Saturday after Ash Wednesday
The reading from Isaiah today is a continuation of yesterday’s message. “Thus says the Lord: If you remove oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech; If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday; Then the Lord will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength.”
I needed to hear these assurances today. Service, as Isaiah suggested yesterday, takes energy, both in mind and body. How am I to be of service to those around me AND my family AND take care of myself?
The answer is counter-intuitive. If we give ourselves in the way the spirit prompts, and we ground ourselves in prayer, it all works out somehow, we have energy left to spare.
In 2004, my husband was deployed to Iraq for five months. We had six children at the time, and before he left I was worried about how I would manage while he was gone. I relied on him every day, we raised our family together.
When he was in Iraq, our family faced many challenges, including a household move! I was steeped in prayer, I leaned heavily on my faith, every day. It was difficult, but I never seemed to run out of energy. I could always get to that ballgame, or scout function. I felt the prayers of my family and friends. They carried me through.
When we make time for service, as we are called to do, it is much the same. If we pray, and do as the spirit prompts, not as we plan, we will have our strength renewed for our families and ourselves.
It is not too late, to think of alternative ways of fasting this Lent. I am not going to make a list, insurmountable, that will end up making me feel like a failure.
I will begin with prayer and act as he encourages!
“You shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.”