Rev. Clay Horton has a personal reflection about Lent:
"Daddy, do you still
I've been hearing that
question a lot lately. Brenna is 4 years old and is really starting to
learn about cause and effect. She’s learning to push boundaries. She's at the stage where she's "testing" her mother and me. Isn't parenting wonderful?
When she makes bad
choices, she goes to timeout. At the end of time out, Brenna has started
asking if we still love her. Our answer over and over again is,
"Brenna, we will always love you, no matter what."
Yesterday, I came home
from work to find the house in chaos. The clock that used to hang above
our back door was laying shattered on the floor. Errinne was on her knees
next to the clock trying to create a barrier to keep our dog and Coleson from
stepping in the glass. Coleson was repeating over and over that Brenna broke
the clock, and Brenna was sitting on a chair silently watching the chaos.
Brenna, out of frustration with her brother, slammed the back door in his face
which caused the clock to fall. In doing this, Brenna knew she broke
several rules. After we cleaned up
the glass and had our parenting talk with Brenna, she asked again, "Daddy,
do you still love me?"
Bending down to look
at her square in the face, I said, "Brenna, you know I will always love
you, no matter what.”
My prayer for Brenna
is that she will never forget how much her mother and I love her. I want
her to be assured that there is nothing she will ever do that
will cause the love to stop.
As she grows older,
operating from a place of love, knowing that her parents love her no matter
what, will let her make good choices based on confidence and assurance rather
than fear of rejection. When she steps out in faith to try something new,
she will know that no matter what happens, she is loved by her parents.
Similarly, when she
chooses to make a bad decision, my hope is that at her core, she knows her
parents still love her. If she's 17 and has made bad decisions at a
party, my hope is that she can call us for a safe ride home. While there
still might be consequences for her actions, she will know that her parents’
love is unwavering and even in the midst of bad choices, there is always the
ability to start making good choices.
Lent is a time for
self-reflection. As I reflect, I’m
reminded of those places in my life where I have not made the best choices,
those places in my life where I’ve pushed God’s boundaries. I’m reminded of those places where I have
shut the proverbial door in my brother’s face and knocked the clock off the
Self-reflection causes me to ask
the question, “God, do you still love me?”
But it is in those
moments of self-reflection where I am most reminded of God’s unwavering love
for me. In those moments of prayer, I
feel God say to me, “Clay, you know I will always love you, no matter what.”
The Apostle Paul wrote
to the church in Rome,
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor
powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans
No bad decision, no action
that makes a mess, can ever separate us from God’s love. We can be assured that
no matter what we do and when our love fails, God’s love is steadfast. We therefore are able to live our lives
moving forward confidently in Christ’s love, stepping out in faith to serve
others and transform the world for Christ.
This season of lent, as you reflect on your actions and discover those
places where you have fallen short, may you also feel your heavenly parent
reminding you daily of the greatest love ever known.