Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What does Lent mean to you? Anything??

I know that Lent begins today. I know that it's Ash Wednesday. I know that some people celebrate this season on the Christian calender. I know that some people don't know one thing about Lent. These are a few things I do know and then I'll let you know what I plan on doing during this beautiful season of Lent.

Ok....I feel the need to list. I hope it's ok to list these things. I'm feelin' the need for a list.

1. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is 40 days.
2. It's a time for us to remember exactly what Jesus did for us.
3. Do I give up something during Lent?
4. What if I don't give up something for Lent?
5. The 40 days is all over scripture...Jesus in the desert, Noah's ark, Israelites in the desert

Is that all I can come up with? Apparently so. It's late. I'm tired. But, I'm wondering.....really stuck on something..."What if I don't want to give up something for Lent?" Is that ok? Sure it is. I think God will love me just the same. However, I'm going to do something a little different with Lent this year. I think the whole giving up thing messed with me at some point in my life because it scares me. Maybe the knowing that I may fail plays a part in it. What if I just get mad about it and not getting any closer to Christ?

I'm planning on getting into "serve mode" during Lent. We do need to talk to our kids about just how awesome God is and exactly what He did for us on that cross and what He does for us on a daily basis, but.....I don't want my kids to miss the point of Lent. My kids would just be irritated over giving something up and then complain for days about it and miss the whole "let's get closer to God thing" so I'm thinking let's turn our focus around.

However I decide to map this family is going to be very intentional about giving back and doing things that we normally never do or rarely do. We might do things that we typically do only at Christmas. Maybe we'll venture out and do some things that we have NEVER done to help out sick children, the elderly, the lonely, the lost. I don't know yet. I'm trusting God to lead the way.

I'm hoping that I can set a good example for my children to take the time to remember just how beautiful Christ is and in turn doing something for others in the name of Christ.

What do y'all think about Lent? Love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Regardless of what you do or don't do, use this time leading up to Easter to dig a little deeper with Christ. He is everything.

Happy serving and growing,


Holly said...

In college my agnostic (yes, I said agnostic) neighbor had grown up in a Catholic home. She gave something up for Lent every year. One year, I joined her. I gave up chocolate. It was a discipline for me at the time, but not really a spritual one. So I am curious to see the responses you will get.

I do not do it now, because I want to do so in honor of Christ and not just "let's see if I can go without dot dot dot."

Love you! Praying for you, too.

kate said...

Hi Fran!
I'm cradle Catholic, teach Confirmation to HS students, and treasure this time of year. I plan to blog tomorrow on how this Lent season comes so second to Christmas - and it is this time that is sooooo special to any of us who believe in Him.

This time of year is truly my favorite. Such a time of reflection to remind us of what was given to us.

I plan to give up Diet Coke which is my favorite AND most of all plan to exercise everyday. This will be huge - no excuses when it comes to the man upstairs.

As a little girl, mom had us do extra in write a letter to a family member each day, go to a neighbor's house and offer to help them out (she'd call before assuring we had a job waiting), and we'd do extra things for others. We also didn't buy anything new - we really tried to understand a little bit of suffering.

I think what one does to recognize Lent is totally between them and Christ...some of us (hand raise) need something actual - poor diet coke sales in Oklahoma!

May you continue to receive His light today and always..kate

Lindsee Lou said...

I've never (nor has my family) ever participated in Lent, however, as of late the Lord has laid of my heart a few things that I could give up in order to spend more time with Him. And although I fear what you do, too, about being mad at Him, I find myself wanting more of Him that I think He would bless the "sacrifice!" So, we'll see how it all pans out here soon!

Love you! And hoping your boys enjoy the serving. I know they will when they watch you!

Teri~Facedown said...

I haven't participated in giving something up for lent since I was a child, but then, the heart of that lenten practice was not taught to us. We did it because we were required to do so.

I love the idea of intentional servitude. We are incredibly blessed and all of it comes from God.

One thing is for sure, this time is very reflective and I definitely want to take the proper time to give God my attention. And affection. He is worthy.

Love you friend.

Denise said...

I think your idea is great dear, service in Jesus name.

angie128 said...

I don't know anything about Lent, and have never participated in it by giving up anything.

I know it is about sacrifice and that is why I was puzzled when I heard coworker say yesterday, "My husband has given up chocolate for Lent for yeeeears now. He's gotten very good at it." I thought about that the rest of the day. Because if it IS all about sacrifice, and then you "get very good at it", is it really that much of a sacrifice?

Your thoughts, as always, prompt me to deeper thinking. And for that -- and YOU -- I am thankful.


(PS -- I know you aren't doing this little gamey game anymore - especially with the "seriousness" of this post, but my verification word is "pershes". And I believe that is what women carry their belongings in, right? "Women put their lip glosshesh, and keysh and other shtuff in their pershes." ok, sorry....just had to say that.

ocean mommy said...

First...Angie128 your PS is cracking me up! :)

Serious now...

I have never participated in Lent. I'm going to have go and pray about that...I do LOVE your idea to serve. What better way to remind your boys about Jesus sacrifice. After all, Jesus came TO serve not be served.

I'm looking forward to hearing about it!!

Love you

Teresa said...

These thoughts have been on my mind also...this is a special time of reflecting on what our Lord did for us...I think so many times we just want to skip to Easter morning...Easter morning did not happen without the cross...We cannot ignore it...And when we specifically set aside this time of the year to sacrifice something for Him we won't forget and we can teach our children how special His sacrifice was..
I think your idea of service..(out of comfort zone serving) is right on the mark...
Blessings and hugs!

Toknowhim said...

My husband's father is a Lutheran minister so he is very familiar with Lent, although we don't do anything currently to celebrate Lent. However, I think like you I would like to change that as well.

