This week Christians everywhere begin a season commonly referred to as "lent." It's usually marked by increased focus on prayer and fasting, and sometimes that means an equal dose of hair-splitting as irritating church ladies looking down their noses at any early April party-goers who dare enjoy a slice of birthday cake.
In our church (which is mostly free of persnickety ladies) we run a yearly experiment called the "leap of faith." We use the 40 days before Easter to pray and see if we can get something more from God. Some people see amazing things happen, like new jobs are marriages or babies or miraculous healings. Some people see nothing happen. You don't really know what you're going to get when you try for something more with God. That's why it's called taking leap of faith and not, i don't know, ordering crap from Amazon.
I am excited to participate in this year's leap of faith, even if I expect to be a bit preoccupied over the next two months. As long as it's not called "keep your house clean of faith" I think I can manage. Doing a little more bible reading and a little more praying will be right up my ally when I'm bedridden. And then after that I'll get to enjoy all those extra middle-of-the-night awake moments that are prefect for praying.
I'll be asking God for some stuff, two things actually, which really seem like one thing in the end. The first is to supernaturally smooth out my relationship with Harvey. Don't get me wrong; I really love Harvey. He is sweet and smart and fun to be around... often. But he's also going through a phase where sometimes, sometimes for moments and sometimes for days on end, he tries to make life as miserable as possible for everyone around him. He wants to fight with someone, and we just happen to be the people he lives with. The fact that this is a normal stage of development doesn't make it any more pleasant to live through. (Seriously, I am about done with the word "options," as in "I don't like those options for dinner!") My dearest hope is that our love for each other can survive both my legitimate disciplinary measures and his legitimate raging against the machine.
So during this leap of faith I'll be praying every day for God to give me more of the love that he has for Harvey. Love that I assume is truly, supernaturally, demonstrably unconditional.
And there's one more thing.
I want to be a person who welcomes other people into my life. I mean, sure I host two home groups a week and I am even as I type this getting ready to welcome another human permanently into my home (contractions are 7 minutes apart and 15 seconds long, so I think I can bang out the rest of this blog post.) But I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that hospitality is different than really loving people. Sure, I welcome many people into a home when it's clean and I've made fancy snacks. I welcome people into a specific impression of me that I have cultivated, as an accomplished homemaker or at the very least a consistant hippy.
This month I would like to think about inviting people into my vulnerability. I would like to think about connecting with people where I'm not clean and put together, where I don't know what I'm doing, where it's not about ME offering THEM something but us actually loving each other. As frightening or annoying as that sounds.
Those are the prayers I'll be floating for myself this Leap of Faith, and I trust that God will do something productive with them. And here's where I offer you an invitation.
During this season I'll be praying for my friends that God does good stuff for them. I'd love for YOU to be included in that group. If you would like me to pray for you during this leap of faith, please leave a comment after this blog post, or email me separately if that feels more comfortable.
There are other ways you can get involved in our church's leap of faith this season. If you're in the area, please do join us for church on Sunday mornings. There will be fun new things to try during each of the church services from now until Easter, and as always there are free coffee and bagels. If you're reading the blog from somewhere (gasp) outside of Massachusetts, you can still help yourself to the daily bible guide that starts this March 9th (I think this will be on the website; Dan can you link this later if I don't have time to find it before my labor picks up.) And you can also pray for me and let me know how I can pray for you.
Please do take a leap with me this year.