Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the kick off for the season of Lent. I struggle every year with this time. I have good intentions to form new habits, break old ones, be sacrificial through it all. I say I'm going to read the Bible each day - for myself and the kiddos...but then one day is missed and another and another, and I give up. I say I'm going to give something up (like Dr. Pepper or Chocolate - you know something I'll actually miss, but need to learn to live with out anyway), but am back at it two weeks (and that's being generous) later.
I also tell myself that I'm going to make a big deal out of the season for my boys, teach them about the meaning of Easter and Jesus and his sacrifice - the whole shebang. I tell myself I will put as much effort into Lent as I do into Advent. And I don't. (In my defense I had some success a few years back when we did Love Life Live Lent as a church.)
Come Easter Sunday I'm a stressed out disaster - every. single. year. I'm cranky about the kids screaming about chocolate bunnies and baskets and toys instead of Jesus and kicking myself because of course it's my fault - after all I dropped the ball teaching them. And instead of focusing on my Savior, I'm worried about getting to church on time in the right clothes and the big meal that follows after.
I don't want to do that this year. Any of it. Sure, I want to make this season special, but not in a way that crams it down the throats of my family and leaves me feeling drained and like a failure. I think my biggest problem with Lent each year is that I overthink the details and forget the big picture: Jesus' sacrifice for me, for all of us.
So no details this year. And no guilt.
We didn't make it to the Ash Wednesday service last night, and that's okay. Things happen and Jesus gets it - even if other people don't - and his opinion is the one that matters.
I started up with my daily Bible reading again yesterday. My goal for Lent: to finish my "read the Bible in a year" project that I started a year and half ago. I want to start reading through a children's Bible with my boys again, too (We HAVE done this before - SUCCESS! Time to do it again!)
I'm going to dig out our Love Life Live Lent activity book from a few years back and choose some activities to do as a family on weekends.
I gave up soda and fast food. I believe that God wants me to take better care of my body - and teach that to my boys - then I do, and here's a start. I also believe He wants me to use my money for better causes then the enormous amount of junk foods and drinks my family consumes.
I believe God wants my family to tithe more to our church each month.
I may not get all of those things above right everyday either, but I won't give up this year. Each day I will see as a new day, another chance. Lent is going to be special this year, but not because I'm going to make a huge production out of it. Instead it will be special because it will be about Jesus and family and sacrifice and forgiveness.