Monday, February 27, 2012

My Ash-less Ash Wednesday

I look back at my last post and have to chuckle.

It was a dreary Monday (February 6) and I was raw that day.

My husband and I had a particularly nasty argument that morning over something (or things, as tends to happen with us) and I was prepared for long, long days of chilly silence and heavy hearts around our house. (That's how our particular personalities tend Lots of silence. Lots sighing. Can you see why we don't fight that often?)

Anyway. That night I went home and stiffened my upper lip for the long haul. What wasn't so stiff anymore, I realized in horror, was my gut. I'd been eating right. Walking my miles at the what gives. In exasperation, I blew out a breath and quit sucking in for one moment. Long enough for me to recognize it.

Perplexed, I made up an excuse about needing a bag of clementines at 9 p.m. and drove like a crazy person to the store. Forget the citrus, show me the pee sticks.

My fear/hunch was confirmed when that double pink line told me that Makenna, our seven month old, would not be the baby of our family for much longer. After a week of waiting for this appointment and that scan, the results were in. I was 16 weeks pregnant and didn't know it. Annnnnd, lucky for us we got to find out what ninja baby #4 was going to be...another girl due a mere 13 months after the last one!!

So forgive my absence. I've been trying to cram into three short weeks an entire trimester's worth of panic and I've probably managed to gain every pound I didn't put on the first 15 weeks in the sheer amount of carbohydrates I'm stuffing in my face. And on another positive, nothing stops a stupid fight in its tracks like a suprise pregnancy. Keep that one in mind for the future...

But back to the point of this post.

Lent began last week. And I love Lent.

Call me nuts, but I love Mardis Gras (I've even gone three or six times in college, though don't quote me on it and I'm not entirely sure my mother knows about each time I traipsed across the Texas/Louisiana border). I love the ashes. I love the creativity in finding something new and interesting to give up. Call me crazy, but I always loved to think about how my chocolate or latte-free existence for 40 days brought me closer to Jesus. It had to, right?

But there's something different about this year. To begin with, I had big plans of dragging my family to service at 7 p.m. last Wednesday and like much that happens with a living, moving, chaotic family, it didn't go as planned. None of us got our smudge on. Darn it.

There's also the fact that this year more than ever, I feel like I can relate to the sense of "desert" in the story of Jesus' temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). (Though please believe that I am NOT comparing myself to our Lord and Savior...that's just funny.)

What I relate to is the struggle and fight with fear, anger, frustration, and pride. We're definitely being tested this season with unplanned (though welcomed and appreciated) pregnancies, financial bumps and bruises, and forked, deceitful tongues from people we've held near and dear to us.

More than ever, the temptation to be angry, to give up, to lose faith and just despair the burden we're carrying is weighing on our family. More than ever, the mere act of giving up online shopping or Facebook just isn't enough. I need more this year.

More than getting rid of something I percieve to be negative, my family needs me to produce something positive every day for the next 40 days (ok, minus the whole 5 that I've let slip by between Ash Wednesday and today).

Is it an act? Is it a thing I need to produce? What does my family need from me and what do I need from myself to come through this spiritual desert a better human being, a better mother, and better wife than I was on February 22?

I can't say that I have the answers, but I'm starting with prayer. Each morning starting sometime Saturday around 6:38 a.m. when all three kids were on our bed clamoring for cartoons and cereal, I started praying for each and every one of them, the husband included. I've repeated a few requests over the days, but I don't think the Good Lord has a line editor in heaven calling out my lack of creativity. But it's something and it's daily and it's doing its job for me personally. I feel proactive instead of reactive. I feel closer to my maker instead of a disciplined school kid doing everything they can not to bust into the off-limits cookie jar.

It's a start, right?

What are your thoughts on the Lenten season? Do you give up something or do you commit to doing something?

Either way, here's hoping you have a blessed week and special Lenten season if you celebrate it.



1 comment:

  1. Truly lovely post. first of all, CONGRATULATIONS...
    Second, ouch.
    Really. ouch. Not in a bad way either. i've approached lent, this season, all about what I'm giving up and how amazing and noble of me to do so. And wow, i will have such amazing self control post lent- blah blah blah...
    It isn't enough. it needs to be more.
    One week later and I feel disappointed that I didn't see it...
    thanks for ouching me...