Friday, March 13, 2009

How I Underestimate Them

We are in the season of Lent. It's been an...interesting 16 days. If you are unaware of the tradition, read this brief description. If you know about it, skip down:

Originating in the fourth century of the church, the season of Lent spans 40 weekdays beginning on Ash Wednesday and climaxing during Holy Week with Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), Good Friday, and concluding Saturday before Easter. Originally, Lent was the time of preparation for those who were to be baptized, a time of concentrated study and prayer before their baptism at the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord early on Easter Sunday. But since these new members were to be received into a living community of Faith, the entire community was called to preparation. Also, this was the time when those who had been separated from the Church would prepare to rejoin the community.

Today, Lent is marked by a time of prayer and preparation to celebrate Easter. Since Sundays celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays that occur during Lent are not counted as part of the 40 days of Lent, and are referred to as the Sundays in Lent. The number 40 is connected with many biblical events, but especially with the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for His ministry by facing the temptations that could lead him to abandon his mission and calling. Christians today use this period of time for introspection, self examination, and repentance. This season of the year is equal only to the Season of Advent in importance in the Christian year, and is part of the second major grouping of Christian festivals and sacred time that includes Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost.

Although many people associate Lent with the Catholic church, it is an ancient Christian practice and I am thankful our church encourages the discipline. Last year I gave up soda. It wasn't very hard.

This year, I chose to abstain from Refined Sugar in all possible forms. The only possible exception I have found is bread that may contain sugar, though at home I don't ever buy it. Because Lent is a time to remember Christ's sacrifice, I wanted to choose something that would require thought and discipline, and that would be a sacrifice for me. I knew that I consume more sugar than I am aware of, and that I have certain times of day that I just *need* a piece of chocolate. Just one Dove Dark Chocolate Promise, 2 times a day--not such a horrible habit, but one that would require me to think, stop, and change course.

About 3 days into Lent, Dan saw me eyeing flavored coffee creamer longingly and said, "You never do anything by half measures, do you? Sugar? Geesh."

Story of my life.

I am proud to say I have not strayed from my discipline. Twice I have poured creamer in my coffee and once I realized my error I have seriously considered drinking it. But, instead, Juli J has received a creamy, hot, sugary mug of coffee as a help-you-get-up gesture. Once someone else put whipped cream on my plain coffee at church, but my friend Ben came to my rescue and ate if off for me. 

Today we went on a fun dinner adventure (details coming soon), and the kids asked why I did not have any of the ice cream. I explained. They asked more questions. Dan and I explained further. They, without hesitation, stated that they too want to give something up. 

That's how I underestimate them.

Kenna picked butter. Interesting. We don't allow them to eat a lot of butter, but she really likes it, and asks for butter on everything, even though we say no most of the time, so it is a sacrifice. 

Gabe picked candy. Wow, that's huge for a 4.5 year old. In the following 5 minutes we talked about heading to the free movie night at church. Mckenna asked if she could bring a quarter to buy a piece of candy. I said yes. Gabe said, "Can I bring...a snack?" What a boy. He received major praise for remembering and not whining about his choice. 

Lord, I do not deserve such incredible children. Please, God, give me the wisdom, patience, and love to raise them in a way that brings You glory.  And Lord, may they grow so richly in their walk with you that I always underestimate them.


Dawn S. said...

What a beautifully written post! I might have to put a linky to it...hope that's ok...

The Robbins' Nest said...

That's awesome. I'm SOO enjoying the baby times with David, but I'm also excited to have those conversations where they 'get it', even if we don't! Thank you for sharing

Michael said...

Wow, I love your stories.