Lent is a 40 day season of reflection and preparation for the celebration of Easter – Jesus’ resurrection. People that observe lent usually do so by giving up something in their life for 40 days (usually something they want to change – no coffee, sweets, or TV). Our family also has observed Lent by adding something positive to our life – time with God, daily readings, exercise. 40 days is chosen because of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting, prayer, and temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Does your family or your church observe Lent? We have for the past several years. I’m not this year and I have no guilt.
As you know, I am in the journey of grief for my mom. She passed on January 20 this year. Some days I’m good and other days I’m not. That’s the journey. The idea of adding or taking away anything right now stresses me out. So I let go of Lent in the traditional sense. I am not giving up a TV show (I quit Oprah and Ellen in the past.) I am not skipping sweets (it’s Girl Scout cookie season and some days I just need a Tag A Long.) Besides, the purpose of Lent is reflection and preparation for Easter. I am doing that daily anyway.
Grief has a way of drawing you near to God in a way you never have. I can’t face my day without time with God. Some days it’s a short reading of His Word. Other days, it’s an extended time of prayer, reading, and sitting in His presence. I am reflecting on His gift of eternal life and I cling to the hope that my mom is with Him in heaven. (Not because she was a good person but because she made a decision at one point in her life to accept and believe that Jesus is God’s Son and He died and rose again on our behalf to pay our penalty for sin so that we can live eternally with Him.) The good news of Easter is His gift of salvation – reconnection with God and forgiveness of our sin/disobedience. I reflect daily in God and who He is. Some days my reflection leads me to question why He allowed an event to happen. Some days my reflection leads me to see His presence in my life in a very real way. Both days, I am spending time with God. I am being shaped into His image more and more.
My Lent this year is guilt free and all about reflection and preparation for the hope of Easter. I didn’t have to give up or add something to my life to make this journey. I would be doing this whether it was Lent, 4th of July, or Labor Day. My grief is lining up with the Lenten season so it’s working.
Lent often leads people to develop new habits or rhythms with God. 40 days of a new behavior will help that happen. Allow this Lent to lead you closer to Him and to a place of pure joy and hope on Easter Sunday. Matthew Kelly of Best Lent Ever says,
“It’s not what you give up, it’s who you become.”
The Psalmist of 46:10 says,
“Be still and know that I am God”
Dream Big! Pray Big!