Category Archives: Lenten synchroblog

Lent & Women (Multitasking, as so many women do so well)

Happy International Women’s Day!  Happy second Sunday of Lent!  Happy birthday to my beloved Pappy!  So many things to celebrate/give up/celebrate on one day:  could get a bit confusing.  🙂

The Lenten Reflection guide calls us to reflect on hunger this week:  Journey into the Brokenness of Hunger.  The author gives world wide statistics on how many people go hungry, how many people will go hungry, what a typical amount of money for a given meal looks like, and what the picture of present consumption vs. future popululation figures looks like (*bleak*).  It’s enough to make me want to put my head under a pillow, or listen to the new U2 album really loud so that I can’t hear the worries – then again, listening to our current day St. Bono probably isn’t the best “numb out” material.  Stinkin’ sensitivity to the Spirit.

The guide offers a practice of planning meals using $2.00 per person a day – the worldwide average amount of money available for sustaining life (but actually, many exist of less).  Immediately, my defenses went up:

  • But I can’t plan around that!  I already have things planned out for the week.
  • I don’t know how much this stuff cost, and I already have it on hand.
  • I can’t provide the boys with nutritious food for that much money.
  • What about my blood sugar issues?  I need protein:  that’s expensive.
  • This takes too much time.  I have other things that need to get done.
  • Excuse.  Excuse.  Excuse.  Excuse.

Which brings me to International Women’s Day.  Feeding the family tends to fall down the shoot as “women’s work”.  How many women don’t have the choice of opting out of this practice?  How many women make it work – graciously – without their families knowing the work, the labor, the cost behind it – as an act of love – lean into the Lord, meal by meal, to make ends meet?

I’ve been reading a chronological mashup of Kings and Chronicles lately:  talk about a crazy time period.  Prosperity, famine, prosperity, famine.  Good kings, bad kings, mediocre kings, and everything in between.  While the stories of the different rulers run together (Was he Israel or Judah?  Tore down high places?  Offereed pagan sacrifices?  Built up defences?  Got hit with disease?), the stories of two women stand out:  the woman who fed Elijah and her containers overflowed with flour and oil, and the woman who housed Elisha and he promised she would have a son.  One was poor; one was rich.  One was asked for hospitality; one offered it.  Initially one had a son; one was without.  But they both eventually had children, and they both almost lost what they treasured.  These women had faith enough to seek out an intercessor:  they wrestled with God over the things that were precious to them – the future that they believed God had promised them.

This doesn’t happen in every situation.  I’ve seen women pray and plead and fast and ask over and over and over of the Lord to heal their children/husband/sister/friend:  the ill one doesn’t make it.  It’s the faith, the persistence, I see so many women equipped with.  Their life circumstances, their struggles, their belief in the future that God has promised them:  they keep that in their day-to-day view, driving and drawing them closer to God.  Not only do they make do:  they flourish.  And they reach out to work with intercessors if that’s what the situation calls for, pride be damned.

Today I think about the women who’ve been in my life:  my first grade teacher who I deemed would still love me even if my mom was mad at me, a woman who taught my eldest in Sunday School the same songs she taught me at day camp, my mama and her friends and how we kids never had to worry that there were economic hard times – and there were which I’m just finding out about now.  Friends, teachers, advisors, writers, singers, knitters, chefs, missionaries, moms, students, pray-ers, intercessors leaning into the leanness of the time and allowing it to transform them more into the image of Christ for the sake of others.

So Happy International Women’s Day!  Happy second Sunday of Lent! [And Happy Birthday to my Pappy who has always affirmed me, has taught me, and has been willing to eat $2.00 worth of my cookies as a meal.]

“The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.” (And we wonder where women get it 🙂 ).

Reflections on Lent: Week 1

The first week of Lenten reflection is called “Journey into the Brokenness of Our Inner Selves”.  Only by examining and naming the muck in my life can I face my False Self, turning to the Cross for transformation into my True Self.  Most people lay things down for Lent.  A friend of mine explained how she has a hard time with that concept, that she wants to pick up something (for her, intentional time to be creative).  I think this is perfectly in line with the Lenten Spirit.  Through her creativity, something God-given that is part of her True Self, she can set aside other things that might be causing more brokenness in her life.

I didn’t lay things down either, per say.  I picked up memorizing a scripture a day.  Which, to me, sounds SO DORKY.  I was on Bible Quizzing and have an association of scripture memorization and competition:  if I’m not doing it to win a prize, then I’m doing it because I’m some goody two-shoes who wants to be able to throw back Bible verses as little arrows in debates on communion or women in leadership in the church or salvation, etc.  Hmm:  broken area in my life?

So I’m setting aside my pride and I’m memorizing a verse a day.  They’re simply verses I’ve noticed from the previous day or that stand out to me.  For example, after waking up, again, in the middle of the night with nasty dreams, I found myself saying, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Wondered what the context of that verse was, so it’s my verse of the day, but more focusing on the good stuff before it:  “But He gives us more grace.  Therefore He says, ‘God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit to God.” (James 4:6-7).

Friday night we attended a Lent Gathering at Newberg Friends.  I had wanted to go, and once the kids took really long naps (i.e. it’d be FOREVER until they fell asleep that evening), that sealed the deal.  It was good:  contemplative singing, engaging talks, stations to participate in.  One of the stations called for writing a sin or something you wanted to give up for Lent and nailing it to the cross.  My first thought:  “I’ve done this.  A thousand times.  It.Doesn’t.Work.”  DOH.  Unbelief.  And unbelief in God’s redemptive power:  sin.  Boo-yah.

So perhaps another thing I’m trying to set aside (permanently) is unbelief.  Which hopefully the scripture will equip me with the words in my head that will seep into my heart so that I might be single-minded:  my True Self.

Lent 2009

Yesterday I was scrolling through one of my favorite foodie aggregators and noticed multiple recipes for King Cake, a concoction I hadn’t heard of, which is for celebrating online canadian pharmacy Fat Tuesday.  “Really?”, I thought, “It’s Mardi Gras already?  Which means . . . oh, yes:  Lent.”

I had meant to think ahead about Lent this year.  Just as I do every year.  But instead I find myself committing to some sort of quick resolution to give up something (chocolate, caffeine, mean thoughts about others) that I rarely follow through with because, heck!  I’m a Quaker!  What am I doing practicing Lent anyway?  🙂  Yes, yes, poor excuse, especially when my faith gathering is actively participating in this liturgical season.

It takes a village to raise a kid, and it takes a community to participate in Lent is my motto this year.  That’s why I’m so appreciative of the resources I’ve found online, particularly from Mustad Seed AssociatesChristine Sine has organized a synchoblog for people to share their experiences, troubles, joys, and small steady steps as they follow through in living out Lent.  MSA has also put together a most excellent Lenten Reflection Guide complete with thematic concerns, prayers, and activities to give more structure to Lenten expressions.

One thing the Sines note is that this is not meant to be done alone:  it is meant to be lived out in community.  If others are interested, I would love to have a weekly gathering for us to share and discern this experience together – time to strengthen and equip one another as we journey with and adore our Creator who came among us at such great cost.  And for those online, if you don’t want to participate in the synchroblog, I humbly offer my blog as a place for you to comment:  it’s the best online hospitality I can offer at this point.  🙂