Lent, the time preceding Easter, usually devoted to a period of fasting and repentance.
Whether or not you observe the practice of Lent, (and I have not for much of my life), I now count it a great joy to prepare my heart with intention each year to honor the gift of Easter. I look at this time of year as a way to offer up something to the One who has no need of gifts, yet He bids us come with all that we are and all that we have.
For me, Lenten preparation is all about contemplating the steps our Savior took leading toward that Easter morn and the miracle of the empty tomb. It is about meditating upon the finished work of Christ on the cross and all that it has afforded me. It is pondering anew the great, great love the Father has lavished upon us through the sacrifice of the Son.
I hope I never grow weary of marveling over the glorious truth that Christ, the only Son of the Living God, freely gave himself up upon the cross for you and for me.
These are my Lenten offerings.
The gift of a letter. To write a note to someone whom I have seen extending kindness or compassion when none was required.
To offer the gift of friendship. To reach out to embrace and encourage someone to whom I am not easily drawn. How can I continue to remain within my own selfishly comfortable boundaries when Christ calls me to pour myself out on His behalf?
To surrender my secretly superior attitude whereby I judge and condemn the actions of others. May I renounce, confess, and let go of this sin I so easily hide from others.
To allow the wounds and suffering of others to pierce my heart. I find it easy to grow callused and hard-hearted, particularly when confronted with suffering on a global scale. I earnestly desire to have the gift of compassion for those who have great need.
To seek out a way to serve someone other than self, however small or seemingly insignificant it might be. To remember that a cup of cold water offered in the name of Jesus can be a precious and life-giving gift.
To daily seek Him and to offer up to Him the praise of my lips. To turn my conscious thoughts toward Him and to meditate upon His word, then to joyfully come into His presence with songs of thanksgiving.
To laugh more with those whom I love.
To find joy in the ordinary and happiness in the simple.
To desire less.
To need less.
To buy less.
To give away more.
And then to give even more.
To practice kindness to those who have wounded me.
To be willing to readily forgive everything from the slightest hurt to the gravest offense.
To let go of old wounds and to seek the grace of healing that only He can bring.
To speak freedom to myself and others.
To renounce all lies and to fall in love with the truth.
To be willing to speak the truth in love with great gentleness and respect.
To risk reputation for the way of Christ.
To love the unlovely.
To listen more and to speak less.
To quit interrupting.
To value another’s story more than my own.
To be willing to walk to the end of the road with someone. With anyone.
To be a better listener.
To be a giver of joy.
To rest in His presence.
To celebrate His beauty that I see reflected in others.
To celebrate His beauty in my surroundings.
To greet each new day with anticipation.
To end each day with heartfelt gratitude and prayer.
To share the story of all that He has done for me, in me, and with me.
To embrace the reality of Easter in a deeper, more life-giving way.