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Is it Lent already?!?

20 Feb

Easter is our favorite celebration of the year. Melting snow, sunny days, somewhat warmer, new growth. Then there is Jesus. Hardest part of his life to know: his death, his suffering. It’s good for me to see that these soft hearts can’t bear to watch it visualized on the screen, brought to real life. It is important to know it, to understand what He did for us. It has also been during the Easter season most all of my kids have come to understand this saving work Christ did for them. They get it. This makes it more favorite.

I laugh a little bit at this title because this is a typical question we ask ourselves every year around this time! You would think we would learn from year’s past, or better yet, just google it! I even used my calendar to count 40 days before Easter this time and I was certain that it started today! However, I am wrong, not in my counting, but apparently in how to count those days coming up to Easter (Sundays aren’t counted). So that makes Lent 2013 actually 47 days! Anyway, we started. “Better late than never” and all that.

I don’t remember “doing” or hearing about Lent growing up in the States. Here, it is taught in school! So living in Slovakia has exposed me more to Lent and the meaning/purpose. I like the ideas: giving up something, remembering Jesus’ death, reminding me of my sin. It starts with Ash Wednesday (last week 🙂 and I learned something new this year about the ashes:

In Easters past, we have tried to give up something, fast from something, together as a family. Not always successful; better for some. It seems the hardest part is remembering we have decided to give it up! We are not used to that, giving up something, selflessness. Mostly, we are about satisfying our own needs.

So this year we are at it again. What will we give up as a family? Bread? Meat? Drinks? Devices? My friend, Andrea, has some great ideas and recommendations for this on her blog, marthastreet.com. That is where I heard about the devotional book we are using.

Then I realized, (in connection with a book i’m reading), we are not all the same. God created and designed each of us uniquely. This applies in this situation as well. What may be difficult for one to give up, may be easy for the next. And what is the goal here? to be easy? to be difficult? What is the purpose of this fast?

So after the first day or so of trying a shared “family” fast, we changed it to an individualized fast. Some are giving up sugar, some chocolate, some drinks, and some aren’t giving up anything :). It’s personal and it’s a heart issue. I want them to want to do it, not make it a rule. I want them to want to be closer to God, to hear from God, to want Him to speak them individually and teach them more about how we can live for Him. Tall order I know, and I also know that it won’t happen automatically.

And then I read a different perspective at aholyexperience.com:

Lent’s revealing my depravity, my impotence. The utter death of my flesh. I can do nothing. My Lent convicts: I am a lawbreaker. ” Does the emptying come only when we know how empty we are? I feel wild, desperate.

And I realized that the goal of the fast isn’t to “succeed”. We won’t. We can’t. In fact, hopefully it will show us how truly sinful we are and how much we NEED a savior.

Wow.

So we try to fast, and we read John Piper’s 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, and we confess we can’t do it. We need our Savior. It’s a good season.

 

 
 

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