Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Counting the Cost of Lent

For the first time ever I am participating in Lent. So are my children. As a family we are giving up tv and I am giving up coffee. Tomorrow will be one week. ONE WHOLE WEEK WITH NO COFFEE OR TV PEOPLE! We seriously did not count the cost before we made the commitment.

Saturday mornings Erica and I like to watch Jack Hannah. She shuffled out, still sleepy, and froze. Turning to me she said "lent includes Saturdays huh".

The last week has been filled with one stressful thing after another being hurled at me. Monday nights is my night to do nothing but veg in front of the tv, and I needed it this particular Monday night. Mondays are rough anyway, but to start with no coffee then end with no tv...my insides were freaking out.

I still have a headache. I'm still grumpy. The kids are wondering what to do with their time. We're all a little on edge. We didn't count the cost.

And then. Lent. What does it even mean? Why is it SUCH a big deal? And what if I cheat? Just this once.

There are many things I love about following God, but there are also things I don't love. (I'm just being honest here, don't get upset) One thing I don't love is the conviction that washes over me. Never had that when I followed me. The other thing, accountability. I prayed a long time ago for one person to enter my life to help me be accountable and now I have more than I care to admit and they just keep coming. My life is filled with accountability. When I followed me I did what I wanted and it was nobody else's business. So, why am I participating in lent? Especially now that I know the testing I'm enduring and we're just a week into this thing.

I have never, ever, come across another heart that loves me as unconditionally as the heart of God. I have never been more secure, more provided for, more sure of who I am than now that I follow God and not me. I climbed into bed last night, reminding God how much I like to watch tv in bed, and then reminding myself of the sacrifice God made for ME, little ole me. No tv and no coffee pales in comparison.

Lent is a reminder to us of the sacrifice Jesus made for you and me and that neighbor that drives you bonkers. Lent is far from worthy of holding up against that cross, but we do it as our way of saying "I see you on that cross, I see you risen from that tomb, and I follow you above me, above my comfort, above my own life I follow you".

I'm going to break the rules (cause it's what I do best) and I'm going to say that if you haven't been partaking in Lent, start now...I don't really think God cares about the date as much as he cares about the motive. Join other Christians, stand in unison knowing we're all in this together, fight against your selfishness, and sacrifice for the God who made you. As that psalm says "taste and see that the Lord is good". It's amazing how much more I'm "tasting" now that I am participating in Lent.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Teen Mom (Part 2)

Years ago someone asked me to describe parenting in one word. Exhausting. When our kids are little we're spending our days chasing after them, keeping them safe (often from themselves), teaching them, guiding them, playing with them. Many nights I fell into bed wondering if I would have enough energy to get up in the morning. I was exhausted.

My exhaustion was more than physical though. I felt I needed to prove to the world that I was going to be a good mom even though I'd gotten pregnant at 18. I also carried a secret, well I thought it was a secret...turns out it was pretty obvious to everyone around me. My secret? I had no idea who I was or where I was going. I was trying desperately to just survive. I was mentally exhausted.

I've been a mom for over 16 years. Between 2000 and 2005 we moved 9 times, I had 6 jobs and...well, more than one man was in our life. Please hear me clearly, when you become a teen mom you feel the effects of it well past your teen years. I may no longer be trying to prove I'm a good mom (I am) and I know who I am now but getting here was a very bumpy ride.

Today I would still use the same word to describe parenting. If you do it right...if you're 100% involved, totally committed you will be exhausted. But today that exhaustion is the good kind, the natural kind. I'm not proving anything, I'm simply being their Mom. Any parent can arrive at this point, teen mom or not, it's just a lot harder when you start at 18.