Should it surprise me?  We have entered into a season of repentance, self-examination and confession – and “sin” is all around me.  I am listening to a series by Dr. John Coe and coincidentally the current topic is “Why we sin when we know so much”.  I had a conversation today with a friend of mine on the topic of sin.  She is a self-proclaimed “pagan” and as we walked through the forest we conversed about the brokenness of people and how they may desire to do good but don’t or cannot.  She agreed that there is something deep that infects us all.  During the walk, even nature reflected back this cosmic struggle.  Earlier this week we had snow on the ground, then we had some days of bitter cold winds, then some sunshine and in the evenings, rain (no surprise for the Northwest!)  Walking through the mud I became aware of how winter and spring are even at odds with one anther.  Each is struggling for dominance.  One wants to maintain its hold and the other is breathlessly on the cusp of breaking forth.

As I enter into the work of Lent, this too is the battle that I see in me.  Old habits and deep rooted ways are exposed and the Spirit says, “Open to the truth about yourself and your brokeness.  Let’s take a good long look at this together and then…open to My transformation.”

I am finding this is no quick confession but long, arduous, painful (but health-full) work.  As I open to repentance – and not shrink back in shame – I become open to the transforming work of Jesus.  It is the place that winter loses its stronghold on my heart and spring is poised to flourish.

I heard a quote by Bonhoeffer the other day that struck me.  It reminded me of seasons of heart work, and thus the Lenten season.  I took some liberty to replace his words of “Spiritual Care” with the word “Lent”, but it makes sense in my mind!!

“Spiritual Care [Lent] does not want to bring about competence, build character or produce certain types of persons instead Spiritual Care [Lent] uncovers sin and creates hearers of the gospel.”

That is  the work of Lent.  That is the work I am in the middle of.  Not to become competent in and of myself or to be a “better” person, but rather to ask the Spirit to uncover my sin, to open to what Jesus has already done AND to be transformed into His image.

O Lord, as the struggle for seasonal dominance takes place in the outside world, so the battle continues in my heart.  Expose, illumine and uncover my sin.  Help me resist the tempation to hide.  Enable me to sit with You as You “tell it like it is” and let me agree with You.  Give me ears to hear not only the truth of my brokeness but also the truth of what Your Son has already done.  Transform my heart and life into Your image and for Your glory.