“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
Today’s post was originally going to be about how I wished I had waited until Lent to give up soda. I even thought about giving up meat so I could identify with my Congolese children. But Lent isn’t about foregoing something so you can be healthier or feel closer to your kids. Those are good things, but they aren’t repentance. Lent isn’t giving up chocolate or TV or your pillow. It is about reflecting upon the great sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. It is meeting our finitude face to face. It’s about shedding idols and crutches. It is about repentance. And self-discipline and denial CAN help with that. Last night I settled for a bowl of Cheez-Its to comfort me when I have direct access to the Comforter. And I’m ashamed to admit how often I settle for something less than what God desires to give me: Himself. And He gives me Himself so that I can rejoice in all things.
I'm finding that a tad hard to do today as a loved one's young daughter was hit by a truck yesterday while playing in the park. My friend witnessed the accident. As did her other daughters and nieces and nephews. So I'm trusting that the God of the Universe, who knows what it is like to see your child suffer, will be our Comfort. And that little E will fully heal and continue to be the spunky lovey lovin' middle sister that we all adore.
As I reflect on His great sacrifice for me this Lenten season, I will seek out His grace, His joy. I’m going to hunt it down expectant that it will be there because God has promised it to me. I suspect that it is not that Grace is hiding, but that my eyes are focused elsewhere.
This is my Lenten Prayer:
Come Thou fount of every blessing
TUNE MY HEART to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise.
So for the next 40 days, that is how I will be observing Lent. Praying for God to tune my heart and shedding things that cause me to settle for blindness. And when I see God’s grace CLEARLY, I will be capturing it on Instagram (@ejphillips) using the hashtags #40days and #tunemyheart. Join me.
*Taken from my church's Lenten Reading Blog. Good stuff.