I’ve been wanting to write something on this season of Lent that we are currently in. Although I grew up with a faint understanding of Lent as a part of the church calendar it was more about giving up chocolate and waiting for Easter than any sort of spiritual discipline. It wasn’t until 2014 when Lent began just days after I miscarried my first pregnancy that I began to appreciate it for what it is.
Lent is the end of winter. It is the last days of mourning and loss before renewal. It is the season of the desert before the first buds begin to bloom. It is the path of destruction walked through into rebirth. Looking back, it was a blessing to pass through this spiritual season during a time of personal mourning. It was an unexpected gift to have to wait for tests and medical answers while we also waited with our saviour in the desert, on the path to Calvary.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the rose;
it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.Isaiah 35:1-2
March 10 was two years past the due date of our little boy. I was surprised at how emotional the date on my calendar made me. It seemed like enough time should have passed that it wouldn’t still be so sad. And I am always conflicted because I am so filled-up, thankful, in love with my little girls and yet I miss the child I never knew. And loving him doesn’t make me love my girls less and yet it seems greedy sometimes, to want so much.
We talk a lot with Pearl about emotions and one of the things I tell her is that it’s okay to feel what she’s feeling. Her emotions are real and valid and the only issue is in how she expresses them. And so I tried to give myself the same grace. That my emotions are real and valid and it’s okay to feel them.
Pondering these things and remembering that Lenten season, five years ago, before Pearl, before a second miscarriage, before Rose, before I knew if my body would ever bear a child longer than a few weeks, I remembered one clear vision God gave me.
It was Easter morning, early. We attended a pre-church church service at the beach. Standing in the cold morning sunshine along a rocky outcropping by the water. I don’t recall the songs or the sermon. I had a picture of being caught in a storm. The kind of heavy downpour that comes up sudden and powerful, not like our all day drizzle here on the West Coast. In this vision I ducked under a large rock, a sort of cave that offered hardly any shelter from this wind and rain. And what I saw was that God put His hand over the mouth of the cave and shielded me from the storm.
I was hurt and angry that I got wet at all, not realizing that the storm had barely touched me. I thought I had been abandoned but I had been under His protection the whole time.
There have been other storms since that sunny Easter morning. There have been great moments of glory too. And I’m quite sure, when I reach the end of my life, I will finally learn of all the hidden moments. Of all the moments when His hand came down and sheltered me.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me for in You my should takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me.Psalm 57:1-2