Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stop, breathe, pray



The big girls are in a mood, a "fun hangover" after a three-day weekend spent with Nana and Papa in Michigan.  I'm trying to make dinner (earlier than I'd planned because Daddy has an early meeting at church), wash dishes, hold a fussy baby, check homework, and cycle through the laundry.  Everyone is sniping at each other, but I just keep plowing through the evening.  We have somewhere to be in an hour.  No time to stop.

By the time dinner is done and cleaned up, homework returned to backpacks, and laundry advanced I am at my breaking point.  I'm physically tired and my neck and shoulders ache.  That second (OK, third) cup of coffee isn't doing its job.  I'm short with the girls, and they're short right back.  We're a hot, angry, needy mess.

And all of the sudden it's time to go go go!  Get your boots on! Where is your coat? No, you cannot have candy!? Why are you crying? Shouldn't you have gone to the bathroom 10 minutes ago?! GET IN THE CAR.  

Doors close, belts buckle, and I exhale. I summon up every last ounce of strength I have to gently say, "Girls, we're not moving this car until we have an attitude adjustment, myself included.  This is not fun for anyone, and it's not how loving families behave. Let's say a quick prayer, OK?  Who wants to say something?"  

We each offer a quick petition (through gritted teeth), I put the car in reverse, and off we go.  And the rest of the night is calm. Perfect, even. 

Lent is kind of like an attitude adjustment.  It's a forty-day-and-forty-night opportunity to stop, breathe, and pray.  It's a time to recognize our sin and weakness, lay it at Jesus' feet, and ask for his help.

Though it's a rather austere season, it's more meaningful to me than advent.  It's largely untouched by commercialism (though I already see Easter displays popping up in stores). It's a centering time, a time where I don't feel guilty about making time to read, reflect, or pray. 

Here are some links from around the interwebs.  I hope you can employ some of these ideas into your Lenten observance in addition to making time to stop, breathe, and pray. 

40 ideas for lent from Rachel Held Evans:

Moms Encouraging Moms:

Two beautiful forgiveness and repentance resources from Ann Voskamp:


Crown of thorns project:

Family Lent activity calendar:
 What are your family Lenten disciplines? 

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