“He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 (CSB)
My house is being deliberately filled with music this morning. Praise music. I’m listening to songs about the goodness and the greatness of my God. The one that is on currently just had this to say, “I know that I can make it. I know that I can stand. No matter what may come my way, my life is in Your hands!” It is both an encouragement and a reminder for those of us who are right in the middle of a hard thing that we are not alone.
My husband and I are both fine. Some of our loved ones are not. I’ve spent most of the past several days in prayer and waiting. There’s more of that to come. That doesn’t make me spiritual. It makes me part of a family–both physical and spiritual. The wait is not over and the situation isn’t fully resolved. In fact, we’re just beginning to see the tiniest glimmers of hope that might not even register on anyone else’s scale, but I am choosing to celebrate them just the same. I am taking encouragement from the reminder on Sunday (and from several other sources lately!) that God calls us to do hard things. Well, here we are…right where we’ve been called to be.
I know others in vastly different, and yet similar situations. In fact, several of my closest friends are “right here with me” even though they live far away. Today, we are mourning the loss of life and the destruction of the tornadoes that swept through the South this past weekend, and also celebrating the safety of our friend who was right in the midst of it and remained untouched despite the destruction in her yard and neighborhood. Today, we are missing family far from us by distance and wishing we could be there to help, all the while knowing our skills are insufficient for the tasks they face. Today, we are the guardians of those who once guided us and are now in the middle of trying to make sense of even the smallest things. Today, we are, as my friend Patty wrote the other day, “just trying to survive” and love on those who are closest to us.
I’m still relatively new to the practice of Lent, so my mind doesn’t automatically go in the ways of those who have practiced it their whole lives. I don’t wish to offend anyone, but I began observing Lent for ME as a way to direct my own spiritual focus on worship. My walk with God is truly personal. It’s not a religion, but a relationship. Because observing Lent is voluntary for me, I’ve wondered whether or not I needed to even bother with it this year or simply ignore it in favor of “just surviving.” As of last night, I still hadn’t figured out a way to observe it and as I laid down, I mentally decided that maybe I would just skip it this year, since this isn’t a practice that my spiritual tradition usually observes. As I resigned myself to this decision, a verse floated through my mind about the ways I am to love my God: with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.
Just thinking those words encouraged me to go ahead and celebrate this Lenten season. In fact, I really want to carefully follow that verse no matter what season it is. Today, however, I find myself in need of deliberately observing it, so I’m going to take it as my verse for Lent. I plan to find a way to do something good for my body, something good for my soul, and something good for my mind each day as I make sure I remain focused on the gift of Jesus the Christ and the sacrifice He made for all of us. I’m looking forward to adding health, encouragement, and knowledge over the next 40 days.
I don’t have a clue what all of those observances will be or what those days will hold, but I do know this: “I know that I can make it. I know that I can stand. No matter what may come my way, my life is in Your hands!”
Thank you, Jesus. You came for us. The least we can do is live for you. Help us to focus on the gift of You and all You have done for us today and live in ways that worship and bring You praise.
Grace and peace!