Let’s talk about Lent

Lent

Lent is tomorrow.

I’ve never participated in Lent before. I grew up in a Presbyterian church and we had Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, but I didn’t know about Lent until probably a few years ago.

I’ve been reading on it in detail the past few weeks and it’s just fascinating. I love all the different perspectives, history, and ideas about what to give up. Search Amazon for Lent in Books and you get some pretty interesting takes on it.

We’re writing a 40 day Lent devotional for She Reads Truth (seriously, join us tomorrow), and because of that I decided to “do Lent” this year. That certainly doesn’t sound right – like I’m giving God a try or something. We’ll just chalk it up to biblical incorrectness on my part and move on.

I ordered a Naptime Diaries Lent journal to help me stay on track. Lent is a time when you give something up in order to prepare your heart for Easter. The basic concept is suffering by choice in a very small amount because of the incredible way Christ willingly suffered for us. It’s not mandatory. It’s not something you have to do as a Christian. We live in such a “me” centered world though that the idea of Lent seems to be a unique, much yearned for concept.

The more I thought about what I would give up, the more selfish I became about what I didn’t want to give up. Quite honestly, our pain has been so intense lately that the thought of losing a small bit of comfort/joy that earthly pleasures bring to our lives wasn’t anything I wanted to do.

I like coffee y’all.

Still, I truly want these next 40 days of Lent (more than 40 because Sunday’s don’t count in there) to be a time where I’m actively in God’s word and seeking his will for my life. I still feel very alone in that way. Maybe this won’t make sense to anyone, or some of you will think I’m off my holy rocker, but I feel as if God withdrew and Jesus stepped in after I lost Kaden.

Lent is appealing to me because it feels like it might set me on the path to figuring out where God and I stand in all of this.

I want to give up something as an active reminder to me of my decision to spend more time with God.

And I just realized (seriously, I paused writing this and knew what it was) what I’ll be giving up.

Books.

I read all the time. It’s become a way to distract and avoid for me. I read at night when the pain of losing Kaden is so intense I can’t sleep anymore, when I knit to keep my thoughts from spiraling, and anytime I need to sink into another world for a while. I have stacks of books by my bed, dozens on my iPad. I adore books and always have, I can read them until it’s so late my eyes barely can open just enough to finish a chapter.

I just don’t read the Bible like that. I want to. But another (often more interesting if I’m being honest) book is always calling. Then I skip the Bible most of the time.

So that’s what I’m going to do. For the next 40 days of Lent, the only book (besides Bella’s) that I’ll read will be the Bible.

I feel a little nervous writing this publicly. I kind of want to delete and find a new Lent thing.

That’s probably a good sign that I picked the right comfort to give up.


Comments

  1. Lacee Muller says:

    I needed this post tonight. My husband and I both grew up in Christian homes and knew what Lent was but have never participated. This year, we are going to. I think your honesty on the subject was spot on, the first thoughts when our sinful hearts think of Lent is, "I can't / don't want to give up… " What a sure sign, that we certainly need the reminder of small suffering for the suffering that was endured for us!

  2. I’m also “trying Lent” for the first time this year. I grew up Southern Baptist & now attend a Christian church. I’m praying for God to use this very small sacrifice to grow my faith in Him. Prayers to you!

  3. Lendy Salazar says:

    We are on the same track!! I wish I had seen the lent journal before Lent! Is it a printable?

  4. Maria Moser says:

    I have one Catholic parent and one Brethren parent, went to Catholic, Brethren AND Lutheran churches as a kid. So I'm not good at any religion, LOL. *hugs*

  5. Angela Bonham Riley says:

    I have never participated in Lent either. I grew up in different churches & then as a young adult, went through a period of time where I rejected God & religion altogether. I have in the past few years come back to my faith & relationship with God. It has been what has gotten me through some of the hard times my family & I have been through the past year (especially recently).
    I think this year, I will participate in lent. It's a great reminder of the suffering that was endured for us, as Lacee Muller stated.

  6. Kari Delgadillo O'Brien says:

    I also being raised Christian never participated in Lent. I thought it was a Catholic thing. Anyway, I loved her article and impressed that for her giving up reading anything but the bible is a sacrifice. It's important to pick something that makes you sacrifice. What a small price to pay. I will be participating this year, also. Thanks Lacee. I needed to read your post today.

  7. Diana Stone says:

    Let me ask!!

  8. I totally get it…your statement: "I feel as if God withdrew and Jesus stepped in after I lost Kaden." I've often felt a different relationship with Jesus. When I've thought of you, Bella, and Sam, I've pictured Jesus sitting with you, crying with you, hugging you, passing you the tissues, sharing in your anger, and helping you to find comfort in friends and family. I grew up Lutheran with a dad who had grown up in the Catholic church. It's been awhile since giving up something for Lent, but I'm really inspired by the community of She Reads Truth women to collectively "be" in Lent together. I haven't yet decided what I'm going to relinquish during these 40 days. I'm looking forward to join you for the devotional!

