I can’t remember if any of my older writings completely describe this, but in honor of Ash Wednesday, I feel led to tell the story of my personal Lenten miracle. Let’s rewind to 11 years ago. I was in graduate school in the Midwest, and had a party with my friends to celebrate Mardi Gras (the last day of partying before the Lenten season).
At the time, I was a non-practicing Catholic, and had absolutely no involvement whatsoever with a church or church doctrine. I was, however, a highly accomplished alcohol drinker. I excelled in this frequently, and this Mardi Gras was no exception. I was in a pretty rough spot emotionally, and my friends – wanting to help me out of my funk – encouraged me to have sex with the on-again-off-again guy I was “interested” in. Since this was an activity I generally avoided, and this particular guy did not really care about me, I knew it would require a fair amount of liquid encouragement.
Everything went according to my faulty plan, although protection was neglected. However, it never crossed my mind that anything would result from this one experience! The next day, I felt terrible from the hangover and vowed that this Lent, I was going to give up alcohol.
I truly don’t know what possessed me to give up alcohol, other than God working in me, but it ended up being an amazing miracle! When I found out I was pregnant several weeks later, I knew that God had protected me from fetal alcohol syndrome (which, ironically, I had researched a few years prior to this). I knew God loved me, and I wanted to get back into His good graces! I found the first priest who was willing to hear my confession, spilled my guts, and I started attending mass again.
That particular Catholic church was amazing. I felt like I belonged and became very active in the parish. My son was born, and was baptised in that church. I wish I could say that my salvation resulted from this experience, but I do not believe it did. I think God knew I would walk away again, but ultimately return to Him later in my life.
However, He loved me enough to protect my baby from damage that I would have undoubtedly caused – and that one miracle proves to me that He loves all of us, even when we’re stuck in the midst of our sin. He holds us tightly to Him, even when we’re trying to run from Him as fast as we can! God loves us even when we don’t know how to love ourselves….and that’s why I later chose to give Him my life.
Have you experienced your own personal Easter miracle? It’s not about giving something up for Lent; it’s about believing that Jesus died and was resurrected so that your sins could be forgiven – permanently. It’s about trusting in God’s miracle and beginning a life-changing relationship with Him. You don’t have to clean up your act or have it all together. Jesus meets us where we are, and will deliver us from our sin. It’s never too late to choose eternal life…. What are you waiting for?