March 4, 2014

:thoughts on faith // the lenten season:

growing up Lent was not a word that circulated around our church. it was not a practice i was familiar with until well into my twenties when i began to learn how Chrisitans outside of the denomination in which i was raised, lived out their faith. i soon fell in love with liturgy and all the practices that go along with the liturgical year. 

lent is a season of preparation for the resurrection of Christ, a.k.a. Easter. a season that calls for reflection and repentance, self-denial and change. 

the first year i celebrated lent, i gave up coffee. i am sorry to say that this did not draw me closer to God. in fact, there were times where i questioned his existence all together. i'm kidding. Sort of. 

as i've grown in my understanding of the seasons of advent and lent i have learned that these are times of refocusing. times of renewal and beauty. i have a great appreciation for the season and i am trying to teach my children the same. 

we sat down yesterday and i began explaining the season as simply as i could. they surprised me by how intently they listened and the questions that followed. here are a few things that came from our discussion:
we are giving up complaining for Lent. our verse for the next forty days that will be in plain view daily is philippians 2:14. you can get the free printable here. as i was reading different versions i came across the message and was instantly drawn to its phrasing. instead of do everything without complaining, it reads do everything readily and cheerfully, no bickering. i spend a good amount of my time refereeing around my home. so the no bickering clicked right away. i also love the positive spin of how to practice instead of how not to practice. when we say the verse aloud we speak the part "readily and cheerfully" with our hands cupped around our mouths in our best "lets get ready to rummmmmmbbbllleeeeeee" voice. this makes it light and fun and has since turned many heated moments into moments of silliness. 

we are giving 40 gifts for 40 days. i want my children to love others. we talk about blessings constantly.  god uses us to bless one another through our time and talents and generosity. so we sat down and began a list of forty people and forty gifts we can give. they aren't fancy gifts, just small reminders to think of others. we always delight in doing for others which is such a great way to emphasize the joy found in giving. some of our gifts ideas are m&m's, cookies, homemade rag dolls, hugs, cards, artwork and more. they have included friends and strangers to bless and i am really excited to get started! 
i have a passage of scripture that i will be reading and memorizing throughout the season as well as a few
books i'll be reading: 

God Is On The Cross, Reflections on Lent and Easter by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Eastertide, Prayers for Lent Through Easter from The Divine Hours by Phillis Tickle 
City of God, Faith in the Streets by Sara Miles

i'd love to hear your thoughts on Lent!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing! I was worried that my girls were too young to "get it" but now I can't wait to share it with them. You always inspire me!!!

  2. I was talking to my eleven yr old son about lent and was surprised that his response had to do with giving up his bad attitude, his words! Just his admission of the need to work on his attitude is HUGE. I was surprised how much he understood our talk and I loved his questions as well. Great ideas, Melissa!

  3. When we were little, my Mom had this verse framed and hanging at (our) eye level in the bathroom. I remember reading it every time I brushed my teeth, and it's one that I still remember well...Do everything without grumbling or complaining, so that you may become pure and blameless, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe, as you hold out the word of life.
    That's the version she had for us, and a couple years ago I had it made into a print for myself, because I still need that reminder ;)


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