In a previous Lent Devotional for Women we’ve asked ourselves, are we ready to receive forgiveness? See, if we don’t know we’re forgiven, how can we forgive? And in a circular way, if we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven.
We all made a commitment as we journey through these Lent devotions, that we want to love more. We want to love Jesus more and others more and ourselves more. We want to love BIG. We really and truly do or we wouldn’t show up every day. And a side note, don’t ever let someone tell you that showing up is not enough.
The decision to show up every single day and try, even if it doesn’t look the way you think it should or others think it should, doesn’t negate the fact that you are there! And you are trying! Sometimes and in so many circumstances it would be easier to just tag out. Keep showing up, even if…
As we journey through our Lent Devotional for Women, we’re going to be talking about the fact that life is hard and messy and there are people, and the people want to talk to us when we’re trying to think and interrupting us when we’re trying to love and they all need food and clean clothes…ARRGGGHHH!
The next thing you know, all our good intentions to love more and love better get tossed out the window along with some biting remark, sassy comeback or just plain ‘ol angry words. And the anger? Does it come from fear of failing to love more? Or fear of being loved too little? No, seriously, stop and consider that question.
In today’s Epistle (in the extraordinary form), the prophet Isaiah tells us that God is bountiful to forgive. And then in the Gospel, the reading tells of Jesus visiting the temple and tossing out the money changers because “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” Putting those reading together, let’s ask God to make our house a house of forgiveness and prayer…a prayer He will honor and answer.
“Lord, I am humbling asking that you open my heart and home and make them both a place of forgiveness and prayer. I know Lord that I need to start with myself. Please show me the areas of my life that I need to accept Your forgiveness. If there are areas of unconfessed sin, let’s get those out of the way! I know in my head that Your forgiveness doesn’t depend on my feelings, please penetrate my heart with that thought so I can move on after forgiving myself and open wide the gates of forgiveness for others. I have heard it said before, “The devil fishes in troubled waters.” I know the relationships in my life that contain the most strife also contain the most unforgiveness and are the easy button areas the enemy can set his sights on. I’m tired of being the enemy’s plaything. I’m tired of broken relationships. I’m ready to be forgiven. I’m ready to offer forgiveness, not based on the other person or even myself, but based solely on You Lord.”
Praying that prayer alone is not going to solve everything and not all at once. As a matter of fact, when the enemy realizes his days of taunting us with unforgiveness of self and others might be under attack and coming to an end, he’s going to push back! But let’s remember the example of our Lord; He is bountiful to forgive.
God is bountiful to forgive meaning there is more than enough to go around and more than enough to smother the enemy. So when our house starts feeling and maybe even looking like a den of thieves, stop! Pray the way Jesus taught us. You know, “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…” Then pay attention.
We are asking God the Father to forgive us, the way we forgive. Remember our goal in this Lent Devotional for Women, to love better, more, bigger and all the other good words and ways to love. Stop and take a breath. Let’s place ourselves back in the presence of God. Then move forward, in His presence.
We have opportunities all day long to move forward and to practice loving bigger, better, and more.
These opportunities might look like when our spouse gets money from the ATM and forgets to tell us…so the bank does by way of an overdraft charge. Or when our children forget to pick up their toys…until we step on or trip over one. It means when a potty training toddler doesn’t quite hit the mark or a teen leaves the car on empty. And it also means when the child who has kitchen duty puts our favorite cup where it doesn’t belong so we can’t find it in the early morning hours…or they break it by accident…or they use it as a paintbrush cup…my house Lord, is a house of forgiveness and prayer.
Let that be a motto, a battle cry, a whispered prayer as you’re sitting in a dark closet hiding from everyone. “My house Lord, is a house of forgiveness and prayer.”
Surely we all know by now, life is not a series of warm, fuzzy feelings. We all know those warm, fuzzy feelings aren’t really love. And we also know those warm, fuzzy feelings won’t last through the hard and lows of this life. Listen, we’re better than that and so are the people we are striving to love more and better.
Do you see the connections here? Our lack of prayer and our lack of forgiveness, even self-forgiveness, can stunt our attempts at BIG love for others.
Today, let’s consider what changes we need to make to our prayer life to truly begin to make our house a place of forgiveness and prayer–our physical house as well as our spiritual house. I have a post with a video on how I use a prayer journal if you’re interested in a tangible way to order your prayers.
Let’s see if there is an area we need to practice some self-forgiveness. Dig deep here, but ask the Lord to show you these things gently.
Today I will forgive myself for ___________________________________________.
Click here for all the Lent Devotional for Women posts.