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Hello Lent

This has been a Lent with a whole new element of penance, as I’ve never been in the last month of pregnancy during Lent before, and expecting a baby before Easter.

A few days in and I can clearly see, this year that perhaps the main sacrifice God really wants from me right now, is for me to willingly accept my suffering in whatever form it comes w this pregnancy, and later with labor and delivery. … ( I can’t offer what I don’t have, hence the acceptance part) . The time has come, instead of feeling sorry for myself, to humble myself and willingly offer this holy work to the Lord , ‘this too for love of You! ‘

As for the rest of my Lent, I had made a plan, but then a few days before Lent started, God decided to take over:

So I was praying the 3rd luminous rosary mystery, and this line really stood out: ‘The time has come, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the good news!’ Then I felt God saying: ‘this lent, the time is now. Turn away from all your wayward tendencies, these things that just don’t fill you, walk w Me instead, more and more, for as you journey closer w me these 40 days, I will strip you of these last few obstacles still holding you back and drawing you away. Come Easter, you will be new child, believe, My light is coming, quickly! Let go of your own plans, that I might plan your lent instead.’

Well, now He had my attention.

I already knew some of this, but I love how God just simplified everything, it doesn’t feel like a burden making sure I’m remembering what I need to be doing lol!

Sweets. The time has come. You will be strengthened like never before this lent, and Sundays will be a little taste of heaven.

Screens. That’s the other great distraction you are drawn to. The Facebook thing, as before. All social media. Let go of that pull, the world is not for you. PUT THE PHONE DOWN!

Charity- respect, gentleness, softer tones. PATIENCE. SERVE OTHERS ahead of yourself. Humble- before your family, and before Me.

Choose silence, this lent you are to grow greatly in silence. And Let go of control and choose My way and watch, watch what we can do together! You do not need anything extra to read, except the respect book, for that is a powerful tool. If I need you to read something I Myself will put it on your heart.

And write. Child I want you to continue to channel grace through that blog, as much as you can. Make this your prayer.

The fast I choose, is to free you. Free from sweets, and speaking. Learn to listen. Free from the pull of screens. And free from the doing, of ANYTHING that is outside of My will for you at that moment. Humbly choose My way.

And Fridays? Not what I want Lord, what do You want?

Fridays, your primary sacrifice, is to be tears. Return each Friday w fasting and mourning, over souls. I require no great penance, your heart is already there, all I ask for your Friday is that your heart would be completely united w Mine, in reparation for sinners. For souls. Allow yourself to cry, first over all of your own sins, over those of your household, and others…. then, cry over the sorrows, injustices, deceptions and lies, over the ugliness of sin, and over the world you live in, the world that I made. Cry, for souls, cry out for My mercy for them! I will surely hear and honour the gift of your heart!

So this has become my Lent this year, less sweets and screens, plus more silence, extra charity to my family, and extra humility… Especially when it comes to my suffering.

A few Lent Links:

Even if you do nothing else for Lent: http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/

http://catholicism.org/suggested-lenten-penances.html

http://www.christiethomaswriter.com/kids-ideas-blog/40-lent-ideas-kids/

http://callherhappy.com/40-lenten-activities-for-kids/

past lents:

2014

2013

2012

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Dec 4

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Today I felt broken 😦 a different broken. Instead of my heart hurting- it was my mind, my pride… This morning I was feeling so out of whack, I was distracted and then I thought we could have a nice family time, reading our advent book, but I was such a mess – nothing was working and I was making ugly angry choices and trying to control again—ughhh. – and I so hate when I do those things!


“What Adam and Eve didn’t know was that there was a thief in the garden, an enemy of God. Satan is like a wily snake that slithers on at the corner of everything and entangles around you. And if he can trip you w a lie so you fall away from closeness w God, he can snatch your happiness, steal God’s glory, swipe away your love for God and leave you robbed. 

So that snake sneaked up to Eve, wrapped his own lie tight right around her and hissed his poison right into her heart: God doesn’t really love you, doesn’t really give you good-enough things. God doesn’t really give the gift of love all the time.  Eve fell for it. She ate from that one tree God had forbidden only because He loved her, because He didn’t want her to die!  But Eve swallowed the fruit’s juice, and the snakes lie and death began to flow through her veins.

