BUT IT WASN’T.
It doesn’t need to be, even though it nags and haunts me certain moments throughout this forty day period prior to Easter.
I want to have these “holy” things to commemorate my relationship with the Lord. How could I pass up this opportunity? WHY did I abandon such a simple (or not so simple) spiritual challenge? Why do I even HAVE to feel guilty?
Is this GUILT for sacrificing NOTHING when HE SACRIFICED ALL pleasing to him? Is it truly what He wants for me? Do you suffer from the same? Do you? OR do you have this all figured out, maybe for at least this year? Tell me, please! I’m a curious sort.
And then I am reminded:
“It is well to have specifically holy places, and things, and days, for, without these focal points or reminders, the belief that is holy and “big with God” will soon dwindle into a mere sentiment.”
Celebrations and places and things are wonderful and pleasing and helpful. But when they come to be THIS for me, or for you, what should we do about it?
For the past two weeks, I’ve prayed. PRAYED my heart out to the Lord.
For, yes, NOTHING. That is what I gave up…and do you know why? As I poured out my thoughts to this new, sweet, and gracious friend, she was the one to explain it to me.
I feel absolutely,
And it was time (if it was His time…I hope it is the time) for the Lord to fill me up. She said it more eloquently than I am writing it here, mind you. And ever since then, I’ve thought about her words of wisdom and sweet offerings of encouragement.
She was right. I feel empty.
I have nothing left. I didn’t feel like I could give up a single thing.
This past year brought valley upon valley and mountain upon mountain. In my state of severe fatigue, I lost touch with friends and with the concept of “social life.” Reading became a chore rather than remaining a beloved, necessary hobby. After getting one or two pages into a book, I’d have to set it relunctantly aside. It was a different language and my brain couldn’t handle this new language. This process exacerbated whatever difficulty I already had homeschooling my children from a neck injury, but I pushed through, growing emptier with each day. What else could I do? I struggled with writing, being unable to write what I wanted to write for just as long or longer. I grieved the loss of my beloved cat of fifteen years. Two months later in December, on the day before my birthday, my BELOVED grandmother passed through Heaven’s gates. Physical pain hindered me from caring for my home and family, school and social activities the way I expected and desired. I stopped playing the piano or keyboard at church. Limitations shoved me into my living room chair for weeks…months. Expectations shoved me into acceptance, but I clung to my trust in the Lord despite what seemed to be draining from my life.
Empty. Barren. NOTHING.
LORD, I have NOTHING left. Don’t you hear me? But, Lent?
And through the waiting and the silence I think about that emptiness I feel. It is real but is that REALLY who I am?
A woman with nothing?
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
As I ponder how I am coming to the Lord to celebrate His resurrection, I know I am empty…empty still.
BUT HE CAN FILL ME. HE IS ALL I NEED.
I want to expect great things this Easter, for what He has done for me makes this NOTHING of mine disappear. He’s covered it. His death, blood, and then life is greater than this feeling I have.
So what do I give? In my frail, human mind, I have nothing to spare. But truly, He’s given ME all I need. A home, my family, nourishment, warmth, joy. But I can’t discount what I’ve been through. These days of “taking away” have been real and raw but His LOVE covers the mess that is there, the barrenness and desolation of my heart.
I cry, “Empty!”
WHAT DO I GIVE?
I give him MY ALL. I give him this feeling of immeasurable unworthiness. I give absolutely everything EVEN IF IT IS NOTHING (even if it is nothing) because that is my deepest desire.
Thank you, Jesus.
Fill my cup.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. ~Psalm 16:11