I stumbled onto lent about a decade ago when my life intersected with the Presbyterian Church. Prior to that, I thought it was 40+ days when Catholics ate fish on Fridays for several weeks before Easter and I was never really sure why. I have a reputation of being “alternative” when it comes to holidays– no presents at Christmas, no bunnies or baskets at Easter, God’s love bests romance on Valentine’s Day. So, it’s no surprise that Lent piqued my interest. I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with it ever since. You see, every year, I make some variation of a pledge to abstain from eating what I love best—sugar, in all of its tantalizing disguises. My motives are convoluted. While I am offering God the space in my life that sugar typically lives in, desperation to fit into my warm weather wardrobe also propels me. I’m thrown off my game for the entire 40 + days. My idolatry of hand to mouth gratification is exposed and God faithfully, lovingly, mercifully and graciously takes temporary residence in the place that sugar typically resides. By Easter morning, He’s spring cleaned the house. I can see through the windows, past visions of candy bars dancing in my head to the cross and then the empty tomb. What comes next? Well, just call me “daughter of Eve” because sugar moves back home by about lunch time.
This year, I’m upping the ante. Recently, I read Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. In it, she embarks “on a journey of less to create space for God’s kingdom to break through in her life”. She intentionally and methodically reduces in the areas of food, clothes, media, stuff, stress, spending and waste in order to summon God’s movement within and prepare her for reconstruction. I love Jen’s book because it is a gold mine for anyone hungry for “a simplified life and an amplified God”. That would include me. My “7” will not necessarily be the same list as Jen’s. Nor will it be for the same length of time. We’re all on our own journey. I decided to make Lent my starting block. And my daughter Robyn has decided to hold my hand (and offer her technological savvy). Together we will reduce and reorder and blog the good, bad and ugly of God’s redemptive work in our lives.
We invite you to join us.
-It’s not too late to get Jen’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. It’s a fast read—written journal style. It will spark your passion for less—and more.
– Ask God what could be altered in your life to place a magnifying glass on the cross and the empty tomb this Lenten season.
-Partner with your child(ren) these 40 plus days and personalize your own “7”.
-Share our story. Like Jen, we’ll journal our spiritual expedition in the raw and post updates on facebook. If you or your children want to contribute to our blogging conversation, let us know and we’ll send you contributor access to this site. After all, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble….Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4
I am hoping for more than a 40 + day realignment. I want to see God supplant the temporal and set me on an eternal trajectory. I long to have the cataracts dimming my spiritual vision for decades removed–that cloudy covering of food, clothes, stuff, media, spending, waste and stress- so that I can see Christ with greater clarity in all His resurrected glory.
With Anticipation, Hope