While I love recounting the miraculous adventures that God has led me on, the simplicity of Lent has led me to consider more of the "small stuff" that can so easily be forgotten. In just these first few days of Lent, I feel like the Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to the stories happening around me and humbled me to acknowledge that my story exists only because of him. He has reminded me of so many "small" pieces of my puzzle that have contributed to the incredible place that I am today and which give me trustworthy hope for where I am headed.
For example, after I came to faith, I joined a church. But it was never just a building that I went to on Sunday morning. Instead, it was an entire community of people who loved me in my mess, supported me in my marriage, and even encouraged me in ministry. The more people I meet in this world, the more I understand how rare it is that my first experience with the church was full of love, truth, and grace. I needed all of those things as a young person who thought she knew everything. I still need them, because I still need Jesus. I am firmly convinced that the kindness and patience that was shown me in those early years in the church laid the confident foundation I now have to give to others.
Since the day I met Jesus, I have never once doubted his love for me or his power to perform unbelievable works in my life. That is a gift. Everywhere else in my life, I question whether I am truly accepted, and I expect people to fail me all the time. But those doubts have never entered my spiritual life, and I see this as part of God's grace towards me. I know, not just with my head but with my entire being, that I am completely and unreservedly loved by God no matter what. I belong to him! oh, what freedom I have to live!
If all I had was my faith and a community of believers around me, my life would be rich. But God has also chosen to add to these blessings the privileges of marriage and parenting. The joy of traveling across his creation. The responsibility of continued employment and the opportunity for creative expression. Hundreds of people to learn from, partner with, and minister to. Great books! Delicious food. Healthy debates. Changing seasons. Working cars.
Small stuff. But it is in those details, those little things that are so easily provoke or delight us, that our hearts are turned slowly towards or away from God.
Holy Spirit, use these forty days to show me the beauty of my Lord! Teach me how to decrease so that he might increase. Remind me of all that he has done for me and give me faith to ask for even more!