Lent has always been a hard thing for me to wrap my head around. As a child I attended a Methodist church so when the Lenten season came upon us it was something that we were forced to take part in. As the 40 days of giving something up drew closer we as youth would teasing one another “What are YOU going to give up?” The boys would tease the girls who had a reputation “You should try to give up kissing or sex” while snickering behind their backs somehow knowing that (in their minds) it wasn’t possible. We always seemed to choose the usual things though. Chocolate, soda, easy things per say. Yet it wasn’t serious because it was forced.
There was never any real talk of WHY we were participating in such a Holy ritual, in such a deeply committed sacrament that means so much to the story of Christ. I believe, at least for the church I went to that it was more about control. I see it now as keeping the youth in line with the ritual without teaching us the why. There really wasn’t a lot of why. There wasn’t a lot of Jesus, or relationship or personal growth, which I remember. There was a lot of old church member attendance and keeping things the way they were and keeping us in line with that.
My parents didn’t take part in any of the church; they dropped me off and picked me up so I did not get any church at home so I wandered about when it came to Jesus. I wandered about when it came to Jesus even after becoming a Christian.
When I would talk about my years growing up in the Methodist church I would be met with “That was all religion, NO relationship.” When I would talk about what it was like growing up in the church I was met with exclamations of “WELL THAT was all ritual and it didn’t mean anything” I began to see my years in the Methodist church as having no meaning. Lent being one of them.
When I became a Christian it was right before the Lenten season, growing up in the church and knowing nothing about evangelical Christianity I fully expected to take part in Lent once again. There was no mention of it though. It was as if the church brushed it off as an old ritual that didn’t having meaning in the “new evangelical way” My mind spun in circles thinking that it was no longer important to take part in Lent and since I never had a full understanding of what Lent really meant I just went about my merry Easter Jesus loving way and participated in Resurrection Sunday (can’t have no bunnies)
Changes began over the course of the last couple of years as I started to fall in love with religion. Not religion in the stodgy, musty way that I thought it was but a fresh new way of seeing Jesus. As a sacrament, a sacrifice, a love letter to Him that I am preparing as I spend the next 40 days looking for Him in the everyday.
So here is where I come to tell you about my plans for Lent. I have a hard time giving things up. Not because I don’t want to or I am being selfish but because everything that has ever been told to me about giving things up ie: fasting or Lent has been part in parcel to a forced conversation. The meaning behind it was always well you have to because that’s the only way that Jesus is really going to show himself. So there is the reason that I don’t fast and that for Lent I am picking up a spiritual discipline rather than focusing on giving something up.
I am going to seek/find and look for Jesus in my every day. He’s here I think I often miss Him because I am so wrapped up in what’s going on around me and being over focused and stressed on what’s wrong rather than what is so gloriously good.
Yesterday was day 1.
I looked around my house which is a mess and normally would drive me crazy. Yet as I looked closer and saw what the mess really was my perspective greatly changed.
There glitter all over my counter from a little girl who loves to paint and make beautiful creations.
There are pencil marks on the hall closet door where she measured how tall her stuffed animals are.
Crayons and markers everywhere from creations that she cannot bear to clean up.
Most days I get overly anxious about this stuff and either clean it up myself or get frustrated enough with Abigail so she’ll do it herself. Yesterday I took pictures so I could remember the beauty of this moment.
This moment where I remember that I am so blessed to have this beautiful little girl as my daughter. The little girl that the God of the Universe, the God who became fully human and walked this earth gave ME no doubt on purpose (why, I don’t still know) to love.
Jesus in my everyday is sometimes looking past the mess and seeing the glitter is beautiful. When Abigail was about three or four I believe I was getting ready for bible study one morning. I was frustrated because I was running late and she was bored and, and, and. It was one of those mornings. So I sat her down at the dining room table, gave her the craft bucket and said “have at it” so I could finish getting ready. 10 minutes later she comes in the bathroom and says “Mommy I decorated the kitchen for you” I walked in and saw that she had taken the ENTIRE bottle of glitter, glistening silver, white and sparkling glitter and dumped it ALL OVER the kitchen and the dining room (carpeted nonetheless) I gasped and in the moment I had a choice. I could either be angry with her for making a mess or be excited with her that she had done something nice for me and decorated. I chose the latter. I said “WOW honey it’s beautiful” Yes I choked the words out, the glitter was going to be a bitch to clean up. But in the moment I chose to revel with her in her glory of glitter.
Lenten season 2014 my Jesus in the every day.
Glory in Glitter