Kim Cash Tate on Meeting Jesus as a Black Woman in a White City

It’s one of my most vivid memories as a girl: sitting on the edge of my bed, face angled toward the window, eyes peeled for my daddy. My heart would race as a new set of headlights approached—maybe that’s him—before sinking as the car passed into the distance. Still, I’d hold on to hope. From the time my parents divorced—I was four—I looked forward to these planned outings with my dad.

Although they were both college-educated and hard-working, my parents differed greatly. My mom was very much a homebody. Other than work, she hardly ventured anywhere. Even so, I admired her: Everything she did, she did excellently. And when she had convictions, she stuck to them. She gave me a wonderfully stable, predictable life. But for me, that often translated to boring.

My dad was the fun one. Mom would never ride a roller coaster, but Dad would coax me into the front car. He played sports, loved music, and had an infectious laugh. Whenever I knew he was coming, I’d have my bag packed, ready to go.

Where is he? Did he forget about me? Daddy was always out and about, so there was never any point trying his landline. (This was the era before mobile phones.) All I could do was wait, even as daylight turned to dusk and dusk to night. Tears would gather as I realized he wasn’t coming. Again. More than once I thought, I must not really matter. He must not really love me.

When I picture that little girl looking out the window, pining for her father, it’s amazing to think that God was watching me even then. He knew the void I felt. He knew the relationship I longed for. And he knew that one day he would draw me to himself.

Craving Intimacy

I was raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC. We weren’t a churchgoing family. But I knew about God from St. Margaret’s Elementary. I’ll never forget experiencing the Stations of the Cross during a third-grade Easter observance. Our class filed into the sanctuary and moved from picture to picture, pausing at each image depicting Jesus on the day of his crucifixion. By the time we got to Jesus hanging on the cross, I was in tears. Even the knowledge that he rose again was no comfort. How could something so awful happen to someone so good?

I had no concept of Jesus dying so I could be saved and have a close relationship with him. And without that sort of relationship, I felt a void. There was a hole in my heart that I wanted to fill, an intimacy I craved. That’s what enticed me about sex—the intimacy it would bring. Or so I thought.

I lost my virginity the summer before I turned 16. This brought feelings of shame, because my mom had always preached abstinence until marriage, albeit without any biblical motivations. I had dismissed her convictions as old-fashioned, but deep down I couldn’t shake the thought that she was right. I wasn’t comfortable having sex. After that summer, I decided to abstain.

But my mom’s convictions weren’t enough to keep me, because without God’s redeeming power I was a slave to sin. And so, when I went off to college, my flesh had free reign.

I loved college. I loved having the freedom to live life on my own terms. Despite living far from God, in my mind I was doing well. After graduating, I went to law school, and during my second year, I fell in love with a fellow graduate student named Bill. We knew we wanted to get married. Bill got an offer as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, so after graduating in May 1991, we moved to Madison to start our careers.

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Source: Christianity Today