Letters to My Kids

Observing Lent

“Lent is a time of returning to God. It is a time to confess how we keep looking for joy, peace, and satisfaction in the many people and things surrounding us without really finding what we desire. Only God can give us what we want. So we must be reconciled with God … The season of Lent, helps us in a special way to cry out for God’s mercy.”
—Henri Nouwen

Even with great effort, I cannot recall a time in my life when I did not know Jesus. What a gift this is; and a reminder of the grace of God on my life, his setting me apart, calling me out, leading me to follow. And though my heart is hidden away in the cleft of The Rock, the pursuit is never complete. Each day is an opportunity. I can choose to delve into the Living & Active Word, pursuing the lover of my soulAnd I can open my mind to new disciplines, new ways of worship, new practices of the faith.

While my current spiritual disciplines may be “new” to be, there is truly nothing new under the sun. Practices that are fresh and exciting to me today, have been used by saints for centuries. Realizing this draws me in even further because I’m aware of my communion with our faithful forebears, joining in the worship of the same God, using ancient liturgy, Scripture, and prayer.

These past few months of my spiritual journey have been different and deeper than any I can recount. Perhaps it’s the onslaught of trials I have faced, presenting me with the opportunity to see God’s grace in bright contrast to my heart’s heaviness. It is as Charles Spurgeon wrote:

God’s grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers.

Thus, for the first time, I am entering the Lenten season with anticipation. I am attempting to examine my life and respond to the purgation the Lord may be leading me to, rather than getting caught off guard and making a hasty decision to give up this or that.

The Lenten season in particular invites us to be more intentional about returning to God on every level of our being through practices of self-examination and repentance. Then, as we renounce those aspects of the self that keep us from abandoning ourselves to God more fully, we are called into the sacred rhythm of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

Ruth Haley Barton

I want to live each day with intention – the intention to pick up my cross and follow Jesus


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