Lent. A period of repentance and renewal. A time of anchoring ourselves in our faith - in the age-old pattern of emptying ourselves of, well. . . ourselves, and filling back up with Jesus. By choosing to take a new expectation upon ourselves (either by giving up, or adding in), we place Someone else higher than ourselves. We remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.
through the Gospels in 40 days. With Easter right around the corner, we are now about halfway through Luke, so we will likely not finish until late April. But that's just fine. This time of focus has been lovely for drawing my family in together and, for myself, clarifying what was missing from last year. . . an anchor of any kind.Lent isn’t about forfeiting as much as it’s about formation.We renounce to be reborn; we let go to become ‘little Christs’. It’s about this: We break away to become.”
During this Lent, this whole year, I am letting go even more of my old liturgy of self-reliance and self-condemnation. The failures and pain that have limited me as a mother have passed away through the love and work of Christ on the cross, but the practice of living this out is daily. Take the practical experience of our family Lenten bible reading, for example.
Reading the Bible has been an almost daily discipline for some time, but reading larger chunks as a family definitely stretched everyone. Some days, it was this beautiful time of the kids asking great questions and all of us having these amazing conversations about deep, enduring truths. Many other days, I would have to stop every other line to gather someone back in, or tell someone to stop drumming on someone else, or explain to an irritated older someone that we are teaching far more than just bible reading in our little circle. Some days, it was so ugly that I stopped reading, dropped my head in my hands, and prayed aloud to God to give me the strength not to shake any of these hapless heathens (or something like that).
Now as we are nearing the home stretch and I think back on all of our reading time, I marvel at what we have accomplished as a family. This is exactly what Lent and anchoring are about - offering up my efforts from a deep awareness of how little I actually bring to the table. It's not about how well I read or manage my family, or how my children soak up every word and never ask wheeeeennnnn are we going to be done. This Lent, I managed to let go of my expectations of how our bible reading time would look and just show up every day. It is for this reason alone that I can look on our endeavor as a success rather than pick it apart into all its failings. This, for me, is progress.
|photo via, words via|
Lent. "A time to let go of excuses for failings and shortcomings; a time to stop hanging on to whatever goodness we perceive in ourselves; a time to ask God to show us what we really look like." I'm not sure where I copied that quote from, but I love it because it points out exactly what I need to do. It may sound kind of harsh, but I think it's actually freeing. We cease to worry about whether we are failing or succeeding and just show up, letting God do the rest.
God is always working. During this time of intense scripture intake, my sweet Ava decided to take the step of faith of being baptized. Also during this time, Allie heard the whispers of a Creator who loves her dearly and responded by giving her life and heart to Jesus. Both girls will be baptized on Easter. Of course I know that many, many things were woven together to cause the changes in Ava and Allie's hearts; yet, being saturated in the word of God for the past 40 days was certainly one of them.