Can’t See [Part Two]

A little over a year ago I found out I needed glasses. I had no idea I couldn’t see. In fact, I only scheduled my eye exam cause my daughter had been complaining she couldn’t see the board in class. I found out that adding one person in the family to our eye plan was the same price as adding the whole family. 

We scheduled an exam for her, I brought her. When I was checking out, I found out it only cost $10 for an eye exam with our insurance. So I scheduled one for me. They asked if I had been having problems. I told them I had not but that my eyes hadn’t been checked since high school. Now that I was paying to be on the policy, I wanted to get my money out of it.

I showed up the day of my exam. Filled out the paperwork. Had a similar conversation about not having problems. They did some sort of test with a machine and took me to the room for the exam. You know the drill. Cover your other eye and tell me what letters you see. I confidently called out the first group of letters with no problems. Switched to the next set letters. They were a little smaller. To my surprise I couldn’t read them.

She checked me with all the lenses. Explained that I had a stigmatism. That this is what caused my apparent blurred vision.

A few weeks later my glasses arrived. It was the second day of our Parish Mission. That night at the mission, I sat three pews back. At one point I would take my glasses off and look at the speaker. I’d put my glasses back on and look at him again. I repeated this over and over. My wife looked over and asked what I was doing. “I didn’t know I was supposed to be able to make out the details in his face from this distance.”

With glasses I could see the world in a new way. Things were more detailed. It was all new to me. Who knows how long I had not been able to see. I guess it was so gradual that I never realized.

I’ve been reflecting on that over the last few weeks. God has really been reminding me that Lent is supposed to be like that eye exam. It’s meant to reveal our “defects.” Hopefully this season has been like my eye exam. The hope is that by Easter we have received our “glasses.” That we can see things clearly. See things a new way.

If that hasn’t been your Lent, fear not – let not your heart be troubled. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. Tomorrow we begin Holy Week. Tomorrow is still Lent. There’s still time. Spend this last week allowing the Lord to show you His love. To show you His grace. To show you His mercy.

He is your glasses. It is through Him that we are made new. It is through Him that we can see.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” -C.S.Lewis

Read “Can’t Read [Part One]” here.

Can’t See [Part One]

Can’t See [Part 1]

If I am being honest, we seldom meal plan and often fly by the seat of our paints. Mondays are dancing. Tuesdays are track round one and scouts and retreat meetings. Wednesdays are choir. Thursdays are track round two. I’m the kids uber driver and Alesha takes care of the babies.

With all the moving parts, two big kids and two babies, we usually are finishing meals and going to bed all at the same times. Both babies cranky, the big kids still doing doing homework, fighting to take baths and trying to excite the babies. “Dad! I was just trying to help!” Welcome to our chaos. I believe that God gives special grace to parents, cause, well, kids live to be adults.

In all the commotion, it’s not often I get to put our 3 year old to bed. Every night in a last ditch effort to stall, we hear the cry, “It’s mommy’s turn.” And it’s always mommy’s turn. However, last week I got not one, but two nights to rock and put him to bed. I cherish these moments, as I know all too well, they’ll be gone soon.

With the lights off, noise maker on and the fan off, he doesn’t like the fan, we sat in the rocker. Blanket in hand and snuggled in my arms. Me singing “twinkle” and “hush baby.” All the sudden I hear “Can’t see you.” “I know buddy, it’s dark, but I got you. I’m not going anywhere.” After songs and prayers, I tucked him into bed and heard it again. “Can’t see you, dad.” “I’m right here buddy. I love you.” “Love you. Night dad.”

As I reflected on both those nights last week, both times the same exclamation, “Can’t see you.” One time in my arms and one time with me standing right there, I could hear God saying, “I’m right here. I’m holding you. Trust me.”

Have you ever felt that way with God? “Can’t see you.” Has something gone wrong or not like you planned. Have you questioned his invitations to new adventures cause you weren’t sure if it was Him. Cause you couldn’t see Him.

No matter what is going on, He’s got you. He’s with you. He’s holding you. Even if you, in the moment, can’t see Him.

What a great reminder in this season of Lent.

Begin Today

Yesterday, on my way home from  work, I passed a house that planned well. How do I know that? They were going camping this weekend. I mean, at least I assume they were since their camper was hooked up. And since it was 9 o’clock at night, my assumption is that they weren’t leaving yesterday. They were prepared to leave. Packed up. Hooked up. Ready to go.

