By Joan Kelley, Director of Facilitator Development and oneLifemaps Facilitator
I remember when my son Drew was four. While Drew did not need a lot of extra hugs, he did like to know where I was. He didn’t need me to hold his hand. He just needed to be near me. I could be in the middle of Target, look around and realize one of my children was missing, only to find him standing right next to me…so close I had missed seeing. I would often trip over him because he was so close and in my way. He was more like a shadow than a wandering toddler. All it took was a simple call of his name and a look down and he was right there.
We are in the midst of Lent, the forty days before Easter. For me, Lent is a sacred journey with Jesus to the cross. This journey takes place on a meandering path where unusual things show up together…hope and sadness, humanness and godliness, heaven and earth, my true self and my false self, my present story and God’s eternal story. And it’s not so much an intersection of these two things as much as two paths side by side which are interweaving. These diverse things, which can seem like polar opposites, all of a sudden seem intimately close together. And on that path, God says “let’s meet, walk next to me, don’t miss the view I have for you here, see where I’ve been, look where I’m taking you.” God is inviting me on this journey to walk his Son’s story here on Earth as I walk my own story side by side. God is showing me where they interweave and where I veer off the path. And He is asking me to be like my son Drew when he was four. God says, “Joan, stand right next to me, in my shadow. Get in my way. Let me stumble over you. I’ll quietly call you…be listening. Pay attention and look at this path I have for you.”
God is also beckoning you on this sacred journey. Lent is an incredible season to engage with God in deeper ways. Think about how you will travel with Him. Will you walk with Him and stumble over His feet because you are so near? Will you be so close you can hear His call? Will you pay attention to the vistas along the way that He has uniquely designed for you? Will you notice when you take a wrong turn? Will you experience His son’s journey to the cross, His humanness and His divinity, His death, the waiting of Holy Saturday and the eternal hope of Easter Sunday, all interwoven into your story and His story? Can you place yourself so close to the Father that you get lost in His glorious shadow of grace? And as a result, you discover who He created you to be in His image. You’re an important part of His grand story of redemption, hope, and resurrection.
Questions to Ponder:
- How will you “get in the way” of God this Lenten season? What do you sense Him inviting you to do or be this season? What do you need to do to prepare for this “sacred journey?”
- Spiritual practices are ways to be with God so you can hear His voice and obey His word. Which spiritual practice might you engage in during this season that will draw you closer to him? What activities might you dis-engage from during this season to leave more space to walk with God? Spend some time with the Life-Giving Rhythms Map as you think about what practices to engage in and disengage in during this time.
- What does God want to reveal to me in this season about my story as it relates to His story? Keep a journal of what you notice. Then share it with a friend.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
Father, let me accept your invitation to walk with You and be with You this Lenten season. Help me to come to You as a little child. Let me hear your voice and follow You because I’m already right there in your step. Help me to walk your journey to the cross this year in a new way that pulls me closer to You and who You made me to be.