It is late Sunday afternoon, and I intended to be Sabbathing, but my intentions have been interrupted. (God says rest this one day—I've got this, but I had to do a "live-chat" ordering thing TODAY and I am third in the queue, and so I stopped for a minute to think about this season while waiting for the real live computer chat person on the other end of the line.)
This is me keeping it real.
I am not the one to go-to if you're looking for tidy Lent plans, fixed-firmly daily patterns, or fasts. My life is chaotic in ways I can't explain to most these days, but that is all the more reason for reflection and prayer. And as my word for the year is "Present," I keep telling God I'll keep showing up, you show me the way. And I am stopping, stopping, slowing, pausing, searching for his voice above the clamor.
The husband gave up Facebook during this season, and I thought that sounded lovely and hope-filled and quieting, but it wouldn't work for me in this season of speaking and writing and Reclaiming Eve Bible studies, and so I had to come up with something else.
The result is quite simple:
- Journaling my brokenness and my thanksgiving (journal from my friend Brooke, if you must know)
- Morning Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle
- Re-reading Champagne for the Soul, a thoughtful 90-day devotional on Christian joy by Mike Mason
- Listening to a few chapters from our church's Lent Bible-reading schedule on biblegateway.com NIV audio
This morning, David and I began the ritual, minus the journaling, and Mike Mason nailed it, as he usually does, and it led to a bit of recentering and spontaneous prayer and rejoicing in the Lord, and I wanted that you should hear it, too.
While talking about how the Beatitudes in Matthew lead to an "upside-down view," where "the greatest joy issues from the greatest worldly trouble,"—the paradox of the Jesus way, to be sure—he ended with this gem:
"Pursue joy for its own sake, and anything that seems to go wrong comes as a grievous blow. But resolve to rejoice always and only in the Lord, and everything that goes right comes as a blessing."
And I thought about how serious everything seems sometimes. And how tightly I hold it. And I asked our Abba to help me release it, to release it tomorrow, too, to keep on releasing it. I asked that he would keep me focused on his surprising goodness and provision, his love for all. That he would keep me rejoicing.
In this season of reflection, and waiting, and brokenness, I pray that you would also find a quiet place of rejoicing, not just when Easter dawns, but in the middle of the mundane mess right now, no matter the grievous blows surrounding you. Resurrection and joy are already ours, and this year I am finding them in the quietness.
Your turn: What are you discovering in this Lenten season?
On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!” — Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church