"This journey is not for the faint of heart"
Gandolf to Frodo in the Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring
Lent. Not particularly my favorite time of the liturgical season, not because I do not believe in the great need for change of heart, but because that most usually means some sort of 'growing pain'. Those pains I am not quite keen of. And quite honestly, not just those pains, but all pains I would like to sever out of my life period. As Ash Wednesday rolled around 2 weeks ago, I was explaining all these things to Christ, and in return, He held out His hand and stated, "Walk with me in the desert". How dare Christ ask me this. I have been in the desert going on 5 months since Vivi died. I know You have the power to hurtle me over the desert, so why won't You? After a few other spurts of colorful reasons why this was a TERRIBLE request, in typical Maria fashion I got up and ran to catch up with Christ.
And already 2 weeks in, Christ has given me such grace to continue deeper into the desert. Just in the past few days I have been tried in ways that have collectively been almost as hard as giving Vivi back to Heaven. Each time I have wanted to give into Satan's temptations to drop the cross and run for my life out of the desert, God's Mercy has been so great, each time, He has rescued me. When I have thought about running, Christ has looked into my heart, bent under the weight of His own cross, reaching out His hand, and has encouraged me to keep going. "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future'." He has greater plans for me--plans to get me through the desert-- not go over, not go under, not go around, but to barrel through. At other times in my life I would have not accepted His mercy. Lets be real, there would have been a DEFINITE negative RSVPed to that invite. But for whatever reason He wants me here-in the desert. And I will continue through this desert, if you want me to.