Where Am I Going? {Life’s Not Over, Just Different} {Lent}

Last week, I asked: Where am I?  Where are you? Longing for what was or might have been? Delighting in the life you’ve been given or yearning for a new one?  Stuck between the two, waiting on change or new or better?

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This week I spent some time reflecting on where I am through prayer, journaling, an Ennegram, and a friend.

So, I am now asking myself:  Where am I going?  What’s next?  What does God have for me?  As one who is in the biggest transition of her life, I have to be honest and say that until a few days ago, I have felt like…I am headed nowhere.  That I am stuck in a life I didn’t ask or plan for.  That I’ve failed at God’s calling on my life – wife and mom.  And, truly, that there’s nowhere left to go except existence.

But after this week of intentionally reflecting on where I am, I couldn’t help but ask…surely, God, you have more for me, right? Divorce doesn’t mean, “I called you to be a wife and now you’re not so you’ve failed.”

When I read this quote from Francis Chan, it confirmed what I felt God had been saying in my heart: We never grow closer to God when we just live life; it takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.

Deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.

My life is only “over” if I decide to dwell in pity and passivity.  My life is only “over” if I choose to be a victim.

Has the past been unfair?  Yep. Has the past seven years sucked life out of me? Sure.  Is my life over?  No way. (How dramatic;) In some ways, it’s just beginning. My future truly is unlimited in so many ways.

But.

My first priority must be “deliberate pursuit of Christ.”  He must be center followed by raising a Godly young lady and Godly young man.

Are there variables that I can’t control?  Oh, just a few hundred.  But, I don’t need to control those variables because God’s got them. One glance at my life over the past six months and His provision and timing are beyond evident.

Regardless of the season you’re in, I invite you to join me over the next 40 days as I focus on Jesus – deliberately pursuing Him, being attentive to His every promise and provision.  Learning He is enough; I am enough. Resting in what He has for me today, tomorrow, and forever.

These verses from Joel 2, summarize how I feel God’s calling me:  That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.”  Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  He is eager to relent and not punish. (12-14)

In the book of Joel, God’s calling His people to repent and return to Him. God’s desire was to restore His relationship with Israel and bless her. Fasting, weeping, mourning – outward signs of repentance and sorrow for sin.  Torn hearts – hearts truly turning from sin, filled with sorrow.  In this passage, he’s inviting the Jews – as He invites us now – to repentance and new life.

I can see myself in the Jews in many ways. I’ve turned from God somewhat:   Angry.  Questioning. And, angry again. Yet, He still offers me what He offered them.  He desires for me to give my broken, angry, resentful heart to Him.

And, I am. (Today, again tomorrow, and over and over until He calls me home.)

I plan to come to Him, drawing closer to him over these next 40 days of Lent. I’ll fast from my beloved Diet Coke (No joke!) and gluten.  I’ll also spend time acknowledging the ick in my heart and mourning what I’ve lost while also repenting and asking God to put that ick and loss to death, resurrecting new hope and faith within me.

He will respond.

How do I know?

He’s merciful and compassionate.  Slow to anger.  Filled with unfailing love.

And, he won’t respond because I don’t drink my Coke or because I refrain from gluten.  He will bend my heart as I take my focus from food and to Him – asking Him to be my sustainer.

I also plan to attentively and deliberately spend time with Him daily. Regardless of my schedule.  Regardless of my excuses.  I will pursue Him as He pursues me.

To help me along this passionate pursuit of Him, I’m taking BE: an e-course through Lent, which focuses on Sabbath.  The course includes weekly prompts and expectations along with a Facebook group of sisters to love on and walk alongside me.

I pray you’ll join me over the next 40 days.  May we grow in and for Him as we fast from those things that weight us down and passionately pursue the One who makes all things new.

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If you’re curious about Lent, here are some links that can help you as you begin to explore what God has waiting for you over the next 40 days…and beyond.

Why Bother with Lent?  – Typically, evangelicals are shy about Lent. The 40 days prior to Easter—Sundays excepted—are known popularly as a season for giving up chocolate or other extras in order to show God how much we love him. With such impoverished notions, it is no wonder that Lent has fallen on hard times. So should we bother with Lent?

5 Ways to Revolutionize Your Walk with Christ – What if you spent the 40 days leading up to Easter walking alongside Jesus, listening to His life-changing teachings, visiting churches with Paul, and falling more in love with God with each turning page? You’re invited to read through the entire New Testament in 40 days —with a Sabbath rest each week by joining Margaret Feinberg’s #LentChallenge including a reading guide.

What Lent Really Means –   “Lent isn’t about forfeiting as much as it’s about formation. We renounce to be reborn; we let go to become ‘little Christs.’ It’s about this: We break away to become.”

Journey to the Cross:  A Free Devotional Guide– Lent strikes many Protestants as the exclusive domain of Roman Catholics, but this season can serve any Christian as a unique time of preparation and repentance as we anticipate the death and resurrection of Jesus. On the Christian calendar, Lent (from Latin, meaning “fortieth”) is the 40 days beginning on Ash Wednesday and leading up to Easter Sunday. (Sundays aren’t counted, but generally set aside as days of renewal and celebration—”mini-Easters” of sorts.) Whatever you might think about popular practices, Kendal Haug and Will Walker argue Lent is “first and foremost about the gospel making its way deeper into our lives.”

Henri Nouwen also has free Lent resources as you prepare for the season. His free Lenten Book  Discussion begins March 5.

YouVersion Bible Reading Plans for Lent 

An Art Journal

A Prayer Chain

Comments

  1. So… what number are you? 🙂

    • I am a 2 – The Helper – I got that number from the 36-Question test, but I would like to take the longer test because that’s not the number I picked for myself by reading descriptions 🙂

  2. I love you, friend, and I’m reeeeeally excited to see what God’s got planned for your life. xoxoxo

    • I love you too, friend! I am also excited to see what He has planned for me – my kiddos – and for you all! Woohoo! Cambodia or bust 😉

  3. Alysia Roux says:

    Thank you so much for posting!

  4. I have never taken part in Lent because I didn’t really understand it’s purpose, so I’m going to this year.

    • Rebecca…please let me know what you decide to do – how you decide to participate:) I’d be happy to help or walk alongside. In a nutshell, Lent is about drawing closer to Jesus. We can do that by giving up something in our daily lives – fasting. Or, by adding something to help us focus. I can’t wait to hear how God works in your heart over the next 40 days:)

  5. Wendy Ketelsen says:

    Sarah, you are one of the strongest women I know mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I hate that you are going through this but you will overcome one day at a time. Thank you for your blogs. If you need anything I will be here for you my dear friend. God bless and I love you! De Colores.

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement, Wendy:) I love you dearly. And, I may take you up on your offer…I am moving and painting and on and on, so I made need some “things.” 😉

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