And when you trip you can end up such a bloodied mess that you go and hide, you can fall off the path and end up lost in the long grass. “

 

Just like eve, the serpent hissed this morning that I could have everything my way today (after a hard day yesterday) and I took the fruit of control and swallowed down that old lie yet again, and it sapped my joy, stole my peace and robbed me of His life till I too felt I was dying…

And all I wanted to do was go hide from the world, from everyone- even God.

I don’t feel that way too often, but it always, always surprises me when it comes… and it always swallows me whole.

I did not like the person I was… And I felt ugly and awful and like such a failure, that it was as if nothing and no one could ever make it right again…

And nothing was able to reach me, I felt like hiding even there at Mass… went up to receive feeling hopelessly unworthy and even then I knew I was still out of sorts, a mess- and this storm in my soul was not passed…
Only later, in the afternoon as we read these words in our advent book, did God’s truth make it’s way back into my ugly heart and everything began to make sense again, as if the world was finally back right way up.

 

“When we’ve fallen and we’re lost God comes w one question, where are you?  Your God looks for you when you’re lost. He calls for you when you’re ashamed and broken and hurting…  Whenever you fall, fall short, whenever you sin, God whispers to you w a love that wraps around you like a gentle arm: wherever you are I will come find you. Whatever you’ve done, I will always keep looking for you, until My eyes see you, till My hands of healing reach you, till I can hold you close again to my heart. “

 

As I’m feeling so broken and so lost, that I don’t even know the way back to God, He comes looking for me. So now matter how lost and alone I’m feeling, how deep the venom has gone, He will still be able to find and rescue me, and make everything right again.

And He does this for all of us, because that’s who He is.

 

All excerpts are from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp.

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This is Fr Robert Barron’s reflection for today. I’ve sensed this kind of theme from some of his other reflections for this year, but none as direct as this one. There were none of these judgement overtones in last years reflections.

Could God be any more clear?

 

LENT DAY 23 – GOD OF THE NATIONS

“While we take comfort from much of the Bible’s message, the Bible is not always comforting news. It often carries a message of warning and danger. During this penitential season, it’s good for us to attend to the darker side of the biblical message.

When we read about the pollution of the Lord’s Temple, we discover a familiar prophetic theme: the people have wandered from the ways of God, rendering impure what God intends to be just and upright. God sends prophet after prophet in order to bring his people back, but they are ignored, mocked, and rejected. Then God’s judgment falls on the unfaithful nation.

What is the instrument of God’s justice? In one case, it was the Chaldeans, one of the heathen nations. They came and destroyed the city of Jerusalem, burned the Temple, carried off its most sacred objects, and led the people into exile.

What was this? Dumb bad luck? Just the give and take of geo-political forces? No! The Bible insists that this should be read as God’s action, more specifically, as God’s judgment and punishment. How at odds this is with the typically modern Enlightenment view, according to which religion is a private matter, confined to the heart and the mind of the individual. For the biblical authors, God is the Lord of history and time, and hence the Lord of nations and the Lord of nature. His works and actions must be discerned in all events.

If you want an example of a boldly theological reading of political events, look to Karl Barth, widely considered one of the greatest Protestant theologians of the twentieth century. At the start of the First World War, Barth was a country pastor in Switzerland who had been trained in the confident liberal theology that was all the rage around the turn of the last century. This theology shared the common view that with the rise of the natural sciences, the development of technology, and with political and cultural liberation, human beings could build the Kingdom of God here on earth.

From the quiet of his parsonage in Switzerland, Barth followed the horrors of the First World War, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands, the devastation of nations, the collapse of the European social order. Then something dawned on him: it was precisely the inflated self-regard and hubris of nineteenth-century liberalism that led to this disaster.

He saw the European powers as descendants of the Tower of Babel builders, attempting to reach up to God on their own terms and in their own way. Behind the sunny confidence of the liberal period, he discerned arrogance, imperialism, and colonialism. The advances of science were made possible through the rape of the environment and economic comfort for some was made possible through the enslavement of others.

In the end, bad personal habits have bad consequences, but bad national habits have bad consequences as well.”

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In the Eye of the Swirl

When I read this it cut straight to my heart, so I pray it will bless you too.

