Last Wednesday, our pastor taught on the season of Lent and Ash Wednesday. He talked about the ashes being made from palm branches and olive oil...palm branches, those very branches that were laid down before Jesus as He was welcomed as King into Jerusalem and the olive branch-the symbol of peace. He talked about this season as historically having an emphasis on prayer, fasting, and alms, on repentance and regeneration. As we read scripture together and prayed together, I suddenly knew what I would "give up" for lent.
As a child, I remember giving up sweets. I remember eating fish every Friday, since that day was the designated meatless day in my Roman Catholic traditions. I have to admit that once I became an adult, I rarely considered continuing this tradition as a necessary part of my life of faith. But as we talked last Wednesday, about letting God transform us through the traditions and practices of Lent, I came away with a fresh perspective.
I already mentioned, as we were praying God directed His spotlight on an area of my life that needs to be transformed. Just the night before, I had been praying about the burden of caring for my mother. I have been caring for her emotionally since I was 11 years old, and physically for about 16 or 17 years. I have complained about it. A lot. I have resented it. A lot. Circumstances are such that my daughter and I are living with her temporarily. It has not been pleasant and I have been very vocal about that. But what you hear me say has only been the tip of the iceberg of what I have carried in my heart.
So, for Lent, I am giving up complaining...especially about caring for my mother and where we find ourselves living right now. I am a bit excited to see how God will transform me through this time of "giving up". Last Thursday, I found myself complaining about something and only realized that I was, after I was done. Friday, I stopped myself a couple of times. I am coming to realize how much I complain. Now, I am not saying this is for everyone, but what I am starting to see in myself, is that my complaining has been leading to an ungrateful heart and an unloving attitude towards others. I have no idea what other things God will teach me through this time. I have no clue as to what visible things others may notice (or not notice for that matter). I just know that I want to keep my heart, my mind and my lips free of entanglements, free to offer up pure and holy sacrifices of worship and works. worthy of my King...who deserves every ounce of everything I have. Hosanna to the Christ!
Image taken from here.