I should have known lent was going to be a scary-mess this year when these guys were spotted on day One!
Timid and skittish, the blacktip reef shark is difficult to approach and seldom poses a danger to humans unless roused by food. However, people wading through shallow water are at risk of having their legs mistakenly bitten. Umm, that’s where I spotted them…wading through the shallow water!!!
And that’s when it clicked! The first time.
Don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t been all bad.
There have been several beautiful moments for me, scattered & strung out together, throughout the lenten season.
I’ve just had to look a little more closely for them and
sort through the clutter to find the beauty.
This lenten season; however, has felt extremely awkward. Unusually abnormal. A spit-sputter start & stop motion. Just a downright gam!
Admittedly, I am a neat and orderly sort of person. So it is no wonder that my lenten experiences normally consist of detailed committed prayer, sacrifice and alms. I hold on to these commitments with a keen awareness, as an offering of gratitude for all my Savior sacrificed for my own salvation.
Does this happen perfectly??
But, imperfect though they may be, the commitments I make remain nonetheless -as I trudge on.
This year was different.
It was wishy-washy.
It was unkept.
It was truly a scary-mess!
That is until I began taking my frustration to prayer!
Primarily scolding myself for not making a clear commitment, exasperated with each passing day that I wasn’t offering a “good” lent, and vowing once again to “begin a proper lent” tomorrow – it was during this lamenting over my “terribleness” that God whispered to my heart:
“Remember the lessons I’ve been teaching you, my beloved. Most especially regarding indifference. Remember, St. Ignatius, who said: “We must make ourselves indifferent to all creation, to the extent that we do not desire health more than sickness, riches more than poverty, honor more than dishonor, a long life more than a short life, or anything at all in and of itself. We should desire and choose only what helps us attain the end for which we were created.” Remain indifferent, my dear one, even to your lenten expectations. I am with you child, and I gladly adjust your attitude. Be indifferent to circumstance, but attend to your friendship with me.”
And that’s when it clicked! The second time.
That’s when the mess ceased being scary.
Because I no longer desired beauty over the mess!
Instead, I recognized for the first time – that it was precisely because of the mess – that I was spending more time with God in prayer. I was running to Him daily, if only because of my lamentations. And that He & I were in a daily relationship with one another, which went far beyond my normal lenten sacrifices.
And isn’t that what He is always asking for from us? A committed daily relationship!
“So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”
I’m pretty certain I’ve never read in Scripture He yearns for us to give up chocolate for His sake!
Yet, He does continuously seek-out a relationship with us because He loves us.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
And that’s when it clicked! The third and final time.
Lent is all about love.
As we begin to take the first steps in to the Easter Triduum, no matter how beautiful or how scary-messy our lent may have been, may we remember that Jesus sacrificed His life to redeem us – because He loves us. And He didn’t just use 40 days to remind us. He uses every day – and it’s waiting there for us to receive – each day we chose to be WITH Him!
hugs n’ blessings for all the life lessons that will “click” for you this Easter Season! Alleluia!
And so I send out a special prayer just for him. May it ‘rise like dough’ up to the Heavens & be answered by the One above!
Lord, I’m praying for my boy today.
Thank you for giving him to me, and for the privilege of being his parent. I’ve got some things on my heart, and I’m bringing these request to You now. Thank You that You hear and answer prayer.
Please keep him safe.
Protect him from physical danger, emotional harm, and spiritual attacks. Put Your angels around him so that he is always sheltered in Your care. Guard his mind, his eyes, and his steps.
Help him make wise choices.
Give him courage to choose paths that will lead to long life, to joy, and to Your purposes for him. Give him the eyes & wisdom to avoid temptation and pursue what is good.
May he always be a man of character.
Help him to continue to be honest, kind, generous, and unselfish. May he always be trustworthy and resilient, be willing to work hard, and ready to take responsibility for his decisions. Give him the ability to see the best in people and circumstances, and to find strength in the face of adversity.
Surround him with good people.
Provide friends who encourage him, understand him, and have a positive influence on him. And help him to walk away from any relationships that tear down his self-worth, or cause him to make poor choices. Give him mentors; people he can trust, those he can emulate. We all need godly role models, and I ask You to provide them for him.
Give my son a heart for You.
I know that he will make mistakes and that he will have struggles. This is part of life. But through these experiences, would You speak to him; and show him that You are for him? May he love You in the Quiet, and seek Your peace in the midst of a noisy world. Help him to see You in the everyday moments of his life.
I commit this young man to You.
There is so much I can’t control now that he is this age, but I know I can always come to You with my requests, and I can relinquish my worries to You. I thank You for peace, and freedom from fear, because Your perfect love casts out all fear. I stand on Your promise that You will complete the good work that You have started in my son, and You will always love this beautiful gift You’ve given me, even more than I could ever do.
Adapted from the Poem A Prayer For My Son, by Ron Tranmer.
hugs n’ blessings with two added cups of hugs and unending tablespoons of blessings to a very special son!