Since having children I have, for the lack of a better explanation, been in some semblance of survival mode. Sometimes worse than others. Now? Now is pretty survival-based. I love my kiddos and life so much, despite the level of calamity it brings, but I have lost touch with some of those things that have intentionally and historically been my ways to deal. Including my time with God. My prayers now are often, “please let Jackson fall asleep easily tonight,” “please let me arrive safely to work,” “please let my husband have a good day,” “please protect my baby at daycare.” A lot of asking. Not as much thanksgiving as I like.
As a cradle Catholic, Lent has been a time of sacrifice. A time of giving up and abstinence of the something. Eating fish on Fridays. Solemn masses. Then as an adult I fell off the wagon of participating in Lent. I ate cheeseburgers, drank my soda, and did not care. I think I felt like I was working night shifts, that surely was enough sacrifice. I know, I know… it wasn’t enough.
This year I am being called to try again. To participate. To sacrifice. To be more intentional in my life. And by stating that here I am asking for accountability.
I have decided to make changes, some I hope to be permanent or semi-permanent, in all aspect of my life. Spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical. I have logged off of Facebook to get more real face time with my family and friends. I haven’t had a Mountain Dew in days (I started that a little before Lent so as to not have a caffeine breakdown immediately). Stopped buying Starbucks. Started reading Rediscovering Jesus by Mathew Kelly and completing the Waiting with the Word, a mothering-focused Lenten scripture study. We plan to attend mass as a family every week – which may actually be the hardest thing, because it requires more than just my attention and sacrifice and patience, but Jesse agreed it was important.
That’s the thing about Lent, it should be a time to abstain and give, but also a time to reflect on why. And in knowing why, make new, good or at least better habits. Give up sinful or wasteful things long term, because if you (I) can make it 40 days, you (I) can likely make it 400. 4,000. Forever. Is it sinful to drink Mountain Dew and Starbucks? Nope. But being cranky without caffeine isn’t nice. And drinking water is just plain better for my body. Will I log back into Facebook? Yes. That is a main source of communication for the entire planet nowadays. BUT… maybe in the next few weeks I will teach my brain that what is important is my family and my life, the one that is in living color in front of my face… not the one I post on Facebook or the one you post on Facebook. It is HARD to take a 2 year old to church, but it is crucial. It is worth the hard and will teach us all critical things. And most importantly, if I can lean on Jesus to help me make these changes, to help me see the bigger picture, and to help me draw my family closer to him, that is the greatest gift Lent can give me or anyone.
So, please pray for me, and I’ll pray for you.