Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I come from a Protestant tradition.  I know some participate in Lent, but mine really didn't.  Along the way I've attended 5 other denominations, and none of them celebrated Lent either.  I usually felt like I was missing something.  I remember attending Ash Wednesday services with a friend in Maryland and thinking it was a powerful remembrance, and I'd randomly give things up for Lent trying to follow a tradition of which I really had no understanding. In reality, they were things that I hadn't mustered up the self-discipline to deal with and thought this would give me the motivation.  I have books that talk about the teachable moments of Lent, and how to incorporate your young children in the holiday, which I believe is a good idea.  I wore the Mommy guilt mantle because I never followed through.  It was just not happening consistently, and with my perfectionist personality, that spelled failure--unacceptable.  So it just became better not to try. 

I think I've matured some, or maybe have just gotten to know me a little better so that I can offer myself some grace and my kids some slack.  This year I actually thought about Lent BEFORE Ash Wednesday and did a tiny bit of research. (Woot!)  I wanted to be prepared.  We talked about what it was intended to be--a time to reflect on Christ's sacrifice for us and a time to repent and draw near to God, to prepare our hearts for Resurrection.  In the end, Jesus already paid the sacrifice, so my giving up chocolate will not make me better in God's eyes.  But there is a place in my life for sacrifice, and this year God made it super clear what that needed to be.  It wasn't random. It was very intentional and clear and it definitely fits the category of sacrifice for me.  I think of reasons each day to momentarily recant and why I NEED it.  I don't.  In the end, I want it.  But what I really want is to want God more than I want the thing, so it's an opportunity to pray and to seek Him for help each day.  Perhaps that's the purpose after all, to recognize how much we really need a Savior.  So happy Lent, and may these 40 days be fruitful for the Kingdom in our hearts.