Monday, March 5, 2012

Lent in Everyday Language: Feeling Loved

I am still following along with my friend, Amy, over at Soul Simple in her journey through Lent in Everyday Language.

Today is Day 13.

Yes, I realize I missed a few days. I am constantly reminded of how the reality of my life is meshing with my ideals of what I want my life to be. My ideal is that I would be able to live out this thoughtful, soul-transforming lenten experience and blog about it like crazy because I love processing my learning through writing. The reality, however, is that my life is messy and full and some of these days my lenten experience will go unblogged because there are just not enough moments.

But here I am today and I am excited to process these 2 questions issued today:

1. Where did I feel most loved today?

2. Where was it hardest for me to feel love today?

First, I loved that Amy shared this note on her blog a couple days ago with regard to the examen:

Fr. Joe Tetlow, in an introduction to the Examen says this..

Never, never start examining yourself until you have thanked God for the gifts that God is giving to you—not in general, not in the past, but right now, today. That’s how you start The Examen. I think people who can keep the Examen up often do that.

If there is one lesson I continue to re-learn, and one posture that I am continuing to practice, it is this practice of praise - gratitude - thanking. My world has been revolutionized by gratitude over and over. I have seen this path that I have walked down and how in the midst of trials and scarcity and really terrifying places, that when I pause to thank God for what He has done or is doing, everything changes. Not so much circumstantially, but in my soul. I think that is why I am so in love with Ann Voskamp's book 1000 gifts. I have read and re-read that book 5 times. It is such good food for my thoughts. I keep copies on hand to give away because I truly feel like the act of praising and thanking God just might be the cure for everything. I am like the father from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" - only, I offer you gratitude instead of windex.

Alright, so where did I feel most loved today ...

Sitting in the middle of my life group last night.

We go around the room and share where we are at. We give a snap shot of highs/lows and any blaring needs that we have. I didn't expect to turn into a weeping, red hot faced girl with tears and hiccups coming out of me all at once. No, I did not expect to melt into the "ugly cry". But, as I did, I felt so incredibly loved. When I could finally see through my tears, all I could see was love looking back at me. And, at the end of the night our dear friends gathered around my husband and I and prayed for us and it was beautiful. To be walking through life with a group of people who have our back and hold us up when our knees are weak is such a beautiful blessing and I am so thankful.

And, where was it hardest to feel loved today ...

In the midst of my sharing and my hot, tear-filled emotional release, I think I realized that I must have a wound somewhere in my soul that causes me to continually struggle with worrying about whether God will meet my needs. I am asking Him to reveal wisdom and to expose what this might be and kind of feel like I am peeling back the layers of an onion. I look at my children and their ability to walk in freedom each and every day - knowing that they are loved and will be cared for.

And then as I examine my own life - and I see this disconnect.

Here I have this amazing Heavenly Father who clearly loves me beyond my understanding.

He sent His son.

I can hardly type those words.

To think of sending my son.

But, I don't feel like my children feel. And, then, I realize - that is my Jericho. The fortress that I am marching around. It is the doubt and the fear and the whisper in the back of my mind that "He loves me not."

And once again, I go back to the words: "Anxiety is momentary atheism."

And I sit and I ask for God to transform and renew my mind once again. That I would believe these words:

"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all - how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? ...Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither neither nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31 - 39

I think of this love demonstrated for me. I think of the example of Jesus conquering death and saying we have all power and authority. I think of Him seated by the Father praying for me.

And, I pause.

I sit here amazed.

And, I simply pray that I would grasp the depth of this love. That it would wash over me. Change my heart. And help my unbelief. And, that I would live out this love.

I am humbled.


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