Lent 1.1 (Redemption)

Since the beginning of Lent, I have done some amazing reading and just finished a very powerful, redemptive book titled “Found: A Story of Questions, Grace and Everyday Prayer” by Micha Boyett. I read it in two days and had tears in my eyes when I was done. I even called a friend to rave about the book almost the minute I put it down. It’s one I’m going to read again almost immediately, at a much slower pace, savoring every moment. It was so ordinary and yet so sacred that I couldn’t even glean great quotes out of it to share on my Facebook status, which is unusual for me when I’m reading a great book.

I can tell that this Lenten season is going to be huge for me, I’ve already learned so much. I keep using the word redemptive, and I truly believe that if I continue to being open to learn, that this will be a redemptive season for me, which totally makes sense when I realize that after Lent comes Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. The resurrection is what makes all of this possible. The resurrection is why grace exists. The resurrection is a promise of life when there should be death. God has spent the last six months uprooting my entire life, leaving nothing untouched. A lot of dreams and plans for the future have died, in many ways I have died to an old way of life, and yet I have the promise of the resurrection. God will resurrect these things because using the bad and the ugly and the downright horrible things in life and turning them around for good is what God is all about. Which is why the word redemptive fits, and this is a redemptive book.

As I work on my own book, Micha Boyett’s book is something I am glad I read during the writing process. Seeing as I am writing a memoir about faith, I have been reading a lot of memoirs about faith, particularly new releases such as this one, because I’m trying to make my book relevant to the current market, because after all that is how to sell a book. The process of writing requires as much or more time spent reading as it does writing for me, because reading helps to inspire my own work. I am glad to have read such a redemptive memoir because I hope that mine will be powerful and redemptive also. This particular book was a very positive memoir even though it was about an ordinary woman like me, a mom trying to recognize her value in the world and her value to God. Perhaps that was even part of its value. I’m not expecting the next memoir on my list to be as positive in tone as this one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant, and I could be wrong about it. The next book on the list is also a brand new release that I pre-ordered called “Girl and the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future” by Elizabeth Esther. I guess I will see where that book takes me. 

Lent 1.0

So, that fancy list I earnestly wrote at the beginning of Lent of just one thing I would do to observe Lent each day…I did it…for two days. After that, life happened and the list fell apart. I haven’t done more than two or three of the things on the list I wrote for the kids, either. Until now, that’s been my pattern; I’ve had big ideas and set out to change the world, and then let life get in the way. I’ve made excuses, used the fact that I have been abused, that yes I did something wrong but so did somebody else, or said that I was just unworthy of what I longed for. And it’s true, I have been abused, somebody else did do something wrong, and I have felt unworthy.

It’s time to get past all of that; the truth is that I haven’t done the things on my lists because I used the time for other things. And the truth is that I haven’t done a lot of things because I used the time for something else, or I made the wrong decision, or I was sulking and figured it was just too hard, or I lacked the confidence that I could do it. The Girl With the Grace Tattoo is a concept I have had for at least two years now, and I’ve worked on it slowly. I’ve been excited about writing my book, but I’ve also sabotaged myself with some terrible marketing, and a huge lack of confidence. I’ve complained that others get opportunities that I don’t, saying that they were just “more special” but I’m beginning to question that attitude.

It is true that some people have had far more advantages and opportunities than I have, but it’s also true that I haven’t taken full advantage of the ones I have been given. I’ve been burying the few talents that I’ve been given just like is described in the parable Jesus told because I compared myself to others and I was afraid. I need to start taking advantage of the opportunities I have been given, which is why I am using The Girl With the Grace Tattoo as my dissertation for my honors work, locking myself into finishing it well and in a timely manner.

While I haven’t been keeping up with the lists that I set out to do at the beginning of Lent, I’ve chosen to let those go because the truth is I think God has decided on a different focus for me for Lent. He wants to redeem the abuse I have suffered, redeem the wrong others have done to me; redeem the mess I have made of my own life. He wants to change the entire way that I think about life, he wants me to change what I do. And because of that, the theme of Easter is all through the Lenten season for me. It’s a death of old thoughts and attitudes and a resurrection to new life, one where I take responsibility for my life and the things I choose to do with it.