Last year’s Lent and this years couldn’t be more drastically different than they’ve been. I will always look fondly upon Lent 2017. It helped me grow so much closer to God, build my faith and helped me to become more bold in sharing that faith. It was free from most trials and hardships, I woke up everyday just so full of joy and feelings of gratitude. This year though, ugh, it’s been one looong ride on the struggle bus.
My conversations with God have gone something like this…
Me: Father, why is this happening?
Me: Dear God, please take this burden from me!
God: *adds ten more bricks*
Me (frustrated!): GOD, WHY AREN’T YOU RESPONDING TO ME?!
God: *total silence*
Cue Holy Week. Holy Monday rolls around, I’m in the silence of a hot shower when BAM I’m hit with a realization that there is a reason for it all. (Cue the tears).
Last year was about helping me get through the basics of really learning to love God and put Him first. Learning HOW to pray. Learning to put my prayer life ahead of everything else. (Which often times for a mom can mean something like praying while folding the laundry. “God clothe my family with strength and dignity”.). Learning to read the Bible, study it and talking to others about it. I NEEDED that Lent of pure ease and joy and blessings to help me for what was to come.
The refining of my soul. Ouch. Yeah, ouch. The peeling away of the junk, the ugly stuff that we as Christians sometimes want to ignore. It’s much easier to pray, read the Bible and post about Jesus on social media. But you know what isn’t easy? Really truly living a life of forgiveness, humility and grace given to others.
This entire Lent for me has been one of nonstop trials and feeling taken advantage of by others. I have been holding such feelings of frustration, bitterness, and pain towards others. It’s not easy to share this with anyone, let alone so publicly, BUT if I want to move forward and really have this Lent be fruitful then I need to woman-up and not be blind to what this Lent was all about…
Teaching me to open my eyes to what is holding me back from getting to the next level with God. For me, that’s obviously been learning to forgive others and truly move on from that pain.
Holy Week. The week that Jesus was betrayed by one of His best friends, crucified in the most horrific way possible. Yet, as He hung on that cross He did what I struggle so hard to do. Forgive. As Jesus was dying, He forgave all of them. He forgave us, me, and you. He didn’t hold a grudge, get up to heaven and say “I can’t believe they did that to me!” Nope, He simply forgave. Wow.
Ok God, point taken. Off to confessions I go.
Admitting this sin is a step in the right direction. It’s not a quick fix, it’s a process of refinement. 40+ painful days of refinement for me. It is also a realization that forgiveness doesn’t have to mean allowing someone to continue to hurt you or take advantage of you. God forgave us for our sins, but He also wants us to repent from our sins and not commit the same sin again. We don’t have to be doormats to others, but we do need to be Christ-like and forgive.
For you it might be something totally different. I have heard from so many people that this Lent has been one full of trials for them too. Maybe try to look at those trials and see what sort of pain it’s caused you? Then dig deeper to get to the root of where that pain is coming from. Don’t let the evil one stop you from the beautiful gift of Lent. Despite any failures to keep your Lenten promise, or whatever it is that has made you feel so bogged down, God can make ALL things good. We just have to have an open heart and open ears to hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit trying so desperately to teach each of us something new this Lent.