As a convert to the Catholic faith, I have grown to love the liturgical seasons in the Church. I especially love Lent.
Is that weird?
I used to view Lent as such a downer. It’s all somber and serious, full of sacrificing and giving up chocolate. Gasp!
Truth is, I need the liturgical seasons. Without them, I would traipse along my busy life, getting crabbier and crabbier as I care for my husband and kids. Barely pausing to open my heart up to the Lord. Rarely stopping to appreciate my blessings.
With baby #10 growing in my belly, I am busy. Flat out, nonstop, crazy busy all of the time. I think that’s why I enjoy blogging—I write out my thoughts, hit publish, and WOW! I have actually accomplished something. Something with a beginning and an end, which is so different than my real life. Laundry, messes, and hungry little tummies never stop.
To fit the season of life I am in, my 2015 Lenten plans must
- be practical for my life right now (short, simple, yet life-changing)
- be an actual sacrifice for the Lord (not in hopes of getting in shape or losing 5 lbs)
- bring my family together
- let God in so He can change my heart (He’s the only one who can!)
At a glance, my Lenten plans seem pretty short. I just can’t do elaborate or difficult right now! I would give up! Lent is a time of repentance that leads to the joy of rediscovering Jesus at Easter, not a time for feeling like a failure. That being said, here’s the plan:
1. Pray a decade of the rosary every evening with the kids.
It’s OK if one kid is at dance or Dad is coaching another kiddo’s basketball practice. Whoever is home, we will break out the ole rosaries and pray together.
It’s also OK if some of the kids don’t cooperate and rosaries turn into whips and nooses. You can’t tell me Jesus and Mary don’t giggle when this happens!
I know, I know. Many families do a nightly rosary already. We have started and restarted a hundred times. By the time 8:00 p.m. rolls around, I honestly just want to throw the kids in bed. However, bedtime is the perfect family prayer time because kids would rather do anything than go to bed. Even pray with their parents!
2. Spend time in prayer with Mike every evening.
Mike and I can do this. I know we can. A short video with questions to discuss is not hard. Imagine that, actual conversations that don’t revolve around bills or sick kids or managing our impossible schedule!
We may skip a day accidentally. We may fight the urge to veg on the couch watching Seinfeld reruns. We must keep refocusing our marriage on God. The stresses of a large family will crumble us if we don’t.
Besides, no one says we can’t watch TV after our Virtual Marriage Retreat! 😉
3. Pray without ceasing.
Over the years, this concept is becoming more natural to me. Being tired and pregnant with #10, I have reverted back to crabbiness and thinking I am right all the time. Prayer is the only way that Jesus will transform my selfishness into His mercy.
I’ve already started. Last night (and this morning) little ones were sick with a stomach virus. You all know how disgusting that is!
As I was scrubbing puke off the carpet, it struck me that the poorest of the poor don’t even have a floor to clean. If their baby gets a GI illness, they must wash the soiled clothing by hand. Many don’t have access to clean water, making their babies sicker as they try to rehydrate them.
My heart broke. I prayed with every nasty, yucky, stinky scrub, offering up my small suffering for all those parents who are powerless to save their sick babies. Please, Lord, have mercy on them. Please Lord, heal my babies. Please Lord, heal me.
That’s it, my Lent in a nutshell. These three areas of my life are where Jesus has been tugging at, gently nudging me to change. I can’t ignore Him any longer!
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Have a blessed, soul-changing Lent! God bless each one of you!
See other Lenten blog posts at the #BISsisterhood Link-Up!