It hasn't been easy living through Ash Wednesdays and Lenten seasons of the past. During my first as a mother, my child was 4 days old and a month premature. We had just been delivered the glowing "suitcase" for his jaundice and were required to keep him in it 24 hours-a-day. My milk had just come in and I was an emotional basket case. I can recall collapsing into my husband as he returned home from work and breaking down into tears at the overwhelming task of parenting. It seemed like suffering was something we were already tackling in life, let alone Lent.
Other seasons of Lent were spent in Indiana, the world's grayest, snowiest, coldest, most dismal place to live through the months of February and March. I remember feeling about as cold and depressed as ever and discussing these feelings with my dear friend, Catherine, who was also observing the season. We were cold, spent mothers and we were ready for Easter.
So with this year returned these old feelings of the past. Perhaps its because as a mother, I feel that much of my daily living already involves sacrifice on many levels. Perhaps it is because I am a weak individual, which I am. Whatever the reason, I dread Lent. "Haven't you asked enough of me, my Lord?" I ask.
His response: "I want more."
I trudged forward through Ash Wednesday and made it through the day with my sanity in tact and my constitution resolute. Day two brought even more reassurance as my husband and I finished a delicious dinner followed by time spent together talking (the eye to eye kind), without distractions on the couch. We prayed and went to bed early.
Day three has been a continuation of this goodness--a fresh, rested wake-up, a new couple's devotional purchased for my husband and I to start tonight, quiet prayer time. I am surprised to be struck so early by my usual Lenten realization: when God asks me to sacrifice, the fruit of depravity is always much greater and more glorious than I ever imagined. Red and I discussed this the other day, reasoning that the first week of Lent is always the hardest and most dismal. After a few weeks of routined sacrifice, we become used to our newer way of life and begin realizing the grace in it that abounds.
Because there is grace and joy and happiness in Lent. We just have to be patient and wait and He will find us.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body." Proverbs 3:5-7