Monday, February 23, 2015

Lent a 4-Letter Word

It's February 23rd and it is officially frigid outside. 

The fact that my toes began to lose feeling approximately 2 mins after being outdoors, even tucked into my normally warm Sorel boots, tells me that we've hit a low here in Michigan. 

I'm not sure why I always expect February to show signs of winter passing, because every. single. year. My expectations are crippled, as February deems itself the MOST winter-like Month of all. 

December made its entrance rather quietly, unlike November whose abrupt snowstorms left us all white-knuckled and hunkered down. Even January's fresh start, had me anticipating more of the fluff. Then February hits, and I think we've all made it. Only, before I can begin my chorus of celebrations and happy dance breakouts, I am reminded again why winter feels so L.O.N.G.

Here I sit on this roller coaster of the winter woes, when the Lenten season ushers itself in again. In years past, the extent of my Lent participation has been more about giving up lattes and chocolate, and less about the motivation behind the "sacrifice" of something in my life. I have been more focused on counting down the days until I can indulge back into the sweets, than pausing in the midst of the crazy to remember. 

Remember the burden of my sins and the beauty of salvation through the cross. 

This year, by God's grace, has been different though. All I can point that to is my Awesome Savior. Truly. He continues to chip away at the rough edges of my heart, all the while breathing life into every softened place; which should be no surprise at all, because that is exactly what He has promised.

He has shifted my focus onto the eternal in ways that only He can. Not every day is a victory from my point of view, absolutely not! But something I have learned to embrace in a more tangible way, is that God doesn't call me to strive towards perfection on my own. Not even close. He calls me to begin again every single day. To return to His presence and surrender my imperfections at His feet. To trust Him enough to say, "Here I am Lord, there is NOTHING good in me but Jesus, use me despite me, for your glory." 

It is enough to believe that He is my portion.

There are days when I feel so utterly unworthy of the cross. Truth is I am. On my own apart from Christ I am absolutely unworthy. But Christ is in me, and He has already paid for it all. It is all inclusive. I'm worthy of salvation because JESUS. 

Only Jesus. 

When God looks at me, He sees perfection. The perfection of His son who covered my sins, my imperfections. This season of Lent is breaking me open, wide open. I'm a redeemed sinner crawling to the cross, returning my heart to sing His praise. I'm repenting of my filth and remembering anew who He is. I'm saying enough to the frigid temperatures in my heart, and asking for more of that life- giving breath from above. 

So as the winter weather swirls around me, and the frigid winds attempt to numb all feeling. I'm saying no to the sterile pull of this world, threatening to keep me frozen still; and yes to my Savior who, for His glory ushers me into abundantly fruitful life. 

I'm pausing today, to write this, as an act of remembering. Reminding my wayward heart again in these moments that He is worth my affections and attention. 

My prayer is that God uses this space for His Glory alone. If you are reading, bless you! I'm praying that He uses the words spoken here to further His kingdom. Our God is up to kingdom work these days my friend, I truly believe that with all of my being! Will you choose, with me, to remember Him today? What a beautiful sight it must be, when God sees His children coming together in unity to bow before His throne and remember Him.

Jesus, Keep our hearts near the cross, this Lenten season and in the seasons to come. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Refocusing My Lenses


There is always, ALWAYS something to be grateful for.

Like many of your homes, the Hoffman household has faced the flu season head on this year. Sickness has been rampant this season and somedays it has felt all consuming and overpowering. I'm reminded how weak and needy I am. I'm reminded how the ungrateful tendencies of my heart are quick to surface and slow to dissipate.

The sickness in my heart and body all too similar in comparison.

Why is it that my heart shift seems to favor the side of selfishness? Couldn't it be that even for one day, one moment, my sinful tendencies would wane enough, so the default setting of my heart would be gratitude?

I get it, I do. I believe that every single day is a battle, there is a war being waged. A fight that I get oh so weary of fighting in my own strength. That's the true problem right there. Choosing to fight in my own strength which is failing at best. Yes, that is the real struggle.

Of course I'm going to get weary and run down. Of course my tendencies will lean towards selfishness, because my natural human autopilot is self. I can push, I can struggle, I can give it my best effort all day long, never gaining an ounce of headway.

Exhausted. Discouraged. Weary.

My Hope?

But right there in the midst of this self-absorbed failing pursuit, is my Savior. My loving Savior who is always there. Loving me in my mess. He opens my eyes to the reality of my insanity and gently calls me to open up the folded arms of my heart, so that He can embrace me in love once again.

The beauty of the cross centered life, is that it always brings you back to gratitude. No matter what you are facing, the cross reveals that it is all grace.

My physical sickness is grace.
The Spirit's revelation of my need for Him is grace.
It's all grace.

I will be forever grateful for the Spirit's pursuit of me. I'm a wandering child in the midst of the world's worst snowstorm, and He is there. He finds me, and knows the condition of my being better than I know myself. He picks me back up and breathes life and direction back into my cold heart once again.

He is for me. Always for me.

Here I am once again Lord, give me the grace to stay focused on YOU! My circumstances may try to get the best of me, but if I give YOU the best (my focus/my affections) from the beginning, there will be nothing left to take.

So Friend, I'm closing this one out with borrowed words, because they express so deeply what my heart is singing today.

Be blessed dear one. You are loved by the King!