Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our Own Personalized Lenten Journey

I'm doing something new today:)...I stumbled across this a couple of weeks ago......

"I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by
Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

Keeping Love in Lent is an interesting topic.  It should be a no brainer, right?  Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was all about love....giving things up for Lent is inspired by wanting to show our love and appreciation for His sacrifice and our desire to grow closer to Him.

And yet.....

Lent goes beyond the sacrifices we've decided to make and the prayers we've decided to add....I think of those as our "voluntary penances".

How about all of those "involuntary penances"?  Have you found that this season of the year is filled with challenges and changes that were completely unexpected on a day to day basis.  It's like God is..ahem...blessing us with our own special opportunities that challenge us to stretch and grow beyond our comfort zone!

Our very own personalized Lenten journey!

 People that I know will be feeling frazzled because "X, y, and z happened and I don't know why?"...and I look at them and say, "It's Lent!"  

This Lent has certainly not been disappointing for me in regards to involuntary penances.  In fact, Ash Wednesday was one of the most emotional days I've had in a long time.  I found myself struggling with a lot of unexplained anxiety that day that, by dinner time, was making it challenging to function.  While I was making dinner, I received a text message that a couple close to me was separating.

I felt devastated....for both of them and for their families.  My heart just ached over it. 

To top off the day, there were two basketball games that night and a practice, and Andrew was working, so I was home with all the little kids with only Ellen as back-up.  Kate's molars were breaking through so she was clingy and miserable.  She was exhausted, but the only place she would sleep was in my arms.  Luke was being 3, and particularly whiny that night as well.  I couldn't get the dishes done and the house looked like it had thrown up on itself.  When the teenagers did come home  they were tired and a bit cranky from fasting all day.  And I was emotionally reeling.

Involuntary penances.

God graciously provided a couple more examples of involuntary penances last night as I was trying to finish this post in my head!

Yesterday, Mike had his last college basketball away game.  It took the team 2 and 1/2 hours to get there and both the men's and women's teams were playing so they had a school bus and driver for the day.  The girls played first followed by a very "chippy" guys game that had a lot of bumping and back and forth that ended with a win for Mike's team.

When the bus driver walked out of the building, he was jumped by students from the other school.  Thankfully, his injuries were not serious, but the EMT's told him he couldn't drive home.  Instead of being home by 7:30, they had to wait for another driver and the bus did not leave for home until close to 10!  They arrived at Mike's college a little after midnight.  Mike started driving home with a couple of his teammates but something wasn't right....flat tire!  The guys tried to change it but one of the bolts was stuck!

Thankfully, we have AAA.  Mike called me to tell me what had happened.  I can never really sleep soundly until my kids are all safe in the house at night.  Until I hear the sound of Mike's alarm beeping and hear him walk in the door and lock it behind him, I am only dozing.  I am grateful that Mike didn't have to wait long....only 20 minutes.  He called me again around 12:45am to tell me he was on the way home.

So Mike had opportunities to be patient, and wait, and then be patient and wait again.  I had the opportunity to be patient and wait and sacrifice sleep.  

Involuntary penances!

Just some of the "perks" in Lent!

Keeping love in Lent by having the right reactions to these "opportunities" can be really challenging!  I wish I could say that I rise to each challenge like a mountain climber until I reach the peak of holiness.


Thankfully, God always gives us more chances to have the right response!  (And Confession!)

 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,

    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning"
Lamentations 3;22-23

Has God given you a very personalized Lenten Journey this year?


Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.
Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!