In preparation for Easter these past 40 days I come to this day and berate myself for not living up to my own ridiculous Lenten expectations. (I do this during Advent, as well) I am learning to stay off Pinterest, so that helps, but still. So many traditions. Prayers. Fasting. Penance. Mass. Reconciliation. Sometimes, forgive me, there seems so MUCH to do. 40 days really isn’t that long. It gets a little overwhelming.
Today, I started down my traditional self-flogging road of checking off the list of what I didn’t do this Lent and then I stopped. That’s NOT what this is about. This Lenten season. I reminded myself that this one I approached differently. It’s not about the pomp and circumstance, it’s about the relationship we have with Christ and the gratitude for His sacrifice which leads to our eternity.
This Lent, I had NO expectations.
This Lent I had no plans.
This Lent, I let God lead. Quietly. Softly.
And lead He did.
He led me in prayer, without ceasing this season. Quietly and without overwhelming me. He led me to pray with friends, for friends, for our nation and for our world. Throughout the day. In the early morning darkness. In the quiet of the evening as I wait for my boy to get home from work. It hasn’t been in Adoration. It hasn’t been in a family Rosary. But it has been. And it has been continuous.
Fasting. Traditionally, not my best work. But this Lent. Each Friday He led me away from meat without even thinking about it. Fasting days, I barely ate and I barely noticed. But He’s been guiding me in fasting from gossip (not completely free here, let’s be honest). Gently, guiding me and whispering Truth, holding my tongue and looking for the good that lies in all of us.
Penance. Well. We are raising 4 teens and tweens here, folks. Penance is a daily reality. (kinda kidding, kinda not) He’s led us (because the Hubs is my helpmate for sure and we absolutely keep each other in check here) to be gentler in dealing with these raging hormones, drama and growing pains of adolescence. He’s teaching us to see with His eyes, to remember our own youth and to call on Him to fill our hearts with grace in the moments that test us to the core.
Almsgiving. Time. Talent. Treasure. It comes in many forms and there’s not been any particular project for Lent that I’ve focused on, however, He has given me multiple opportunity to part with Time, Talents and Treasures these past 40 days. Not one instance was convenient or easy, but I didn’t walk it alone. What more can I ask?
So Lent. Absolutely not what I expected this year. In fact, early on, my dear friend explained to me the idea of a “progressive Lent” that increased throughout the 40 days. To some extent, I believe that’s exactly what it was and what it is. God is so good.
So today we mourn and tomorrow we rejoice. Ever grateful that no two journeys are alike.
Funny, I had very similar thoughts this year! I couldn’t stick with fasting from one thing, but I did fast from specific things every once in a while. And I had the same experience with prayer, too. I really think God makes sure we get our Lent (whether we want to or not! 😉 )