Day 38 ~ The Lentiest Lent

(Adapted from this day, last year.)

The Lentiest Lent I’ve Ever Lented.

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Each year I look forward to this moment in time – this powerful story of Jesus pouring his heart out to his father in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of his crucifixion and death. It’s where we get the most personal, moving glimpse into the choice that Jesus had – that he knew was his to make – and where, after grappling with his emotions, fears, anxiety, he just bore them all, got up off his knees and walked into the hardest 24 hours any of us can possibly imagine.

And he did it out of fierce commitment and love for us!

It’s not always easy (as in rarely easy) to find just the right words to express things of the heart, and I remember well this day last year.  Face mask patterns were being quickly shared, work and school was abruptly moving homeward and suddenly toilet paper had become  the new gold standard. I had already been late with a few blog posts and felt the pressure to think and write quickly about this profound and historical day in the life of Jesus.gethsamane

Admittedly, it was taking me way too long to find simple words to capture this garden experience, and finally, when I knew I was going to miss yet another deadline and was feeling pretty low about the whole thing I had to push my keyboard away, and release the load of frustration that had been building for days.

I told him how I had been trying really hard to faithfully write about his honest, very human prayer in the garden just before he was betrayed. I wanted to somehow paint the picture of the anguish he went through and how desperate and alone he must have felt. I wanted to take his side and ask how Peter, James and John could have possibly fallen asleep when Jesus asked them to stay awake so he wouldn’t have to face it alone. I could actually feel his sorrow connecting with my own and thanked him for staying the course and doing all of that for all of us. And in the middle of my “I want people to know what that must have been like for you” prayer, he invaded my thoughts with these words, clear as a bell….

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“Shellie……I’m not there any more.”

“sniff sniff….what?”

“Thank you for wanting to be with me in the garden…but, take heart – I’m not there any more….”

And with that, I’m quite certain he smiled. =)

 

Then, with such warmth and understanding I felt like he showed me the sorrow and pressure and burdens I was trying so hard to translate into words weren’t his at all – they were my own. And while he loved me for trying to put that moment into words that would connect with others, I was picking up a burden he had already laid down – for both of us.

Sometimes it just catches up with me….and before I know it I forget the ground I’ve gained and the healing that is happening even when some days are still hard. And I convince myself that doing all the right things will make me feel all the right things, and that just isn’t true.

It’s been “the lentiest lent I’ve ever lented” for lots of reasons.

I’m guessing for many of you, too! It’s been a crazy, stressful, unusual, year of scrambling every which way. But I am so very thankful for this pre-resurrection – resurrection moment where Jesus reminded me that I so often carry burdens he’s already carried for me.

NOt My WillThere is still part of me that wants to stay with Jesus in the garden….I want to be the one who doesn’t fall asleep and stays with him in his dark and lonely hour…and I’m reminded that this is kind of what Lent is about…about being willing to take the time to be with Jesus, and to learn the lessons that we may not always want but always need. 

Tomorrow we will step into Good Friday, but the last sacrifice really started here, with Jesus’ prayer of surrender in the garden. And as we do, it’s important to remember, and to not turn away from the cross and the sacrifice that he made in our place. But it’s even more important to take hold of the gift of salvation that led Jesus there in the first place, and let him teach us how to walk in the freedom that was won that day…..on this day….and all the days to come.

Thankful for daily resurrection,

Shellie

 

 

 

The God Who Stays

Matthew West

If I were You I would’ve given up on me by now
I would’ve labeled me a lost cause
‘Cause I feel just like a lost cause
If I were You I would’ve turned around and walked away
I would’ve labeled me beyond repair
‘Cause I feel like I’m beyond repair
Oh, but somehow You don’t see me like I do
Somehow You’re still here
You’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays
I used to hide
Every time I thought I let You down
I always thought I had to earn my way
But I’m learning You don’t work that way, no
‘Cause somehow You don’t see me like I do
Somehow You’re still here
You’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays
My shame can’t separate
My guilt can’t separate
My past can’t separate
I’m Yours forever
My sin can’t separate
My scars can’t separate
My failures can’t separate
I’m Yours forever
No enemy can separate
No power of hell can take away
Your love for me will never change
I’m Yours forever
‘Cause you’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays

Songwriters: Aj Pruis / Jonathan Smith / Matthew West
The God Who Stays lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
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