I don’t plan well. Whether I am going on vacation, spending an afternoon at the camp or getting the kids ready for the sitter in the morning. Doesn’t matter. I always feel like it is going to go quick. That nothing will go wrong. That everything will be where it is supposed to be. But none of that ever happens. I always end up running late. If I would just slow down long enough to get things together and pack in advance.

God has been reminding me of that this Lent. Reminding me that I always wait until the last minute to do everything. If I am being honest, there’s no exception to Lent. Here we are, the end of the first full week of Lent, and I am still waiting to start. 

I mean, Ash Wednesday went well. And then I started getting “busy.” That’s my excuse. I’m too busy. I’ll pack later. I’ll start later. I’ll pray later. But later never comes.

This year I want it to be different. I don’t want to wait until later. Cause later is going to give way to Easter and Lent will be over. I want to slow down today. I want to spend time today. I want to enter into this Season today. Experience the dryness. Experience the longing. The longing for more of God. The longing to be who He created me to be. The longing to be with Him.

This is where I am today at the end of the 1st Week of Lent. Realizing that I haven’t begun well. That I’m not preparing like I should be – I’m not getting ready. But knowing that it’s still not too late to start. That I can start today. That I will start today.

If you’re like me, it’s not too late. Enter in. Start searching. Start preparing. Start getting ready. This Season of Lent is long for a reason. We need the length. It takes time to slow down enough to get ready. Let’s slow down. Let’s enter in. So that when Easter gets here, we are found ready for all it has to offer.

Restless

Last night I was rocking Lucy to sleep. After many failed attempts, Alesha handed her to me and asked if I would give it a shot. We went in the room and rocked for awhile. She was restless. Eventually I stood up and began bouncing her in my arms and humming. She was was so tired, but she kept jerking up and looking around. She just didn’t want to sleep. But eventually, her curiousness gave away to her exhaustion and she fell asleep.

Here we are, the Friday after Ash Wednesday. How’s your Lent going so far?

If I’m being honest, I feel like Lucy. I keep reaching. I keep wanting. I keep grasping. So far it has been a challenge for me to rest. To be still. To sit in the arms of the Father knowing that He knows what’s good for me.

As I rocked Lucy to sleep last night, I realized that there is so much that the Father wants for me this Lent. That all those things that keep drawing me from will reveal the areas in my life I am exhausted. The areas I am tired. The area I keep working at instead of letting Him have control over.

Like Lucy, I know this Lent, if I stay in His arms, eventually my exhaustion will give way and I will learn to rest. He will fill me. It will be His love and life that fix my brokenness. 

No matter where you are in journey so far, it’s still the beginning. We have this whole season to be with the Father. To let Him show us that He is in control. That all we have to do is “remain in Him.”

The Stuff

“But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.” Matthew 6:8

On this eve of Lent, or as we call it in south Louisiana – Mardi Gras, I have been reflecting on the meaning of Lent and exactly what we are being invited into. My reflection kept reminding of last week. Last week I got to spend most of my time cleaning out storage rooms and reorganizing. This was an attempt to make things more functional.

As I was going through one closet in particular, our maintenance guy was with me, and I would point and ask what things were for. His response was the same, “I was told I couldn’t throw it away.” There was so much we were hanging onto that had become useless. No-one could even remember why we kept it or what it was for. Some of it was just attracting bugs. It was time to get rid of it.

Today I kept coming back to the thought of the stuff I keep in my life. The things I have been holding on to. The things that have cluttered up my life. Things I just can’t let go of. Not so much the physical stuff, although I probably need to declutter that too. It’s the emotions, the hurts, the feelings, the sins, the habits, etc. that I have stored away and not dealt with. The stuff that isn’t me even though I think it is.

It’s this stuff that God is inviting me this Lent to face, to look at, to get rid of. To invite Him into. Lent is all about cleaning out the closet of our lives, the stuff that has cluttered us all year long. This is the only way to make room for God. To become more functional. To allow ourselves to be filled with things that are important to God.

This is my hope for this Lent. How are you going to clean out the closet of your life? What is the stuff that God is inviting you to let go of? How can you make room for Him, so that come Easter, your life, my life, functions better?