Tomorrow marks Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
Over the past few years I've blogged about my return to the observance of Lent. I neglected it for several years after I left the Catholic Church. But in 2014 I felt a strong desire to observe Lent, on my own terms. I decided that instead of giving up soda or candy (my go-to lenten fasts of my youth), I would give up yelling. This non-traditional approach to Lent actually opened my eyes as I discovered what my true problem was - not yelling, but sin and bitterness built up in my heart due to past hurts. Since then I have looked forward to Lent as a time of deep reflection on Christ's sacrifice - his death and resurrection. We should be seeking God daily and should always remember what He did for us - but during Lent we can make it a point to really meditate on His Word, confront our sin, and hear from God on a deep level.
This year I'm not planning on doing a fast. But I am diving deep into Bible study and prayer. At the beginning of 2017 I committed to reading the Bible everyday, even if only for a few minutes, even if only a verse or two. But for Lent I want to step it up. I want to start each morning reading the Bible and praying with intentionality. This Lent I am fully expecting God to answer some big prayers in my life. Last Saturday I preached on Micah 7:7 at our women's gathering. The end of the verse says, "my God will hear me." He will hear me. There is determination and assurance in that verse. So I am claiming that in the name of Jesus. He will hear me and I will seek Him during this Lenten season.
I also plan to go through the She Reads Truth study. I did not purchase the book, but they do put the devotionals online each day which is where I will follow along. Alex is reading through the He Reads Truth devotionals, so I like that we can be reading the same Scriptures each day. As a couple it's important to connect and grow spiritually together. I want to be able to talk about what we're learning at the end of the day and see how God speaks to us both.
As for my kids, I don't plan to do anything formal with them for Lent, but I do plan to talk about what Lent means and why I choose to observe it. Liam is getting to an age where he is starting to truly understand faith. He will surprise me with some of the deep thoughts he has or the grasp he has on deep theological issues. I know he's very young but I believe he's capable of understanding quite a bit. I actually really love talking about God and the Bible and Jesus with him. So I will continue to have conversations about these things and maybe focus a bit more on the biblical stories that talk about Jesus' sacrifice during the next 40 days.
If you're not used to observing Lent or have questions about what Lent really is, I want to invite you to study it. Ask questions, seek answers. It's not a scary or weird thing. Lent is really just reflecting on our sin, the salvation we have in Christ, and preparing our hearts for the resurrection. As the SRT devotional talks about today: there is repentance, there is hope, and there is the opportunity to publicly profess our faith. I pray that this lenten season would be a time of revelation and answered prayer in your life.