Saturday, March 12, 2011

The New Lenten Fad

Are you Christian cool?  Have you joined the lastest fad in Christianity?  If so, this blog is for you.  If not, maybe this post will spur you towards more Christian excellence as you deepen your walk with Christ.

As I begin this blog post with a little jest, I am truly pondering the idea of a Lenten fad.  Like I posted earlier, this is my first year participating in Lent.  I will admit that two hours into it, I nearly cried as I poured Emma a bowl of MY favorite cereal.  I was immediately grieved that my flesh could be so weak.  David and I have been discussing Lent and its meaning a lot over the past few days.  Part of that is being the wife of a pastor, the other part is that I am truly intrigued by this journey.

Our conversations lately have been about what it means to deny our body of some type of food that brings us enjoyment so that we are reminded of need for a resurrected Savior and the hope that Easter brings.  We have spoken with friends and church members about what they have decided to give up like chocolate, sodas, sweets, meats.  This year seems to have a real hype about Lent.  Even a Burger King sign read, "Lent special, 2 fish for $2."

It is wonderful that we have decided to do a Lenten fast, however, if we are not taking up spiritual disciplines in its place we are simply skipping meals.  We will become merely an anorexic body of Christ, instead of a Bible believing, faith sharing, loving people.  This is a time in our Christian faith were we press into the heart of Christ so that we may know Him and may be fully known.  Lent is a time of sorrow as we repent from our sins, but it is not a time to solely sit and waller in the ash pile.  Fasting without incorporating prayer, scripture reading, worship, fellowship is powerless and of little use.  My prayer for this season of David's and my life is that we really begin to believe the things that we say and we make the spiritual disciplines (tithing, pilgrimage, fasting, prayer, Scripture reading) a daily part of lives more than just during Lent.  If all of the Christians during Lent truly sought the Lord, then we would be a powerful force that Satan could not reckoned with.  My prayer is that this is the year that Christians through down the fads and seek His face!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My babies are growing too fast!

I thought that I would give an update of the kids.  My parents got Samuel for a few days and the girls are taking a nap so I have some time to get a couple of blogs in!!  It is hard to believe that Samuel will be starting preschool next year, Emma is as independent and vibrant as ever, and Sophia just turned 6 months old!  Here is a little bit about what each of them like, don't like, or do.

*Samuel, my oldest, is not quite 4 1/2.  He is a sweetheart.  Samuel, though he can sometimes be mean to them, is very protective of his sisters.  He is crazy about them.  He is kind, compassionate, and very gracious.  Samuel is at a difficult age emotionally.  He is making the transition from being a little boy to a big boy.  I can see him working through in his mind what actions he should or should not do.  He loves to aggravate Emma.  It is his love language.  He also loves to give Emma and Sophia hugs and kisses.  I have the sweetest son, who is caring and loving.  He will say things like, "when I have kids they will stay at the church so I can preach," or "I can climb the wall like Superman."  He loves super heroes.  He can name them all, by super hero identity and their names.  He loves to play pretend more than anything, with costumes.  He doesn't play with any one particular toy.  He also loves to fish and play outside.  Samuel enjoys watching Scooby-doo.

*Emma, who is 2 1/2, is a ball of fire.  She is passionate, funny, and very smart.  Emma is a quick learner.  She picks up on a lot from Samuel.  She loves anything to do with a pink, glitter, and bows.  Emma and Samuel both play a lot of pretend games.  Emma will wear princess costumes.  She loves to have her nails painted.  She has learned most of her letters and numbers from Samuel.  Emma is very particular.  She prefers to pick out her own clothes, and sometimes her outfits are cuter than what I would pick out!  We endure several outfit changes throughout the day.  Emma loves to sing.  She still sucks her thumb, but I think that we will maybe be able to break that habit whenever she starts potty training.  Emma is smart enough to go, but I think that she likes to hold onto the last bit of "baby" that she has.  She loves to cuddle.  Emma smiles a lot.  She is more outgoing than Samuel.

