I walked into this season, Lent, with great intentions. Most of my life I have passed through with vague ideas of what Lent meant and resolves to give up pop or chocolate. I treated Lent much like a fad diet. This year was going to be different. I was going to be intentional about setting aside something to fill it up with the goodness of God.
I eagerly designed ways to create longing in my life. I didn’t know that longing and emptiness awaited me. In some ways, I have failed Lent. I’ve gone by two days I intended to fast (with albeit, good and necessary reasons to not fast), I’ve missed my morning Bible times, I’ve said nasty words to my husband, and I’ve longed deeper than I’ve ever longed before.
This is the Lent of emptiness. A Lent of fear. A Lent where I’ve cried out to God to let the trials I see on the horizon pass from me. But a Lent where I feel Him softly saying, “I will be with you.”
Maybe this is the truest Lent I could have had.
Maybe this is the Lent where I see a picture of the preparation Jesus went through before beginning His ministry. The Lent where I realize my efforts could never be enough to accomplish what the cross did. The Lent where I cry out that I am empty and then get up, get dressed, and notice my tattoo – the one that gently reminds me, “grace is sufficient.”
God, I had the audacity to tattoo that on my side as if I had mastered the idea that Your grace was sufficient for me, that Your strength was made perfect in my weakness. Nothing could have been further from the truth. This is my constant cry. Lord, I know this is true, please teach me.
Even as I write these words, I cringe. I don’t want to learn. I want my life to be safe. I don’t want to step out on a limb where I need grace. I certainly don’t want to risk collapsing under the weight of a burden. Do I really need to reach for one I know I can’t handle? Do you have to wait and trust that Your strength will be here when mine reaches its’ limit? I don’t want to reach my limit, God.
Perhaps this Lent is special. As I look towards the garden, as I bow my head in prayer only to fall asleep, I hear the words from Mark 14, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
These shadows are fleeting for the Light of the world has come. Let us look towards His resurrection. Let us remember His death and let us love as He has lavished love upon us.