Lent - Is giving up something really a sacrifice?
Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the start of the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter. For those wise mathematicians out there, you may be saying, hey, there are more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter and guess what? You are correct. There are but the Sundays during the Lenten season do not count as official days of Lent...if that makes sense to you.
Growing up, Lent always marked a dreary time for me. A time when my parents and religious education teachers told me to give up something I really liked for 40 days. They always suggested candy. How could I live without candy? Fast forward to today, easily. I hardly ever eat candy but to a young child it seemed cruel and wrong.
I can't say I was instructed poorly but I was missing the point. I was clueless and part of me thinks that was just the child I was then. The child with no cares in the world, no worries, no true understanding of what "the cross" means and what Jesus did for us. I knew the story. He died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead but to the child me, I didn't get it.
Fast forward again with me to today and I can say, I get it. I get it to the point I get chills up and down my spine and want to cry out how sorry I am that I helped nail my Savior to the cross with my sins. And how unworthy I feel of His love, mercy, forgiveness, and blessings every single day of my life....even when I was straying and walking down a terrible path. Jesus loved me. He called me back. He saved me.
So Lent is here again and it has new meaning. Yes, I will give something up but my small "sacrifice" pales in comparison to what Jesus did for me, for you, for all of us. But I also realize, this "sacrifice" will feel harder to darling daughter as we are doing it together. We are giving up TV. Since Sundays are not official days of Lent, she will have TV time then for her educational and fun cartoons, but the other days, nope.
I want the next 40 days to focus on growing us closer to God and each other. I have pre-selected some faith-based DVD's from Netflix that I will allow and since we do the one DVD out at a time plan, this may end up being our Sunday viewing and not much more. The start will be learning about who Abraham is and his story in the bible. The final one will be The Passion of the Cross, an animated version great for kids. And we will continue to listen to our Daily Devotion each night from Adventures in Odyssey and do our bible verse readings and discover new ways to help those in need.
I look forward to this time to really delve into my faith and am excited to share the season with my nine year old. Maybe, just maybe, she won't stray as far as I did as I am doing one thing I never remembered my parents doing, I am telling her my story of pain and how not following God hurt me in my past and how very sorry I am. And she is seeing me working on getting better, growing deeper in faith, and becoming an active member of our parish community. But ultimately, her future is in God's hands and Jesus, I trust in you.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I can share my faith with my daughter and for how receptive she is to it.
Daily Bible Verse: When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? ~ Psalm 56:3-4
P.S. I love seeing how God works in my life and ironically, after writing and scheduling this post last night I found out....Netflix is streaming a new season of The Great British Baking Show. Oh my goodness! I love this show!!!! All of a sudden 40 days without TV has become a wee bit harder for me. Thank you, God, for allowing me to do this for you.