But sometimes, He chooses to get my attention through repetition...followed up with confirmation from an outside source.
And so begins my story...
Lately I have had the feeling that the Lord wanted me to 'participate' more actively in the celebration of Easter. I was pretty sure that He wanted me to offer a Lenten worship (for lack of words for a better description.)
Now, this is strange for me because I do not come from a background that observed Lent. I grew up worshipping in Baptist churches where I never even heard the word Lent...much less knew what it was about.
As I felt the Lord's call, I began searching for a devotional. Since I had very little knowledge of the subject, I figured I would need some guidance. Within a few days, Michelle at Graceful posted an offer for a free Lenten Devotional Booklet that her church is using this season. (She helped in the collaboration.)
A confirmation that He was indeed calling me to participate more fully.
I began to pray and ask the Lord what I was to 'give up'. My first thought was sugar. I need to lose some weight and this would surely quick start the process. Then I thought of a few things that others seem to typically give up...but they were not major sacrifices for me. When I began asking myself, 'What would I really miss?', the answer was clear...but not what I assumed it should be.
I thought it had to be a food or a drink, so I questioned the answer. Then on Ash Wednesday the Lord sent confirmation that it is not always about fasting from food. This time it was fasting from a pleasure that I overindulged in on a regular basis. (This decision has been confirmed at Bible study and then again in a blog post of Diedra's on Friday...and none of those sources even knew what I was considering.)
I check facebook multiple times a day. It is my companion when I am lonely, my distraction when bored, it is often the bookends of my day. So, I fasted on Wednesday...and again on Thursday...but I didn't feel like it made a difference.
That is when the Lord reminded me that 'giving up' is not always enough.
I stopped by WalMart on Thursday evening in search of purple hull peas for the garden. As I was leaving, I noticed a vehicle in front of me that had Texas LSU plates. Of course that peaked my interest. If LSU could have personalized plates in Texas, why couldn't a Razorback. I am not proud of the following, but I found myself obsessed with the thought. So much so, that I searched the web most of the way home. I felt a pressure in my spirit, but couldn't tell why exactly.
The next morning, I prayed for the Lord to teach me about Lent. As I drove into work, I began to notice the Lord's 'grace gifts'. It was then that He reminded me that when we give up something, we need to find something else to fill the void left behind.
That is when I decided to begin my One Thousand Gifts list. I have read a few chapters of Ann Voskamp's book, but with the Bible study and other things going on I have not been able to keep up with the book club's pace. I knew that I wanted to begin my list one day, when I had more time.
I knew, as I drove, this was the time. So, I stopped at Half Price Books and gingerly handled every journal until I found the perfect one.
When I finally had time to check the blogs that day, this is what I found. Another confirmation of God's voice, that it was time to begin the Grace Gifts Journal.
- The realization of how many dreams God has fulfilled above and beyond what I could have imagined.
- Jim's big heart.
- A peacock perched on a fence with his tail draped behind him.
- 4. A Robin all puffed up on barbed wire stretched tight.
- The realization that #3 & #4 are a minuscule fraction of the glory of my God!
- 'My Savior, My God' by Aaron Schust beginning to play just as #5 sinks in.
- Conviction that doesn't let go until obedience comes.
- Recognizing the unrest in my spirit as I tarried too long in the store lusting for fleeting desires of beauty.
- The challenge of an unlined journal -- forcing me from uniformity to freehand creativity! (A chance to think outside the lines, literally!)
- The confirmation in a blog post that God is calling me not only to give up something for Lent but also to fill that time with thoughts of Him!