Yet even now—oracle of the Lord—
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the Lord, your God,
For he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love,
and relenting in punishment. Joel 2:12-13
With my whole heart.
God, this Lent, I want to return with my whole heart. All of it. Nothing held back. I want to lay my heart bare, pull out the messes, see the sins, and return to you, knowing that you will open wide your arms.
With my whole heart, Lord. Let me come back with everything I have and everything I am.
The prodigal son returned because he was hungry and out of money and down on his luck. He'd squandered his inheritance and the circumstances of his life left him little choice but to return home. He was sorry because he was in a mess. The forgiving father met him in that beginning glimmer of repentance. The father didn't stay in his house and wait for the son to get there and ask him to do a thorough examination of conscience and full confession of his sins before he welcomed him home. "While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20). We don't have to make a perfect confession to begin the journey home.
Instead, we can make up our minds to return with our whole hearts, trusting that our whole hearts will follow. Then, we can turn towards the Father and ask Him to take us in. He will. He will restore us to Him and He will give us the grace to be wholeheartedly in His presence. Lent is a journey. It begins with the desire to be restored to the Father. He will run out to greet us. He will walk back towards home with us. Along the path, He will reveal more and more of Himself to us and He will grant us the grace necessary to fully repent. With the forgiving father as our companion, we can, in confidence, lay our hearts bare and pull out every last mess and be fully reconciled.
Today, put your feet on the path. Just ask to come home. He'll meet you there.
Motherhood can feel like the loneliest vocation in the world. Surrounded by children, who frequently bring us to our knees, both literally and figuratively, we can be overwhelmed by isolation. Mothers need community. We can be community for one another. We can encourage on another and hold each other accountable. If you like these short devotions, please share the image and send another woman here. And when you're here, please take a moment to pray with another mother who is visiting. Leave a comment and when you do, pray for the woman whose comment is just above yours. Just a moment--blessed--will begin to build community.
I like to pray when I run in the morning. Often, I listen to Divine Office and pray Morning Prayer or the Office of Readings. Then, I just take up a conversation with God. I'd love to pray for you! Please leave your prayer requests below and we can pray for each other, no matter how we spend our morning prayer time. Meet me back here tomorrow and I'll share the ponderings from my #morningrun.