BUT NOT BEFORE
Oh my goodness guys, I got engaged!! What!?!? I’m still in shock and it all is still so surreal. Literally, the last week of my life has been a dream come true….it has also been a whirlwind. I feel like I have lived a whole month in one week. All of a sudden life just hit fast forward and I’m running right along with it. So much goodness though. It is a beautiful season and my heart couldn’t be rejoicing more. I have been praying Mama Mary’s words from her Magnificat, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” God is SO good. SO SO SO good.
Today has been the first normal day I have had since the engagement. And by normal, I just mean normal routine. Let me tell you, I took the norm for granted for far too long. I breathed it in and relished in it today. I want to enjoy these days. As excited as I am for my future, I also know everything will change. Not in a bad way. My life will be immensely more blessed and full then it currently is. But it will change. My life will never again look the way it does now because I will be changed through the vocation and sacrament of marriage. I accept new responsibilities as a wife and I’m so stinking excited to do that. Like I said though, I want to enjoy these days of simplicity, of prayerful preparation.
Preparation: the action or process of making ready, or being made ready for use or consideration; something done to get ready for an event or undertaking.
I am in a season of preparation. Ian and I are preparing to marry one another; to become husband and wife; to love each other well; to serve each other and to serve God with one another. I’m praying that the Lord prepares my heart in a way that I can learn how to be a godly wife, a virtuous wife, a wife that honors her husband and strengthens him. I am preparing to be Ian’s counterpart, to be his helpmate on this journey to heaven we are on. I love that man so much. His heart is so special and rare. I can’t wait to be his wife.
This season of preparation fits perfectly with the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. We just entered Lent. Woo hoo!!! What a beautiful season the church gives us. I think Lent gets a distorted vibe sometimes. I always call it spiritual boot camp. But this year I questioned that. I believe it is true but I questioned what does that really mean to me?
Sometimes I think I look at Lent as a period of time where I can improve myself, but in a selfish way. It becomes about me and I do extra things that I think will improve me. Me, me, me. I think a lot about me. I get excited because I get to improve. This year, I do want to improve; but I don’t want to improve for me. I want to improve for Him. Lent isn’t about me. Lent is about Jesus.
Lent tends to have a big emphasis on repentance and turning away from attachments and sin. AMEN to this. SUPER important, don’t get me wrong. We need this and it is essential to this season, but WHY?
It’s all about Jesus and what He did for us. If anyone is reading this and doesn’t know Jesus. He LOVES you. He LOVES you so much that He was willing to die for you. If you were the only soul on earth He would choose to die all over again just for you. John 3:16 was the first bible verse I ever memorized: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life.”
Lent is about Easter. It is a time to prepare our hearts so we can rejoice in the culmination of the preparation, Easter Sunday. It is about preparing our hearts so we are ready to receive Him when He is risen. It is about preparing our hearts to make a home for Him to live and reside in once He comes again. Lent isn’t about improving for me. It is about improving so I’m ready for Him. It is about denying myself and my will so I am more prepared to hear His still small voice and follow His will and do what He asks of me.
I was listening to ‘Show Me’ by Audrey Assad on my way home this evening and the lyrics are so beautiful. Take a listen:
I thought this was such a great song to start Lent with. The lyrics that continuously stood out to my heart were “But for now” and “But not before.” So many of the lyrics talk about what God can do in and through the artist. She knows there is so much the Lord wants to do in her but she also realizes that none of those things are possible without the period of preparation she must endure. She must learn to first die to herself. To deny herself and repeatedly choose Jesus. To allow Jesus to bind up all that is broken in her and allow Him to transform and recreate her through His mercy to be who she was always meant to be, that which God created her to be.
I pulled out an old reflection/letter to God I wrote about this song. Here’s what I found:
“The words. “But not before you show me how to die.” Every line tells of what you can do by your strength. Plant me like a flower in a desert. Set me like a star before the morning so I can illuminate the path you’ve laid before me; but Lord, I can’t do any of these things till you teach me how to die. To die to myself. My pride. Teach me how to lay down my wounded pride at your feet. Take care of it. Help teach me how to allow you to be Lord of my life. Break the chains that hold this sinner captive and bind up these broken bones. Make me whole once again. Help me be free and to love generously without fear. Use me as your vessel oh, Lord.”
The song is so metaphorical and I love that. I love how there is so much meaning and depth. It isn’t just surface. I love looking back and seeing how this song impacted me so long ago, but also how relevant so many words I wrote 7 years ago still impact me today. I love how the Lord works like that.
This is a season of preparation. I couldn’t be more blessed that I’m beginning my engagement season of preparation with a very intentional spiritual season of preparation. I trust the Lord is going to work in a big way to transform my heart during this season of Lent and I trust the Lord is going to work in a big way to transform my heart during this season of engagement. Then, just as I will be prepared to receive Jesus at Easter; after this season of engagement, I will be ready to receive Ian as my husband on our wedding day.
Lord, please keep making me.
I pray everyone has a prayerful and holy Lenten season. Jesus can’t wait to come and rock our world in just a few weeks. Let’s intentionally prepare and ready our hearts so we are free to receive. Oh, and always remember to breathe….He doesn’t care if you do it perfectly, He just wants you. 😊