Lent 2017

I absolutely love lent season. And I absolutely don’t know why. Ok I kind of know why!! Backtracking a little, I grew up in north Mississippi which is not highly populated with Catholic religion. I say this to say, when I was 16 years old I “practiced” Lent for the first time. I gave up chocolate (so clique isn’t it?). But this was a big deal for me because I love love love chocolate. If there is one thing I have a history of addiction with, it is most definitely this. And an even bigger deal, my birthday fell in between the 40 days of fasting, which meant no chocolate on my birthday! How life shattering for a sweet- or unsweet 16! But no worries, for mother had a bomb caramel cake brought in to save the birthday. But to get back on track, I really don’t know what influenced my desire to pursue lent because I didn’t have a lot of that going on around me. I can only recognize this act of giving something up as God’s sovereignty guiding my heart, but I’m sure it was likely something more shallow I can’t remember 🙂

So my immature lent ways have evolved. Lent is definitely not something I have practiced every year since I was 16, but I became more familiar with it when starting college. South Mississippi is highly populated with Catholicism. One of the beautiful things about that religion is the traditions. I love a tradition. So the season has come around again, Lent 2017. The past 2 years of Lent have been involuntarily seasons of death, pruning, giving away, adding to…. not to better myself or my health, but to experience Christ. This past 2 seasons were not by my choice, it’s just the timing of the way it all fell. His timing I should clarify. And should I fail to acknowledge He timed these experiences and seasons together like so? No, I want to acknowledge that. My Father is into these details, and I want to be as well. He put this craving of experiencing this traditional fast that lead to His death, burial, and resurrection.

I have a little “list” of a few things that have come to my heart during these days of preparation. I am so hesitant to list them not because I don’t want to share, but because I don’t want to try them as “goals” or “to dos” for the next 40 days. They are where my prayerful footsteps have walked into. And the reason for them aren’t merely rationales, but more so relational.

I do want to mention a little “lent project” I want to pursue with the girls, and that is a little daily conversation on crowns, maybe some activities. Lucy’s personality and age ignited this little project. That girl loves to wear a crown, no matter the time of day or the outfit. She says they make her look beautiful. I was listening to the song “When I Survey The Cross” while driving. I love listening the the lyrics of a song as much as the tune and other musical stuff. “Did ever such love and sorrow meet? Or thorns compose so rich a crown?” I thought about His “rich” crown. It was bland, thorny, hurtful, humiliating. It was rich. My daily visions of a crown are jeweled, sparkly, sought after, prestigious, cheap. The richness of Christ’s crown can only be understood looking at the situation from “The Gospel Side Up” (one of my new favorite terms.) I do know my children really can’t understand the depths of this, but I do feel like it is something to plant in their hearts and prayerfully watch it grow over the years. I imagine Lucy and Eleanor being captivated to know Christ wore this crown give them life. That from the dull, lifeless, unfruitful crown, a triumphant life is/has/will sprout from it. Those beautiful blooms are so much more radiant that then man made sparkles.

Psalm 51

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

The past 2 years of Lent marked with images. The first picture is of Jim and I on Ash Wednesday 2015. God ONLY knows why in the world I took a picture of this day during such an anguishing season of my life. I can only recognize this act documenting as God’s sovereignty guiding my heart. Then below that is last year on Ash Wednesday with my family. A softer pruning season. I thought I had these 2 images on my iCloud, but I didn’t. Panicking I remember I shared them on my Instagram. Shared and Saved. I can only recognize this act of documenting as God’s sovereignty guiding my heart, but I’m sure it was likely something more shallow I can’t remember 🙂 (read this last sentence then read the end of the first paragraph about giving up chocolate. Guide my movements, Lord.)

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