When The Ice Comes: the Coming of Lent


It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.- Elizabeth Taylor

I grew up with Lent. Understanding that Easter was not about eggs or candy, my Mom and Dad quietly chose items, foods, activities, money to sacrifice each year. Ash Wednesday would come  like ripping a bandaid off– going cold turkey on whatever symbolic ritual had become too much of their lives.

As an adult I began to do the same. I gave up chocolate. I gave up cursing, complaining and one year I didn’t stop anything but instead began a diligent Devotion time.

And it was painfully inconvenient.

And each year I grew in my intentionality until it became spiritually,even physically painful. I became desperate. I am terribly impatient and want to see God work RightNow in a lightening bolt sort of way. But His ways are not our ways, but his promises are true.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.~Psalms 40:1-3

IMG_0019

Like a branch heavy with ice, I will bend my body low finding strength in submission.

After living in what felt like persistent, perpetual waiting, I have found comfort in this finite period of pause. The accompanying pain has become like a shin splint or stitch in the side that signals my soul is taking notice of my “workout” as my disciplined body would protest a run. I have come to expect it with tentative joy.  Like clockwork, sacrifices were demanded at work, a message came of a friend with a life threatening illness, uncertainty about my call, and literally the ice came. Already, I have found myself handed the burdens of others to add to my list of prayers.

So on this Ash Wednesday, when I thought I’d be receiving the dispensation of ashes, instead I was huddled in the dark battling a migraine. Tonight I bow before the Father confessing hidden sin and the burdens that I carry, I beg him to breathe enough life into my soul that my limbs will bend but not break. I petition for family, for friends, for the Church, for our world. It seems to much to carry. Like a branch heavy with ice, I will bend  my body low finding  strength in  submission.

Jesus fasted and prayed for “40 days and 40 nights” in the desert before He began His public ministry (Mt 4:2), and I feel I am wandering into a frozen desert with Him. I am disciplining my soul through fasting and prayer and confident that I will come out on the other side.

 

IMG_0018We wait. And in the waiting there is pain.
40 days of pain. 960 hours of anticipation.

 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; ~Titus 2:13

  I hope you will join me in the waiting. I pray that you will find some peace in the pain. I offer you this space to leave your requests and supplications to the Lord.  We will meet Him on our knees.

-Cody

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