Lent is the time for trimming the soul and scraping the sludge off a life turned slipshod. Lent is about taking stock of time, even religious time. Lent is about exercising the control that enables us to say no to ourselves so that when life turns hard of its own accord, we have the stamina to yes to its twists and turns with faith and hope…. Lent is the time to make new efforts to be what we say we want to be. ~Joan Chittister (The Rule of Benedict: Insight for the Ages)
I knew it was coming when I saw paczki stacked.
(I’m partial to prune. With a filling like that, it just has to be good for you.)
But Lent always catches me off guard.
It’s hard to think of sacrifice and denial when earth rises from winter tomb.
When I wake up to the sights and sounds of spring.
From letting go to letting loose.
I tried to give up chocolate once.
All I could think of was how much I wanted needed it.
I focused on me.
I had ashes applied to forehead once.
Dust to dust.
Ashes to ashes.
But He turns ashes to beauty and mourning to joy.
Laura received the ashes on her hand. Her pastor said it was better this way.
The ashes are for me to see, she said. To remind me of my sin. Not for everyone else.
It makes perfect sense.
To ponder the marked palm.
But it’s a temporary tattoo.
One that will fade.
Several years ago I lay spread-eagled on the floor in prayer.
“Let me feel it,” I begged. “Let me feel what He felt. Let me bear some of that pain”
And then a whisper to my heart.
It’s over. Finished. It’s not your pain to bear.
He’s already done it.
The ashes will fade.
The beauty remains.
Life is full.
Because He has done it.
And I am permanently engraved in His palm.
A mark that will not fade.
I’m a Lenten failure.
I just can’t follow through.
Ann says she can’t either.
I can’t seem to follow through in giving up for Lent.
Which makes me want to just give up Lent.
Which makes me question Who I am following.
Which may precisely be the point of Lent.
I struggle with what I can give up for Lent this year.
What can I let go of in order to follow Him?
And for me, perhaps it’s this:
A continued purge of those things external that demand attention.
That tug at my heart and mind.
That keep me from keeping Him in focus.
One large item.
Or a bag of small items.
For forty days.
A spring cleaning.
Clutter patrol on the march again.
Not very spiritual.
But as I drag the weight out of the house, perhaps I’ll feel lighter in spirit.
And heart rended.
Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands. Isaiah 49:16s (Amplified)
How are you observing Lent?
Find links to other Lenten thoughts at the Moonboat Cafe.
Joining Emily in spilling crumbs.
Joining Cheryl on her Simplify Journey.