For once, I am making time for a meaningful journey through Lent. While we are not yet to the resurrection, this journey is more prayerful and thoughtful than in years past when I treated these 40 days as if they were but another New Year’s resolution gone bad.
Instead of feeling as if I am giving up something for nothing, just for the sake of giving up a bad habit, I am consciously trying to align myself with the suffering Christ. Through prayer, fasting, and examining my conscience, the layers of the onion skins are peeling away and the pungent sting of the pierced flesh burns my eyes. Last year, I ran from this, but today I am making an effort to embrace my suffering and learning to face my sinful nature in order to become more Christlike.
And there is just so much, so much I need to change about me to become more like Him. It seems to be an insurmountable process as I have much wreckage in my past. There are my failings, the pain of my childhood, misunderstandings, my stupidity, the numerous familial estrangements, enormous pain, and each one attempts to grind me down to insignificance, uselessness. Garbage.
Ironically, scattered along the way are those suffering too, with pasts like mine, shards of glass piercing their hearts, insecurities, and pain. This is no coincidence that we have found each other and God is bringing us side-by-side to walk together, to grasp a hand, and if needed, to carry the other over the craggy path.
While far from perfect, the purposefulness of self-sacrifice and growing closer to Christ and the knowledge of my own imperfections is opening my heart to receive Him more. His sweetness makes me weep and the tears are the balm to soothe the fractures imbedded in my soul. I am also learning to accept my own weakness and when I am at my lowest, to allow others to lift me with the incense of their prayers and am learning to do the same for them.
By acknowledging my brokenness, my sinful nature and crying out for His mercy, His Spirit is permeating my soul and filling the fissures in my heart. The sense of abandonment is being replaced by His love and the understanding that He has been there all along, even as my weeping and screaming rocked the heavens and I assumed I was alone. I have learned that I am not garbage. I am not worthless. I am healing.
As I told a friend yesterday, God does have a plan and would not leave us at the precipice in limbo–but He is there with open arms and helping us to grow in the fullness of Him.
All I want to do now is to allow Him to replace me…….an impossible task for me, but for God, anything is possible.