  9. Margot Kate Guy says:

    Hi Diana,
    I just wanted to say that although I don't comment often, I follow your journey and admire your strength so much. We lost our twin boys and have suffered miscarriages since then but my heart bleeds for you and what your family has been through with losing your beloved Kaden. That's all. I just wanted to say that you're in my heart and the hearts of so many others. You are not alone. Big hugs, Margot

    • Thank you for this Margot. Truly. I’m so sorry we’re connected in loss (especially the loss of our sons) but thank you for keeping us close to your heart.

  10. What an interesting take on it, and I totally get it, I mean diving into a book more than into the bible.

  11. Another perspective on Lent is a time of focused discipline to help one bring thoughts back to Christ again and again. At my church (Lutheran), our Pastor also speaks of taking something on for Lent, such as reading the Bible more, devoting time to pray, doing service, etc. (also to avoid the temptation of using it as an excuse for a diet plan which I’m guilty of in my earlier years). And since Sunday isn’t included in the 40 days and is always a celebration of the Resurrection (which we hold by faith even in the darkest days of the Passion), it’s generally considered okay to read/eat chocolate/whatever. :) blessings to you! I think of you often and continue I pray for you.

  12. I grew up observing Lent, either through giving something up or doing something for others. This year I am giving up sweets, which for this sugar addict is HUGE. I think your decision to read the Bible is awesome. I am thinking I will do that next year since I’ve already psyched myself up for the no sweets thing, Let us know how you do!

  13. Oh, you need to talk to Haley Stewart! I met her at BlissDom, and she’s super smart, super sweet and converted to Catholicism with her husband while they were in college. They celebrate the entire liturgical year, especially with food, and I love reading her blog, Carrots for Michaelmas: http://carrotsformichaelmas.com/
    Email her, and tell her I sent you. She’s a bookworm, too, and she’d also be able to tell you a lot about observing Lent and any books she likes on the subject are bound to be great.

  14. Ya know I’ve never participated in Lent either, but this just gave me a whole new perspective! I will do some searching and find that 1 thing I need to give up. Good word!!thank you

  15. Lisa Maere Forgie says:

    You do not necessarily have to "give up" something for Lent. You can do something that you don't ordinarily do. Lent is a time of penance, to make our hearts ready for the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and the hope that we have in His resurrection. I hope that this Lent is a blessed one for you and yours, Diana.

  16. I attended mass today and the priest said something interesting..if you are going to pick something to give up make sure it will be hard because when you fail..you can say thank you God because you can do it alone and try again..

  17. I’m so happy to see that more Christians are embracing Lent and not just pushing it aside as “something Catholics do”! This is my tenth year participating in lent (though the first 4 years were in college and we usually gave up pizza or ice cream…lol). The last few years my husband and I have worked to try and give up something significant and add something. The last two years have us giving up tv (including movies, online watching, etc.) and reading the gospels. I’m also giving up Facebook…sounds trivial maybe but I’m a TOTAL addict!
    It’s such a good reminder to lean on God and, for us, gives us more time to devote to God in place of the other things that were occupying our minds :). Good luck!

  18. I just discovered your blog after seeing you post the adorable “Frozen” lip-syncing video on Babble. I’m excited about the discovery, because we have a bit in common! My husband, who I married (eloped with) three months ago, is in the Army and we are currently apart as he awaits orders after basic and airborne school. We were high school sweethearts as well and have been together for 6 years.

    Anyway, I’m excited to read that you’ll be doing Lent! I was raised Catholic and it was weirdly one of my favorite traditions within the church. Even though I no longer practice Catholicism as fervently, I attend Ash Wednesday mass every year, and it always kind of feels like a rejuvenation of faith. The Catholic Guilt is strong, and I cannot resist a good ash-rubbing and candle-lighting :)

    I’ve always thought Lent was a great time of reflection that leads up to a time of rebirth. I hope you find that Easter, which wonderfully coincides with spring, will be at least a momentary bright light at the end of your difficult journey thus far and will you will find introspection and reflection with the season. You are brave to give up something that seems to take away momentary pain and provides distraction and I wish you the best of luck.

  19. Susie Hanson Porter says:

    At our Ash Wednesday service (which is the start of Lent), our pastor suggested not just giving up something (the "sacrifice"), but balancing it with a contribution of self. Giving up your daily Starbucks and contributing that money to a local food pantry. Committing to turning off Cell phones for the night when you get home, and instead, having "Facetime" with your family. Emulating not just Jesus' sacrifice, but also His love in caring for others. (This is something you can do as a family too!)

  20. That’s awesome! I think it’s very important to not only notice what things distract you from hardships in life, but also that distract you from seeping your relationship with God. You are inspiring! This is the first time I’ve been on your blog, and this is the first post I’ve read. And I am proud of you, as a Christian, mother, wife, and humane being! Can’t wait to dive into you blog :)

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  1. […] with the reading part. I miss reading books but I haven’t touched one since Lent began. I definitely read more in my Bible at […]

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