The days leading up to lent were becoming fewer and fewer and I still had no idea what to do for Lent this year. There are the usual sacrifices of sweets and soda but conviction of the love God has for us calls me to more.
Last year for Lent I was in Spain studying abroad. Those forty days were probably the most beautiful of my life. I began to go on dates with God (walks in the parks, coffee, etc.). I read His Word more. I went on a pilgrimage to Fatima, walking 20miles through the beautiful countryside of Portugal with 700 young adults and only 3 who spoke english. I experienced mass in 5 different languages. I spent Holy Week in Rome and had stations of the Cross with the pope on Good Friday. He was showering His love upon me and I received it with open arms. I fell in love with Him and truly realized it was because He loved me first.
I had no idea what He would want for me this Lent. He has been drawing me deeper into His love and romancing me for the past year, but I know there are always ways to go deeper.
So Lent began yesterday and I still was praying into these forty days, these days of preparation. This morning in the Gospel reading Jesus spoke so clearly to me what this Lent (and the rest of my life) would hold for me. God showered me with His love last Lent and it is now my turn to respond.
Luke 9:23-24 says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.”
I am losing my life. I am returning His freely given love by freely giving myself to Him. I will choose DAILY to take up my cross and to surrender to His will for my life. I have not stopped smilig today about the thought of losing my life to Him (whose hands could be better?) A complete surrender. A complete dying to self. It makes so much sense that this is what He is calling me to do not just for these next forty days but everyday. Mark Hart pointed out today in our conference call that Luke’s Gospel is the only one that says DAILY take up your cross. This is my journey and hopefully all of our journeys to DAILY pick up our cross and follow Him. I want to die more to myself everyday so that I can live more for Him.