Well, Lent is here. Today my kids get to start their Lenten practice of sacrifice by attempting to avoid rubbing the ashes all over my couch. Thank goodness I'm not giving up yelling......
This isn't a post about what to give up or what to do or how to, step by step, have an awesome Lent. (Is awesome a correct adjective in this case....) Because we are all at different places - life going well or not. Christian or not. Happy with God or not. - and perhaps Lent is either something we don't buy into or its a time where we just go through the motions, year after year. All I'm here to suggest is that, wherever we are, we can enter into the desert.
Just bear with me a minute. You see, all of us, all of us, are probably going through something right now that is hard. It could be easy hard or hard hard. Unexpected circumstances. Sick kids. A personal struggle. A tough marriage. A health issue. Depression. Just feeling like crap about life. (I list these all because I've been through them all....) And if we're going through any or all of these adding one more "have to give up something for Lent" thing could just very well break the camel's back.
So, why don't we do something different? Instead of focusing on what else we can give up, let's take whatever it is that we're going through and enter into our own personal desert. Well, not our own. Because that would be lonely. And being in a desert alone whilst going through something sucky wouldn't be a great idea. I mean let's take our pain and struggles and enter into Christ's desert.
There is no one but Him who's experienced the deepest anguish and fear known to man. Hunger, loneliness, being afraid, physical pain, wondering about the unknown before Him, meeting the devil face-to-face...He's been there. And starting today, He invites us to unite whatever it is we're going through, struggling with, or holding onto with His own sufferings. He invites us to walk with Him for 40 days to experience what He did so that we might experience what He did after those 40 days were over:
GLORY. RESURRECTION. PEACE. HEALING.
Our own deserts may last longer than 40 days. But they don't last forever. If there is one thing I'm sure of, hope is real and there is good on the other side. And more than just *good*: Glory.
I know that my time this Lent will be tough. I've been holding onto something that, well, has a hold on me. I've tried to release it from my life and get over the
(OMGoodness, tangent....it's 6am and the birds are singing, the birds are singing! Talk about glory glory hallelujah! Spring, summer, I join Olaf and sing of YOU)
OK, now it's time for me to be done talking, to roll up my sleeves and pant legs (deserts are dusty), and get to work. Without reservation (who I am kidding, I have a TON of reservation) I walk into that desert today and face my fears and trials head on. It will be hard, hot, trying, and without perfection I'm sure, but I cling to the hope that this desert will not last much longer And that I, too, can experience the joy and peace waiting on the other side.......