March 2014 Letter–Dear Lent

Dear Lent,

No desserts, nothing sweet for 40 days. And then lots of it on Easter day. Because we did something for Jesus and we felt so holy about it; we suffered, we sacrificed, and now we were rewarded. We were good and God was pleased with us.

That’s what You meant to me when I was a kid. But when I was all grown up, I revolted against You. Because You really send the wrong message. God is not looking for my “sacrifice,” is He? Jesus is the Sacrifice, the only sacrifice acceptable. Jesus did all of that for me. I simply need to receive it, right? Right.

So I threw You completely away, and I felt justified doing it. And I never taught my kids about You.

But when my oldest was all grown up and knitted his heart with fellow believers who quietly observed You for all the right reasons, my heart found itself unsettled. I don’t find You mentioned anywhere in the Scriptures. But neither is Christmas… And I started to wonder if my strong opposition to You is loathing of self-deprivation disguised in self-righteousness. I still don’t have a clear answer on that.

Last year, for the first time since my childhood, I secretly danced with You. I yielded to You. And You bore the delightful fruit of true hunger for more of God. No sense of pride for my own accomplishment, no pat on the back–rather, an awareness of God’s nearness, a growing joy because I am His and He is mine. And then, I remembered that we know the value of choices by their fruits. 

Dear Lent, I have come to a conclusion concerning You: You can be good or bad; it depends on the ground you are being grown into.

Thank you for all that you are to me.

Barbara

Cultivating Thankfulness with Ann Voskamp

one-thousand7#874 An unexpected day off work because of the weather

#875 Planning to bless a friend

#876 Organizing my socks

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 HomeSDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing HomePlay Dates with GodMonday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s StoryInto the WordIn and Around Mondays,OYHT, Gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays, ExtraordinayLessons from IvyDenise in BloomSweet BlessingsFaith Filled Friday, Finding JoyWholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word,

 

 

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19 comments

  1. Hi Barbara! I’m your neighbor in The Sunday Community! I love the image of your secret dance…something you may have never expressed verbally but all the more special because you yielded your heart to Him in the secret place. I think that’s where the good hard stuff happens. Bless you today and thanks so much for sharing this.

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  2. Barbara…what a thought-filled letter. I grew up celebrating Lent as you wrote about in the intro of your letter. However, I didn’t understand it as I do now and Lent has taken on a new meaning for me as a grown up Christian. Lent for me is a time of really focusing on what Jesus did for me…centering my heart around that sacrifice…then praying I will make this 40 day Lent a 365 day way of living. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. God bless.

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  3. Perhaps because I came from a tradition of celebrating Lent, it has always had a place in my heart as a preparation time. Teaching my children about Lent from a more evangelical perspective, however, can be challenging. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Hi, Barbara. I love what you wrote here. I’m participating in Lent for the first time. I wasn’t raised in a church that participated in Lent, but it is something that the Lord placed on my heart to do this year. What you wrote will help me to remember that Lent isn’t about me and what I am giving up, it is about Christ and what He gave up for me.

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  5. I don’t think I’d ever even HEARD the word lent until I was in my mid-20’s, and I was churched. I agree with you; its celebration can be a powerful experience if the spirit’s right. I’m not planning to participate this year, per se, but my brother’s having surgery at its outset, tomorrow, so I started a Daniel Fast yesterday. It will carry me through the first almost 3 weeks of lent.

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  6. I was raised in a conservative church who taught nothing about Lent. But as I’ve begun my own dance with it, I find it a welcome observance and so meaningful to expressing my love of what Christ gave up for me.

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  7. Such a lovely perspective. Lent was the same for me growing oh, and the moving away from faith happened here too. I’ve been on a slow and quiet journey back ever since.

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  8. Barbara, I love your thoughts here…especially that God doesn’t need our sacrifice because Jesus is THE sacrifice. I have only practiced Lent for a handful of years and each year I fill pulled into the practice of something that will bring me closer to God rather than giving up something. It seems to me that drawing close to Him is the purpose anyway. Thanks for linking up to Testimony Tuesday!

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  9. Lent is fairly new to me as well. I didn’t grow up observing it. But I’m learning more and more about it each year and I’m leaning in and embracing it. God Bless you on your own Lenten Journey.

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  10. […] I’m concerned about the talk of “giving up” though. I get it. You are supposed to use that “giving up” as reminders of the season and of Jesus and to pray. But a friend of mine said that God is not looking for a sacrifice. Jesus was the sacrifice. […]

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