"Raising Souls"

"Raising Souls"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Everyone needs a new beginning...

                        Picture from my performance in THE SCRUTINY PASSION

Lent is and should be for everyone. It is a wonderful opportunity to just start over. To say, I've been failing or falling short but I can start over. What a wonderful and beautiful feeling. What a joyful realization. Like the feeling you have after you wake up from a bad dream. Living pain and fear and anxiety and then Ash Wednesday rolls around and wakes us up and says - you get to START OVER! God is such a wonderful Father always giving us chances and opportunities to begin anew. Now, the major difference between starting over with a new years resolution and starting over with Lent is that a new years resolution is ME trying to be a better ME through much of MY own willpower and desire and Lent is GOD based. All the "resolutions" of lent are with the focus of God. Fasting is more for the purpose of holiness and discipline than health but many times do we get the added benefit of health. A perfect example of how putting God first orders everything to balance in our lives. And balance is key.

I actually get giddy for Lent as I do for Christmas. I have this excited anticipation of knowing my potential as a mother, wife, friend, and most importantly child of God.

Most years I go crazy with the fasting.... since I have seen awesome things happen in my life from fasting. It is a sort of ripple effect it really draws me into a greater spiritual awareness. When I am hungry or abstaining from foods I enjoy I think of why I am doing it and it constantly draws my focus back to God. It works.

This year, I am trying a different focus... rather than having the fasting lead me to a greater spiritual life. I want to try the other way around this year. First off not by my own grace but by His. To help me grow in holiness as a better wife I am going to do the Love Dare book (based on the book from the movie "Fire proof.") If you are not familiar with this book or movie check it out. It is really great. (I watched the movie by myself in the theatre and balled my eyes out. It is a bit cheesy but the message is awesome!) A nun focuses on her vocation... and so a wife should her vocation. I have to say i may have lost focus. I was kind of just focusing on - me. But I am called to a great vocation as a wife, a holy vocation that I mean to whip into shape this Lent. God help me! In a sense God gave me the idea to do the book... and it is a 40 day journal/guide, perfect for the 40 days of Lent. He also helped me find the book which was given to Jeremy and I as a wedding gift and was somewhat lost in the shuffle. Ok, so that is the first thing.

Second, I need to refresh and renew my prayer life. I am reading a book called, "Eat, Pray, Love". Now the religious stuff in it can be pretty hokey at times, but I've gleaned some really great stuff from it. The second long section was on Yogic Meditation in India. ...not all in line with the Christian Faith, of course, but interesting none-the-less. She spent tedious hours meditating on one mantra and being open to change and healing. The last part, that I am reading now, is in Indonesia,  her mentor offers her the first bit of advice to meditation. "Do you smile when you meditate? Smile while you meditate. Smile in your whole body. Smile in your liver." I have to admit it kind of inspired me. The thought of taking 15 min. out of each hectic day to just breathe in and breathe out a prayer. "Renew and Refresh my spirit Lord. Renew (breathe) and Refresh (breathe). Come Lord Jesus (breathe), make me holy...." and SMILE while doing it. I tried a little practice run and it was pretty joyful!!! The psychology of smiling while doing this was pure joy. I remember learning that very thing in my psych class. Now many unbelievers can reason this all away through explanations of physiology, psychology, and hokey... but that's why I glean from these sources of yoga, psychology, and even, I guess, an old medicine man from Indonesia. Because they are helpful but NOT the answer. God is the one that makes our prayers truly mean something. God is the one that makes renewal lasting. In the end God is the only true reason I have to smile at the end of the day. So part 2 of Lent will be spending a few minutes per day (goal at least 15min.) being still and doing the above mentioned, while smiling. Then, I'll let God do the rest! :-) In addition to that I will try to go to daily mass at least twice per week. That is realistic in my world.

Third of all I will do some sort of fasting... I am not entirely sure yet what that will be but I may not share that part, since Lent is also very much about not wearing your ashes around. In other words our offerings are to be private so that we do not feel any glory or get any satisfaction from them. "Ooo look at Sarah she is fasting on only bread today... Wow, she's so holy." I don't want that to be my reward. I want holiness to be my reward!!

and lastly.... I am going to try to incorporate training for this marathon into the mix. Discipline. Discipline. Disipline.

So, prayers to you all as you begin a renewing this Lent.

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