This year, God led me to something new, something completely foreign to this evangelical girl—He led me to Lent. My denomination doesn't observe Lent the way some churches do. Easter is a huge focus every year, but I'd never done anything to officially observe the days leading up to it. This year, I decided to do on online study of Kris Camealy’s book Holey, Wholly, Holy, and it has shaken my world to the core.
I wasn’t prepared for where this study would take me. The focus of the first half was self-examination and confession. Within minutes on the first day, I was a sobbing mess, sitting on our living room couch. As I looked deep into my heart, into those dark places that I try to avoid, I saw the truth—and it was ugly.
Without Jesus, without the cross, I would be completely and utterly hopeless.
When I look into the depths my soul, I see the sins I try so hard to hide from the world. My heart is full of evil. It's hideous. I'm so broken that I want to cry out and run away. I can't look. And I realize: If I feel that way, how much stronger does God feel? He is a holy God who cannot tolerate sin—the very thing that drenches my heart. He should turn His back on me and walk away, because I am pure hatred and bitterness and ugly sin.
But He didn't.
God changed everything. He loved me so fully, so completely, that He gave all He had to save me. Jesus gave Himself, dying on a wooden cross, spilling His blood to cover me and wash away my sin, to pull me close and wrap me in His arms. He should push me away, let me die in my own wretchedness. Instead, He washes me, heals me, and adopts me as His own daughter.
He poured out His blood, His very life, for the chance that I would turn to Him. There was no guarantee that I would accept. I could turn my back and shun His precious gift, wasting His sacrifice—but He gave it anyway. I can't even begin to wrap my mind around that love.
My journey through Lent is painful, but as I look back through my journal, I see the changes. I see my heart opening up, the hard things God is drawing out of me, the decades old wounds that are slowly beginning to heal. God gave everything so I could receive Him and be completely whole.
Amanda Holland is a pastor’s wife, mom of two boys, registered dental hygienist, and children’s pastor. She writes fiction and blogs at Grace In Our Moments. Her writing has appeared in Splickety Love magazine and on various websites, including The MOB Society and Inspired to Action.