It’s my birthday today. I would tell you what day of quarantine it is, but I can’t remember. How has my birthday in quarantine gone? Well, to be brutally honest, a birthday during a national shutdown is an introvert’s paradise. I’ve done my best to boycott my last two birthdays.
It’s not the whole “getting older” thing… although marking 35 years on this earth doesn’t seem possible. After 3 and half decades of living, I still think I am 28.
My birthdays bring out my introverted side. Yes, I talk a lot, I choose transparency when possible, and I put myself out there at ridiculous frequency. But I am a driven-analytical, so being alone with my thoughts nourishes my soul like church.
Every year on this day, I wake up in an unshakable mood of reflection and introspection. This is why the birthday parties and fanfare are not my jam. Truthfully, they trigger my anxiety like crazy.
So today, post-peak of what will likely be known as the Great Global Pandemic, I couldn’t be happier to spend my birthday in quarantine, grounded with four of my most favourite people on earth; my husband and my three little men.
I crave the flexibility to withdraw to the quiet, while still being with my family. And I receive each text and FB message as words of affirmation, because it is my love language, after all.
I have savoured all the things; the leftover chinese, the strawberry shortcake, the peppermint tea, the hugs & kisses, the homemade cards from my 6 and 4 year old, the birthday songs, and the whole “being us” thing that has blessed me beyond my dreams!
I’d rather be present with all that has enriched me, than be enriched with presents and distracted from the things that matter most.
On My Birthday, I’m Grieving.
Yet as Kevin has noticed my especial quietness today, I cannot deny that my reflection expands beyond reviewing the past year or what I once imagined life would be like, back when I was 25.
My state of thankfulness, affected with a twinge of melancholy, comes from a building sense of sadness, because as the dearest around me celebrates my birthday, I am grieving.
I hold tight every sincere greeting I receive, yet my heart is breaking for my country and for the church.
An Instagram post sat in draft all last night. As my heavy eyelids betrayed me, I feverishly tried to find a way to share what’s on my heart…without actually saying it. 16 hours later, it remains unpublished.
Do I care so much of what people think? Or do I not trust you enough to receive my words?
At the end of the day, I have no control over what anyone thinks of me or what I have to say. So there is a painful ridiculousness to my chronic hesitation.
Perhaps you won’t like it. Perhaps you’ll disagree. Should I not take the risk that your reaction may in fact be the opposite?
Ultimately, I am not here writing about the awkward or controversial to win your favour. My desire is to be obedient; even if the flesh isn’t as willing as the spirit. So here goes.
On my birthday in quarantine, amid all that makes me happy, I am grieving for my country, and I am deeply worried for the church.
I cannot possibly unpack it all in one blog post or one podcast episode.
The depth and complexity of all that troubles me could fill a book, which is why it is so hard to present you with a “cliff notes” version.
The Quarantine Reveals What’s Coming
I see things coming on the horizon; I have for a while.
As a former missionary kid who grew up in Europe in the 90’s, who broke bread with survivors of Nazism and escapees of Communism and Islamic oppression, and listened to the book of Revelation as a bedtime story (not my choice), it isn’t surprising that I have long dreaded ever living through dark days of history myself.
Those 8 years helped form the principles I cling to, along with my faith in the voracity of the Word of God.
I have seen and heard enough of the hard, the uncomfortable and the inconvenient to know that my opinions will never be infallible.
The 2016 U.S. election gave me the courage to look at the flaws of the ideological right instead of exclusively the left; although those are still glaringly obvious.
And so with a humble degree of wisdom, I understand what King Solomon meant when he wrote:
“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”Ecclesiastes 1:18
There are threats facing the remnant of free nations that goes beyond the coronavirus we speak of incessantly. There are dangers facing the church in North America that most believers understand in theory, but fewer recognize in practice.
Two separate issues that are intricately entwined to the same problem; one worldview that seeks to exalt itself above God.
The unsaved world doesn’t recognize it as a threat; a faction of the church has so compromised their beliefs that they don’t either.
I listen to the proceedings in the House of Commons, as well as the long succession of press conferences. I scan through a myriad of self-righteous tweets; my hope plummets further in the comment threads.
Identify Your Principles, then Never Let Go
It took me over 30 years to learn this, but these days I listen more, and talk less.
I try to feel for the proverbial pulse of Canadian society, as well as the modern day church. And I worry.
I celebrate the freedom of thought and speech more than my own birthday. Therefore, I believe that a difference of opinion is not only permissible, it is essential.
And yet, deep within me, I fear that there are more who have no sense of what is coming than those who do.
How do I end this post in a way that leaves you with hope, instead of being a Debbie Downer?
This isn’t going to be the day that I attempt to talk about socialism, or the consequences of leftist ideologues in power. Neither is this the day that I launch my series on trusting God at His Word in the context of 21st century identity politics.
So instead, I will leave you with an optional assignment.
4 years ago, I heeded the warning of a man I consider to be a mentor in this field; though he is unaware of my existence. He presented a challenge to all of those who would heed his words.
This changed my life in tremendous good ways. And so on my birthday in quarantine, I pass it on to you:
Identify your principles, then never let go of them.
At a critical time in history, the great leader and giant-slayer Joshua gave this mandate to the people of Israel:
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve (…) But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.Joshua 24:15
My Challenge to You
Take the time to accurately name your values and beliefs.
Do you trust God or not? Do you believe in the Word of God or not? Are your loyalties to the gospel or to ideas?
And should you choose to serve the Lord, do not compromise, no matter what happens.
Don’t do this unless you are ready for the commitment, because it won’t be easy in this age of polarization. But then again, standing on the right side of history never has been.
I pray for God’s blessing of peace and gift of wisdom over every reader who makes it through these difficult 1343 words.
I’m not the only one spending my birthday in quarantine. So if that’s you too, I send you my most heartfelt best wishes for this next year of your life!
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