Shelter Me

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Gentle Reader,

Tonight is the evening of Fat Tuesday, better known as Mardi Gras, the day before the Lenten season begins. Traditionally a time to binge and gorge, Fat Tuesday is seen as being the release before the austerity of the days leading up to Easter.

I thought about having that last can of soda, but then I wondered what that said about my heart.

The self-denial of Lent isn’t mean to be a drudgery. It is, instead, to be a worshipful experience. It is a time of setting aside what normally distracts us from God. While this should be the hallmark of Christian life in the daily arena, it is good to have a specific time devoted to “cleansing the temple,” so to speak. To getting rid of things and reassessing. To renewal.

If I had that can of soda, I would, essentially, be saying, “All right, God. I am giving this up for the next 40+ days because I think You want me to be miserable.”

For Pete’s sake, it’s just a soda.

If missing a can of Pepsi is that big a deal to me, then I can quite clearly see that I am distracted, distraught and discouraged. I have not been living a life attuned to the Spirit’s voice. The danger here is that it would be easy to think I’m doing all right. I’m not cheating on my husband, I’m not gambling, I’m not stepping on people to get ahead at work. But deep down inside, where, according to Christ, it still counts?

It’s dark. Overwhelming. Not a pretty sight.

I have been tempest-tossed and ruled by anger for weeks now. It got to me so sneakily. My defenses were down. In the stillness of the night, as my husband slept, I cried out the Spirit of the Living God in anguish, begging Him to bring a fresh outpouring of His presence into my life.

You see, I have been living as a worm when Scripture tells me that I am a butterfly (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). I have not realized that I have the ability to fly and to be free of the things which bind me (Hebrews 12:1). So, I have continued to burrow in the dirt, wondering why it no longer feels comfortable but trying so desperately to make it work.

My wings are tattered, my eyes downcast.

And yet…He holds me.

This Lenten season is going to have a theme for me, beyond that of introspection and renewal. I need a Rock, a Safe Haven, a Shelter. I need Someone Bigger than me, and I need permission to be small and not all that smart. I need to know and believe that He is the God upon whom I can cast all my anxieties (1 Peter 5:7).

I need to be human, and I need God to be God.

Rather than go wild tonight, I sit quietly and sing these words over and over again:

When I cannot close my eyes

And the night goes on

Trouble taunts on every side

And my doubt is strong

Shelter me, shelter me

Let the thought of Your compassion be my strength

Prince of Peace, shelter me

From the tempest of my unbelief

Mighty God, who calmed the sea

Come and shelter me

Do Your promises still stand?

Does Your mercy cease?

By the power of Your hand

Grant me my release

Shelter me, shelter me

Let the thought of Your compassion be my strength

Prince of Peace, shelter me

From the tempest of my unbelief

Mighty God, who calmed the sea

Come and shelter me

Oh, come and shelter me

– Billy Sprague, Bruce Carroll and Joe Beck

Don’t be like me. Don’t wait until things are a muddle and you feel as though you’re a miss of knots. Fall into His gracious arms right now. Snuggle down into His chest and hear the beating of His holy heart. That is the safest place to be.

My journey to faith. (15)

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4 thoughts on “Shelter Me

  1. This was a wonderful reflection Marie! It is easy to think we are doing well isn’t it? I know that I have trouble thinking of things when my devotional book instructs me to think of the thins that separate me from God. I picked up on your Facebook idea for Lent which should prove most interesting. Imagine having to actually call a friend to find out how he or she is doing!

    Peace of Christ to you!

    Cathy

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  2. God gave me a visual a couple of months ago of an umbrella. We use an umbrella to protect us from the storms of life. Just because I am under the umbrella doesn’t mean that I won’t get a little wet, especially if the storm is really big. But I certainly won’t get as wet as I would if I had no umbrella at all. I felt like God was telling me that if I live by His word and in His will, then I will be more protected that if I was out there trying to dodge between the rain drops all by myself. His providence is there for any of us at all times, yet it is amazing how many of us try to ride through the storm on our own strength. Seeing the umbrella in your post brought back this vision to me ~ and thanks for the words of wisdom on Lent. God is speaking to you through this medium more than you may realize. Keep up the great work!

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    1. I had not thought of an umbrella in quite that way before. It is very true that we’d be trying to dodge raindrops without it – and we’d end up soaked! What a marvelous thing to know that He is our shelter!

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