Gratefulness and repentance, those words. Two tough ones for me to swallow right now. I read something the other day that said we go through winter of the soul to get the spring (She Reads Truth-Springtime). I wish that wasn’t true. This winter in my soul hurts but spring is around the corner. But that is the thing…
The thing about gratefulness is it doesn’t always make things better but it can give you a better view of what exactly you have in your life. It sometimes doesn’t come naturally for me but when I sit & think about what it means to be grateful I find a slow smile start to appear on my face. Gratefulness is kindness, thankfulness. Gratefulness begins in our heart and it think it slowly spreads throughout us. I want to believe that I can create a grateful life; full of kindness and love.
I have to start where I am and move my heart in the direction that it needs to go. I want to be grateful for the experiences I’ve been allowed to have. Not be so sad when they’re over. For the people who have entered my life and decided to stay when they see what a MESS I am. For these feelings I have, for caring as deeply as I do.
May I open my ears and open my heart to different stories. May I let go of how I think life is supposed to go and believe in the better. May I let go of the weight and shame and guilt; and start to live life out fully, free from past. Perfection isn’t needed but you know what is? Real, honest, life with heartbreak and cracks and ugliness. May my failures teach me and comfort others. We aren’t alone. We aren’t done. This world needs us. In case you ever forget. You are loved. Loved more than you could ever imagine. While I search for love from a man I forget that I’m loved more by a God than I could every possibly understand.
How am I going to get there, that grateful place? Repentance. I’ve never done a Lenten study before. This year I knew that my heart was stagnant and it was becoming hardened. It was in a place that I do not like, and do not want to be. Considering and acting in ways that are not consistent with who I am. And as Jon Weece said in his sermon last week “What is inside us comes out” I instantly groaned and said please don’t. Please just stay inside and go away. So this year I am reading She Reads Truth lent study. This week is about Repentance. Something that I like to ignore. The writer perfectly describes my actions….that I would rather curl up under my cover, grab a book, a glass of wine and just ignore the world and my problems, my transgressions. Then she says this “Hard-heartedness just leads to more judgement, but repentance leads to life.” I want life. Life abundantly. So this week and for a while I must do the hard work. The work I don’t want to admit.
So gratefulness and repentance. They do not always go hand in hand but I think I need to be grateful for the opportunity to have repentance. To have a Savior who loves the sinful. Who loves me and isn’t driven away by my sin but someone who pulls me closer. He won’t judge us, he’ll love us. For that I am grateful.