i am n.

My husband is a pastor.

I have never been afraid to say it, write it, or post about it. I have never felt fear for my life because of what I believe or the faith I claim. I do not hesitate to attend my church or talk about God. In fact, I’m getting ready to publish a book that shamelessly promotes my beliefs without fear of imprisonment or persecution.

I do not worry about my husband when he goes to work each day at the church. I expect him home each evening. There are no second thoughts about his physical safety when he preaches from a pulpit or counsels couples in need or teaches about the bible.

I live in freedom and security while others – countless others – do not.

This Sunday left me weeping as I heard countless stories of men and women around the world who have suffered for their faith. I hugged the neck of a man who was kidnapped, tortured, and left naked on the street just because he is a pastor and claims to serve God. That same man went back to his church even AFTER his kidnapping and continues to minister to this day. I cannot say his name or post his picture or mention his country because it would put him in danger.

He believes so strongly that he has LITERALLY placed his life on the line for his faith.

According to The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that helps persecuted Christians around the world, there are 68 countries that my husband’s job, our faith, would cause us to fear for our safety and even our lives. Because I live in the United States, I believe freely without fear of persecution.

“Imagine waking up one morning to find a red spray-painted symbol on the front of your house identifying you as a Christian. The Arabic letter “n,” for nasara (Nazarene, to indicate Christians), was painted on the homes of Christians in Mosul, Iraq, by ISIS fighters. Under Islamic law, the marked homes became the property of the Islamists. ISIS gave the Christians an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a tax, leave or die” (Voice of the Martyrs).

I have a mantra: “Today is the best day ever, because if today were my last day I would want it to be my best day. Therefore, today is the best day ever.” Sometimes when I spout out the memorized phrase, I stop and think about the seriousness of “my last day”. Although I don’t know when my last day will be, I don’t live with the fear that my faith – my outward expression of it – could very well be the reason “my last day” is a daily reality.

To believe something so deeply, so fervently that I would die for it, that is how I want to pursue my own faith. I want to love Jesus enough that torture, kidnapping, and even death would not deter me from it. I want to live this life so BRAVELY that I won’t be afraid to say WHO I follow and WHY.  If my brothers and sisters across the world live this way, why shouldn’t I?

I am n.