Happy First Week (days) of Lent! In years past, I didn’t really buckle down until a couple weeks into Lent but each year I get a little better. Not perfect, mind you, but better.
Ash Wednesday started out with a bang – a more stressful than usual morning with me upset and frustrated, the boys more wild than usual (or at least they seemed it) and I was already dreading Lent without making it an hour into it. Thankfully, I made it to morning Mass early and had some time to cool down and pray and get my mind and heart in the right attitude. And the rest of the day was lovely, right?? Well, yes and no.
If you follow me on Instagram and watched my instastories that day, you saw how I spent the first half of the day getting the house cleaned and decorating for Lent. It all looked so pretty! Yeah, it looked great but then I was given a little reminder that Lent is more than just getting the pretty prayer journal, and putting up the purple flowers and Lenten activities, it also meant actually putting my Lenten practices to work.
What you didn’t see on the instastories was the second half of the day when things started to go downhill. I got a call from Brian about a work project that needed to be redone. Pronto. There was another issue with a family member that needed to be dealt with, also pronto. My car was on the fritz and they called to say the bill would be over $500. Add that to a number of other things that went wrong in a few hours. Combine all this with being food deprived from fasting and well, let’s just say that mama had a meltdown by the time the evening was over. I hit that “don’t even look, talk or touch me!” zone, all the while thinking, “Damn it! I can’t even get past Ash Wednesday without screwing up royally.” Sigh.
Thankfully, God is patient and his mercy is ready to pick us up and dust us off. After apologies and hugs were given to the family and after I checked the calendar to see when my next confession was scheduled (in a couple days) I was able to go to bed knowing tomorrow would be a fresh, blank page ready for me to start a new story. Happily, today was a better day.
I tell you all this because I know someone reading this will be a little encouraged that none of us have it all together and that we are all dealing with our own struggles and inadequacies. I also want to encourage you that no matter how many times we may fail, God never, never, tires of picking us back up.
Choosing My Lenten Fast
Each year I usually share with you what I am working on during Lent, mostly because I know my mom will read it and ask me how I am doing when she calls me. This holds me accountable. 😉
I was actually having a hard time narrowing down what I should give up or do for Lent but I was reading Kathryn’s blog post This, *This* Is Your Lenten Fast and her words kicked me in the arse. She said:
Rather than telling yourself, “Oh, Lent is coming, time to give up sweets and Dr Pepper,” let’s do something different instead.
Dig deep. Start with what you take to the confessional every time. Or, if you haven’t been in a while (hey, no judgment) start with something that takes your time away from God. Start with the thing that’s your barrier – maybe it’s social media, your attitude, the crap in your house or the junk in your heart.
Like a big neon sign was the words “Start with what you take to the confessional every time.” I know what that is.
Later I read Blessed Is She’s daily devotion for Ash Wednesday and Jenny said:
This Lent, don’t give up chocolate. Don’t set your alarm 15 minutes early. Not before asking Him what He wants from your heart. Ask Him how you can best make a sacrifice to become who He wants you to be. The fasting, prayer, and almsgiving of Lent are all for the sake of bring our whole selves, body and soul, closer to Him. Lent is about offering ourselves to God anew, asking Him to strip away the facade and, in His great mercy, to reveal to us those parts of ourselves that look the least like Him.
I opened up my Blessed Is She journal and it said in bold letters:
PUT ON LOVE.
Ugh, stop it, Lord! You’ve made your point. Yeah, yeah, yeah. “Put on Love.” It makes a great prayer journal title and a great #hashtag for my IG photos but it is so hard to actually LIVE.
I’d rather just give up chocolate. (And for me, that’s saying a lot.)
However, when I look back at my little meltdown earlier, my self-love is glaring. Everyone was bugging me. Everyone was making me work harder. Everyone was stressing me out. Me. Me. Me. It’s all about me. Okay, so I was exceptionally selfish that afternoon (I blame it on the lack of food!) but I know myself. I know that I can be selfish and self-centered and that is what God wants to continue to root out of me. He’s been working on it for so dang long, and although I am better than I was in years past, I’ve still got a loooong way to go.
So for Lent I am doing some things that will help me curb my self-love. I’ll not bore you with the specifics but I’ll gladly take any prayers you can send my way. I, in return, promise to pray for you this Lent too. We’re traveling this journey together.
How can I pray for you this Lent?
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