We didn't really do Lent growing up.
I'm not really sure why we didn't commemorate it, but I think we always considered our family and church just plain old Christian... nothing fancy like Catholic or mainline Protestant. They did the big-word type things (lent, confirmation, catechism, etc), not us. In fact, I didn't think twice about it until we moved overseas and it seemed like everybody - and I mean everybody, including my 6 year old little boy upon arriving home from school - declared a traditional belief in the cross by bearing it's ashen symbol on their foreheads. I think a part of me fancied this notion, this obvious display of faith (or rather, if I were to be honest, of religion). There were conversations had and ideas floated and it came to pass that the husband and I decided to do Lent.
Now, I cannot remember what I "gave up" for Lent that first year, but I'm pretty sure it was chocolate, and I'm more than sure it was short-lived. My noteworthy failure at abstaining for a few short weeks left me disturbed by my apparent weakness, lack of self control, and inability to maintain a true sacrificial faith.
Since that time, I began contemplating Lent, what I really truly wanted to give up for this period of meditation. What did I cling to that I did not need? What took up time or wasted precious energy? What was it in my life that was more distraction than enhancement of who God created me to be? The answer was quite obvious: Facebook. I could very well go on about the evil toils of Facebook, but you most likely already know them and can see where I'm headed.
Instead I'll tell you I looked forward to Lent this year, not just because of my anxiousness to rid myself, temporarily, of this self-serving vice (who doesn't get a kick out of posting mild braggings and beautiful pictures of children and husbands for all the world - and exboyfriends - to see?), but also to consider "putting on" something in deference to what Christ put on for me: all the shame, all the sin, all the pain in the world, on His shoulders as payment for what I will and would do.
So for Lent this year, as I give up Facebook for 40 days, I'm going to try and put on communing with Jesus - and with you - through writing. My mind has been too cluttered lately, my thoughts too fuzzy, my soul too parched to really share with God and with others what's in my heart. I'm looking forward to clearing the air, opening the windows, and letting the wind and the sunshine in. I know He has been waiting for me to do this, and even now I'm wondering why I needed to wait until Lent began to do this. I could've, should've, done this ages ago!
But, today is where I am and today is where I start. I'm desperate to meet the Father here in a new way, and I hope you'll come meet me here, too.