On the Day after Ash Wednesday
When we realize we need a love bigger than ourselves
On the day after Ash Wednesday, I sit with a circle of women who are trying to balance All The Things.
Families in crisis.
Not one of us at the table could say we had it figured out. And right there at the end, she turns to look at me and asks the question all of us are asking: "What does it look like to spend myself for the Gospel?"
Because the truth is, we're often one "yes" away from being burned out and worn out and we wonder if we have enough time to give towards things like ending sex trafficking? Our hearts break for the stories of abuse and betrayal--but how do we make sure we don't commit at the expense of our own children and families?
Another woman dipped her head in agreement. "Sometimes, it feels we can only give out so much love before we run empty."
Throughout the day, these word echo within me. I've written about it before: how busy people can still do something about sex trafficking. But perhaps the answer lies not in a better time management system, or the right motivational speech--perhaps, the answer lies in a mundane Church tradition--the spreading of ashes on our upturned heads.
In that brief moment, we remember we are dust.
"And if I’m only dust," discloses Ann Voskamp in her Lent musings, "just my love alone in the world will not be enough.
If love is all we need in this world — I’ve got a problem.
Because, honest? Our love isn’t enough to absorb the evil that decapitates men’s heads, evil that rapes little girls, evil that steals and sells children as sex slaves.
There’s real active evil that’s not simply people acting— there’s real evil that’s more than a social construct, that’s more than someone’s bad choices, that’s not from any heart in this world, that’s not from any place in this world, that’s not from any mind in this world —there’s a supernatural evil that slithers into the corners of this world and pythons around hearts and minds until it strangles out the light and we scream against the dark.
At some point— in a broken world, your Love runs out, and You need a Love larger than your own to Love Larger than evil.
The only Love that can come take down the kind of evil that’s invaded our world,has to come from beyond the walls of the world. The only Love that can crush undeniable evil is the undeniable love of the Cross.
When you’re just dust — your love alone will not be enough. Super evil can only be absorbed by a supernatural kind of Love. The kind of love that sings Kumbayah can’t shake a swaying candle at this kind of otherworldly evil —only an otherworldly Love that lets the hammer ring and took on the iron of the nails, that bore the weight of the world on that Cross, can torch straight through the hellish dark of this kind of evil.
Sometimes,for the love, your heart can’t love—which is exactly why Jesus offers you His.
So to all of us women trying to carry All The Things on our own two shoulders--may this be a reminder today that the only thing we need to carry is the love of the Cross.
May we rest in this revelation of our own smallness, our incompleteness. May we allow this Eternal Love to upend our own agendas and reignite our imaginations.
And wherever it leads us, may we let this love transform our hearts to be more and more like His in the year to come.