on needing lent

Lent will be here early this year: Ash Wednesday is February 10th.  I feel like I should be whining and stomping my feet, but in all honestly, I can’t wait.  I need Lent and I feel like I need it right now.

Please don’t be confused.  I am not some sort of super human that loves fasting and penance.  Far from it.  What I love is sneaking a candy-bar away from the kids’ prying eyes.  Give me a reason to indulge, and I’ll do it.  Give me a loop-hole getting me out of fasting or alms-giving and I’m all over it.

And yet, despite these sides of my personality, I need Lent.  I need the prayer, the fasting, the sacrifice, the repentance and the alms-giving for all 40 days.  I need it, and on the deepest level I am so grateful it is coming.

I’m ready for the change. I need it so badly

I’ve spent some time thinking about why I need Lent and it basically comes down to these 2 reasons:

1. I Crave a Return to Simplicity

Anyone else feeling this way after all the Christmas madness?  Aren’t we all?

After eating too much, owning too much, and living a life that is too noisy and far too busy I can’t help but admit that this lifestyle is not what God intended for me.  I have lost track of the simple beauty of silence.  I have become so full from all of the food I have been indulging in that I can’t recall what hunger really feels like, or even simple satisfaction.  I own so much that I worry it has begun to own me and weigh me down in the most unhealthy way.

Lent is an opportunity–a challenge–to make a radical change on all of these fronts, and that is what I need!  I need a radical change!  It is calling to become dedicated to prayer, to give of what I have to those in need, to deny myself certain things so that I can grow closer to the suffering of Christ and clear out the clutter of my life.

The challenge of Lent is a difficult one: prayer, fasting and alms-giving, but don’t you feel deeply in your heart your own being begging you to make these changes and rejoicing at the opportunity to focus on them for 40 days?  I do.  I deeply deeply do.

This year I plan on using the Lent Waiting in the Word lectio divina based study a few friends and I put together as the basis of my prayer.  The study addresses so many sins I struggle with: selfishness, frustrations, judgement, envy, shame and anxiety, all through meditative reading of scripture.  If you are so inclined, please consider joining us.  In my opinion, lectio divina the perfect way to pray during Lent.  It takes time, demands silence and always yields fruit as it forces us to spend time living and breathing the holy scripture.

on needing lent 2

2. It is a Beautiful Reminder that Life Has Seasons

And thank God for that.  My little family is currently stuck in a rather difficult season.  Sunday marked 3 weeks that we have been out of our home and living in a constant state of transition (my least favorite state) and we likely have another 2 or 3 weeks of this yet ahead of us.  No one loves the wandering lifestyle, but it is particularly rough on kids.

To say it simply, the kids are out of sorts.  They are confused about where we live, when our lives will be back to normal and what normal will even be.  They are tired, taxed and as a result testing all of the boundaries possible.  I struggle to remember the last meal we ate that wasn’t accompanied by the screams and wails of a small child.  Most of this time I have been without my husband so the kids are dealing with me and my temper and my parenting style exclusively, which really isn’t fair.  I’m doing my best, but 23 weeks pregnant and a full week sleeping on an air mattress about did me in.  And to top it off, the kids are just generally less certain about life than they used to be.  We have been traveling around a lot so they often find themselves in a new bed, and this can be scary, or at least that’s what they tell me when they climb into bed (or air mattress) with me each and every night.

But, Lent reminds me that this is a season.  This will soon just be a memory where all of the bad parts are dulled and the details vague.  We suffer for a time, we are tested for a time, but the joyful Easter season is LONGER than Lent.  Praise God! God will give us trials, but He will also give us ample reason to rejoice.  It is a season.  We endure, we are made stronger and then we rejoice.  And because of this we cling to hope even amid our suffering.

Today we visited our new house we have yet to close on, as well as the parish we will be attending.  And for a moment I could glimpse our wonderful future.  The kids seemed to glimpse it too.

So there you have it.  I need Lent…and at the risk of sounding bossy, I’d bet you do too.  So let’s do it right this year.  Plan for it.  Make it fruitful.  When Ash Wednesday is here, make sure you know what you plan to do as a family and on your own.

Blessings–and thanks as always for being here,

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