I’m almost 38 and I do not understand.
I do not understand what real sacrifice is, I do not understand how to love unconditionally, I do not understand gut wrenching compassion, I do not understand true affliction, I do not understand.
I am not wise in my own eyes and cringe when people would suggest so. That isn’t to say I have not gained some wisdom over almost four decades, I’m not a numb-nut, but I know the foolishness of my heart, the doubt and fear I wrestle with, my questions about my faith, my emotional teeter totter I get on each day. Although I come full circle back to Jesus I sometimes come unwillingly or shuffling my feet.
My heart can be very tossed about. I stand firm one minute and crumple at the next. I see Gods work in the world and marvel then I see the depravity of man and I waiver in my trust in an all powerful God.
I am surrounded, SURROUNDED by broken and hurting people. IN MY INNER CIRCLE. My heart feels stretched, fragile, thin. I’m not a melancholy. My deep laugh lines around my eyes are proof that I laugh and smile A LOT. I never tested as that personality trait and yet the older I get the more serious I seem to get. The more urgent I feel it is for me to cast aside anything that distracts me. I don’t want to waste time, money or resources on the “ashes” of this world…all that will rust, fade, be consumed by moths. “To what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul?” Matt 16:26
I was kneading bread yesterday and trying to flatten it out with my hands instead of a rolling pin. It didn’t take long before I tore holes in it. I tried to repair it but it looked battered and scarred. I pinched it over and over down the middle seam but it wouldn’t hold together. Isn’t that how we feel? Isn’t that how Christ left this earth? Battered and scarred and yet beautifully victorious over death? There is precious in the hard. There is beauty in the scars.
In my adult life I am learning a lot about what I missed. The gaps and holes in my theology. The misnomers, the lies I’ve told myself and just plain ignorance.
In the last few years I started to read and research what Advent is around Christmas time. How the month of December is actually an opportunity to have a heart attitude preparing me for the birth of Christ. It’s not about December 25th. It was never meant to be about one day. It’s an attitude and perspective that lasts more than a day.
Currently I am learning more about the season of Lent. Not because I am Catholic but because it too is a beautiful way to prepare my heart for an entire 40 days on the life changing sacrifice of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. It isn’t about giving something up in a heroic or noble fashion…it is about creating space in my mind and heart. Abstaining or “giving up” something for 40 days is symbolic for all the things that rule, consume, or have authority in my day and casting them aside to keep my eyes on my Savior only profits my soul.
I am in a posture of student. I am learning so that I may then teach my kids. Let me share a few things that are my current “textbooks”. They are pinching together my torn dough.
I can watch this video by the great Brennan Manning and I am bent straight over in worship. All the things I do not understand, God does. He is infinitely compassionate, full of wisdom and understanding and unconditionally loves AT ALL TIMES. It is His nature, it is who He is. Do yourself a favor and take two minutes to watch this. Receive truth.
I’m currently reading book after book by Edith Schaeffer, wife of famous theologian, Francis Schaeffer. She writes with the seasoned writing that only a long life lived in obedience and sacrifice can yield. My heart feels mentored by her words. Do yourself a favor and buy this book. (or any book by her) She comes directly to grips with the eternal question of why we face suffering and affliction in this life, showing us how to trust in God alone for comfort.
If you want to learn more about how to truly love people and live a life of humility then please….do yourself a favor and watch this powerful, funny, poignant, and honest message by Francis Chan. I keep coming back to it.
If you want to learn more about worship this Easter season and music speaks to your heart like no other medium then do yourself a favor and listen to these songs if you don’t already know them. They are on repeat around our house.
If the Easter season is hard for you, you feel dry and hopeless and guilty for feeling so then you want to read this blog that doesn’t mince words and a woman who writes with more adjectives than I could ever begin to spit out on paper. Read this entry by Ann Voskamp
May we all press deeper into the Saviors arms this Lent season. May we understand his compassion, wisdom, and love a little more. He promises if we seek Him we will find Him. How I want this.