Monday, February 26, 2007


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.


Sara said...

having been raised in the AofG, i have never participated in lent. well, if you don't count pascki (sp) eating. let's just say, i've never given anything up. and just this year i've begun to think about this as something that may have value to my walk although i've always considered it part of "other" faith traditions. can you jump on the bandwagon mid-lent i wonder?

Margie said...

I tired commenting yesterday, I don't know what the deal is with Blogger lately, it happens all the time...

what a great post! I don't miss that, at all. Our first Lent of not being Catholic, Phyllis asked what she should "give up" and I told her we didn't have to do that anymore... she was THRILLED!!

KayMac said...

Sara: rules!!!

Margie: I know what you mean. Yesterday I posted. When i tried to log back into my account to leave comments on other's blogs...i couldn't log in for the rest of the day...go figure!

Pat said...

Moving on past Sara's pasckis, this post touched me to the point of tears. Givng up complaining - that's tougher then sweets. I just came from my mothers today with a mouthfull of complaints and a few 'why me God's?'.
Wonderful example of how we should live - thanks.
ok, I haven't had any trouble posting comments till now ~ I'm going to try it again so you may get this twice!

Richard said...

Often we thin about giving something up for Lent, however, it is possible to do something extra as well (essentially, you would be giving up some time to do something else – like visit the sick or shut-ins, or help out at a soup kitchen).

The general guideline, in the Roman Catholic church for giving stuff up for Lent is that is must be something you intend to resume after Lent. Do you plan on going back to complaining after Lent? As well, the restrictions for fasting, giving stuff up, etc do not apply on Sunday. Since Sunday is regarded as the Day of the Lord and no penance is done that day (trivia, Lent the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter is actually longer than 40 days because the Sundays don’t count).

Giving up complaining is a good thing to do anytime. Wishing you luck and strength to persevere.

Hepzibah The Watchman said...

What a beautiful post. Two years ago, I went through the same type of thing with my mother. I did my complaining to God and he told me -Forgive her. I told him that I did not feel forgiveness in my heart. He said - that does not matter. If you will speak the words with your mouth, I will honor it in your heart.

So everytime I felt resentful, I spoke the words - I forgive her. Eventually, I felt the forgiveness well up inside of me. Then I felt peaceful and I knew the peace spoken of by Jesus for the first time.

God had showed me that forgiveness is not a feeling; forgiveness is a choice.

May God bless you, indeed.

Jada's Gigi said...

giving up complaining is something we all should strive to do...and not just for Lent either..forever...:)
I pray the Lord moves in your heart in a deep way during this time.

KayMac said...

Pat: I think I have already told you, but so many times, you have touched my heart re: this care-giving stuff.

Richard: Good point about doing something vs. giving up something. You made me laugh when you asked if I plan on returning to complaining after lent! I am not giving up complaining as a fast, but more as a deliberate move to be open to the Holy Spirit's power to transform my heart. Thanks for your support and encouragement!

Hepzibah....wondered where you had gone to...I was still checking your old blog. What a beautiful story about forgiveness. I agree..forgiveness is a choice. Even though I have been caring for my mom a long time, she never did anything to me that would require my forgiveness. Rather, she was not able to handle some tragedies in her life that required her to lean on me more than she would have otherwise. And then physically, she just has had some problems that require her need for assistance. Again...soooo good to see you back. I will be visiting your blog and catching up on what has been going on in your life.

JG: ;-) thanks!

KayMac said...
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