By Rachel Hunt, a parishioner at St. Andrew’s Little Rock

I am a dirty, messy, broken girl.

As we approach Lent, I examine myself. I am unable to deny that I am a dirty saint, a messy image-bearer, a broken disciple. This would be troubling if not for the gospel of grace that wipes away the dirt, cleans up the mess and smooths the sharp places of my broken edges.

I love that Scripture bears witness to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, drawing near to those who, like me, may be a smidge smudged, a bit askew and a tad cracked. This gives me courage to be vulnerably honest about my frailty and failings, which brings me to repentance, knowing that in my broken surrender the Lord will not reject or despise me.

The priest’s fingertip applying ashes to my forehead is a sharp spade against the fallow ground of my soul, reminding me of my mortality, my dustiness, my need for salvation. Each day of Lent uproots weeds of bitterness, fear and envy. The Lord tills the soil to remove the hard clumps of self-righteousness, judgment and hate. There are new spaces to clear of idolatry in the shape of people-pleasing, self-centeredness and pride. Some areas of the garden need rest from trying to earn love, inhabit perfection or be enough.

Though it is uncomfortable, gritty and raw, I know that the work done in these moments will lead to a life ready for seeding, planting and growing. When I am honest about who I am, even in the deep places no one can see, it increases my joy and amazement that Christ bids me to abide in Him. When I remain in the Lord, I will bear much fruit for His glory.

My journal is a testimony to the goodness and love of Jesus Christ, which emboldens me to bare the soil of my soul to him. Along with the prayers, scribbled across the pages are confessions, questions, lessons and hopes. As we approach Lent, I look over previous years and rejoice in what the Lord has done, knowing that though this season may see broken ground, weeds pulled and soil tilled, there will be a harvest of the Lord’s glory, and I am delighted that I am the dirty, messy, broken garden he tends.

This prayer is from my 2018 Lenten journal:

Come, Holy Spirit, please come.

I long to dwell with you.

To be with the One in whom my hope rests.

My beginning and my end.

Come, Lord Jesus, please come.

Cleanse me in my deep places that only your blood can free.

Search me, know me, make me.

Teach me your voice that I may follow and obey.

Come, Father God, please come.

May I sit in your sweet presence and praise your name.

Let me taste and see you are good.

The whole of who I am dances before you

for it is IN YOU ALONE that I live and move and have my being.

A wife and mother, Rachel Hunt is a parishioner at St. Andrew’s Little Rock. She grew up in church and is thankful to begin and end in Christ.