Frozen : The Lenten Challenge

We drive through the crowded parking lot, mountains of gray snow at the edges hogging up much needed DSC_0277spaces.  Rachel says, “look at that disgusting snow its so gross and dirty. I am so ready for spring. I hate wearing coats, hats and gloves.” 

Quietly I pray for a new layer to cover up the gray.  White to cover the black.  It was Ash Wednesday. I thought of the significance.  It was the ashes on the plowed lot that made the snow mountains gray and dirty.  Ash mixed with winter white.

Our denomination doesn’t celebrate Ash Wednesday but my Methodist roots and the Catholic neighborhood I grew up in filled me with memories and meaning of what that day commemorates.  Like advent…it is a time of preparing our hearts.

It’s been a long winter here in Western PA.  I heard someone say the other day it had been a long winter in her heart. blog heart ice

Ironically one of the hit movies this year is called Frozen.  I pondered all these icy metaphors and thought about the cold heart.

DSC_0260Like the tiny shoots of grass and daffodils beneath the layer of snow, the cold heart harbors tiny invisible seeds of hope.  What does it take to melt a cold heart?

Love. Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.

These are all things we can give or offer to someone who  is frozen

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People ask “What are you giving up for Lent?”  I ponder is it really about giving something up or pouring something out?   What if we use the 40 days to try to thaw the frozen hearts around us? Bathe their hearts in the warmth of mercy. If they are brittle from bitterness … foster them with forgiveness.  Love the lonely and wrap the stumbling with grace.  Take a 40 day challenge to thaw the frozen.  What will you give up for lent?  A bit of yourself?  A bit of your time?

Is your heart the one that is Frozen?  Are you chilled to your soul, unable to pray, seek or ask?  Are you wrestling with the ashy dirty feeling of sin, fear, or regret?  Are you brittle from reaching out and being rejected? Are the windows of your soul frosted up ~ blocking out the SON ?  Do you long to bathe in the warmth of … something…anything?

James 4:8  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Take a 40 day challenge to thaw your frozen heart. Write one thing each day that you are thankful for. Do one small kind gesture for someone else. A smile, open a door, … gratitude will help thaw the edges.

Comment to me or message me and I will commit to pray for you during lent. Let it go.  Allow God to resurrect your life before Easter Sunday.  Are you up for the challenge? Your Creator is waiting to make your story HIStory and your time of testing, your Testimony. Remember, you were worth dying for…that is what Easter is really all about.

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One of my favorite Easter Hymns: For Those Tears I Died.

You said You’d come and share all my sorrows,
You said You’d be there for all my tomorrows;
I came so close to sending You away,
But just like You promised You came there to stay;
I just had to pray!

And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied;
I felt ev’ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I
died.”

Point to Ponder: Seek out the Frozen. Look in the mirror. Is your soul ready for spring?DSC_1006


 

 

 

What I learned at Camp

Seneca Chapel1.Bring several warm layers even in April

2.The “Heavenly Storehouses Laden with Snow” can pour out…even in April

3.Don’t forget the sleeping bag or the camera.

4.Camp food is tasty –  don’t start a diet before you head out.

5.Women Rock at Paintball.

6.Lack of outward appearing response has no bearing on INWARD Impact – YAY God!

7.A Zipline can make your age 40 + body, feel older the next day.

8.God not only calms the storms in your life, but your stomach as well.

9.Audiences love a good Super Hero story…especially when it involves BAT GIRL!

And the best thing?

10.GOD SHOWS UP AT CAMP!

 

This weekend was the Anchor of the Soul:  Women’s Retreat at Seneca Hills. Anchor Prop I continue to be blown away by the awesomeness of God and how he can take willing and broken vessels who serve and pour into them until they overflow on others.

We explored who God is and How he loves us.  We examined how the hurts we go through grow us. We looked at things that can harden our hearts which hinders our relationship with God and we learned about how essential hope is to our prayer life and how to be a hope giver.

We UNTIED the knots in our lifeline which keep us from being tethered to the Anchor of our souls and we became UNITED with the only sure thing to keep us from drifting in this crazy mixed up world.

Several ladies came to the true and life saving knowledge that they are daughters of a King.

We sang, journaled, prayed, pondered…did zumba, PraiseMoves and Paintball we ate and learned how to eat Biblically…we shared…we cared…we chatted…but most of all…we worshipped.Worship at Seneca

It was a memorable weekend. Thanks be to God!  If you were there comment on what you took away from the weekend.  Hope to see you again soon!

If you missed it.  Learn how you can schedule the An Anchor for Our Souls Retreat for the women at your church by leaving your query below.  We look forward to serving you!

 

Big Snows and Little Flakes (Guest Blogger)

GUEST BLOGGER INTRO Today I am hosting my sweet friend Annie as my guest blogger. A nature lover and a God lover like I am, her take on the snow is simply wonderful. She is also the writer who wrote the questions at the end of the chapters in “Beside the Sea with Thee”.

Today is Epiphany! An apt day to write about insights and ideas. One of the thoughts that has been floating around in my mind these past few weeks is about snow. We have had an unusually snowy December and the first truly white Christmas since our family has lived in this house. The snow-covered world around us is quite welcome at Christmastime and makes it easy to enjoy its beauty.

I love the look of trees and bushes that have been draped with lights, then smothered in the snow so the lights glow through it. I love the way a blanket of snow makes everything more beautiful – from bare tree branches to a pile of junk in someone’s back yard. I love the sweeping scenery that snow creates across the landscape of hills and forests around western Pennsylvania. And though I don’t live in the mountains, I have been to the Rockies in winter, and I carry pictures in my heart of their grandeur beneath the falling snow.

These visions outside my window and inside my memories stir my awe and wonder at the vast and majestic nature of God and His creations.

Then, there are the snowflakes themselves. If you get really close to them, perhaps with a magnifying glass, you see another world of beauty. Not being someone who enjoys getting cold, I prefer to look at photographs of snowflakes! We have books with incredible pictures of snowflakes along with detailed explanations of how they form, the different classes of flakes, the conditions that create the facets and branches of each kind of flake… it’s amazing. The crystalline structures are exquisite, and there are so many different kinds of snowflakes! We rarely get to see them in all their glory, but they are there nonetheless.

These stunning photos astonish me with God’s creativity and attention to details.

Snow, on a macro scale or a micro scale, reflects and reveals its Creator. Where do you find Him?

Think about it!

Annie
Photo of Road Courtesy of Hannah I. Shoemaker
Photo of Snowflake Courtesy of Linda Jackman Photography http://lindajackmanphotography.com/

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