Easter, a birthday, and a pandemic. Does that not sound like the start of a bad joke? ”So one day Easter, a birthday, and a pandemic walked into a bar...” Except this isn’t a bar, this is life. And this isn’t a joke, it’s a harsh reality.
What a time to celebrate a birthday. What a time to celebrate a Savior.
Today I celebrate 29 years of existence. 29 years of life after my mother birthed me into this world. 29 years of survival. 29 years of overcoming. 29 years of beating the odds.
But honestly, today isn’t a celebration of me at all. It’s no irony that my birthday falls on Easter this year. Every so many years it does fall on Easter, but this year more than ever it was incredibly intentional that God let it align this way.
During this pandemic and season of quarantine, God has been exposing a lot of ugly stuff in me. There were some idols, attitudes, and sins I was harboring that I wasn’t even aware of. The most shocking and yet most significant of these things was a consumption with self (yep, selfishness) that seemed to dominate all my actions and decisions.
It’s not that I didn’t care about other people, because I did (very deeply), but at times my care for other people was more about how caring for other people made me feel (valuable, wanted, needed, loved) and less about caring for them because I was simply called by God to care for others.
When this pandemic and subsequent quarantine hit, I was primarily thinking about how ‘me and mine’ were being impacted. Did we have what we need? How was this going to impact our plans? In what ways was this going to disrupt our lives? How were we going to be inconvenienced? The list goes on....
It‘s also not that I didn’t care about God, because I did (very deeply). Yet, my own selfish need for control kept me from fully surrendering certain areas/aspects of my life completely to God. So in some areas, God was the director (you know, He called the shots) and in other areas, God was more of a consultant (where I casually ran what I wanted to do by Him but ending up making my own decisions regardless).
Y’all, seeing this stuff in myself has been uncomfortable, to say the least. But in a beautifully odd way, it’s refocused my eyes fully on Jesus. Less of me and more of you has become the cry of my heart, and God is doing just that. He’s sifting out all the ”me” so more of Him can reside within.
I am at a new level of relationship with God that I’ve never experienced before. It’s raw. It’s intimate. It’s so deeply personal. It‘s what God has wanted all along and what I never seemed to have the time to give Him. It’s the beauty of the beast. God used something dark and ugly (Coronavirus & Quarantine) to draw me to the light- Him.
Now we are here at Easter, my birthday, and it is God's subtle way of reminding me that it's not all about me. In fact, it's not about me at all.
So today, I celebrate a Savior whose love for me was so great that He endured unbearable suffering so that I wouldn’t have to suffer alone. Today, I celebrate a Father who was forsaken by His father so I could have one who’d never leave me nor forsake me. Today, I celebrate the mercy of a God who spared me from what I deserved so that I could be here at this moment right now, even if being here simply means sitting in the house with my parents and son. Today, I celebrate the grace of a God who poured out unmerited favor upon me and blessed me beyond anything I was ever worthy of when He gave me the son and fiancé He did (among so many other good things).
But more than anything, may I never lose sight of who should be at the head of my life and my heart at all times. May I never revert back to this “as needed” relationship with God. May He remain the priority in my life when life resumes to whatever the new normal is after all of this is over (because things will never quite be the same as they once were). May I be intentional about finding ways to serve and care for those God has placed in my life and on my path. May I come out of this season completely transformed from the inside out.
To God be the glory, great things He is doing!