Lent always rolls around when I need it most.
And right now I really need to see more clearly, to step back from the endless rounds of doing and pay more attention to who I am becoming.
To go back to the very basics of life which sustain me and, without being morbid, think a little bit of the end of my life here and what I might wish to leave behind.
To spend a little more time in prayer.
To realise that while it might be difficult to achieve time for mental prayer right now, the intention is there and so God provides moments for prayer which I just need to notice.
For me at the moment, prayer is all about simply trying to receive gratefully whatever God gives.
It might be a mere two minutes or so when the children are playing well and I find myself sitting on the back verandah holding the baby with only the wind in the trees and a sense of God’s gentle presence to occupy me.
Or the gift of a phone call or email from a friend.
Or an afternoon nap one Saturday while Peter mows the lawn and then makes a fragrant tray of roast chicken with potatoes for dinner.
I can be grateful for these sustaining morsels, and try not to be greedy for more.
Often I wrestle with what God gives me.
Things irritate and frustrate me and I know that it’s all part of life with a newborn and lots of young children and moving house and schools.
Where is God when I am like this? I wonder.
Then I tell myself that hopefully it is God here keeping me small and protecting me from the sin of spiritual pride when I want to be more spiritual but spend way too much time worrying about how to keep these white ceramic tiles clean, or how much I can get for my woollen rug on eBay.
Ash Wednesday is always a refreshing blast of reality for me.
To remember that I am made of dust that and to dust I shall return is a relief.
It’s a blessing to know that the world does not in fact rest on my shoulders and that my petty worries and concerns which can loom so large and depressingly sometimes are a tiny fraction of a percentage of what my life is really about.
To be reminded by Mother Church that I am so, so very small in the scheme of things, and yet so precious to God that he would provide me with these 40 grace-filled days to come nearer to his heart, nearer to his purpose again.