Why Lent?

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It is not trendy to describe ourselves as fragile. Between feminism and empowerment and just trying to survive some days, women in general land somewhere between uncomfortable and outraged by descriptions of womanhood that include vulnerable terms. We don’t want to connect to weakness, brokenness, tenderness and fragility. But it’s all around us and it’s undeniable. Women are hurting. It’s a tough world; sin and abuse and competing with each other- well, it does damage in deep places that great hair and social media and high powered careers can mask, but not heal.

I did not grow up practicing the Lent fast. But over the past several years, as God has grown my heart to break and rejoice at Easter, I have come to deeply appreciate a time of being stripped of something normal such as sugar or Internet or shopping to create a space to feel my neediness. We live in a culture so dedicated to filling up but never fasting. As soon as I become aware of any discomfort, my immediate response is to fill it or feed it or numb it- never to feel it. And that is why Lent has become precious to me. Because in purposely creating a space of “want” I feel my vulnerability. I am always startled by how needy I truly am when my comforts are pulled away. I see how my heart is fickle and tender and insecure without Netflix or Instagram to distract me.

And then, right in the middle of all that uncomfortable messy exposing- God does his best, most beautiful work. Remember how Jesus said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick?” He didn’t mean some of us were well and others were sick- he was explaining the principal of awareness: until I know I am sick, I will not seek healing. In my most vulnerable states I become most aware of my need for a Savior. When I recognize I am weak then I run to someone strong.

And sisters, it is safe to be exposed with Jesus. Because there is no one who will ever fully know and fully love you as He does. He chose to be vulnerable and exposed for us! He literally was stripped bare. He let himself feel the weight of all our sin, the pain of rejection, the abandonment of the Father- with no distraction or numbing or relief,

So that we would never have to. 

He is enough to fill our weary souls and he longs to do it. As Jennie Allen says in her book Nothing To Prove, “Jesus came to eternally quench our thirst and we have traded that for entertainment that never satisfies.” It’s just so easy to never feel our wants, much less our need.

But this year, I am asking God to help us be willing to connect to the parts of us we need to become aware of- places that need filling and quenching and healing. And by so doing we will be better able to rejoice in the triumph of Resurrection this Easter.

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