This Lenten season has been incredibly blessed for me so far. Emotional? Absolutely. But beyond words blessed. I feel like the Lord is about to do something powerful in my heart and in my relationship with Him because I am an absolute wreck right now.
These last few days have been a test for me. I have been struggling with self-esteem, with seeing my beauty, with seeing myself in the eyes of God. I have been reflecting on my 19 little years of life, and what is the one word that the enemy has been saying to me? FAILURE. He’s been telling me that I am worthless and unless I prove myself and my worth to others I am nothing. And above all else, that is just the exterior. If you really think about it, who besides God knows everything about you? Every pain, every wound, every sin, every disappointment, every joy, every passion, every love? Only God knows these things. So then I ask myself, “If those few people that do love me could see me and know me in my innermost self, would they still love me?” There is a voice, well rather a scream from the world that says, “You are no good, you are ugly; you are worthless, you are despicable, you are nobody- unless you can demonstrate the opposite.” If you haven’t noticed already in your own life, let me tell you, sometimes it is a very very loud voice, a voice that makes you either want to run away and hide in a corner or makes you bitter and resentful.
And then… there is that voice, the voice that speaks from above and from within and whispers softly, “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.” (Life of the Beloved). It is nearly impossible to hear this voice when you have the other screaming in your ear. However, I’ve noticed in the past that when these voices are the loudest in my ear is when God is about to move in my heart because the enemy knows who I truly am and fears what I can become. So of course, in these times when God is moving, Satan will be moving. He will be trying to stop God’s movement, and of course, that’s impossible. God has already won the battle. So in a weird way, when I’m being attacked and feeling so low, I’m consoled to know that it’s because Satan FEARS who I am and what I can become!
Pope Benny said on his reflection of Lent that “the imposition of ashes, a gesture of humility, means: I recognize myself for what I am, a fragile creature made of earth and destined to return to him. Dust, yes, but dust that is loved and molded by his love, animated by his life-giving breath, capable of recognizing his voice and responding to him; free and thus also capable of disobeying him, of yielding to the temptation of pride and self-sufficiency.”
Oddly enough, this humbling statement by our Pope brought me consolation, to know that all I am is dust, but dust that is made out of love, in the image of God. Being dust, I know that I have no control over where the wind blows. I have no control over where I will be or what my life will be made of. All I have control over is trusting the Lord with where He is sending me. All I have control over is trusting the wind of Holy Spirit that is guiding me. That doesn’t mean there won’t be trials. There will be many trials, but above all else I know that I am God’s and that He created me to be BLESSED and LOVED by Him. The Holy Father said that the Lenten journey is based on: “the omnipotence of the love of God, on his total lordship over every creature, which is translated in an infinite indulgence, animated by a constant and universal will to live.”
So… what can I do? Trust God with my life. In order to reach eternal life I must pass through the desert, the test of faith. But not alone! With Jesus! Praise that Lord that I do not have to fight this battle. I am not my own. My life is not my life at all. It is a life that God has blessed me with, but I am His character, and He has a plan for me. All I have to do is be responsive to His plan for me and let Him move. If I do this, this is what I”ll hear over and over again: “I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mothers’ womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with INFINITE tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. Wherever you go, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will not hide my face from you. You belong to me. I am your father. Wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are ONE.” (Life of the Beloved)