Skip to main content

lent

So I did something new for me this year - I observed lent.  I don't completely understand all the ins and outs of it still, and I hope I don't offend someone with this post!  For example, am I even supposed to tell people I gave up something for lent?  Politically correct things aside, it has been an interesting experience for me.

I grew up in a denomination that more or less ignores lent.  We have celebrated the Easter season of course. But the time leading up to it - starting with Ash Wednesday - was somewhat of a mystery to me.  This past year has been a time of meeting people that I respect who do the "church thing" quite different from me.  I felt myself being drawn to some of the more traditional, liturgical side of things.  I met two women who are Episcopalian priests and who have become friends of mine.  I love listening to them pray and seeing their heart and passion for God.  Shawn's good friend (and mine) is a Methodist pastor and I jokingly call him a "charismatic traditional."  By this I mean he often worships God through written prayers, liturgy, and things that seem formal and foreign to me.  Yet he does so with arms raised high, tears in his eyes and a passion in his voice that surprises me each time.  Coming home from his service tonight I was thinking about what I had just experienced.  I had been moved deeply by the service, yet strangely uncomfortable.  Not in a bad way, but in a way that reminded me that I don't have the whole concept of worship and praise "down" just because I have been a Christian for so long.  I love being around these people, and I always walk away pondering my own traditions and the way I think things should be and how I should worship. 
So when lent came around this year, I studied it a bit and asked some questions, and then decided to observe it.  I gave up chocolate, and I have to admit that it has not been easy!  There are birthday celebrations and retreats and everything else in the time of lent.  And there have been people who do not understand why I would do this-partly because, like me, it is not something they are familiar with.  I will be honest, I have not observed it with all the rules of meat, fasting, etc.  For me it was more the idea of discovering something that was an idol to me, and giving that to God.  And yes, I like chocolate that much! :)  It has been eye opening to me to realize how often I turn to chocolate (and food in general) in place of God.  And how grumpy I got when I would remember my self-imposed ban.  I am just stubborn enough that there were times I refused chocolate simply because I made this promise and I wasn't going to "fail."  Yet there have also been times of really giving it to God because I don't want idols in my life - I want my life to be about him.  It has also been freeing in a way as I have discovered that God really loves me in spite of these things.
I am happy that lent is almost over, and believe me, I will be eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup for Easter! But I feel like a bondage has been broken in this season - one that will carry with me even after lent is over. 
Thanks for letting me ramble about this new experience!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bookends of Beauty

I love the bride of Christ.

I know that many of you reading this have seen the ugly, the broken, the spiteful.  It has been aimed at you or someone you love and the hurt has caused so much pain that you ran.  Maybe you are still physically present, but your heart is not fully in.  I understand.  We've been in full time ministry for 23 years now.  You can't be in this type of life without experiencing some of that ugliness - or handing it our yourself. 

However, I have been reminded again recently how beautiful it can be when it is done as a picture of Him. 

In the last few churches that we have been at where Shawn has pastored we have had a point in our time there where we had to admit that we couldn't do it anymore.  These churches in the States were ones that were under redevelopment - meaning on the brink of closing for one reason or another - and we were brought in to see if there was any health left and to push it in that direction if the answer was yes.  That means …

Kwaheri Kenya

It's my last night calling Africa home.

I feel like the last several weeks I have been on auto pilot - doing the things I needed to do to wrap up work well and get things in place.  This week we had a lot of goodbyes, however my eyes stayed dry and my emotions in check.

But today...

What a hard, beautiful, honoring, loving, joy and sorrow filled day.

I was standing and looking out the window tonight and feeling like this chapter has come to a close.  I don't just mean Kenya - though that is the immediate, in-your-face thing.  But this dream of living in Africa.  Ever since we spent the year in Malawi I have longed to come back and live.  We lived in the most rural you possibly could in South Sudan to the crazy chaos of Nairobi in Kenya, as well as the in-between in Blantyre.  I've seen poverty I could never have imagined, and money that I never knew existed.  I've lived on the brink of war and through insane elections.  And I've shown off this life I've loved …

Tremble

Listening to music always speaks to my heart in ways that seem to break through even my most grumpy, tired, or distant flesh.  I have a current favorite right now that I could listen to non-stop, and whenever I hear it I feel like my emotions explode to the surface. 

"Peace, bring it all to peace
The storm surrounding me
Let it break at your name..."

If you've listened to Christian radio or worship in a place in with contemporary music at all you've probably heard the song "Tremble."  It's not new.  Nor is it filled with a truth I have not heard before.  But something in these lyrics touches me deeply in this time of my life.

Right before we left Kenya I spoke at our church ladies retreat.  One of the things we talked about the first night was how we are in a battle.  We so often and so easily believe the lies that are whispered to us from Satan and shouted to us from the world about who we are, our worth, and our identity.  The longer we allow these l…