Every year as Lent approaches I feel weary from the busy-ness of the holiday season and getting back into the grove afterward… I find myself longing for some time for reflection, and drawing back to God. It always seems to come just when I need a recharge….
And this year is no different. The Fall/Winter season has left me overwhelmed and tired. I came down with Shingles in November and it seemed to never end…. By the time I was coming out of the fog that the Shingles and the medicine for them put me in I was surrounded by loose ends and things left undone or done wrong. As I type this I am still feeling behind in the things I usually try to stay on top of…. I’m surrounded by a mountain of laundry, and many other chores that have not gotten the attention they need…
But the household chores aren’t the only things that have not gotten the attention that they need. My family hasn’t either. It seems like I’ve talked for quite some time about needing to get some things off my plate, and having Shingles made that even more evident to me. As I went through the Fall/Winter season it seemed like my whole world was falling apart. My marriage has suffered. My kids have suffered. I have suffered. Even my relationship with God has suffered.
Life has a way of passing us by. We can be present in the moment and still miss it. This is something that has baffled. me for a long time. I’ve homeschooled my kids for 8 years and still feel like I have missed so much…. how???
Many days, especially recently, I’ve found myself going from day to day, just trying to make it from sun up to sun down.
There have even been days in the last year when I have said to myself, “I hate my life”.
In reality, I don’t. If I take a minute to step away from the pure exhaustion, I have a great life. I have many, many things to be thankful for. I guess this is a lot of the reason I haven’t really talked about my dark feelings. I know there are so many others who have much less to be thankful for than I do. But that doesn’t make the pain any less real.
Maybe you’ve felt this way. Maybe you’ve felt this aloneness that I am talking about.
I say it all the time- it never ceases to amaze me the way our God cares for us in such a personal way in the middle of our trials. Sometimes we’re so wrapped up we don’t see it, but He is always there.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a couple of messages that I know came from God… One in the form of an email from my Dad, asking me if my heart was ok… Interesting, since it has been broken recently….. And another from a host of mine from Pampered Chef who sent me a message on Facebook telling me she had dreamed I was depressed and she needed to talk to me about it. Why do I know these were from God?
My dad lives in Colorado, and I haven’t been able to talk to him for a while because of the busyness, so he had no idea how I was feeling…
My host is just that- someone who I met through my business, who doesn’t know me on a personal level more than facebook and we are not in the same circle for her to know I have been struggling. Perhaps her message touched me the most. That she would follow through and message me, and take the risk of being vulnerable enough to share her dreams with me. Isn’t this the gift of Christian Sisterhood at work?
“I have told you this so that through me you may have peace. In the world you'll have trouble, but be courageous—I've overcome the world!" John 16:33
So, yes, it’s been a very dark time for me. Things have happened in my life that have shaken me to my core. I’ve let go of some things and endured some hurts that no one should. Things I have only shared with my inner core of friends. My inner core of prayer warriors whom I knew would pray for me. And through this I have felt the power of prayer. I have had days when I feel like everything will be ok, and days when I haven’t. I don’t yet know what “ok” is, but I know at this point that I will get there. And that’s an improvement.
So, back to Lent… It’s fitting that I’ve been through an emotional and spiritual winter, and I am now about to head in to Spring. As the weather warms up, and new beginnings are all around, I’m looking for my own new beginnings. That, in fact, is exactly what Lent is about…. It’s a period of reflection, of preparing for new beginnings, of shedding off the old, clothing ourselves with the new, of cleansing our hearts, minds, and souls. It is, essentially our Spring Cleaning as Christians.
Traditionally, something is given up for Lent. I’ve got a couple. One of my goals is to not yell at my kids/family/friends/insert innocent victim here… Yes, I have had some issues with yelling. I’m not quiet. Never have been. But lately, in my state of being overwhelmed, it has gotten worse, and I’m not proud of some of my behaviors. So, I’m going to aim to keep my voice down when I get frustrated. Second, on the evenings when I’m home, I’m going to take at least one hour where I’m not on any electronics at all. If the kids are watching something, I will actually watch it with them. Interact with them… No sitting on the couch with them while they watch their thing and I do my thing on the computer/phone/ipad/insert other distraction here.. Essentially I am giving these things up, but what I’m really do is giving my presence to those I love the most…. I’ve been so busy trying to catch up with everything that I’ve forgotten the most important thing I need to catch up on--- my family.
Additionally, I try to add something during Lent that I feel will enhance my Spiritual connection to God. For now, I’ll start with our Wednesday Soup and Study at our church, continue Bible Devotions with my husband every day, and I’m going to try to make a more conscience effort to BE STILL….
So there it is. I have told you since the beginning this blog is about my life, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Today I’ve shared some of my ugly in the hopes that you won’t judge me, and that I am able to touch someone, somewhere and help them where they need it.
So, what are your thoughts on Lent?
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.