Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{ ash wednesday }

while i'm away on vacation, i've asked a few of my favorite people to write some guests posts.
carina from a punk a pumpkin and a peanut is writing today about ash wednesday.
i first started following her blog because i was so inspired by bakin' it to the streets,
carina's personal effort to feed some local homeless with her family.
i've since gone on to relate to this girl on so many other levels. 
thanks for guesting for me, carina! i'm so happy to have you!

ps; are you making a lenten promise? what is it?


Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the Lenten season.
For me, this is the most meaningful time of the year.
A time in the 40 days before Easter to prepare ourselves
through denying ourselves, charity and prayer.

To unite ourselves with Jesus in His suffering.
It's a heavy call. Self-denial is the hardest, I think.
But God promises that when it's hardest, He's the closest.
I never even knew about Lent until I was in high school.
I started going to church regularly on my own and one of my youth leaders told me about it.
Back then it was all about what I gave up. And believe me, it was nothing major.
(Like soda and candy. Big time when you're 16.)
Giving something up still a big part of Lent for my family and me. 
But it's become about so much more.
The heart of it is asking the question: what will draw me closer to Christ?
How can I be transformed?
It isn't just about self denial, but also about charity and prayer.
Over the last year God has done a work in my heart for the homeless.
Our city is teeming with men and women who fear there is no hope,
who don't have a place to rest their head,
don't know where there next meal will come from,
don't know the next time they'll glimpse a friendly face.
And really, I can't do much about it.
But God isn't calling me to do much, He's just calling me to do something.
Awhile back I started taking my kids out a couple times a month to share a meal or treats or coffee with some of the people on the streets in our city.
Our outings have become sporadic, but the need is always there.
That is my hope for Lent this year... that my boys and I can be intentional about giving in real ways.
Meeting people's needs as best we can.

Getting back out on the streets and sharing what we do have with those that need it.
And more than just a sandwich or a muffin, sharing our love.

The heart of Lent is transformation: turning from our own ways back to God's.
Through letting go of something we hold too tightly, giving of ourselves to others, 
and in quiet conversation with our Creator.
My hope and prayer for us all is that we can draw near to Him in this lovely season!

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