Have I ever told you that I love lent. It is one of my favorite seasons of the church. I know that might sound kind of weird, but I love how the season forces me to slow down and take inventory. I need that break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to check in with God. I always realize that I have gotten so far away from praying and relying on God that it is embarrassing. Yet the Church is there to remind me and draw me back. I love it!!!
This lent I am really trying hard to lead my family through a making a good lent. We decided (with a little persuasion from me) to give up TV and electronics. Since I don’t watch much TV, my kids countered with me giving up Facebook. They did’t know that was on my list, so I allowed them to think it was their idea. We gave up eating desserts as a family for lent. I also have committed to reading The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur. I figured I needed some spiritual food. I also challenged my oldest son to read about new saints. He has already finished a book about St. Philomena. Our family has a jar that we put beans in every time someone does an act of charity.
So how is it going? Glad you asked!! My 3 year old keeps asking to watch TV. I remind him that it is lent and he always asks when lent is going to be over! My husband forgot about giving up TV for lent and let the kids watch Frozen when I was out with my daughter lastFriday evening! Hmm… the oldest didn’t remember until AFTER the movie was over. So what have the kiddos done without TV? Well, they actually play with each! The oldest has been hanging out with his younger brothers and sisters because he can’t tune everyone out playing mindcraft. The kids have taught the almost 2 year old how to play hide and go seek. I have been very creative during school time to engage ALL the kids and not just the one I’m teaching. My kids are playing outside again and riding their bikes. They listen quicker when I call for them. I love it!! Not that I am anti-TV because it can be a Mom’s lifesaver at times!! It has just been nice listening to my kids play with each other.
Giving up sweets hasn’t been hard yet. The real test was Sunday when the kids usually get their after mass donuts. I made a healthy whole-wheat apple cinnamon muffin for them to eat. They happily ate with their friends and didn’t complain at all. So I am not sure this was “giving up” since they still had a treat (although it wasn’t a sugary, empty calorie donut that makes them crazy for the next few hours) to eat. I sit back a little satisfied because I would have never made a healthy treat for them to eat instead. So far right now, I am calling it a win.
Giving up facebook has been really hard. I hate not checking in and “knowing” what is going on. Especially when the day before lent began a friend from church’s daughter was in the emergency room. It was nice to know so I could lift the family up in prayer and offer support (via facebook). So I did break my facebook fast and check the update on my friends daughter so I knew she was all right. The kids gave me permission!! Now that it has been a few days of no facebook, it is getting a little easier, but I do miss it. The fruit on not partaking in facebook has been the time I have gained in being present to my children. I am always checking facebook and tuning my children out to enter into the cyber world. It is an addiction that needs to be controlled and reevaluated!! So, yes, it has been a good penance.
I have been reading and so has my son. I read the St. Philomena book and am reading the Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur. So far I have loved both books. I didn’t know the story of St. Philomena and it was a blessing to read. I think at some point I would have caved and married Emperor Diocletian,but she didn’t. I love that angels came to her and healed her body over and over again from the torture she endured. I want faith and clarity like that of St. Philomena. Elisabeth Leseur’s diary is challenging me too. This woman found joy even when she was the only Christian person around her. She had no one to talk to about God, not even her husband. Yet she kept this diary showing her undying devotion to God and her hope that her husband would convert one day. Of course she dies and her husband finds her written words. He converts and is later ordained a priest. An amazing story for sure!!
Yes, I love lent!! The time of year I can dig deeper in my faith and grow. I can make my kids step out of their comfort zone and try new things. I am hoping and praying that over the next 40 days, some of the things we gave up or are trying to do will become habits that we will have the rest of the year. So what are you doing? I would love to hear.