Thursday, February 07, 2008 and taking.

Lent starts today. I have been practicing Lent for about 10 years or so. I don't remember doing it before Ryder was born but I distinctly remember giving up Coke when he was small. Those of you who have traveled this journey for very long know Easter is a special time for our family. Regan started having seizures during Easter 6 years ago and on that 5th year anniversary last year we brought her home from the hospital again this time after thinking she was going to go home to be with Jesus.

So Lent stirs up lots of emotion in me. First because I am so frustrated by my own sin. I want to do so much better than I actually do. I am a "doer" Lent comforts me because it reminds me I was once hopeless (Eph. 2:) and could do nothing to help this hope deprived state. Thankful my salvation is not up to me! It also comforts me because it allows me to do something through the act of giving something up. If gives me a process to inform my soul of the HOPE of Christ. Because I live with someone who's body fights openly daily against the effects of sin (We all do this but Regan's is obvious!) I really hate sin. I am so glad that sin is not forever. Regan's body reminds me of my own experience. Thankful Jesus gave me the antidote I need (the double cure as the old song says). He took away my sin and guilt! He gave his life and took my sin.

Yesterday I cried my soul dry during the Ash Wednesday service because I was lamenting my sinful self. Last week I really blew it a few times. My heart feels dirty even though those I sinned against have forgiven me. I was also reminded that last year Lent was the hardest six weeks of my life. Regan passed a huge kidney stone, endured relentless seizures, and practically died all during the forty days of Lent. She literally came home on Good Friday. Last year I sat through the same Ash Wednesday service confessing me sin and committing to not watch Oprah for forty days. At the time it seemed difficult. My kids even confessed they didn't think I could do it. That seems stupid now considering I had no idea that not watching Oprah would be the least of my Lament. Thankfully Jesus had another Lent plan for me. Last Lent was a time of taking....thankful that time he gave her back to me. God gave all of us a physical reminder of what Easter is....He gives and takes.

Two years ago I gave up coffee from Starbucks. Now this might even sound more stupid considering I felt blessed if I got it once a week. My mind and body obsess on the possibility of it. I would even save my cup. The cup from Starbucks actually brought me comfort. I realized I associated it with all my dear friends in Texas. Even though some of them don't drink coffee...I did so it made me miss them and nothing else seem to help that missing except a recycled cardboard cup in my hand. Absurd I know but more true that you will ever know. I had assumed that I was blessed to ever have friends like that. So, I need to learn to praise Him for them. So, I did it....I let the Spirit comfort me and I gave up the pipe dream. He did a much better job than a latte ever could. Little did I know that God was already sending me a gift ...a new friend. To mend the loneliness. I met her during Lent that year. I didn't know we would be intimate friends. I was in a time of giving up...not the friends but the fantasy of finding them in a cup of coffee. During Lent the Spirit gave me comfort. Then a almost a year later He gave me a new friend. She is not like them and she doesn't need to replace them but our friendship renews me in similar ways. She is here with me and they live far away. I am sure glad I gave up coffee that year. He gives and takes.

This year I am giving up an hour's sleep. This is partially motivated by reading a book about a women who gets up to meditate at 3am. She is not a Christian. So she is not empowered by the Holy Spirit. This makes me feel lazy an devoted to my Jesus who actually Lives and who I love so much. So I want to get up an hour earlier (which is probably when many of you get up) so that I can pray. Brian suggested that Ryder could wake me up because my 11 year old son even gets up earlier than me. My desire is to pray the 5 offices of prayer. They hardest one for me will be early am. I have wanted to do it for many years. My hope is that this will be the framework for a disciple I desperately desire. I am also giving up complaining. I figure if I am actually sitting down to pray 5 times a day I should also stop complaining and just pray about it. I am going to give up sleep, complaining and I hope to get peace from a steady river of prayer. I may get something else all together. As my records shows He will give and take what He wants. My hope is in Him and not in my plan (or at least I want it to be!).

As the song says...He gives and He takes and He makes us Stronger.


Tiffany said...

O how I love lent too. I say that your should pray about what to sacrifice and when you come to the item that you immediately say "NO!!!" That is your sacrifice for that years' season. Paul and I did what you are doing a few years ago. We got up an hour early and prayed together. It was powerful and awesome connection with God and each other. This year I am giving up being pregnant!!! :) (Any moment now you will be a new aunt)

ANDREA said...

I love your blog Chantell. I did give up diet coke for a while but have come back to it - sometimes hard to sacrifice. I so understand the love of watching Oprah and Starbucks. You so elequantly state some of the same things I feel too!