Based on the photo above I would imagine that some of you are wondering if I converted to Catholicism. 🙂
To answer your question – no. The hubs is a pastor at a PCA church and after many years of in depth study about church history, he came to the conclusion that recognizing the Lent season (beginning with Ash Wednesday) is a beautiful part of the Christian church’s story.
As a result of his careful study, our little church celebrated Ash Wednesday this year by holding a few worship services where we were able to receive the ‘imposition of ashes’ on our foreheads – a symbol and reminder of our sins and His great sacrifice, inspired by the verse,
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return,” Ecclesiastes 3:20.
We are but dust without His breath of life.
Under this humbling truth (plastered right on our foreheads – our very minds, so to speak) we are then able to rejoice because even though our bodies will return to dust one day, our souls get to be in eternity with Him forever – all thanks and praise to the work He did on the cross (Easter!).
I so long to be a person of the cross. I want others to know without a shadow of doubt Who I love most.
When the hubs and I picked up the boys from school, Happy Baby took one look at his daddy’s forehead and said, “WHY YOU HAVE DAT?”
And as I explained this season to my boys, I thought maybe my sweet blog readers would benefit from it as well.
One of my favorite things about Lent is that we are called to remember the 40 days that Jesus was led into the wilderness to be with God, to be tested, and to fast (Matthew 4:1-11).
Wait, did you catch that?
He did not eat for 40 DAYS.
Sometimes I can’t even skip a snack without getting grumpy!
Jesus denied himself some incredibly basic needs in order to humbly submit Himself to His Father. His willingness to surrender EVERYTHING is so beautiful and inspiring and makes me keenly aware of the 100 million times a day I hold on to worthless idols (fear, insecurity, jealousy, pride, being judgmental, wanting to be in control of everything, Hobby Lobby, how many Facebook ‘likes’ I have) and cling to my earthly comforts (my hair iron, dark chocolate – ahem).
I told Happy Buddy that it was as if Jesus wanted to declare to His Father that He loved Him even more than food (Job 23:12).
Try getting a child to understand that when he has a chocolate chip cookie sitting in front of him.
Try getting ME to understand that when standing at the entrance of a Target (more like emotional food, I guess – ha!).
This year the hubs and I have been prayerfully considering what we might ‘fast’ from in order to make ourselves more like Christ this season.
I thought about fasting from laundry, dishes, and making lunches every day, but I guess that’s not really the point. 🙂
Although Happy Buddy informed me today that he wanted to give up wearing clothes for Lent so our fasts would compliment one another rather nicely.
Are you giving something up for Lent?
I wanted to encourage you today to think and pray about it.
When I was explaining this to my boys, I tried to help them understand that the item you choose to fast from should be something that is important to you and involve a bit of sacrifice. It should draw you to Jesus every time your flesh wants to have the item, eat the item, use the item, etc. It should daily make you aware of the depth of your need for Him.
Happy Baby announced that he wanted to give up his minion toy and I knew that God was inspiring his little heart.
Happy Buddy on the other hand is still thinking about this (after I squashed his no-clothes scheme) and is convinced that giving up vegetables is a worthy Lenten fast.
Pray for him. 🙂
I wanted to share with you an incredible resource Ann Voskamp is sharing at A Holy Experience – 40 days of printable prayer cards you can use on your Lenten journey – find them HERE.
I just printed mine and am planning to use them.
In this world that seems to be ever-increasing in evil and darkness, we must cling to the light. We must embrace and walk in it. Humbly, obediently, and fully surrendered.
So, dear readers, will you Lent with me?
I will absolutely lent with you! Thank you so much for sharing this post. Since Wednesday, I too have been battling with what to “give up” this season and am encouraged to think of what I can also give in. With that said….I will print out the prayer cards and use them over lent. I’ll continue to pray for what to release/give up (I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be junk tv-my guilty pleasure), but I will also do my best to find ways to give back to my community and pay it forward. Perhaps feed the homeless, do a high way trash pickup, visit the sick and shut in or even tutor children (that’s a hard one for me)….either way…I just wanted to thank you for your encouragement and for all your insightful post (past and present). They do not go unnoticed and they are most appreciated.
Sent from my Galaxy S®III
Heather G., Southern Calif.
Hi Julie, I’m a couple of days late, but I printed out the cards and hope to be able to mediate upon them. I am also sending a set to my sister. Thank you for sharing them.
Blessings and a cup of tea,
My name is Andrea Blackstone from Lewisville, Ohio. I just have to tell you what a joy it has been reading your blog today… and yes creeping on old ones too ;). You’re an inspiration…. Thanks for doing this !
I really enjoyed reading about your kids’ items to give up. We had similar discussions w/our eldest (almost 8) daughter. she is giving up chocolate candy for lent, but she is also adding a fruit per day. Our youngest (2 1/2) also gave up candy for Lent. I appreciated your explanation of Lent and shared it w/friends who have trouble understanding what it means for themselves and their kiddos. Sharing A. Voskamp’s site was a blessing, too. I loved reading her one thousand gifts book and my daughter & I kept a journal together going through the 1,000 gifts we were grateful for. Your blog is awesome and a blessing! Thank you!!
Ha! Vegetables… you gotta admit… that was quick 🙂
Maybe you might start a new trend… the cross on the forehead… great idea.
Always a joy to spend time with you Julie… thanks.
I just followed the link to Ann Voskamp’s site… and I’m crying. I had no idea. (But I love it)
Julie, thank you so much for posting the scripture cards and the crisis folder. I have a friend in crisis and I had the scripture folder printed out, one for her and one for myself. You are seriously awesome, Fairy. Thank you. God bless you and your loved ones.