Sunday, April 5, 2015

Lessons of Lent

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I have been thinking of this post nearly every day of the last 40 as I have endured my first season of Lent. Now that it is here, I am so tired...so in awe...so in awe of my Jesus....that I don't know that I can give a "Lessons of Lent" post justice.

So forgive me...if this is not as inspiring as you feel it should be...

I closed out the season of Lent with new and unexpected challenges at work...more changes in my personal life....another major "event" in the three-year purge I end this year (2015)...and a reminder that there is family and there is FAMILY. Mostly I learned that if I simply give it all up to God...every day...every moment...every worry...He will meet me there...Every. Time....and while he will not negate the hard, he will stand by me through it to the point that I am surprised...Every. Time....by him and me both.

*Deep Sigh*

The truth is that I have whined my way through Lent. The Bible speaks of quiet endurance. That I am not. I have not...Been. Bless my heart. Mainly bless those that love me as they have endured such keen observations as, "Did you know that Lent is HARD?!?!" Deep thoughts over here. LOL :)))

Amidst all of my whining, God has been teaching me....as much to my surprise as it might be to yours. He has taught me that all of us need humor in the struggles. Life is hard. He taught me that being vulnerable and honest is not simply annoying to others (and sometimes it is), but that even more it connects us. We are ALL struggling through stuff in our lives. It is sometimes nice to know we are not alone in that.

God has taught me that facing my fears...facing past mistakes....facing the enemy head on...is easier with a tribe...with my people. Long before I determined tribe amongst my "people" there was a tribe of three little kids (brother and sisters) who conquered the world....two of us are left in that little tribe....and with one's husband and three amazing kids....we make a new tribe of six...and let me tell you, I will put our tribe of six against the devil himself. We show up for each other...even in the hard stuff, and let me tell you that we have shared some dark, tough stuff as of late, but there in the midst...they/we and God are there. I couldn't be more grateful. Truly.

God showed me what the end of my Lent needed to look like, but I couldn't see how it would happen, and then he finally convinced me to share with my Sis...and poof it all started falling into place. Like. A. Miracle.

The kids asked Sis what in the world was going on with Aunt Heather?? Her simple answer..."She is trying to find her happy place." and the truth is that is more true than even she knows...I am in search of the path and place God wants me...where my life adds value to the kingdom instead of value to my "life" and that is HARD. It is hard to do and hard to explain and even harder to understand (bless my friends and tribe for trying).

I digress.

The lessons...

  • Sacrifice is good for your heart and your life.
  • Sacrifice is hard.
  • We all have "numbing" mechanisms built into our lives...work, alcohol, food, hobbies, drugs, volunteer work, cleaning...anything that you are using to "numb" yourself from dealing with whatever in life is confronting you any given moment.
  • There is the family you are born into and the family whom God grafts into your life; sometimes they are one and the same, and sometimes they are not. Pay attention. It matters.
  • Rose-colored glasses once broken cannot be repaired, and the result is called GROWTH.
  • #growthsucks
  • Jesus never leaves our side. Never.
  • Never. Ever.
  • Ever.
  • We have a greater capacity for pain than we know.
  • We have a greater capacity for fear than we know.
  • Often the two are correlated.
  • They both generally come from one person.
  • The Enemy.
  • Jesus allows fear and pain, but it is not his core nature.
  • Don't confuse Jesus and Satan; they are not the same. No matter what Satan whispers.
  • You can survive a broken heart.
  • The old tales about one month for every year or one year for every year...listen to them; surviving a broken heart means taking the time to heal, figuring out how it happened, and learning from it.
  • Did I mention #growthsucks ???
  • Good work in this life is important, but a good life is more valuable.
  • It is a lot harder to build a good life than it is to do good work.
  • I have done some really great work in my life, but I haven't always worked to build a great life.
  • God is teaching me the difference and how to build the latter.
  • His way; not mine.
  • Forgiveness is harder than anyone explains.
  • I am a Forgiveness Master, and I still SUCK at it.
  • Take that for what it is worth.
  • Jesus loves me...Any. Way.
  • Any. Way.
  • I desire to be truly holy more than I desire to be truly right.
  • Realizing that in the middle of Lent has Changed. My. Life.
  • God. Is. Good.
  • All. The. Time.
  • I thought I was a good Christian; I was wrong.
  • I thought I was a good friend; I was wrong.
  • I thought I was a good fill-in-the-blank; I was wrong.
  • God makes all things new though...and I can do and be better.
  • I will do and be better.
  • By the grace of God, I am better.
  • I cannot fully comprehend what Jesus did for me.
  • I sit here and am not sure I ever will.
  • I am okay with that.
  • My "job" is not to understand.
  • I am not a "Good Christian" BUT I am a fantastic student and child of The King.
  • A Learner.
  • A Worshiper.
  • A Tribe Builder.
  • I love Jesus with my WHOLE heart.
  • I am in awe at how I have half-assed my love for him for so many of the past 43 years.
  • He loves me ANYWAY.
  • I am a student.
  • I am so in love with his Word.
I could go on and on and on....

Truly.

Lent has been awe-inspiring, and I will never again not take full advantage of the opportunity to participate in this season. It has been such a gift to learn more about something I simply was not taught growing up, and I have loved being a student of it these past 40 days. I am tremendously grateful to friends and family and strangers who sent me information, shared their past experiences, and simply encouraged me along the way. I am especially grateful to those who helped me laugh at myself on the hard days when the whining was INTENSE. Thank you to them for loving me anyway.

As darkness falls on this Easter/Resurrection Morning, I am in awe of the gift of the life I have been given. I am simply the luckiest girl alive. I have people who love me WELL. I have a full LIFE. I have an amazing TRIBE that love and challenge me. Mostly, I have a God who loves me WELL..Every. Single. Day.

I hope that you have had a beautiful season of Lent. I hope the lessons have been many and life-changing. I hope your relationship with God has deepened through it. I hope your life ahead is forever changed. I hope you know you are loved.

He Is Risen

He. Is. Risen.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)