At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but of pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
So…what’s your plan? Hopefully you’ve been pondering last Thursdays questions and you are beginning to pray about the ways God is leading you to grow in holiness this lent. I asked God to lead me to something I really needed to focus on. I didn’t want lent to be a repeat of New Years resolutions. I didn’t want it to be about a dozen little things that made me feel good but didn’t leave me with a lasting change of heart and I certainly didn’t want a repeat of my 7th grade eat only lettuce, tuna and oranges disaster! About two weeks ago, I asked him to lead me boldly. I gave him permission to lead me to something new and I promised to “COME” with him (my word this year) into the desert he chose for me; for us.
Knowing how much the Father loves us and wants to draw us closer and closer, I counted on his love and kindness as he led me to a new lent. What he’s been leading me to the past many days is sometime that has caused me to think, pray and do a lot of surrender and perhaps even a little bargaining. The final days of his lenten calling were the boldest but in his infinite love and compassion, he saved the hardest parts of the invitation for the days I spent in Florida in the sunshine, listening to and watching the ocean. I was staying in a fabulous oceanfront home surrounded by family and laughter and fun and so much beauty. The setting was amazing; the lenten message was not so lovely and simple. At least he gave it to me in small pieces surrounded by his blessings while I had time to really think and pray about what he was asking.
I boldly asked to be led to something I’d never done during lent before. I asked for balance. I asked for him to be abundantly clear and I asked for something that would truly change my desires and holiness. For the next 14 days, one of my morning prayer book contained a story about “Saints who Suffered.” Throughout the last two weeks I’ve stumbled across dozens of readings, posts, stories and examples of suffering and sacrifice. I seem to find them at every turn and I know he’s behind each and every one. I know those are the two things he’s asking this lent and he’s also being crystal clear about the areas the suffering and sacrifice should find root. I keep going back to those questions I posed last Thursday and I’m amazed and grateful and a little nervous about the things he’s helped me learn.
I know what he’s asking me to do, he will give me the grace to accomplish. I know that what he’s asking me to do he will give me the strength to follow through with. I know what he’s asking me to do will absolutely draw me closer and lead me not only to the foot of his cross but to the glory of his rising. The most amazing thing about all of this journey toward lent…even though sacrifice and suffering are the path he’s leading me to, I feel so much joy and anticipation about the weeks ahead. I’m getting excited about what he’s leading me to even though I’m painfully aware that it’s gonna be hard. He hasn’t always asked me to do “hard”, but this year he is and he’s also asking me to be very honest and transparent about this journey. I promised him I’d write about it, but not yet! I want all of you to spend a couple more days praying and pondering with him about how you will journey this lent. After I stopped trying to talk him out of the hard stuff for this lent and surrendered to his plan I opened a prayer book and read these words; Loving Father, make me a student of the cross. Teach me to rejoice in suffering. There it was, a giant exclamation point to his request so, step one…get ready for class…I plan to be a great student this lent.
A Seed To Plant: Pray with your whole heart to know the desires of the Father for your lenten journey. Remember, it’s about your holiness and your relationship with him. Ask him to make it clear and make it personal.
Blessings on your day!
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