for ways you can be of service to others.
Now, I can't tell you if the story of Esther is historical fact or more of a parable. To me, it doesn't really matter. I am more concerned with what it teaches. You might feel like one small person in a giant world and you'll make no difference what-so-ever. But, that's not true. And you might be scared to death to take that leap of faith, and that's okay! Courage isn't courage if you aren't afraid. I don't think we were put here to fulfill one big purpose but, instead, a series of purposes that are all woven together. Each day is a chance to make a difference, and you just never know one moment to the next if your life will dramatically change. So, make the most of every single one of them.
I can tell you that there are no quick or right answers to fighting tragedy. And, unfortunately, tragedy will be inevitable in all our lives. I believe that God didn't create us to pray for Him to stop the wrongs of this world. He made us to take action and work for good in His name. I believe we should pray for strength to continue to fight, wisdom to know the best way to step up and be useful, bravery in all situations, and compassion for those who are facing their worst day. Prayer is not the least you can do; it's the most you can do.
Theresa's gift helped me to discover my answer about why I was chosen to be in the position I am at this particular time in history. I am definitely not the best writer or editor in the world. (I made up a word in this blog! Can you find it?) I internalize tragedy. I even don't always practice what I am preaching in my career or personal life. But, despite my faults, I have been chosen to be here.
I'm here to make a difference. Are you?
This shirt is not yet available for purchase.
To be notified when it is available, contact Shaped by Faith directly.