Can I make a confession?
One of the reasons I was completely thrown for a loop about 18 months ago when we decided not to pursue adoption any more is because part of me could not accept that the “ordinary” American life was good enough to please God. It shames me to admit that, but there it is. I grew up on the mission field, first in Africa and then in Europe. No one ever spoke it out loud or even suggested it, but somehow this mindset grew in me. In the back of my mind I thought that living the “typical” American lifestyle was some how settling for the easy way out. I equated typical American living with shallow materialism, weak faith, and comfort. Judgmental much?
So when I found myself married to an American who had never lived overseas and settling in a small American town part of me needed to show that I wasn’t “settling.” We served in various ways in our church and became intentional about building community in our town. None of that was wrong, in fact it was all very good, but I have recently come to see that much of my doing was in an attempt to prove myself. “See God? I’m not just sitting back and enjoying the easy life here. Even my settling in this small town is for a purpose. I am working hard here for you.”
How prideful of me to believe that I could earn God’s favor. How self-important to think that I was somehow more holy that all the other “average Christians” around me.
Can I just tell you that my biggest spiritual struggle of the past 18 months has been to believe that God loves me completely with my typical ranch house in a comfortable neighborhood with two kids and a minivan? This past year in saying “no” to adoption and being so weak with my sickness God brought me to the end of what I could accomplish. He showed me that even on the days when all I could do was lay in bed while my bed while my kids watched hours of tv He loved me.
I slowly began to see how ungrateful and presumptuous I was to be constantly feeling guilty for my life.
On Sunday afternoon I was enjoying a cup of coffee on our back deck. The sun was warming me after days of rain. The trees and bushes were in glorious full bloom. My tow-headed boys were running wild around the yard with their dog and their laughter was drifting to me in bursts. Chicken noodle soup was simmering on the stove. The promise of a nap lay ahead. I tipped back my face and allowed the sun to shine bright on my face. I savored the moment, the beauty of this life, with not one ounce of guilt. I didn’t try to explain or justify or earn. I simply enjoyed.
Maybe my life does seem ordinary and cliche. After all I have two kids, a dog, and a house with a picket fence. But I know this, it is the life I have been given right now. To not love this life is to believe the lie that God does not love me. So I grabbed my camera and captured the plain old ordinary beautiful breathtaking moment.