My Lenten Promise

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

Luke 9:23-24

Lent is my favorite time of the year.

I don’t even have the words to describe it. It is beyond my understanding. It is a greater joy than I can articulate.

To me, there is no greater joy than the Lenten season and there is no greater challenge.

Lent is next week and in preparation I’ve been shamefully human. I’ve noticed my head often race, “what will I give up for Lent?” “what goals should I set for myself?” “how will I measure this?” “what should I plan and program?” “what should I set in my Google Cal…?”

I begin to write a to-do list and seek blocks in my schedule for the season. However, in my planning frenzy, I am given grace:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

God has a blessed way of telling me, “Cynthia, this is not about you.”

Lent – a relationship with God – is not a season. It is not a program. It is not something you put on your Google Cal. It is something central to my life. If I truly am a disciple of God, I must give up my tendency to control, my tendency to see life through a small, “Cynthia” lens. I must give up the busy, the noise, and the things of the world. I must lose my life in order that I may save it.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

These forty days are not about me-Cynthia, they are about my relationship with Christ. I am, only through Him.

These forty days are about removing the things of the world (the busy, the noise, social media and entertainment distractions, over-consumption) that keep me from Him. They are about including things in my life (mass, serving with others, bible study, prayer, fasting) that bring me closer to Him.

Lord, transform me this Lent. Guard my heart and mind from the things of the world. I want to lose it all to gain it all, Lord. This is my Lenten Promise.

 

Suffering well

“Dumpster fire.” “The worst.”

This is how many people I know have described 2016. I usually just nod in agreement when I hear this. It’s easier to nod. It’s more challenging to reflect on the suffering. But now as I look back on the year, a devastating and difficult year to many, I am reminded of a homily I heard years ago.

Years ago I heard a homily that changed my life. It was about suffering well.

What ‘suffering well’ means to me is allowing my pain to bring me closer to Christ. It is in realizing my brokenness, my smallness, that I can run towards Christ, seeking my faith like seeking air to breathe. It is in suffering that I am reminded how radically dependent I am on the love and truth I only find through Him.

In this case, dependence is not a bad thing. I know, I know… it’s hard for those of us who pride ourselves in being strong and independent and self-sufficient.

However, I know I am strong through Christ. I am independent and self-sufficient through Christ. I experience joy through Christ. How do I know that next year will be okay? How do I know I am worthy of true love and respect? Through Christ. I know who I am through Christ alone. 

It’s the most generous gift I have received. In my brokenness I am capable of receiving the love of Christ who will always wait for me with open arms. I can suffer well knowing that love has already won; He is just waiting for me.

So thank God for my broken heart. I am capable of loving well because I have suffered well. 

As we enter 2017 my prayer is that I may be patient and humble. I pray that I continue to seek wholeness and good relationship with my God even in these good times. I pray others may find out what it means to suffer well.

What You’ve Done to Me

I’m finally broken, falling too far
Burned up in pieces from chasing your stars
With twilight approaching all that I’ve seen
I could never get over what You’ve done to me

NEEDTOBREATHE

 

The start of my year did not begin last January 1st. It began on Easter Sunday.

On Easter Sunday I wore a pretty floral dress and went to church with my best friends. I specifically remember my prayer that morning, “God, please let me be done. Give me peace. Let this be finished.”

I prayed with my whole heart and God carried me out of church that morning. He held me when my knees buckled and wiped the tears that rolled off my cheek. I was broken and fell too far; I knew I had burned up in pieces. Still, I could feel God carry me. As I walked out, I turned around and looked at the church and thought to myself, “It is finished.”

See, He really does make all things new.

After that Easter Sunday a lot has happened in my beautiful little life. In Christ I regained my discipline and perseverance. My anxieties turned to obedience. My heartbreak turned into faithfulness. What a blessing it was and is to find Christ in my brokenness. 

I could never get over what You’ve done to me.

I could never get over what You’ve done to me.

Yours, Cynthia

 

 

Sleep All Day

In typical Cynthia fashion, I would take a few good months to post. And also in Cynthia fashion it would take a perfectly placed song on my iTunes shuffle to inspire my post.

If all is grounded, you should make a mountain out of it.

I woke up this morning and I felt the sun beaming and I was surprisingly not upset that I had to wake up. I put my music on shuffle and looked outside my window and saw the breathtaking view of Downtown Nashville. I often take it for granted that I live in such a beautiful place. No view of the beach but this view is even more perfect. It’s the view of the home that I made for myself.

I must say that for the first time, I feel very grounded. Very real. I know that this is my home. I am sure. I am also sure that I can be very happy and healthy here. I’ve been fortunate enough to feel this way. It was not easy and that’s the best part. I worked for it, I fought for it. I had to have many difficult conversations and had life throw me curveballs to know what I know now: I’m not walking away; happiness takes work and it is worth it. I thank my God for everything that has led me to where I am right now. Sitting downtown, looking at the sunshine, with more love in my heart than I know what to do with. I guess I should make a mountain out of it.