lent

Joy in the Mourning

It’s the day after Easter, folks… This means that in addition to Easter candy going on sale today (YAY!) and most church workers being tired after working like crazy yesterday, lent has ended for another year.

What did your 40 days bring? Mine were… um… profound.

For Lent, I “gave up” worrying. (Read “Removal of the Worrywart” for the whole story.) Long story short, God told me to stop trying to control things and not to worry so dang much about stuff. So during Lent, whenever I worried about something, I wrote it down, crinkled it up and literally laid it at the foot of a cross in my living room. Then I would write a “Faith” statement to counteract whatever worry I had. I kept the faith statements in a jar and would give myself a “refresher” when the worries started to resurface.

Well, 40 days have come and gone… God has done a number on my worrywart of a heart.

But that isn’t the “profound” part of the story.

God grew my trust in Him immensely. Here’s the profound part: My two biggest worries actually happened in the last 40 days… and God carried me through it.

Not only did He carry me through it, but I am able to write about it. And find joy… in the mourning of it all.

My first fear was miscarriage and losing our baby. I kept writing it down, laying at the foot of the cross… and it kept coming back. When that fear became a reality 27 days ago, I felt as if God had answered my prayer to prepare my heart for this baby, whatever was to happen.  Now, don’t get me wrong– if Jesus Himself came down from Heaven and asked me if I wanted things to turn out differently, I probably wouldn’t hesitate to scream “YES!” before He finished His sentence. However…

With that biggest fear of losing that baby came tiny blessings… I now understand Matthew 5:4– “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I lost something I held very dear– but Jesus never left me. Not for a moment. Yes, my heart broke… but our Father’s heart also broke as He watched His son die on the cross. In mourning, I became closer to my husband than ever. In mourning, I became closer and more dependent on Our Father than I have been in my entire life. In mourning… I found joy that only comes from Jesus.

My second fear was my beloved husband recycling Ranger School– mainly because I didn’t want him to miss any more of the pregnancy than required. God has a plan with that as well… because Brandon did end up as a Darby phase recycle, which would be a 7 week extra wait due to Best Ranger Competition coming up. But once I told Brandon about the loss of our little one, he decided to come home to me immediately. He told me that it wouldn’t have mattered if he was going to recycle or not– he was going to come home to deal with what we were facing.

The worries with Ranger school were also realized, but under the circumstances were a blessing as God brought us through it. Oh, and did I tell you that God also planned out that Brandon would make the promotion list way sooner than expected, the day after the miscarriage and the day prior to Brandon withdrawing from Ranger school. To me, it was affirmation that God has Brandon’s career in His hand.  I guess God knows what He is doing after all, huh?

I can’t help but feel a little bit like Mary  when she discovered that Christ was gone from the grave. When she saw that empty tomb, her mourning turned to confusion… then to joy as she discovered Christ’s incredible plan. Praise the Lord, for He is Risen! His promises hold true and we can fully depend on Him– no worrying necessary!

What did you learn during Lent? Did you grow closer to God? I would love to hear your feedback. Comment here. 

I have laid my fears at the foot of the cross… and I will continue to do so. That cross will stay in my living room as a constant reminder of God’s promise, plan and purpose for our lives. God removed the worrywart in me… and helped me to find exceptional and unexpected joy in the mourning.

Rejoicing for He is Risen,
SGK

“Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well.  I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” –Jeremiah 31:13

As promised, I set fire to my worries at the conclusion of lent. I've given them over to God... For good.

Categories: blessings, Christ, cross, dependence, faith, glory, God, joy, lent, promises, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Removal of the Worrywart

I’ve always been something of a worrywart.

Yep, I was that kid in middle and high school that would always bring “extra” books to class “just in case.” I was terrified that my world would crumble to pieces should I forget to bring my ruler to math class.

For most of my life, I have lived in a bubbles of “what ifs.” As I have gotten older and my relationship with Christ has grown so much deeper, those constant worries have diminished.

Sort of. Honestly, I still have a long way to go.

Our pastor Keith challenged us last week to consider either giving up or taking up something for lent. I had been thinking about it, but couldn’t come up with anything that spoke to my heart.

Chocolate? Naw… while it is something I enjoy, it really isn’t something that I am addicted to or is in the way of my relationship with Christ. Caffeine? Also, not super important to me, since I drink less than one caffeinated beverage per day. TV? Already cut my cable. Social media doesn’t consume my life and is more of a marketing platform for ministry, so that wouldn’t work either.

As I sat in our Ash Wednesday CRAVE prayer service last week, I asked God what He wanted me to do for the next 40 days (which would hopefully carry over into my entire life.) This is what He said:

“Give up your worries. Trust Me. Depend on Me.”

Great. This was going to be more difficult than caffeine, chocolate, and Facebook combined.

I continued to meditate… I knew that me “giving up” being a worrywart wasn’t as easy as me resolving to quit it. I needed something tangible… something to remind me how to remove this “wart” in my life…

So right after CRAVE, I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a cross. For the last 6 days, I have literally being laying my fears at the foot of the cross. Afterwards, I write down the “Faith Factors” of God amazing attributes and put them in a jar to remind myself that God’s power easily outnumbers my fears.

Now, I have never had a wart before, so I have never had to have one removed. Rumor has it that it can be temporarily painful. But if you leave it there, sometimes warts can be pretty unsightly, which is exactly the case with my ugly worrywart on my heart. Not only is my worrying a blemish, but it is a sin about doubting God’s goodness, plans, faithfulness and love.

So yes, removing this “worrywart” on my heart has already been a challenge… But I can already feel myself healing and growing stronger into a new, refreshed, more Jesus-trusting person.  I am honestly excited for the entire duration of lent because at the end of this process, I am plan to literally “burn off” this wart by taking a match to my worrywart papers. (And honestly, who doesn’t like a little pyromaniac action?)

I’m so thankful that I can go to THE Professional Healer for removal of my worrywart.

Fear to faith at the foot of the Cross,

SGK

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27

Categories: chocolates, fear, God, lent, worry | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

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