Worth Reading

Yesterday I read this.  And I fought tears.  Not because Will has Down Syndrome but because that mother doubted she'd be able to love him as he deserved.

What a joy to read she discovered God provides - all we will ever always need.


This Season of Lent

I don't know how often I'll write about this.  This post will probably be quite random and rambling.  A few weeks ago I read this post talking about Lent.  And you know what happened, right?  You would be correct.  Something in it jumped at me and grabbed me by the shoulders so I couldn't move and stared straight into my eyes.  Into my very soul.

It was this: 

"I’ve made soup. I’ve lit the candle. We bow.
I serve bowls, I pass out bread, I pour cups.
They’re talking and I am listening and I blithely sit down and I eat.
I have bread in the mouth, the bowl half empty, when I drop the spoon. I shake the head hard. I taste disgust. I absentmindedly eat in the evening, a meal I vowed to fast from.
What was I thinking? I can’t scrub my lips clean.
I choke it out in a whisper, “Do I not think enough of You to remember?”
I close the eyes tight and the heart cries the words silent. Do I love You so little?”
It is an irrefutable law: one needs to be dispossessed of the possessions that possess —
before one can be possessed of God.
Let the things of this world fall away so the soul can fall in love with God. God only comes to fill the empty places and kenosis is necessary – to empty the soul to know the filling of God.
But the flesh is corrupt. I can’t do it."

Reading that took me straight to my knees.  I was confronted by my own arrogance, my own pride.  Those words... "Do I not think enough of You to remember?  Do I love You so little?"  They echoed and echoed and echoed through what felt like very, very dark halls in my heart.  I knew better than to let that echo sound a panic that God may have deserted me but I didn't let it fool me into believing He was thrilled with who I've been...who I am becoming.  I have been "she who does life on her own."  Again.

Isn't that the way?  Or...isn't that my way?  We are I am in the Word, we're I'm praying, God is walking with us me - hand in hand.  And then something sparkles in the distance and we I run off just a little bit ahead.  We I turn back that first time but there is that sparkle again and we I run a little further...

We I run until God is a fuzzy figure in the way-back distance and suddenly?  We're I'm not sure we I can hear him calling.  We're I'm not sure what He's saying...

And because we I can't understand, we I stand there for a little bit and then turn back around to that sparkly thing...and give up listening for good.  Or until something catches our my attention and we I realize what a fool we've I've been... again.

When that happened this time, I "woke up" when I read that article and it broke my heart.  How does God suffer us so well?  I love Him so much but I don't show Him that.  Jesus becomes another word that falls off of my tongue and I am furious at myself for my laziness.

So this time I think - what can I do?  In addition to repenting my pride, my idolatry, my foolishness I look at the calendar and see yes - Lent is starting tomorrow and Easter is coming up quickly.  This year I should try - try to give up something for Lent and this time give up something more meaningful, more painful, than I have in the past.  I've always struggled with Lent (and hence gave up giving up) because it never seemed all that heart-felt to me.  I gave up something (usually chocolate) because it was the thing to do and didn't really cost much.

This time I sat and thought and prayed - what do you want me to give up, Lord?  And when an answer didn't come to me right away, I gave up and opened my computer.

To Facebook.

And it struck me - there it sat in all of it's electronic glory.  Facebook.  That social network hub that keeps me attached to the people in my life - some whom I see often and some I haven't seen in almost 30 years and ranges in between.  Facebook.  That robber of time, duller of senses and honestly?  Reducer of value.  How easy it is to compare yourself to the friend who has 300 friends more than you do or to the acquaintance who has just jetted off to yet another location to hop on yet another cruise ship...  How easy it is to place your value in comparison to others.

When your value lies only in Christ.

I repeated that to myself a few times.  Prayed over it for another day or two and then posted for all to read (so no one would think I was dead) that I was giving up Facebook for Lent. 

And boy oh boy has it hurt.  I really didn't realize just how much I'd come to rely on that silly system to provide entertainment (who doesn't love their friend's kids' funny pictures or playing hours of Scrabble and Words with Friends?), to keep me in the loop on what was happening in people's lives (what is wrong with a phone call or letter?) and to make sure I saw my "daily deals" (who doesn't need another tchotchke for the living room?). 

It's been gone one week now and I will admit - I still go a bit weak in the knees when I think about it.  The temptation to sign on and just "clear my notifications" is almost overwhelming.  Facebook has emailed to TELL me I have notifications and I think "oh...it misses me."  (Right??? Don't touch that one...  I promise you I am NOT crazy!)

Yet in that week what I have replaced Facebook with?  Journaling?  Yes.  Reading the Psalms?  Yes.  Praying more often?  Yes.  Working a bit harder?  Yes.  Tackling that pile of recipes I've wanted to sort for more months than I can remember?   Yes.

And that's just week one...

Tomorrow will be a big test.  It's Saturday and I want to organize the freezer.  I'll be home alone for the bulk of the day and you do realize that means my laptop will be calling my name, even from another room, right? 

So what plan is in place?  Prayer.  Prayer.  Prayer.  I can't do this in my strength so I am requesting He provide His and do you know what I know?  He is faithful and just and all we ask in His will has already been provided.  He works all to the good for those who love Him and this stretching and growing, this reminding myself to whom I pledged my life...

He will be faithful.