My Lenten Journey
I am fully aware that it is not Thursday. It has been that kind of week. Motivation has been elusive, but I am compelled to share this post and in this case better late than never is certainly appropriate.
The Journey Begins
Our family has always had many traditions that surround the Advent season~ the time leading up to Christmas. Every year, we read The Advent Book and by Christmas day, our kids have memorized huge portions of scripture. It has become a rich and meaningful time for our family. Our traditions have helped us to focus on Christ and the true meaning of Christmas.
A few years ago, it struck me as odd that while we have wonderful Christmas traditions, our Easter traditions are sadly lacking. We had established some fun traditions, but I was longing for the same depth of meaning, the same richness that we experienced at Christmastime. After all, as a Christian, the Resurrection story is of utmost significance. Without Jesus’ death, there would be no reconciliation with God, no redemption for our sins. And if he did not rise from the dead, his death would be meaningless. He would just be another good teacher.
The story of Easter is the foundation for our faith and so I was left with many questions. Why do we seem to place such little significance on Jesus’ resurrection? How can I teach my children to embrace the sorrow as well as the overwhelming victory of this story?
As my husband and I discussed this, we made the decision to practice Lent with our family. Neither one of us had grown up with this tradition, but the ritual of The Advent Book had taught us the value of a discipline, especially in the training of our children.
Practicing Lent was an experiment for us. We decided as a family that we would not watch television or movies during the 40 days leading up to Easter. It ended up being easier than we had expected it to be. Turns out our family loves playing and reading together. Upon reflection, we decided that giving up something was not enough, or at least it didn’t fully accomplish the hopes we had for the Lenten season.
The Journey Continues
During this time, I was reading two blogs of moms who had the same hearts for their children, women desiring to be deliberate in sharing the truth of scripture with their children. One was Amanda who writes at ohamanda.com, the other was Heather who writes at heatherhaupt.com. Both of these bloggers share wonderful, God-honoring activities to teach our kids to know Christ. Our family has adopted several of their ideas and our Easter traditions have become fuller and more meaningful as a result.
Amanda will be releasing a Resurrection story e-book hopefully next week. I will share it with you when she does, because I can’t wait to get my hands on it. And I’m pretty sure Heather has been involved with this book in some way. (On a side note- this is one of my most favorite aspects of the Christian blogging world- the way bloggers encourage one another to pursue the opportunities that God puts in their path. It is a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of!)
These activities with the kids were wonderful, but God was stirring things up in my own heart. How can I teach my children to love Jesus, to pursue Him, to know Him more if I am not being intentional about this same pursuit? What might God want to teach me through His Word and how should I model His truth to my little ones?
My Lenten Journey
Last year, a dear friend of mine who I met through the blogging world (Nicole- you will love her!) shared a newly released book. The title of the book captured my attention. Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement. I immediately purchased the book and then devoured it, trying to slow down my pace, so I could actually work through it over the 40 days of Lent. It is not a day by day devotional book, but it was exactly what God intended for my heart. I wrote about my Lenten journey last year. God certainly took me through a period of refining. But as hard as it was, my words continue to wring true-
The path grew beautiful as I discovered anew that this refining is all about the glory of God. He is at work in each one of us, accomplishing what we cannot do ourselves, so that His name would be praised.
This year, Lent begins on Wednesday, March 5th. Once again, I will be reading “Holey, Wholly, Holy” by Kris Camealy and I am anticipating working through the Companion Workbook that Kris released this year. The description of the workbook says that this book is “for anyone who wants to grow in their faith and be renewed in their passion and purpose of bringing glory to God”. Perhaps this describes you too? I would love for you to join me! My best friend, my husband, will be working through the books with me and this thrills my heart. God is working in our hearts as individuals, as a couple and as parents.
While my Lenten journey will always be personal, I am aware that my refining is not just about me. It is ultimately about bringing glory to God, but it affects my children and how I intentionally lead them. It affects my husband and how well I love him. It affects my relationships and the way I treat others. And it affects you, my readers, because my words will change as God continues to do his work on me.
Do you practice Lent? What had God taught you through it? Will you be joining me this year?