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


 

 

 

Erosion of the heart

Photo Courtesy of Linda Jackman Photography
http://lindajackmanphotography.com/

The other day I watched rivulets of water from melting snow trickle down my driveway creating ruts. Today in the freezing temps, those water filled ruts have frozen and widened. I watched my daughter navigate these obstacles trying to avoid them on the way to bus.

According to the dictionary….. Erosion is the natural process of weathering and transport of solids (sediment, soil, rock and other particles) in the natural environment or their source and depositing them elsewhere.

Recently, I used the following analogy about erosion to draw a word picture of how our hearts can be eroded by our loved ones, specifically our family members.

Often our loved one never “intends” to hurt us. Reality is though eventually they do actually wound us. They do things over and over which causes ruts to be carved on our hearts. Rarely do we bring this up. We just react. We pull back, hurt back or just ignore both the issue and the offender. We get over it and move on, but the rut grows deeper with each hurt.

Gradually all their stuff (words/actions) washes over our heart and trickles down the eroded grooves widening them. So we hear or feel things based upon it washing over the grooves and picking up remnants of the hurts that are deposited in the troughs.

Eventually everything they say or do…is covered in baggage and offensive. The result is defensiveness which is divisive.

Watching flood ravaged areas, one sees sandbags to prevent erosion and trucks backfilling things as earth is washed away. I pondered how to fill the grooves in my heart left behind by others whose words or deeds have gradually etched my heart and wounded my spirit. People I am forced to interact with daily.

Backhoes would destroy my heart. A sandbag would squash it. Avoiding people is not an option especially when you are related to them or even live with them. How to fix it?

According the Mayo Clinic: “Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.”

Our Creator’s word says:

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.
Proverbs 12:25

Forgiveness is an act we do without any action on our offender’s part. It is giving up our right to revenge. It’s our choice and it would seem forgiving is heart healthy for us.

Point to Ponder:
Does the erosion of my heart affect my relationships? What can I do to heal my heart? What choices do I need to make and whom do I need to forgive?


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