Today is Ash Wednesday. Today is the beginning of Lent and the opportunity to turn our hearts toward Jesus. To join him on the journey to Jerusalem.
Yesterday, I felt restless. I couldn’t quite tell you why, nor could I quiet it despite my best efforts. I guess not recognizing the reason for the restlessness, I couldn’t quite figure out a way to sate it. I cleaned out clutter from the living room. I organized toys scattered around the floor. I read inspiring blog posts. I rearranged my birthday flowers, clearing out wilted ones and trimming stems.
And still I was restless.
I put on favorite play lists. I tried new play lists. I sorted paperwork. I tended the fire.
And still I was restless.
I prayed in short bursts. I prayed longer, stilted prayers. Prayers with which I could not truly express my needs or my heart’s desires. I read my truth cards and other favorite Scripture passages. I sensed a familiar peace.
But still, I was restless.
After girls were in bed and the kitchen cleaned and the day done, my husband and I sat together. I told him that I felt restless. I asked him if he ever experienced a sense of anticipation for something that he didn’t know and couldn’t express. I told him that I didn’t feel ready for anything. Not for big dreams. Not for small steps. Not for Lent.
Not for anything.
He sat for a moment and then smiled. His eyes met mine and as he looked at me, he reminded me, “Well, the good thing about Lent is that it’s not about being ready; it’s about getting ready.”
And he’s right.
I’ve lost a little bit of my focus recently. Instead of keeping my eyes and my heart on Jesus, I’ve been darting about. Seeking what my heart and my soul craves from things or people that cannot meet those deepest needs. Substituting busyness for my daily relationship with Jesus.
As a result, I’ve felt restless. I’ve felt more needy. I’ve felt less peace.
And yet, over the last few days I’ve also felt a deep sense of anticipation. A whispering to my heart of things to come. I don’t yet know what these things are, but I believe they are coming. I believe that they are drawing near. I believe that as I draw near to Jesus, these things are drawing nearer to me.
I believe that as I travel this Lenten journey with Jesus to Jerusalem, to the cross, these things to come will become clearer to me. Become clearer to my heart.
Lent is about getting ready.
And, for me, the getting ready includes expressions of extravagant love.
The extravagant love of Jesus taking my place and dying on the cross. The extravagant love of the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume that she poured out on the Savior. The extravagant love of the empty grave and conquering death and defeating the Enemy.
The extravagant love that is mine to experience, to share, to practice in the small moments of my days. The extravagant love that I hope will mark the days of this journey to Jerusalem.
To the cross. To the death of Jesus. And, eventually, to the new life in that empty tomb.
Thank you, Jesus, for the restlessness and for the anticipation. Thank you for calling me back to you. Thank you for meeting the deepest needs of my heart that I cannot give words to. Thank you for knowing and nurturing the desires of my heart.
Thank you for inviting me on the journey with you through the days of Lent and to sit at your feet.
Thank you for your extravagant love that you pour out on me today.