Lent is early this year again. February 18. I know that my denomination doesn’t officially observe Lent, but I have fallen so in love with it. Giving up something each day as I trudge mentally along that path to the cross reminds me daily of the burden of a law I cannot keep. Good Friday hits me hard with the reality of the burden lifted, all because of His precious blood spilled for me. Then, the freedom that comes on that Easter morning when I awake with the breath of fresh air that He has risen and broken the chains of following any kind of burdening law forever and ever, keeps me flat on my face in jubilation. I came across this post from a couple of years ago about Lent and thought I would share. In case you had never thought about the observing of Lent and might want to think about it before it arrives. 🙂
“It’s already Passion week with Easter a short four days away. How is it already the end of March? How has it been almost 40 days of Lent? This was the first year that I approached Lent with a different mindset. Instead of surrendering a luxury that I probably needed to lay down anyway, I chose something that I honestly didn’t know if I could do. To be perfectly honest, I chose something I did not want to do. I chose to deny myself.
These 36 days have shown me more clearly how inept I am.
I am a lawbreaker.
I don’t even want to keep the law. Even when I am able to keep it, something deep down in me wants to break it even more. Less of me. I need so so much less of me, and more of Him.
Recently, my husband has fallen in love with a guitar. He knew he wouldn’t be getting it because it was a good bit of money, but he couldn’t not talk about this guitar. Unfortunately for him, he works in a guitar store. I eventually started to dread him talking after the girls were in bed because I knew he would start up about how beautiful this guitar was and how it played. It’s something I won’t ever fully understand, except maybe in those moments when I hold a new clean journal and a smooth pencil and part of my heart sighs at the beauty of the moment. I dreaded him talking about it not because I was bored or annoyed, but because I am a realist. I have a practical mindset that sees responsibility and priorities. I see needs of my family and others and it’s really not often that I find myself dreaming or hoping. I didn’t want to tell my husband that we were expecting a baby in the summer and that other things needed to be bought or finished before this little one arrived before thinking about a guitar. I didn’t need to say it, he knew it. Instead, I prayed. Honestly, I prayed that God would make him be quiet. 🙂
Well, a couple of days later, through a situation that was from the start giving all credit to God, my husband was given a large sum of money….in the form of store credit. So that it couldn’t be used for anything baby or life related that wasn’t in this music store. He was so shocked and taken aback and I was for a moment, but then, after thinking about it, I wasn’t. God had silenced him, alright, but not by stopping up his mouth or removing it from his life, but by giving him the guitar for free.
Sometimes, I manage to deny myself and take up my cross. I’m better at wanting others to deny themselves. But sometimes, what glorifies our Father is giving us the desires of our hearts and illuminating His image in us. I am my Father’s daughter. I carry within me the Spirit of a Living God. His DNA swims through me and shows itself in my passion for Truth, justice, and righteousness. My husband is also an image bearer of God. He is his Father’s son. God is a dreamer, giver, and lover. He weaves in us the desire to laugh, believe, and wish. I can see that in my husband’s heart.
As I sat pondering these things in my heart yesterday, His Spirit spoke so quietly to my soul. “You are my child. Stand up for what is right and speak for those that cannot speak for themselves. Pursue righteousness and truth, but do not forget to dream, child. Don’t forget to dance and laugh and hope. Joy! Find joy in Me and My presence and My gifts.” I would be wise to look around at my brothers and sisters in Christ, and instead of seeing the differences in us as opinions or wrong, see stamps of the face of my God upon their hearts. To see in worriers the compassion of a God that sends His Son to us. To see in those that aren’t often serious, the mark of a God that works for the good of those that love Him and knows what good gifts to give His children. To those that are always serious, the fingerprint of a God that knows needs and hurts for the hurting, fights for the weak, and stands up for the invisible.
So, as this Lent comes to an end, I accept myself more as I recognize my weaknesses more. I bow before a God that denied Himself completely and broke the chains of the Law. I am made whole in Him and Him alone, and I approach this Easter with a humbled heart as my defeat and failures of this Lent only glorify His victory when laid at the foot of His cross. Our victory is only found in His.”