Half-Time: Lent


Fall spectator sports rule.

I’m watching a replay of Friday night football in my mind’s eye. All five senses engaged.   I smell the crisp, cool Midwestern air intermingled with the aroma of caramel apples and popcorn. Our frosty breath white against the black night.. Standing outside the chain link fence with my dad, blinding floodlights illuminating the field, we watch the game. Admission fees aren’t accounted for in the family budget so this is our creative alternative. And the view is perfect. So is the company.

Fast-forward to college and my life intersects with the Bible scholar. He’s not only smart, he’s got strong, muscular legs and plays skillfully in uniform. Then, soccer becomes my spectator sport of choice. Rain, shine, snow or sleet, I’m in the stands watching my guy run, pass, slide tackle and head the ball.   I’d almost forgotten the thrill of those fast paced, nail biting games until I sat in the stands last fall with Angela—25 years later. We arrived late—just before half time. Doesn’t really matter if you miss the first part though. The second half is what counts. That’s what determines a win or a loss. Half time sets the trajectory. Teams tweak strategies and recharge to finish well.

So here we are, Robyn and I. Just past half time on this Lenten season and reflecting on the first 3+ weeks….Assessing, re-evaluating, and recommitting to finish strong.

Starting with our Lenten wardrobe minimization plan, I’d have to say that I’m actually kind of liking it. There is a learning curve, like strategically laundering clothes so that we’re not stuck running around in our unmentionables.

And I do feel a little bit “blah” in my grey and black color scheme every day.

The families in my music classes have to be wondering about me. Not only have they seen me in the same outfit for 4 weeks straight, but the week before that, I snagged my knit shirt on a broken plastic container of rhythm instruments and tore a large L shaped rip at the base of my rib cage. And if that’s not embarrassing enough, I didn’t even realize it until after class was over. Humbling….

We did overlook a couple of things in our strategic planning session, like Robyn’s choir dress code and had to make an allowance for that.

And we needed a jacket earlier in Lent.

Bottom line half time assessment is that “Less is More”. Minimal self-assessment. Less self focus.   And no piles of clothes tried on and rejected, heaped in a pile on my closet floor.  I’m amazed at how little I need. I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time shopping for clothes. And even though I’m affectionately referred to as a “bargain queen” around these parts, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve wasted a lot of money in the process.

When God said He’d clothe me, He didn’t commit to providing a closet overflowing in fashionable attire. And while I have a substantial wardrobe—another expression of His generous abundance- it’s all pretty much overkill. I think it’s time to share the bounty.

While we subtracted clothes from our wardrobe, we added Bible reading and praying together 5 mornings a week. Lovin’ it. Sitting together in the oversized chair in my room, it’s prime cuddling, one on one time with Robyn. She’s sleepy. Sometimes, so am I. Depends how many nights in a row I’ve been burning the 2 a.m. oil. We read today in Matthew about farming—plants and soil. Talked about how the plants reveal the health of the soil. The externals reveal what’s going on unseen. We asked ourselves what we’re doing to nourish the soil in our lives so that we produce what God intended for us. We wondered aloud about people we’ve seen whose spiritual plant died prematurely. Then we prayed for them and for us. I like praying together, lifting up our day to the Lord. Confronting the reality that we need Him.

It’s half time on our Lenten journey—adding and subtracting part 1.

And really, Robyn’s fashion statement says it all.

“Life is good”…..because God is good.


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