Lenten Reflections #1 : Ash Wednesday

Do you believe God speaks to us in dreams ?

I’m beginning to. For the past three or four nights I’ve had vivid dreams which I can remember in detail the next morning, all of which have had forgiveness at their centre. Last night I dreamt about my former sister in law who had the most messy, painful, damaging divorce from my brother some years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever had a dream about her. I was angry at her for years, but last night in my dream I had conversations with her which showed me that forgiveness and release of the relationship is the way forward. I woke feeling peaceful and very safe. I knew that my actions in the dream in releasing her had been the right ones. I knew that if ever my dream scenario came to pass in real life I’d want to behave as I did in the dream.

I think that’s God.

Showing me that the way of forgiveness is the way to wholeness.

Bringing to mind unforgiveness that I’ve become so accustomed to I don’t even recognise it anymore. 

It fits with my experience of one of the exercises I have done as I work my through ‘The Book of Forgiving’.  I had to hold a stone in my non-dominant hand for a continuous 6 hour period. It made me realise how I wrap myself around unforgiveness; how I allow parts of me to become less able and effective because I am twisted into an awkward and painful position in order to maintain my anger and unforgiveness.

NO MORE 

I SAY AGAIN

NO MORE 

*********************************************

As Lent begins today I want to give up unforgiveness.

I want to give up holding grudges and hanging on to anger.

I want to release the relationships that have kept me trapped.

I want to allow God to bring the wholeness to me that I’ve thought would come from other people.

As Lent begins today I want to take on generosity.

My word(s) for this year is ‘Take Hold’. It comes from the bible in a part called 1 Timothy chapter 6 verse 19:

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

When I chose my word I was focusing on ‘take hold of the life that is truly life’ because I don’t want to keep taking hold of things that don’t really offer life. I want to grab with both hands all the good things that God has given me – my marriage, my family, my work, my community, my gifts and abilities. I want to live fully in those things. But over the past month I’ve been more aware of the context of the verse and the writer’s ‘command’, not just a suggestion, that the recipients of the letter ‘do good, …be rich in good deeds, and be generous and willing to share.’

It seems absolutely right then that I take on generosity in a more intentional way. There is a fantastic Lent campaign called ’40 Acts’ (link here) which helps people to do just that. Every day they send a short email with a verse, a thought and a generous action for the day. So I’m committing myself to 40 Acts. I’m committing to a generous Lent.

I’m excited to see how God takes these two desires of my heart, to give up unforgiveness and to take on generosity, and uses them for love.  

I might give up sugar too, but I don’t want to get carried away 😉 

 

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2 thoughts on “Lenten Reflections #1 : Ash Wednesday

  1. This is beautiful! I realize that I hold on to anger all too often. What a beautiful thing to ‘give up’ for lent! I also like the idea of taking on something in order to replace what we’ve given up. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    Like

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