Lent.

It’s that time again.  Lent.  Those precious weeks leading up to Easter, my favorite holiday of the year because of the focus it brings on the resurrection of Christ.  It stirs up this renewed hope that my family celebrates in greater ways now that we’ve experienced death firsthand and long for the day when He makes all things new.  I never grew up with an awareness of Lent, but in recent years, it has become almost as dear to me as Advent.  The kids and I put up our Lent ornaments each day on a tree, as we trace the beautiful story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation.   Personally, I pray through what God might be asking me to give up that year for this short (but seemingly long!) period of time.

Lent is one of the oldest traditions on the Christian calendar, dating back to the Council of Nicaea’s discussion over a 40-day period of fasting back in 325 A.D.  Though practices have varied in how Lent was carried out throughout history, the general idea has always been self-denial, and the giving up of something that results in self-reflection and awareness.

I personally became acquainted with Lent several years ago, when people around me started talking about what they had chosen to “give up” that year.  Since then, it has become more commonplace to talk about Lent, with something usually given up in order to obtain a closer walk with the Lord in the days leading up to Easter Sunday.  Usually for me, the thing given up has to do with social media and technology in some shape or form.  It just is one of those constant “love-hate” relationships in my life.

Giving up something is great and all, but I believe our question in this season, and in our decision making, must always be “Why?”  And as I asked myself this question last week, I started looking at Lent differently.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been working through a Bible study on discerning God’s voice, and have been digging into the ways the Lord speaks to us and how the Holy Spirit personally works in our lives as we engage with Scripture.  But I knew that this year, it wasn’t as much about giving up.

It was about getting more.  More of Jesus, that is.  And I didn’t need the focus to be on something else I had to refrain from as much as I needed Someone to cling to.

You see, I’m so guilty of coming to God with my list.  You probably are also familiar with the one.  Where personal requests take priority over just being with Him.  Where there’s so much I think I need to figure out for my life that I use prayer as a hopeful means to discover the answers, instead of a time to deepen my relationship with Him.  Where I approach my time in His Word with what I can apply to my life instead of how I can learn more about my Savior.

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So for Lent this year, I just want more of Him.  I want to study the various attributes of His character, and in doing so, fall deeper in love with His heart.  I want to put myself “on the back burner,” so to speak, so that He can show me Himself and I’ll just get out of the way.  I want to forget about my plans and decisions and needs for the next 40 days, and just discover Him in new depths.   He must become much greater in my life, and I must become much much less.  And I’m not sharing about any of this at all to brag, but because I’m desperately frail and constantly mess up, so I really could use some accountability.

What does Lent mean for you?  I’d love to hear.  Whatever your thoughts are and however you may or may not celebrate it, I pray all of our focus in this Easter season would ultimately be Jesus.  Because that’s Who it’s really always about, anyway.

Sometimes we just need a way to stop and remember that.

christydsiggy2013

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Happy New Year!

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Yes, I know I’m saying it a little late… but so long, 2017. 

You brought sickness.

You brought anxiety.

You brought the most loneliness I have ever experienced.

You brought physical pain and soreness.

You brought stress trying to juggle multiple part-time jobs.

 

And yet…

You forced me to trust God more for healing.

You coerced me to turn to my Heavenly Father first and remember I am never alone.

You brought about more strength as a result of challenging myself physically.

And you challenged me to be a better steward of my time in order to get everything done.

 

And the thing is, I can’t really say that 2018 will be different, when it all comes down to it.  Sure, I hope there is a little less crazy to deal with this year.  But really, as long as I live here on this fallen earth, there will be sickness and pain.  There will be stress and anxiety.  And there will definitely be loneliness.

Perhaps the thing that will be different this year, instead though, will be my perspective.  Because when I remember that these are normal occurrences and come to expect them, my attitude will be much different when I am hit with them.   And that is my prayer for this year.

So 2018… bring it.  You’ve already challenged me from the beginning with sickness, and now that we are through that, I know there will be other challenges ahead.  I really really hope you have a lot of excitement and happy times in store too.  But at the end of this year, may I , and anyone else reading this, be able to say we learned and grew.

Not just from the good and the happy, but from the hard as well.

 

christydsiggy2013

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When discipline is hard…

Can I just have a moment today to share some honesty on the homefront?  We’ve been having some trouble keeping up with our chores around our home.  My kids like to go, go, go.  They like to play, play, play.  They love to have fun, and their joy is contagious and brings me so much joy in return.  But they don’t like to clean, clean, clean.   I mean, look at how rough it is to … {…Read More}

When we just choose to slow down…

I was on the treadmill at the gym the other day, lost in my own thoughts and staring out the window, when a mom walked past looking like she still had plenty more energy left than I do after a good long workout.  She was headed briskly to her car, but kept looking back behind her.  After a minute or so, I realized why.  About 50 feet back was a little girl, no older than … {…Read More}

When you just need some encouragement to keep trusting… {Book Review}

Do you ever read something from an author that just breaks you and yet leaves you wanting more of his or her words?  Where you just can’t get enough?  Whose book leaves you longing to meet in real life, to sit down and chat over coffee… to just listen to the wisdom that seems to always be spilled out in every word they write. Katie Davis Majors is one of those authors for me.  After … {…Read More}

Thanks a lot, Irma…

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Dear Tim Tebow…

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Never enough…

I get asked this one question all the time… How do you do it all?  Working three part-time jobs… homeschooling my kids a couple days a week… trying to care for a house that seems to always have some issue that needs fixing (that I usually don’t know how to fix)… trying to be physically and emotionally healthy myself… and most importantly – making sure my kids are well taken care of, nurtured, and loved.  … {…Read More}

Adopting… or not adopting…

The date passed once again recently… July 20th.  The date we once celebrated as a family because our adoption dossier was now officially in Ethiopia and on file with the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs.  The date we knew would bring us one step closer to the little girl we’d dreamed about and had a special place for in our hearts, even though we had yet to know her name or see her … {…Read More}

When we just can’t wait…

I’ve been finding myself really fascinated – and somewhat annoyed – by how impatient of a culture we live in nowadays.  Seriously, it seems like I can’t drive anywhere any more without at least one driver cutting me off and almost causing an accident.  Some of the most foul language I’ve heard has come from people waiting in line behind me, frustrated about how long something is taking.  When did we, as a culture, become … {…Read More}