how we’re observing lent.

In typical Lindsey fashion, I’m thinking well in advance running around like a crazy person, wishing I would’ve remembered that Lent was coming a week ago. I’m not going to argue for participating in Lent in this post, because I’m firmly convinced and it wasn’t the words of any human who convinced me, it was simply in the doing that I realized how much I need it. And every year as I look forward to it, I remember when it seemed like an empty practice, and how it wasn’t until the first time I observed it that I realized how much missing out on Lent can mean missing out on Easter.  But if you’re interested in it or you want to know more about it, Ann Voskamp has some helpful words.

I know Eliana is young. I know Phoebe is even younger. I know that they don’t yet grasp the meaning of the church calendar or the things that we’ll do during Lent, but I also think that it’s important that we observe this season as a family, so I’ve made an effort to find a few things that will help us talk about Lent and participate in it in our daily lives.

For the Grown Ups

The first is something that’s just for me. I’m going to be making an effort to follow the She Reads Truth Lent study. I got the first day half-way done while I was feeding Phoebe this morning, and I’m really excited about this. You can get access to it on the app for a small price, but if you follow it online or via email, it’s free. Just visit the link above to sign up.

David and I are also going to be going through Reliving the Passion by Walt Wangerin Jr. When we were engaged, we went through another of Walt Wangerin’s books with some dear friends who were mentoring us.  We read yet another of his books aloud to one another after finding it at a thrift store on our honeymoon. We love that guy.

For Our Family

For our family, I found this resource, which is a reading plan that takes you through the Jesus Storybook Bible (up to the resurrection) during Lent/Easter. We have been trying to start (or end) our day with a reading, song, and prayer. I think Lent will be a good opportunity to build that habit.

I also found this calendar and this “Lenten Path” for children. My plan is to print out the path and then add those activities from the calendar to my copy, adjusting to make them applicable to our family. Each day we’ll color a square of the path and talk a bit about the activity for the day.

Also, I can’t believe I actually nearly forgot this one. Have you heard of The Brilliance? They’re brilliant! (I couldn’t resist.) Their Lent album is one of my favorites. Those songs made up a significant portion of my labor playlist. Because labor is kind of like Lent to me, but that’s possibly another post for another time. We’ll definitely have this one on repeat for the next 40 days.

Also, I was thiiiiis close to trying to hurry up and make an “Alleluia” banner, so we could bury the alleluia, but for a few days now, I’ve been trying to consider the meaning behind that tradition and decide if we’re going to do it, so we’ll see- maybe I’ll just try to have it done for the Easter season, and we’ll have until next year to consider it.

I would love to hear how you are planning to observe Lent with your family.

Waiting.

“This is not the end here at this grave 
This is just a hole that someone made 
Every hole was made to fill 
And every heart can feel it still– 
Our nature hates a vacuum”

We’re waiting right now.

We’re waiting with my grandfather while he spends his last days, hours here before he sees Jesus.

“This is not the hardest part of all
This is just the seed that has to fall
All our lives we till the ground
Until we lay our sorrows down
And watch the sky for rain 

And my grandmother talks about what a gentleman he is. And we remember.

And my mom talks about how gracious he is. And we remember.

And my dad tells a story about his sense of humor and adventure. And we remember.

And I tell a story about how he told me he would hold on to meet his first great-grand baby, and he did.

And now we tell him it’s okay to let go. His sweet wife stands next to him and urges him to run to Jesus.

“A thing resounds when it rings true 
Ringing all the bells inside of you 
Like a golden sky on a summer eve 
Your heart is tugging at your sleeve 
And you cannot say why 
There must be more”

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Last night we were sprawled on couches and chairs and floor sleeping. Together. Waiting. Expecting.

“There is more 
More than all this pain 
More than all the falling down 
And the getting up again 
There is more 
More than we can see 
From our tiny vantage point 
In this vast eternity 
There is more” 

And as the dim morning light started to creep in through the windows, we thanked the Lord for another day with him, but we know that when there isn’t one, it will be okay. We will be okay. And he will be dancing. His eyes will twinkle again, like they haven’t in years.

“There is more 
More than we can stand 
Standing in the glory 
Of a love that never ends 
There is more 
More than we can guess 
More and more, forever more 
And not a second less”

My dad says the closest thing he’s ever experienced to what we’re doing now is being there for each of our births.  It strikes me funny because I think, how is this even the same? And I think about this while I sit next to my Grandpa and I hold his hand and my sweet baby girl kicks and kicks and kicks from the inside. And I think about how he is about to enter into new life. A better one with no pain or sorrow or hurting. One where he will see Jesus. And I smile. And I think I start to understand why Paul said we shouldn’t mourn like people without hope. Because my grandpa’s labor breaths? They’re leading to life eternal. They’re leading to a kind of birth so good we can’t even imagine it.

“There is more than what the naked eye can see 
Clothing all our days with mystery 
Watching over everything 
Wilder than our wildest dreams 
Could ever dream to be 
There is more”

*Andrew Peterson, More

Mourning into Dancing: a late night reflection

I used to think sleeping through the night was most important. And my body’s tired and the floor is cold and my space in bed is empty and I would love a full night’s sleep. But I have already forgotten my feet and my arms are full.
And it’s longer tonight because she’s not just hungry, she can’t sleep. And I know how that is. I know what it is to have thoughts swirling and days replaying and I know all about please-just-stay-a-little-longer.

So I bend my head over hers and I close my eyes and pray for peace while her wide eyes search corners of the room, fighting sleep. I stand up again and start to sway and her thumb finds her mouth and those blue eyes look up at me.
From beneath heavy lids, those eyes look up at someone who almost bought the lie that babies are something you get after a diploma and a wedding and a job and a mortgage. And those eyes belong to a person. Not to an item on a checklist. And this person sees me. And it’s good enough, so she sighs and lays her head on my chest. My arms are full of her.

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And her eyes close and mine wander. And I see pictures of the days when I could measure head to toe on the length of my arm. When downy fuzz still coated chubby cheeks and when naptime meant an hour of couch cuddling bookended by more cuddling. And now she moves too fast and there’s so much to explore that these late night  minutes are the stillest we have.
And her breaths are deep and warm and her free hand pats my side. And I don’t care about jobs or degrees or titles. I don’t care what people think stay-at-home-mom means. I am living what it means. And it is full and it is rich and it is hard and it is beautiful. And gratitude rises in my heart and the tears fill my eyes.
The Lord has given me what I didn’t know I wanted. What I couldn’t have thought to ask for. He tenderly tore me from my dreams to give me his. He turned my wailing into dancing; he removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing his praise and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forevermore. (Ps. 30:11-12)