Lent is not over

Lent is coming to a close and it’s bittersweet. Bitter because we are doubting our resolutions and wondering if we could have been better and could have done more. Sweet because Easter is around the corner, and I can finally say “yes” to my three-year-old when she asks if it’s Easter yet. 

In these last days of Lent, we can easily get stuck in the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” instead of focusing on the little time we have left. Maybe this is the moment God has been waiting for all along. Maybe this is where the grace of the season overflows. Maybe you are in fact changing this Lent because of right now. 

They say grace is like sunburn. Some days you spend a lot of time outside in the sun and don’t think you even got a tan. Then, after a few hours back inside you look at yourself when your eyes have adjusted to the light and, yes, you got a tan, and then some. Lent is that way too. We think we might not have done enough, might not have stuck to our resolutions well enough, weren’t as holy as we wanted to be. But it is that constant striving and wanting to be better that God is asking for from us.

One of my resolutions was to be in bed by 10pm. Not on my way to bed, not brushing my teeth or starting up the stairs. In. Bed. 

I was successful about 8 nights out of 40. Yet, He still taught me. Through this process He helped me to strip away things that were holding me back from a good night’s rest. Some nights, I didn’t clean up all the dishes, I left them and went up to bed. I have a little perfectionism, so that has been a good step toward letting go of things. Some mornings, I still hit the snooze button and missed out on the other end of my resolution - to be up early. This has taught me that hitting the snooze button is not (just) a function of a good rest, but of my will. If I will to be up early enough to pray before my kids are up, I’ll force myself to get up at that first alarm. 

In the end, going to bed at 10pm wasn’t about sleep. It was about seeing the ways He wants to be in my heart and mind. 

God wants us. He wants our hearts. While we have been trying to give Him everything else these past weeks, we realize our poverty. We realize we don’t have anything to give Him, but our hearts. Everything else has been stripped away. We’re raw and we see our brokenness, our failed promises, our vices, our sin. That’s good. That was our part of the process, but now is the crucial moment. 

Can we trust Him to make this Lent into everything and more than we hoped? 

In the end, we need to let go of what we thought we were giving up or what we thought we were doing for Him and realize that this was really His time to work on us. He lets us make resolutions and then will use them in little ways to make a difference in our hearts. We think we’re constantly failing, but in reality we’re constantly realizing we need Him.

God’s asking us to give Him our Lent. This is what Lent is all about - trusting God. This is why we can end Lent better than we started it. This is why we can take up our resolutions again for these last few days. This is why we can be changed because it’s God who does it, not us. If this is the only thing we’ve learned this Lent, then we’ve learned it all. Trusting God with everything is hard to do, but you’re doing it right now. 

These next few days are full of graces because our hearts are finally ready. Will you walk with Mary?