Monday, March 21, 2011

My Lenten Journey

This year is the first year I have observed Lent. I have not really been in a church that observed it, nor have I even been taught anything about it. This year our church began following the Liturgical Calendar and observing the rhythms and days of the calendar. I have been so amazed at the focus and direction it has given my walk to think in terms of the seasons of remembrance in our faith as a opposed to just passing the days and months of the year. When we started this journey, our pastor, Mark taught a class on the Liturgical calendar, the meaning of the days, and what is significant about walking this calendar. I loved the idea of walking through the seasons of the life of Christ and how that can and will shape us into His image if we will allow. I love the idea that each year we can revisit remembering and re-walk the path, and as we revisit each year we will be changed and have a deeper understanding of who He is and how He walked. We will, in turn, have a deeper understanding of who we are in Him and be daily formed by Him into His likeness. I have been so excited to walk this path and have been so amazed at what He is doing in me as I seek to be in tune with the seasons and what He wants to teach me in all of them. The other part of this new journey I really enjoy is reading each day from the Book of Common Prayer. It really amazes me to think on the idea that brothers and sisters all over the world are reading the same verses and listening to what our Father has to say about them each day. There is something big, and grand and beautiful to me about the church of Christ unified in readings that cross ethnic, denominational, economic, and national boundaries. I have been so blessed to be able to discuss with my husband and other members in our church what we are reading and what He is teaching each of us as we read. It has been such a surprise how much I have enjoyed implementing these two practices into my life.

So onto Lent. As we were following the Church calendar and preparing , I had prayed for weeks about what the Lord wanted Lent to look like in my life this year. Observing Lent was a new idea and our pastor was so good to post links to sites we could read and research to understand what this journey of Lent is about and how people historically have observed it and people who are accustomed to observing Lent are doing so now. I began to seek the Lord and ask Him what He wanted me to do or give up. What I felt impressed to do was surprising and seemed pretty unorthodox. But, as I continued to press and seek Him, I continued to feel the same impression. What I felt I was to do was really press into finding the creative artist He created me to be. I felt Him tell me to bath it in prayer and be faithful to take time each day to express creativity or write something. I felt like He said we were going to walk through the darkness and shadows the have buried "the artist" in me, and deal with that fear, the insecurity, the doubt, the paralysis that sometimes keeps me from even feeling like I can try. I began to work through a book by Janice Elsheimer called The Creative Call. I am also taking an online creative Indie business class. I felt like He told me if I would work on these and seek Him everyday, we would walk through the shadows and doubt resulting in Him resurrecting "the artist" at the end of the journey on Easter. So I have undertaken His call to really push into who He made me to be and all that stands in the way of that. There have been times when I just felt like giving up in the last week. I hear the old familiar voice in my head telling me that "this is stupid", "who am I to think I am an artist", "I am not really an artist". Then I would hear Him whisper to me "don't give up, press in, how are you going to inspire the people I want you to inspire if you give up and don't find your freedom?" So I press on. I am supposed to write every day for my assignments in The Creative Call and I have failed many days to make time to do that, but I can and will keep pressing and seek to do better. I spent hours yesterday writing in my journal as I sat on the back porch in the sun. It was amazing. It was so amazing that it may be easier for me to consistently make and guard that space to write. I read His word and just wrote my heart out. It was liberating and beautiful. I also made a piece of art that He inspired me to make; I trusted Him and worked on it and finished it yesterday. And, I actually like it. The picture above is what I created yesterday. It was such a great day. I feel so free and inspired and motivated to keep pressing on. I see the progress and growth He is doing in me and I am so excited to keep going and see who I am in a few weeks after completing my commitment to undertake this journey and be disciplined about making space to do what I actually have such a deep desire to do anyway.

So this morning as I sat quietly before the Father resting and waiting to hear what He wanted to say to me, He showed me a beautiful and heartbreaking picture. I began to weep. He showed me that I buried my true self; the beautiful artist, the truest part of who I am. I buried her a long, long time ago b/c I wanted her to be safe. I put her away in a box buried in corner in the basement of my soul. She is the most beautiful, purest part of me. She has been buried and covered over with so many layers so that none of the pain, abuse and tragedy could get to her. I needed to protect her b/c it was not safe for her when I was growing up. Now, though, it is her hour; it is time for the me He intended when he thought me up to come forth. My Father is digging her up out of the dirt and introducing me to the beautiful artist that I have kept safely tucked away for so many years.

I am so glad that my Father challenged me to take this journey for Lent and that He gave me the courage to accept the challenge. What a beautiful dimension and sense of adventure I feel as I learn to let the Creator teach me to develop and cultivate the creator He has created, called and equipped me to be.

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