Lent wasn’t what I expected. And yet, it was everything I had hoped. For He met me in my darkest state and didn’t look away. Then He proved what He’s capable of…for He took loving me ’till death do us part to a whole new level.
Wow, does He love me. And my goodness, does He ever pursue me.
There was one night in particular. Shortly after Lent began. I went to bed too late, utterly exhausted…still I couldn’t sleep.
Friend, do you ever get that desperate, parched feeling? Just a dire need to read The Word? I hope you say no for the only good reason–you get your fill every day. And that was the thing. I had been in The Word every day. More than normal, in fact. And yet, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling. I have no idea how to describe the urgency I felt…but, friends, I HAD to read James.
I snuck out of bed and I told God (I’m so embarrassed at how many times I say that…) I did, I told God I would read the first chapter only and the rest tomorrow when my mind wasn’t hazy. I promised Him at the first crack of light, I’d read the entire Book. Oh, and I gave Him the obvious reasons–so I could hear Him better and apply it deeper. Yada, yada…
Some day, friends, some day I’ll learn this lesson He repeatedly tries to teach me: I don’t know better…ever.
You have figured this out already, but still I can’t believe how hard the Book of James hit me. How much I needed those words. Right then. I was sobbing by the end of the first chapter. And there was no stopping me. I had to go on. Twice.
For the remainder of Lent, the Book of James showed up and walked me through. Friends, I can’t even make this stuff up. I would find it in a blog post here, in a tweet there. Twice it was the Bible verse chosen for my Sunday School class to memorize. It was also in the very books I was reading. James was everywhere.
Because of God…Because God…He knew better.
A great portion of Lent for me was spent in self-reflection. And this year was different from last. For last year, I couldn’t get beyond my own sin and unworthiness. This year, I was desperate to figure out who I really am for Him. What I can be. do. live. I know I’m His child, but which one? Where’s my place?
Would you believe I found every answer I was looking for in James? It took me weeks of reading it daily. Over and over. It took flat-on-my-face prayer time to soften this heart of mine and hear what He had for me.
I’m still trying to figure out how and what to share. And I’m not even done learning, that I know. But we’ve gone this far together, friends. I have to share a bit of it with you. Do you mind just one example now?
It’s been an excuse of mine for decades. And I struggle with this in my own parenting, trying hard not to do the same for my son. For He deserves what God has to offer, not me. And friends, God never puts us in a box. Ever. We’re too valuable for that. So who am I to say what my son is capable of…
Still, I’ve convinced myself what I’m capable of. I’ve labeled my own limitations and have accepted my place low in the ranks of God’s army. What’s worse…I’ve been okay with this for quite a while.
Then I read this:
Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!
To think…Elijah. The one we hear about as a child in Sunday School and stand in awe at the very thought of him. He was just like me: Fully human. Fully His.
Who am I to say what God will or won’t do through me, friends? Who am I to think “Fully His” isn’t enough?
That part alone took me days to sort through. Then, He hit me with this:
Who am I to think my time isn’t best spent in prayer?
Elijah…just a guy…prayed earnestly. He asked God to show up with His power. Not with Elijah-power. No. He fully believed God showing up would be enough to prove who reigns. And God did. In rain. Show up.
Who am I to think God won’t show up and use me or use me up for His glory?
Friends, I can tell you now. This Lent, God showed up. What’s even more mind-boggling is He simply showed up for me. Just me. Not to impress an audience or give me something blog-worthy to share. No. He was focused on me.
Who am I to not love Him back like that? Fully His…
I catch myself now, looking in the mirror, asking myself the same question: Who am I? And I answer it with ease:
I’m fully His. And I know enough to believe that’s more than enough for Him. For He knows better…
Friend, if you need to talk about refinement more, please email me at simplystriving (at) gmail (dot) com.
NOTE: If you have not read this book, I highly recommend you click HERE.
How about you, friend? How did God show up for you this Lent? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.