I woke up this morning to a delicious breakfast lovingly prepared for me (starting the night before!) by my awesome husband for Mother's Day. It even came complete with extra hugs and kisses from my beautiful daughters and a "good morning" kick from the little blessing in my belly.
Then we got in the car and went to church, where I was saluted for being a mother by many friends and loved ones, and was reminded during the service of how fortunate I am to have been raised by a Christian mother, and for my husband to have been raised in a Christian home as well.
While I was there I reflected on all the wonderful mothers in my life. From my sisters, to my peers, to women a generation above me in my small group who are willing to share endless morsels of wisdom with me, and back again to my own treasured mother and mother-in-law. I also thought of my Dad, and how he gets to spend Mother's Day with his own mother for the first time in over a decade, and what a celebration this will surely be for the both of them.
The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, it was a good day to praise the Lord for the limitless blessings in my life.
But by the time I got home I was feeling heavy and burdened, and as if there was a weight that had been placed directly on my shoulders.
"What is going on here?", I thought to myself. This is a great day! I am surrounded by amazing people who love me, I am heading home to enjoy a day of whatever it is I want to do, I should be basking in the glory of my fortune and privilege.
And that's when I figured out that my fortune and my privilege is exactly what has me feeling so uneasy.
I have had this one thought in the back of my head for a long time now that continues to bother me off and on. And today it came rushing to the forefront of my mind, and did not want to leave. It is a thought that has the ability shake my beliefs to the core, and leaves me every time with more questions than answers.
I asked myself, if I had not been born into this life of blessing, would I still love Christ with the same fervor and devotion that I do today, or am I just a product of my environment?
You see, on paper my life thus far has been nothing short of idyllic. Born to two loving, Christian parents in an affluent community. Raised in the Christian church, attended private Christian schools, surrounded by Christian organizations ready to help me along in my faith in whatever capacity I would ask them to. Married a Christian man, settled our home in the same affluent area, blessed with two healthy children with another one on the way. When you enter into my home you can find Bibles in all sorts of colors and translations, cupboards stocked to the brim with enough food for an impromptu dinner party of eight, an embarrassing amount of toys for my kids to play with, and enough money in the checkbook that we don't need to worry about anything in the near future other than if we're going to order pizza tonight from Vitale's or Jet's.
I can't help but think, what if instead of enjoying this life of ease, I spent my days living on the street? Or grew up with abusive parents? Or didn't have enough food to feed my starving children? Or lived in a country where the Bible was forbidden to read under penalty of death? Or a place where I would be executed on the spot if I was heard even mentioning the name of Jesus?
Would I still have found my way to Jesus Christ, boldly claimed Him as my Savior, fearlessly and publicly worshiped Him, and surrendered my life to Him? Or would I have denied His existence, convinced myself that He wasn't real, and went about my days living only for myself with no consideration or thought given to the life that awaits me beyond this one? What would happen to me then?
Obviously, these are questions I will never have the answers to. I will never know the in's and out's of anyone elses life but my own, or what I would have done in any of the above-mentioned situations. But what I do want to be assured of is that I love my Lord for real reasons, in spite of the upbringing I had and the environment in which I was raised and continue to live in today.
I want to know that no matter what happens in my life, that the belief I have in Him is true and unshakable.
I want to be assured that even if my house burns down around me, even if my family gets taken from me, even if I am struck with illness, I will still feel this same love for my Savior, and find myself depending on and trusting only Him for the rest of my days.
How does one ever really know this?
Right now there is much I don't know, but the one thing I do know is that I want to be boldly, publicly, unashamedly His, with no strings attached.
Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day searching for certainty. I do not know why You blessed me with the life You have given me. I could just have easily been born into a different family, a different neighborhood, a different country, a different faith. I don't know why You chose to make it so easy for me. I never had to fight to find You, You have always been right there in front of me, with no opposition present to prohibit me from serving You. You have always been the natural, logical path for me to follow.
Please don't hear this as complaining, Lord. If anything, with every day that goes by and the more I am exposed to the world around me I am reminded repeatedly of the blessing You have heaped upon my life, and how it would be a sin to ever take it for granted. I just want to make sure that what I have with You is real, and not just a by-product of my childhood. I want to make sure that I love You because of what You have come to mean in my life, not because this is what I have been taught to do since infancy.
Let me learn to love You, Lord, because it's what I need to do, not because it what I've been trained to do. Let me learn to love You because there's no other option that can even compare with what You have to offer me. Let me learn to love You like I was just introduced to Your love, just encountered Your grace, and met Your Son only yesterday.
Reveal Yourself to me. Get back to the basics with me. Let me start at the very beginning with You again, so that I may know with no question that You are mine, and I am Yours.
"Search me, oh God, and know my heart. Test me, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting". Psalm 139:23-24
In Your Holy Name I pray,