Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Preschool kids singing at the Ash Wednesday service at church and a potluck to follow. Spend bulk of morning getting children dressed nicely and making salad with homemade dressing for potluck. Twenty minutes until it’s time to leave. Better get myself dressed and ready too. Run upstairs. Briefly leave children unattended. Older child covers one entire leg and hand with marker. Dash down the stairs to put a stop to it. Look up in horror as younger child bounces down the entire wooden staircase. Comfort him and make sure he’s okay. Sprint around the house to find everything we need. Somehow manage to sprain ankle slightly in the process. Finally make it out the door. Yes. Mission accomplished. Going to be on time. Practice Xavier’s songs. Sing to Jesus. Ten minutes into our drive. Wait. The salad. Forgot the salad. Pull off. Turn around. Head back. Mommy, why aren’t you singing anymore? Drive fast but not fast enough to get pulled over. Grab the salad. The salad that was sitting right next to the front door. Back on the road. Make it to church. Two minutes late. Sigh. Oh well. Only two minutes late. Survive church service. No idea what was said, but survive. Make it through potluck without any major catastrophes. Drive exhausted children home. Head inside with potluck remains. Realize that my purse (i.e. the only expensive thing that I own) is filled with two inches of salad dressing. Oily, smelly salad dressing. Never eating salad again. Throw children in bed for naps. Grab everything out of purse to clean. One. Two. Three. Three ruined books. Try to figure out how to wash the (don’t-dry-clean-or-machine-wash-or-anything-but-spot-clean-me) purse. Decide to throw it in the washing machine rather than the trash can. Younger child awake and screaming for Mommy. Not done cleaning purse and haven’t even thought of opening my computer for work yet.
Oh, the joys of motherhood. Or life in general?
This was my day today.
My Ash Wednesday.
The day when I was excited to hear the sermon and introduce my children to the idea of Lent.
Excited to start these forty days fresh with a new focus.
(I think my last day this disastrous was New Years Day…maybe I should change my expectations of fresh starts??)
I’ve heard a lot people say recently that “at least we know God won’t give us more than we can handle.” And so when I headed out the door alone for my run tonight (thank you, Jesus, that my husband understands me and knew that was exactly where I was headed when he got home), I was thinking about this phrase.
And the more I pondered (yes, I am one of those running and solving the world’s problems types), I realized that this is NOT WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS AT ALL.
Life and God (and the devil for that matter) will ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT QUESTION, EVERY SINGLE DAY, give me so much more than I could EVER handle.
On my own that is.
I am a failure. I mess up. I break down. I yell. I cry. I lose it.
Like every day.
Because I can’t handle life and its burdens. I never have been able to and I never will be able to. And the more I try to handle life on my own, the worse the results (please see above).
So, back to what the Bible really says… The verse that is often is misquoted actually says this:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” I Corinthians 10:13
A WAY OUT. How often do I find myself in need of “a way out” of temptation?
And while Paul does not specify what this “way out” is in I Corinthians, a quick review in Matthew and Luke of Jesus’ temptation by the devil after forty days in the desert provides the answer to this question.
ALL THREE TIMES THAT JESUS WAS TEMPTED, HE RESPONDED WITH THE WORD OF GOD.
I can feel it. My heart and my soul are hungry for his Word and I haven’t been filling them up to the degree that I need to. To the degree that I can find that “way out.”
So forty days. Instead of starving myself during Lent, this year I’m going to be fed.
Forty days of intentionally reading the Word and reflecting and writing and sharing.
(I promise not every day will be this long.)