Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reflections on Lent...

Things have been a little quiet around here lately as I've been spending more time reflecting this Lent. In the weeks before Lent began I gave some thought to the ways I hoped to learn and grow. One of the things that popped out at me was the need to cultivate stillness. While I don't consider myself a super busy "type A" always on-the-go person, I found myself yearning for more silence, more contemplation, more time to really listen to God. One thing that clinched it for me was reading this Lenten Prayer over at Elizabeth's blog:

O Lord and Ruler of Life,
take from me the spirit of idleness, despair, cupidity and empty talking.
Yea, O Lord grant that I may see my own sins and not judge my brother.
For thou art blessed forever and ever.

She also has a wonderful reflection (see Lenten Prayer link above) on this that spoke directly to my heart. It's a wonderful read--I highly recommend it!

Another prayer that sums up my Lenten goals was this one from Daily Reflections for Lent:

Lord Jesus, purify our desires.
Help us long for what really matters and help us be done with things that are insignificant and of no consequence.
Too often we waste our precious time and energy on inane entertainment, dead-end projects, and trivial conversation.
Send your Spirit to enlighten us to see what really matters.

As I read both of these and listened to the stirrings inside of me, I felt the Lord calling me to manage my time more wisely. So I've been spending more time in quiet reflection (the quietness aspect can be a challenge as a homeschooling mama!). I've been reading more, thinking more, praying more and doing less. I've been taking this time to reassess my goals, figure out how to best serve others, and devoting more time and energy to my primary ministry--caring for my family. I'm trying to be intentional about how I spend the hours of the day that seem to vanish all too quickly, trying my best to eliminate distractions. My failings sometimes stare me in the face, but I know that this is part of the learning process. I'm thankful for the insight that helps me see my many weaknesses and for a Lord who forgives.

As part of my desire to create space for God, I thought I would also give Praying in Color a try. This is something that doesn't come easily to me because I get tend to get too task focused (which is the exact opposite of the point!) and have to remind myself to get back to the actual prayer part. I'm a work in progress. :) My usual go-to for focused prayer is the rosary so I thought it would be neat to try "coloring" the rosary. I haven't tried it yet, but the idea is appealing!

One of the things I've noticed with the added stillness is that I see better. I've been able to notice little things that would otherwise never get my attention. Things like the grass out my kitchen window greening up a bit and how wonderful a fresh cup of coffee smells. I've also begun a nature journal (another totally new thing for me!) to try to capture the beauty of God's creation. The kids and I have been doing this together and I love their enthusiasm as they draw a hawk soaring overhead, or the lines an airplane leaves in the sky. I highly recommend the book Keeping a Nature Journal if this is something that you'd like to learn more about.

The boys journaling

my nature journal

So, that's what I've been up to this Lent. I have a long way to go, but am thankful for the progress I'm making. :)

How has your Lent been going?
Have you tried or read anything new that you'd recommend?

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