*Sophia, 6 months, is the baby of the family.  She is growing too fast.  She can sit up, roll over, and pick up toys.  She is crazy about Samuel and Emma.  She could be crying her little heart out and if Samuel comes up to her she will stop.  He is always wanting to hold her and she loves it.  She smiles so big.  Sophia is a quiet and calm.  She doesn't get overly excited or overly upset.  She reminds me so much of Samuel when he was a baby.  Her hair is beginning to grow back in, though we are not sure what color it will be yet.  Just today she went up to on her knees.  I believe that she will be crawling within a month.  She can stand very good in an excersaucer.  Sophia is such a sweet tempered child.  She seems to be teething, but I don't see any apparent signs of the little whites coming in.  She loves to eat baby food, which is helping her get fuller.  She is in 12 month clothes.  I love this baby!

I am crazy about my children.  They are each so unique, but yet so obvious that they are a collaboration of David and my genes.  They love the Lord, and have lots of questions.  It is my joy to be able to answer them the best way that I can.  They are active and so full of life.  Everyday is an adventure that we share in, making new discoveries about God, life, love, science, and family.  What a joy to be able to walk with each other through it all.

A Lenten Journey

In the ashes we are reminded of the course of all human life. When we hear those words "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return." we are confronted with the reality that we are not the creator but the created. More than reminding us of mortality, we find also in the ashes the call of the creator who desires us.  -Jerrod McCormack

As I have been trying to prepare myself for our Ash Wednesday Service this evening, I have also been preparing for Lent.  I have never participated in Lent, mostly because I never took the time to educate myself on exactly what this season of our Liturgical calendar meant.  Here is a quick description of what Lent is from a friend of mine who is a pastor in Tennessee.  I followed the quote a link to his blog if you are interested in a further explanation of Lent.  He writes:

"Lent is a 40 day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (not including Sundays). The season before Easter was from the earliest days of Christian faith celebrated as a time in which Christians would fast and increase their practices of the spiritual disciplines. It has, from those earliest times, been a season in which Christians draw nearer to God in order to be ready to celebrate the Resurrection."  Jerrod McCormack, from his blog, .

This is such a special time as we prepare to suffer with the Cross and then celebrate with resurrection.  I think that as we press into the heart of God, it cannot be done without spiritual disciplines.  Yes prayer is good, but scripture reminds us that even it is most powerful when coupled with other disciplines.  So why have so many people missed out on this amazing journey?  Why have I missed out on 26 years of it?  It is a season of surrender, repentance, denial to be apathetic, discipline, seeking, and reward.   I am looking forward to seeing what mysteries God chooses to share with me, and seeing my own faith deepened.  For the past few months I have felt tired, worn down, and simply deserted.  I know that is not the truth, but it is how I have felt.  So I am looking forward to trying something new that I know will produce the fruit that I have been longing to produce.

So, what I am I doing for Lent?  I am going to be participating in our church Lenten offering where we will be giving up our favorite beverages.  They money that we would normally use to buy these drinks, we will save and present it as an offering on Easter morning.  Also, we will save any loose change and bring it as well.  It is called Cups for Kenya.  We will take the offering and give it to aid a woman named Esther.  She lives in Kenya and raises orphans.  We believe that God cares for the widows and the orphans, and that it is close to His heart.  Therefore, we want to honor what He honors.

For my own personal journey, I will be living off of rice and vegetables.  There is a world-wide epidemic of starving people.  In effort to raise awareness for the real issues of hunger, I will be limiting my food intake to that of what most of the people in the world eat.  There are a few people who are participating in the same effort but even more radical than mine.  When asked why not just give money to a food program, the answer is quite simple.  We can have more compassion for those who are suffering whenever we have been in that same place.  To truly understand that hunger in this world is a real problem, then maybe I need to put down that steak, hamburger, chips, candy bar, insert your favorite food here.  God has the utmost compassion for us because He knows and has suffered as we have, even greater.  I will also be incorporating other various disciplines into my daily routine.

I share all of this to encourage you as you make this journey.  Easter is a season of such sorrow, joy, sins, and resurrection.  It is a marriage of the harlot and the rich man who deems her worthy of all that he has.  Join me as God deems each one of us worthy of being His bride.  He calls us chosen and beloved.  Let us rejoice as we turn our face from the shame of our sin to the rejoicing of our acceptance.  Shalom be with you.

Some blogs that you may want to follow if you are interested in reading more about Lent or Stop Hunger Now are listed below.