Three years ago I set out on an epic (OK…at least for me) adventure of taking on the Lenten discipline of writing each of the 40 days of Lent. Three years ago I was still adjusting to my new home and my newly empty nest. So much, it seemed, had changed – new beginnings were abundant and, though hopeful, I was honestly having difficulty letting go of some of the old…. It was a season of searching, and of longing to find that wide space in the path to catch my breath and get a bigger picture of my life. It was a true journey, and along the way God showed me so many things about myself and brought alongside unexpected companions to share those 40 days. But most of all….God proved to be ever-present, ever-faithful and completely sufficient to love me through it all!
Much has happened since the spring of 2012….my little family has faced what can only be described as tragedy and loss….unimaginable loss.
I have no idea why I feel compelled to write through the 40 days of Lent once again – or even how to begin to know what to say. I’m sure our story will eventually make its way onto these pages in the days to come – but I have no desire to share just for the sake of sharing….
Maybe I’m remembering the discoveries I made three years ago along this journey. And maybe there is just the tiniest bit of hope that healing is ahead – just around the bend and toward the cross. When I think of the journey that Jesus took the last 40 days of his life as a man on this earth, I know he must have struggled with so many feelings: excitement at the thought of returning to Heaven, joy at the certainty of all he was about to accomplish, but also….urgency…fear…sorrow…grief. As my pastor/husband reminded us at church this evening, there was a long and difficult road between this day in history and the resurrection. Sometimes we are intent to skip the painful parts of the gospel story and just run ahead to the Hallelujahs of Easter. But I don’t want to skip ahead….I need to take the pre-resurrection journey with the One who’s been there and knows the way. I need to embrace his companionship on my own journey of grief. I need to (re)discover Lent. I have so little to offer, but so much to hope for!
“Show me your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths.”
*I Am Not Alone – Kari Jobe