The Day After Ash Wednesday

For the past week, I’ve been trying to carefully and prayerfully decide what to give up for Lent.

And I can’t figure out what it is, what I need to let go of for six weeks to focus deeper in on the cross.

So, I jump to extremes, because I’m awful with the middle-of-the-road.

I’ll give up music! All of it.

No more movies!

I’ll sacrifice sleep– and wake up before the boys.

And the truth is, I’ve done some of these things before, and there’s abundant blessing in the practice of letting go.

But for some reason, this Lenten season isn’t asking me for something massive and extreme.

I told Travis my troubles, and later in the day he left me a note–

“Just walk in peace in this season, knowing your identity.”

This seems to be the boundless power of the cross-

It may ask me for the huge and mountain-like things, or it may whisper to the tiny places of the heart that are left unattended to for so long.

So, this year for Lent, I’m going to give up the fight, the constant battle to DO more, to fix myself and bandage my own wounds without proper healing.

The ashes on my forehead remind me that I’m indeed broken and in need, but they also cover me in the promising peace of the cross.

Hallelujah, that God meets me in the tiny space inside, and beckons me nearer, still.

And hallelujah that He calls those tiny places worthy of His love.

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So Travis and I gather into the coffee shop quiet, and the boys spend a few hours with some dear, new friends from church.

And in this space, we work and plan and make space for future days.

And we remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. 

And we cherish Lent, for what it teaches us about the cross of Christ and the heart of the Father:

Oh, what joy for those
    whose disobedience is forgiven,
    whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
    whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
    whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
    my body wasted away,
    and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
    My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
    and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
    And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. 

Psalm 32

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