Lent was hard.
On my way to travel the journey, I got bushwhacked.
My prayer at beginning of Lent: “Lord, give me the trust to know I am forgiven and the faith and strength and courage to lay down my small life and walk this path to Easter.”
Well, I sincerely prayed that prayer. And when I prayed to lay down my life I had no idea what price I would pay, how my heart would get hijacked, and the dark valley my journey would land me in.
The darkness in my heart is like a sore that has been scabbed over as it has been pushed down with a flippant “oh, I don’t have the energy, the time, the concentration, or the whatever, to deal with those emotions”.
Words of warning: don’t do that.
I blithely tripped along, smoothly sailing that Jerusalem road until I came to a roadblock. It happened almost exactly halfway into Lent. I was blindsided with a force of emotions I had not felt in a long time.
Bob said “I’ll be praying for you during this meeting” as I left the house that morning which I thought was a little strange, did he feel I wasn’t able to handle this?
My time spent that day was rich with transparency and faith and prayer, but as I was driving home, I had to stop because of the strong emotional reaction that overcame me.
And beginning that day, continuing to Easter, one after another image, thought, conversation, song, event, all served to pull up memories and emotions that had been hidden well, so I thought.
I became untied from my mooring and I searched out scripture for courage and strength and grounding.
I landed on the words of Isaiah 43
. . . the LORD who created you says:
“Do not be afraid . . .
I have called you by name; you are mine.”
“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.”
““When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up . . .
“For I am the LORD your GOD
the Holy One of Israel
“. . . you are precious to me . . .
I love you.”
Fil Anderson tells a sweet story of being in a meeting during a conference that his young family was attending. He had been gone before his children awoke in the mornings and was out late every evening. As he sat in his meeting, out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of his young son wearing his pajamas walking by the door. The child continue to walk by the door peering in each time at his dad. Fil motioned with his hand for the little boy to come to him and the child runs into his daddy’s arms saying “Him wants me, him really wants me.”
That child was me as I read and reread and reread those powerful words found in Isaiah.
Each time I read that “you are Mine”, the sore that had had its scab painfully scrubbed off was brought a little closer to the light of healing.
Each time I read that He would be with me, the struggle lessen to breathe deeply of the Lord’s love.
Each time I read, the flames of oppression wouldn’t consume me. I gained strength to take that deep breath and deal with those dark places.
Each time I read the heart-stopping words “You are precious to me”, a weight was lifted off my chest.
Each time I understood that He would “sell off the whole world” to get me back, “trade the creation” just for me, the light became brighter.
“Him wants me, Him really wants me.”
I needed to suck those words into my soul again, to spread their healing on the sores in my heart.
I thought Lent would be a breeze, but I underestimated my God who only wants the best for me even when it means I needed time in the crucible.
For many days of Lent I was a ship without a rudder and my anchor could not find a hold.
I was brought face to face with the truth that He is my anchor of hope for the soul as Hebrews says “sure and steadfast” and as Beth Moore reminded me during my desperate searching, I am anchored in all upheaval, roped securely to God’s throne.
Nothing can untie me.