“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
If you made it through that very long quote then you probably deserve an explanation for why this blog exists. Those of you who know me may also know that I already have one under-utilised blog on a horse-related front, why start another one?
Well, this one is about me and my life.
How I, and the life I have been trying to construct around me, are being systematically destroyed and reconstructed into something that I could never have envisioned on my own. It is about my real life. The one that not too many people who know me are really aware of. And I think it might be about you too. Or at least I am hoping so.
I often tell my husband that I could have been a philosopher. Or a theologian. Or both. Maybe someday I'll go back to school (the nerd in me could've really been a scholar!). Until then I continue to be more and more convinced that life is far too short not to have conversations that matter. I also feel that I am moving toward a life that is far more true and authentic ... one in which I more willingly reflect my priorities and values. I want this life to be one that is a testimony to all that I've experienced as a passionate, motivated and driven wife, mother and professional. I also want it to be a life that is transparent (and that is a slightly terrifying thought because it is by no means a perfect life). I want a life that is genuine. A life unveiled.
I've begun to notice that I spend a lot of time talking, watching t.v. and filling my mind and my mouth with all sorts of superficial junk and now that I see my 4 kids (ages 6, 5, 2 and 1) starting to do the same thing, I'm starting to wonder if our time and our words could be better spent. Then I started thinking about how this might materialize and what I keep coming back to is truth (and the wreckless sharing of it). I don't share it very often. Which is hilarious because I talk A LOT. And it's not really a case of lying, per se. I just don't generally share the whole truth about myself, my life, my thoughts, my beliefs.
I once had a conversation with my sister-in-law, who is married to a priest and is herself a deacon in the church. We were discussing raising the topic of faith and belief with the people we know and meet. She mentioned that it generally doesn't take long for the topic to come up when you're married to the priest (she wasn't yet a deacon so now I'm sure its even quicker!). I remember being envious, thinking that I wish I had such an easy "in". I would love to be more forthright in expressing my defense of the hope I hold in my heart (1 Peter 3:15 has always been a challenge for me). I didn't find Christianity until I was an adult and there are many people who have known me since long before then and I find it extremely hard to find an non-offensive way of sharing. It's also unfamiliar territory. I spent a lot longer as a non-Christian than I have as a Christian and I sometimes feel unequipped, and occasionally terrified to begin "preaching" on God.
So here I am. Baring my soul (and the fact that I believe I have one). My own faith and study have brought me to an understanding that what we have is by no means a blind faith. And it isn't a faith that is "just for me, but not for you". In the deeply relativistic climate that we live, I for a long time felt uncompelled to share my faith (or dare I say, *wincing* ... evangelize) because I felt that it was just my choice. But my life has become SO MUCH better since finding my faith. Not necessarily better in a material or eventful way, but in the depth of my being I know I am better off than I was before. In fact, many days it feels like finding my faith has opened up a huge can of complications and challenges. The difference is that now I have something (or more specifically, someone) to create a context, establish boundaries and help make sense of the apparent craziness. I want to share that. I am called to share that.
But I hardly ever have.
I know that calling yourself a Christian and talking about your faith can freak people out. I used to be that person who was freaked out. I came from a fairly secular household. My views were generally non-threatening (and more-so apathetic) but nonetheless I held many of the cliché beliefs that non-believers often hold. "Its just not for me". "I don't need that crutch". "I believe that there may be something beyond us but I don't need or want organized religion".
Luckily, I was dating a guy who's family were the most awesome "crazy religious" people I'd ever met and it allowed me to open up to the idea of normal, smart, educated people, who also believed in God and the Christian community. There are also so many well-respected scientists, scholars, researchers and philosophers who have chosen a life of faith and service to God that I have started to envision being among those who reverse the tide. I would love to be a contradiction to the secular idea that to be "of faith" means you must not be "of science" or "of rational or intelligent legitimacy". You know ... uneducated, deluded or weak. I'm beginning to understand (or at least beginning to be able to articulate) the very opposite. Faith can be reasonable. Faith can be argued through intelligent and well-researched means. Faith can be strong and well-spoken. Faith isn't just for the ignorant or helpless.
I am ready to share my journey, both how I've arrived here and where I am going. I hope my candid sharing will help those who read it to ask themselves some hard questions and find some of their own answers, even if it puts me in an awkward or uncomfortable position.
I hope to deepen and strengthen my argument for my faith and my compassion in sharing it.
I hope to live a life that is more transparent and true to who I am and what I am passionate about. A life where I am not nervous or ashamed to speak the truth with conviction and love. A life unveiled.