I kissed my husband good-bye this morning, just before leaving the house at 8:53 am. He was in his lounging clothes on the couch, having just turned off Game Day so the kids could watch Chuggington.

“I’m proud of you,” he said. My heart lifted.

Now here I sit at “work.” At Westview Church in the “bullpen,” the name we lovingly have given the copy room that doubles as an office for myself and two other staff members. I use quotes for “work” because this building functions as my house of worship, my social hub, my place of employment, and seminary (as a distance learner). My desk is where I dream, write, learn Greek, watch lectures, study my Bible, plan discipleship opportunities, and pray.

Work deskAnd as I sit here, I recognize that though I suppose my husband has reason to be proud of me – specifically, for studying for school right away on Saturday, so I can get home to watch the Ducks game at 3:30 – I am really standing on the shoulders of many, many women and men who worked hard and made sacrifices that allow me to be doing what I’m doing today.

As a woman, I am indebted to the generations before me, who paved the way for our gender to have equality – in my country, in my church, in my family. A few generations ago, I would not have had the opportunity to be a wife, mother, athletic trainer, seminarian, and Director of Adult Discipleship. I stand on the hard work of feminists come before me.

As an American, I am indebted to the social servants who have fought, protected, served, and defended our country so that it has the freedoms it does. Those in the armed forces, those in government, those who serve selflessly in NGOs that attempt to provide quality of life to everyone. My great-great-grandparents were immigrants who didn’t speak English, who came to America and the Midwest farmland for a chance at a better life. They did not have the opportunities for education nor the high standard of living that I now enjoy. I didn’t earn any of that, they worked hard to provide it for me.

As a Christian, I am indebted to the grace of God and the heritage of faith he has given me. I was born into a family already covered in the grace of the New Covenant, and the Holy Spirit has been at work in my life always. I did not earn, deserve, or work for that. It was a gift, a precious gift. As is the calling God has placed on my life, and that of my family – my husband and children.

It is easy to read the news, scroll my Facebook feed, talk to my neighbor, and feel downcast about the world. But the Gospel’s truth tells me my life is a gift. I did not work for it. It was given to me. And in response to that, I can only pray that I live a life worthy of its calling.