Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lent Update

Here we are, almost a month into the season of Lent - so about halfway through. I just wanted to share an update of what has transpired since I wrote my "Enter the Season of Lent" post on February 19th. I said in that post that Lent has taken on a new meaning for me this year. I'm learning more about what the history of what it means to me as a follower of Christ, and the miracle that we celebrate during this time. There is incredible power in this season!
These were my exact words about what I wanted to give up this Lent  (from the previous Lent post): "So this year for Lent, I want to give up serving myself and all the fears and doubts that go along with that. Lent is ALL ABOUT recognizing our sins and turning away from them, in order to kneel down at the cross. It's about intentional prayer, intentional steps to avoid distractions and just revel in the beauty that is our walk with God. That means diving into my "messy" and revealing the parts of me that cry out to be healed. It's much harder than giving up Diet Coke or social media, but I know it's something that I must do. I want to slow my pace, obey the Lord and I will wait expectantly for him to rekindle that fire in the my soul."
We can all agree that it's pretty awesome how God works, right? Literally leaves me in awe. Maybe you don't know God and so you cannot right now recognize all the ways that He is working around you, in you, through you, but friends TRUST me when I say that it's a mind blowing concept! I say that because I begged God to turn me inside out and reveal to me the areas where my sin was overwhelming my good intentions. And I have found that when I beg the Lord for things that He can use to draw my heart closer to His, He surely does it.
Being a Christian does not exclude you from sad times or bad days. When I wrote that first post a month ago, my heart felt heavy heavy heavy. Initially giving up serving myself sounded hard. The actual act of readjusting my thoughts and actions to try and do so has been even harder! It's embarrassing how easy and natural it is for me to act selfishly. But I have become much more aware of these actions and have definitely been wrestling the convictions that come along with that - which is progress. Turning away from serving yourself and into serving the Lord with all your heart is really a process. It doesn't happen over night and it requires massive amounts of patience. Remember, Lent is a messy season because we are messy people. It's about dealing with our messes.

Over the past month, none of my life circumstances have changed. I'm still single, my job still feels stressful, I'm still paying the same old bills with the same amount of paycheck, my family is still certifiably insane, same old things - but I am being shown that God will always be bigger than any of my life circumstances. Always.

The struggle with true repentance can be difficult. Truths revealed to you about yourself can be heartbreaking to accept. Shameful, even. But that feeling of shame is not what God wants for us. He offers us grace. A powerful, overwhelming, all encompassing, freedom from sin and shame. He knew all along that we would struggle - because we are human. Yet when we do he does not aim to condemn us, but picks us right back up and reassures us that nothing can separate us from his love.

My point here is not to lead you to She Reads Truth or to preach to you. My point is I literally cannot help but sing the Lord's praises after all that he has done for me and all the ways that he continues to change my heart. I read my old posts on here from a 3 years ago when my life was in a totally different place, my heart was far from God, and I can see the HUGE ways he has changed my life. I'm living proof of the redeeming power of the gospel. And if my life can be changed, then I promise yours can too. None of us are ever too far gone for grace. You don't have to clean yourself up for God. You don't have to do anything but have faith.

Here are some truths that I feel the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me this Lent season. We have been singing this song at church lately called "Unstoppable Love" by Jesus Culture and it is EVERYTHING. Listen to the words. Makes me tear up every time.

From Day 22 of the SRT Lent Study:
"The consequences of my sin are devastating, but more devastating still is my lack of repentance. Lack of repentance breeds shame, and shame whispers lies in my ear. Shame tells me I can’t be forgiven. Shame tells me I’m not worth forgiving. But the Cross tells a different story—the true story."

These verses have comforted me a lot in the past week, and they come from the She Reads Truth Lent Study (Day 23):
 Psalm 32:8-11 NLT
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
The more I begin to fully come to recognize God for who he truly is, and not just who I have thought him to be, the more I fall in love with him. The more I feel the depth of his love for me, the harder it becomes for me to keep my mouth shut about him.

Anybody else experiencing God's love this Lent season?? TELL ME ABOUT IT!!


P!nky said...

What a great post, lady! You are so right, Lent is such a messy season and it's tough because no one likes mess. I have to admit, I haven't been as diligent as I wanted to this Lent and I feel kind of blah.

You've given me the kick in the rear I need to try to get back on track. I need to learn to repent and forgive more, that's for sure.

Lindsey said...

Such a great post, I love it!!! I just got back on track with my devotional and Bible reading and I feel the same way as you. I'm just falling more in love with my God. It's awesome!! :)

Hannah said...

Thank you so much for posting this - it is just what I needed to hear today. I've never given anything up for Lent, and I know we are halfway through - but I guess late is better than never! Much love to you! Mer

Amanda Elizabeth - Meet @ the Barre said...

Beautiful reminder girl!!! This Lent season is such a wonderful time for reflection and prayer :)

Nikki said...

Love this post! Lent is tough and you are strong! God is doing great things in your life!

PS. I have LOVED seeing you grow!

Amy @ Living n Learning said...

I always love your posts!!! I haven't been keeping up with the Lent study on a daily basis like I would like but I do eventually catch up on it all. I've been loving it. :)

Amanda aka Manda said...

Such a beautiful and honest post! Love the verse too! Love seeing what He is doing in your heart this season.

Tracy said...

i just read this post again and just want to say how much you inspire me and how much i admire you and you faith!! You are such a gorgeous person inside and out!! 😍

Janna Renee said...

This is beautiful! You've grown into such an awesome person with so much depth and passion. I love the Book of Psalms!!