Saturday, February 25, 2012

Out of the quiet...

It's a quiet Saturday, and I've been sipping tea with my babies and reflecting while my man is away for the day.  This is pretty much my favorite season of the entire year.  While I love the preparations and buttoning down of Fall, and of course delight in the hustle and bustle of family-filled holiday season, the season of Lent is my all time favorite.  If I had to choose one favorite holiday, out of all holidays, (which of course I adore) it would have to be Easter.  I love the way my little family celebrates and prepares for this most special holiday. 
 The funny thing, is that I never observed Lent until this year because 1) I'm not Catholic, (though I love and adore many a good Catholic) and 2) I mistakenly wrote it off as a Catholic-only ritual where you do little things like give up sugar for 40 days.  I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't understand it's significance as a time of reflection and growth.  Now that I do, I'm excited to incorporate this into our life over the next month.  (Lent has already begun, and I'm late posting this, but it was a busy week last week with my man out of town on business, so please bear with me.)
 In our family, we prepare for Easter with a few fun traditions.  We celebrate passover by hosting a Seder Dinner, which is always the most amazing blessing, and we always make resurrection cookies the night before Easter morning.  All of these things weave together, to prepare our hearts for the startling realization that Jesus Christ gave up His most precious life to pay the price of our sins, was buried, and then, because He was God, rose from the grave, life beating death.  We believe this with all our hearts. 
  I read this, and for the first time, suddenly understood the purpose of Lent.  Rachel Held Evans asks the following questions about Lent on her blog, and I loved them so much, I wanted to post them here so we could chew on them together. 

1) When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? 
2. Is there a habit or sin in my life that repeatedly gets in the way of loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbor as myself? How do I address that habit over the next 40 days?
3. Is there anyone in my life from whom I need to ask forgiveness or pursue reconciliation?
4. What practical steps can I take to carve out time for daily contemplation?
5. What spiritual discipline do I need to improve upon or want to try?
6. What are some things in my life that I tell myself I need but I don’t? Can I give one or two of them up for 40 days?
7. Why am I giving this particular thing up? How does giving it up draw me closer to God and prepare me for Easter?
8. What am I going to tell myself when self-denial gets hard?
9. Is it necessary/helpful for me to share the nature my fast with others or should I keep it private?
10. What do the ashes mean to me this year? What  does baptism mean to me this year?

Aren't those amazing questions?  Did any of them hit home for you like they did for me? (#1,2, 6 and 7 really struck me.) Do you typically celebrate Lent and do you find yourself feeling different on Easter morning because of it?  If you feel at liberty to share, what are you planning to give up or improve during this season?


  1. We don't "celebrate" it. I guess we are like you were, not really understanding it fully and truthfully not even hearing much about it until recent years. I wonder why. I have been a Christian for as long as I remember...I don't know why this time hasn't been more important in the lives of the people I have known.
    I'm going to learn more about this. It seems like it is a blessing to your family to incorporate it into your traditions.

  2. I am Catholic and our kids go to Catholic schools and Lent has always been a time of reflection and reverence for us! The kids talk about what they are giving 'up' for Lent at school and they take it very seriously. Same goes for 'confession' for us's not so much about the actual 'confession' as it is about the pratice of examining your conscience and going forward with the promise to make better decisions in the future.

  3. This post is great and just what I need as I ponder this Lent season. I have participated before, going through the motions of picking something to give up, but I have failed in the past to really reflect on His goodness and all that He did for me (and you). I loved all of those questions...thank you for sharing.

  4. i think it could do me a whole lotta good to answer #2 every single day of my life. amen! i, like you, always thought lent was for catholics, as well. but, i'm glad the Lord keeps teaching me, because it is such a lovely way to prepare ourselves and for Him to change us all the more.

  5. I'm Catholic and as a family we decided to give up television for Lent--we are focusing on quality family time, games and quality books. We have also chosen 40 people to bless by writing letters or drawing pictures and sending them in the mail.

  6. I have participated in Lent since as long as I can remember. I'm not Catholic either...but I was raised Lutheran (which is truly a stone's throw from Catholicism) and am now what I would consider "non-denominational" although the church we attend would I suppose be labeled "baptist". I gave up Facebook for Lent. It's something that I so habitually logged into, or peeked in on throughout my day as a stay-at-home Mommy...those down times when my busy 2 year-old allowed me a moment's "peace" Facebook seemed to give me a brief, quick chat or sneak into adult conversation and a connection with my girlfriends. However, I'm finding that at those times when I would normally pop in for a little Facebook fix, I am now given a reminder several times throughout the day to have a quiet moment in prayer and thankfulness for those same days that Jesus spent alone in the desert fasting and praying... It truly is the MOST amazing gift. As my tulips and hyacinth slowly begin to peek up out of the ground it's a small, quiet reminder of the brilliance of Easter morning and Christ's resurrection. Happy weekend! :)

  7. i just bought my first tea pot. i love to hear it whistle at me. i know you love tea. remember our tea party?? the girls here in the south do it up big. they have tea sets and the like. i'm going to have to inch toward it slowly. the kettle is the first step i guess:) enjoy the quiet of the weekend friend.

  8. I'm considering beginning to do a Seder dinner with my family this year. I'm researching right now. I love this time of year - when green things are beginning to poke up through all the brown. It always feels so hopeful.

  9. I am not observing "Lent" per se because i am no longer Catholic but my church is doing something like lent, where we pray, fast, and pursue God. I did it last year and it's so much more than just giving up eating meat on Friday. It really transformed my life...talking major life changes... God is sooo amazing!
    Question, your pictures are great, who takes your pictures ( the one's you're in)?

  10. maggie, believe it or not, my kids do! (Occasionally my man is around and he loves taking pictures too so when he's home he does it.) But whenever I'm in it, it's probably been set up by me and then handed over... which is why they are also sometimes a tad fuzzy. Hahaha! My son took most of these ones in this post.

  11. We are Catholic and give something up for the full 46 days (which include Sunday's). We also only eat 1 meat meal a day and no meat on Friday's. And no snacking except on Sundays- which is considered a day of celebration during any holiday or season.

    It is hard but Jesus died on the cross for us! Great post!

  12. I have never understood the meaning behind Lent as well and thought it was "just for Catholics"
    Perhaps I need to do some research and find out its true meaning.