I know there are a lot of good resources out there today to help us find the meaning in Lent and what we can do during this time.

Thanks for the reminder...

PS... I am now ruined when it comes to leaving comments...when I see the word verification I now think about the word and find myself trying to say it :)

Love ya...

Mary Beth said...

It's interesting that Lent has become loaded up with the understanding that we have to "give something up" like chocolate or TV or Coke. The spirit behind "giving something up" is to model Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, but fasting for Jesus was a discipline to more closely hear the voice of God. To me, simply giving something up as a sacrifice is pretty empty if it's not done in the spirit of becoming more aware of God's presence in our lives.

I always suggested to my parishioners that they use Lent to adopt a new spiritual practice or discipline, something to help them become more aware of the presence of God and to clear space in their lives to listen to God's voice.

The most rewarding Lent I ever had was in graduate school when several friends and I would fast for one day a week. During mealtimes, we would get together and pray, and then we would break the fast in a fellowship meal in the evening. Talk about becoming aware of God's presence and about my own need to depend on God.

I hope that this Ash Wednesday and this Lenten season are very special for you, Fran.

Mary Beth said...

Oh, and I had such a wonderful time reading the creation and wilderness stories with my son last night in order to prepare him for Ash Wednesday. I know he doesn't 'get it' yet, but it's great to see the little spark in his eye.

beckyjomama said...

I have only observed lent once in my life, when I was in JR high our youth leader told us about it and asked us to think about observing it. I decided to give up ice cream, because it was FEB ... who needs ice cream! That very day we went to a new place for lunch after church ... full on ice cream bar! Yeah, it stunk!!!

This year I have though aboiut it and want to observe it in some way, but am not sure about giving something up. SO, I decided to look inward and I think I am going to uses these fourty days to work on getting my Temple into better health. NOT losing weight, just taking better care of it! No diet, just health.

Still trying to think of ways to do that, if anyone has any suggestions!!!!

Love ya Frannie!

Patty said...

I love your idea of serving or giving because that is what Jesus did and still does for all of us.

We are God's hands and feet to those in need and we serve Him when we serve His children.

My calling of late is to encourage His Body, His children. That is how I am to serve at this time.

As for Lent: I have not participated in giving up a specific thing during this time.

For me, He is always in my thoughts(that wasn't always the case) and I am always talking to Him but I need to manange my activities better during a day and spend more time focusing on Him than anything else on this earth.

God will guide you and your sweet family in the ways He wants you to serve and you are such a caring and sweet woman of God!

Love you,

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

Girl, you are wonderful..I'd love to hear some things y'all end up doing..

Mrs.Naz@BecomingMe said...

Fran, Thank you so much for sharing your list

Anonymous said...

Love this post... I live in Ohio and have many Catholic friends. So, Lent for me has always been something I've watched them participate in ~ giving up meat on Fridays, etc. I'm like some of the other commenters... I've thought about giving something up, but, want whatever I do to draw me closer to Jesus and what he did for me.... not sure that giving up a treat is the way that will happen for me. LOVE your idea of being even more intentional regarding service.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Okay, so here's what I didn't say in my post.

As Christians, we spend weeks and weeks building up to Christmas, but one week (Holy Week) leading up to the pinnacle of the Christian year...Resurrection Sunday or Easter. WHY???

I think Lent is very important for believers. It's a somber season of reflecting on what Christ did for us and trying in some small, small way to enter into suffering. If giving something up for 40 days allows opportunity for us to quiet our busy souls long enough to hear what He might want to say to us during these days, then I'm all for it. If it's just a test of our obedience or determination, then I think we're missing the point entirely.

Gee, aren't you glad you asked what we think about Lent? ;)

I love your ideas...and you know mine! Happy Lent to you!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

One more're right on track. One focus of Lent is alms...or giving to the needy. You're already on that one! Great job.

annie's eyes said...

I think serve-mode during Lent would make Him very happy. Lent is for reflecting, for not letting Easter just be one day, but a time we long for in our hearts. Prepare ye the way, John the Baptist entreats us. You are a beautiful example to your boys and your family. Love, Annette
PS Oh I wished I had gotten the word "predit" for the word verification contest like I did just now. Can you imagine how fun that would have been?

His Girl said...

I've never even considered celebrating Lent. This year, I've been (for the first time ever) really considering little ways I can set time aside as holy for Him- to really reflect on the REALITY of who He is.

I'll be praying about what to do next year at Lent time.

(oh, crumb. I'm with everyone else with that word verification thing. mine is lousenes. as in, I am going to bed now due to the louseness of the day. SURE, NOW I GET ONE!)

Anonymous said...

I've observed lent various ways. "Giving up" things - temporarily. Yet not really stretching myself in it and moving closer to God. Each year I get a little closer, but that hasn't been my best place to focus. Adding a discipline to bring me closer to God is something I have found helpful in my walk.

I like your post and believe you have hit the nail on the head with one of the best ways to observe Lent! Thanks Fran for the reminder that we are to be His hands & feet in service. All of the time.

Dorothy Bowen Klass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorothy Bowen Klass said...

What does Lent mean to me? I think it should be 40 days of meditating on the life and character of Christ. Looking at Him as my pattern and then lining up my life to His. Where am I NOT like Him? What must I do to change? It's a time to align my thinking and conduct to the ultimate example, Jesus Christ. This takes time and waiting in His presence.

Giving up something is good and takes discipline but I end up focusing on myself and become proud of my accomplishment. It becomes a 40 day test soon over and no REAL CHANGE in me.

On a side note, I found it rather amusing that when my young nephews and neice were trying to decide what to give up for Lent (between sweets, and ipods) they were not at all interested when I suggested they give up ARGUING!!!

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