This morning we woke to a flurry of snow and I, not having to anything urgent on my to “do” list, decided to take my time in sitting and being. Already I’ve read some well-written words as to how I might approach this season of Lent. Words such as…
“Lent should be a time when God is in charge of the conversation not us…a time when we cooperate with His grace as He leads, and we then follow.” Marina McCoy.
“Lent doesn’t take us away from our ordinary lives, but rather invites us to bring a new and holy attention to all our activities.” Pope Francis
What then I wondered could I add to the “lots” already out there? Then I got to thinking why I started “blogging” in the first place, which is simply the hope that some nugget I share from my own walk, my own “living life” experiences, will cause the reader to look up, and fix their eyes on Him. Hence the following true story, with a not great, taken by me, photo.
I was in a shop recently and saw this quote hanging above a door frame. When I pointed to it, one of the shop assistants said: “I’ve worked here for ages and I never noticed that!” I had spotted it first thing and was genuinely puzzled as to how could she not have seen it. And of course, it was simply because she was so busy looking down and around that she hadn’t looked up! Which got me to thinking am I, are you, so busy and concerned with the busyness and even messes of life, that I’m forgetting to look up, “consider and fix my eyes on Him?” (Hebrews 12:2)
Speaking of messes…this is what our bathroom looks like just now. It’s a “right royal mess! But I know it is a work in progress and that when it’s finished, all the upheaval will have been worth it. And I wonder if, when I sometimes look at the unfinished mess of others, do I forget that they, that indeed we are all works in progress? I say us all, for I think we often afford more grace and patience to, and with others than we grant to ourselves and that we are often more willing to wait for transformation to take place in the lives of others, while we demand “perfection” of ourselves!
And lastly: As you know our lovely, wonderful, kind, gentle, courageous, son is now studying theology in Fuller, Pasadena. Because of this, we take time out once a week to watch the live streaming of their weekly chapel services. As we’ve watched these services, including some new forms of worship, such as yesterdays inspiring, “Imposition of Ashes” service, they have often both touched and challenged my heart, so that I have to humbly admit that my presumed middle class white Protestant values of how a “Christian” should act, what’s right, and what’s normal has been thrown out of its comfort zone. Be that as it may, as mentioned here previously the students theme for this academic year is based on verses from Isaiah 43, with the president of Fuller Mark Labberton, right at the start of the year issuing this challenge which has stayed with me “Will I allow the fear of the Lord, a Holy respect of God, to recalibrate all my thinking?”
And so I finish with a pondering from a few days ago, as recorded in my daily journal…
“In the midst of my this too much, too deep, I hear your words, fear not.
In the midst of my, wearisome, dull ordinary, I hear your words, fear not.
In the midst of all of my not knowing, not understanding, I hear your words, fear not.
In the midst of all my waiting, I hear your words, fear not.
In the midst of all my doubting, I hear your words, fear not.
In the midst of every longing, I hear your words, fear not.
I the midst of every “I’m not good enough,” I hear your words, fear not.
In all my wondering “where will this path go, what lies ahead?” I hear your words, fear not…”
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine…..don’t be afraid, for I am with you.” Isaiah 43:1 + 5
With love and His blessings in this Lenten season, and prayers that we will all have the grace to follow Him with the courage to be silent to allow His whispers and His extraordinary to transform our ordinary. That we will have the wisdom to be patient with ourselves, and others, in our “getting there.” That we will indeed allow His “fear not” to recalibrate all of our thinking as we remember He calls us by name as “His children, His beloved.” (1 John 3: 1+2)