This year’s Lenten season held special meaning for me, as I experienced it as the beginning of personal resurrection.
I Had Become Completely Undone.
I was as close to complete destruction as I have ever been. It was the final step in a death march of a journey, as I employed every method known to me to survive the trials in life that would already have crushed any normal, sane person (I am neither). The methods of survival I’d used my entire life had finally failed. Like so many women, wives, mothers, caregivers, I’d put everyone’s needs ahead of my own, and it cost me dearly.
But Here’s the Thing.
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
I’ve Learned the Value of a Plot Twist.
Prayer, pre-dawn workouts, and sunrise-chasing walks with your dog are among my prescriptions for joy. They are the pauses that allow you to catch your breath, not because you understand what’s happening, but because you are trying to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
Lent This Year Prepared Me for My Own Resurrection, but First I had to Die.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:8-14 (NIV)
My sin was being human. My sin was hubris, thinking myself capable of saving myself. Like you, probably, I could be more faithful. The proffer of surrender and worship I rendered was insufficient. I didn’t mean to lack faith, but like so many women, I am plagued by a capacity conundrum.
I never stop when I should. I have never believed that the rules of self and soul care applied to me, even as I excoriated those I loved to do better. I steadfastly refuse to take my own advice.
I Don’t Release my Feeble Hold on Things Beyond My Control.
I so admire people in my life who embody the Peace that passes all understanding, but I simply will not master it.
I died because even as God blessed me with ability, there is a natural breaking point at which you should surrender, not at my point of weariness, but because trusting God means hearing when to rest. Instead, my prideful humanity cost me everything. My body broke down. When I most needed to lean on God, I struggled to stand.
After surviving the very things that threatened to take the lives of the people I loved, I was told that there was nothing left of me. That me was dead.
When life eFs up your plans, sometimes all you can do is yell “Plot Twist” and keep it moving. This death was my plot twist.
I am Grateful for Grace.
What will dying (to who you were) teach you about Grace? It will teach you that submission, obedience, and praise are weapons. It will remind you that submission, obedience, and praise resets the inherently flawed human inclination to focus on problems you cannot solve in favor of doing what you were created to do.
We Were Designed to Praise and Worship God, and that can Never be Buried.
“You can try to bury Power, but it won’t stay there. You can try to bury Truth, but it is not dead. You can try to bury Love, but it cannot be contained.”
Once upon a time, I asked myself what I wanted more of in my life. Once upon a time, I asked God to enlarge my territory. Before God would answer that prayer I had to die. In dying to my folly, God walked me away from the ashes of my former self and into the new land prepared for me.
This is the Time of My Resurrection.
This is the beginning of my more, of new land. Dying to the last of my foolish self allowed me to be carried beyond the wilderness where I’d spent far too long awaiting Divine Direction into my spacious place.
My Spacious Place
Resurrection is my path back to restoration. Finally away from the things I tried to heal myself, protect myself, all while trying, foolishly, to shield all those I love from harm. I am taking my first steps, but I can only move forward since nothing but ashes and dry bones lays behind. The her I used to be is dead.
Where is my spacious place? A place where I yield before it is time. A place where I praise God, surrender, and bow down in worship long before the weight of my burdens drives me down to my knees, in prayer rather than searing pain.
“You can try to bury Power, but it won’t stay there.”
Now I am free.
I am a very serious person, so I laugh a lot. I write because it helps me understand the way I feel about the world. I married my high school sweetheart, and together we made two exceptional people and raised a dog so remarkable, I wrote a book about the faith lessons he taught me. I envision a world where each of us embraces the Perfect, Precise Image of God that we are, naturally, at every given moment, even as each of us exists in a liminal state.