Although I have observed Lent off and on for many, many years, it’s different for me now in a profound way.
Some of you know but may have forgotten that Dominic was killed the Saturday before Palm Sunday and buried the Monday after Resurrection Sunday, 2014.
Each year since then I’ve felt like I had to endure two sets of “anniversaries” because his death date and burial date are not only days of the month but also marked by moveable church celebrations.
It has been very, very hard.
As the sun rises earlier each morning in spring, the weather turns brighter and the flowers bloom, my heart grows heavier and heavier. I want to crawl in a hole and wait for the time to slide by-as if not noticing will make a difference.
But I can’t. Life must be lived, not only endured.
So I am choosing this year to try to guide my heart gently through this hard season with purposeful action that will force me to engage with God’s Word, with God’s people and with God Himself.
I know that if I don’t create space and place to prioritize my time with Jesus, to reflect on my life, to purpose to re-align my choices with ones that are more consistent with what I say I believe, then it won’t happen.
Life is full of distractions, temptations and I’m just plain lazy.
There are so many ways to observe Lent! Most of us are familiar with fasting a favorite food or beverage or giving up some entertainment or habit. That’s a fine way to focus on denying our flesh and meditating on Christ.
But this Lenten season I’ll be doing something different.
Last year I was introduced to a book, FORTY DAYS OF DECREASE by Alicia Britt Chole. It’s focus is more on fasting attitudes and actions rather than tangible things.
It was challenging but I loved it so I’m doing it again.
It helped change my approach to the whole season from one of obligation (almost of penance) to thinking of it as an invitation to sit at the feet of my Shepherd King.
If I’m honest, I need to learn this holy habit more than any other-listening instead of always doing, doing, doing.
I’d really like some company and some comments if any of you would join me on this journey! I’ll be sharing my own insights and reflections one day behind so those who want to participate won’t be influenced by my opinion.
If you’ve read the blog for very long, you know full well that God and I have wrestled more than a few rounds.
I don’t have it “figured out”.
But I’m willing to stay in the ring.
4 thoughts on “I Must Decrease-Making Room For Jesus. Lent As Invitation, Not Obligation.”
I learned of Alicia’s book through you last year and have started my grandmothers’ group reading it today, Ash Wednesday. Thank you so much; it looks fresh and authentic! My John ran ahead to Heaven on Nov 23, 2017 , Thanksgiving Day, and so I have both those days followed by Christmas and his birthday, Dec 28! I stumbled across your blog early in my grief walk and it was a lifeline. Very grateful to you for ministering to so many of your fellow grieving sisters, me included!
the 40 Days of Decrease was so perfect for where I needed to be laSt year, and I am most grateful that you are repeating it Melanie. thank you. this journey, this grief, this life altering force that inhabits a space in my heart and soul every moment of every day. it is an offering…
I just recently found your blog and it has been such a blessing. I lost my daughter, Sarah, 28, from the flu on 2/15/19 and then my husband on 12/11/20. I’m also raising 4 of my grandchildren, children of my other daughter, a recovering addict. This post felt like it was written for me. As you can imagine, I struggle with the ‘doing, doing, doing’ but, with God’s help, I’m working on it. No one can ever understand the loss of a child unless you’ve been through it and having a blog written by someone who has been there and who is a believer is definitely something that will make me listen. Thank you again!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I so understand the double anniversaries. Almost 43 years ago my dad passed away on Easter Sunday morning from a heart attack, he was 52 and I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Patrick. 36 years later my Patrick died on the Sunday after Thanksgiving from a heart attack. My kids always wondered why Easter was not my favorite holiday, now sadly, my daughter understands. 💙☘️💛⚾️
LikeLiked by 1 person