For the Lord would say, “You feel at times you do not have the strength to get through your day. At times, you are so stressed and you feel, ‘Lord, I just want to come aside, but my life and everything around me feels like a swirl. I feel like I live in a swirl.'”

But the Lord would say, “My children, I will put you in the eye of the storm.” “There are moments of every day when you awaken and you’re just telling Me you love Me, or you’re going to sleep and you’re just giving Me the burdens of your heart. Know that I am with you. Know that I am hearing you. There are times when there are so many frustrations and they pile in upon you. And there are so many things that seem to come at you from everywhere, that you cannot even seem to sort out your feelings. But I never stopped listening to you, child. I never ignore you. I hear every whisper. I see every need. And know this: I care about you. I care about your frustrations. I care about your stress. I care about your needs. I care about your finances. I care about children. I care about school. I care about aging parents. I care,” says the Lord.

And the Lord says, “Today, as you’re hearing Me, let Me lift the heavy burden. Let Me lift it off of your shoulders. My burden is easy. Children, there is no burden I cannot carry. There is nothing too much for Me to answer. There is nothing too great that I am not in the midst of You,” says the Lord. “So in the midst of this season and all the many, many things going on in your life, know that I am always there, walking with you every day, listening to you every morning,” says the Lord.

Source: I Will Put You in the Eye of the Storm

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Advent Day 21 – Expanding Our Heart

By Father Robert Barron

Sometimes we are made to wait because we are not yet adequately prepared to receive what God wants to give us. In his remarkable letter to Proba, Saint Augustine argued that the purpose of unanswered prayer is to force expansion of the heart. When we don’t get what we want, we begin to want it more and more, with ever greater insistency, until our souls are on fire with the desire for it. Sometimes it is only a sufficiently expanded and inflamed heart that can take in what God intends to give.

What would happen to us if we received, immediately and on our own terms, everything we wanted? We might be satisfied in a superficial way, but we wouldn’t begin to appreciate the preciousness of the gifts. After all, the Israelites had to wait thousands of years before they were ready to receive God’s greatest gift.

Even if we are on the right track and even if we desire with sufficient intensity what God wants to give, we still might not be ready to integrate a particular grace into our lives or to handle the implications of it.

How badly do you want Christ this Advent?

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Fri Feb 28

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– Superman found the missing potty!
– boys all playing happy in a patch of sunlight
– superman dancing doing dishes
– boys writing their math tests, each w an empty chair for Jesus
– after a lot of struggle and frustration, a breakthrough- superman struggles to write numbers without the lines- but that is plenty good for now!
– his happy dance when he realized he could write his numbers!

– afternoon activities- pattern blocks, baby school box and adventures in odyssey
– sun shining rainbow block colors on the floor

– my little helper spreading tomato sauce like a pro
– (blessing DH by putting him first)
-adoration, peace and clarity and a deeper sense of His love as reality starts to sink in more
– fellowship and discipleship all the way home

Sat Mar 1

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-Lord please bless this food and may it get me through rosary

– my little munchkin just hanging w me in the kitchen
– apple cinnamon oatmeal
– WAU on how to see others
– toddler playing Nintendo w his feet
– little boy in his high chair doodling w the marker cards while I planned the next month

– roller coaster fun- this is by far the coolest thing I’ve ever picked up for free by the side of the road
– shooting the cars across the house
-k-nex men hanging on for dear life
– superman’s super loop
– baby blue monster
– family time spread all over our living room ❤
– playing at the playground w Jesus
– dancing and praising up a storm w Him on the wood beams

– ta daa!
– all my guys looking up in wonder as the cars went over the top
– daddy, let me help you
– engineering awesomeness #besthubby

-Zucchini tomato pasta, my attempt at recreating one of the knorr frozen skillet dinners
– everybody learning to working together to clean up – baby steps
– awesome day, only accident was my fault because I did’t get him to go when I knew he needed to! He’s really getting it! 😀
-Juice party under their mushroom
– happy happy fingers for everyone: one for my awesome dish washer tonight, one for my awesome potty training star and one for my little superman ( and 2 for my big superman)
– Lols w DH – rethink your pencil design
– boomerang baby running out to us- ta daa!

Sun Mar 2

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– baby sitting w me for a morning snack, making bananas out of crackers 🙂
– WAU – the baptism of Jesus
– superman suddenly looking intently in the niche thought was empty for that elusive cracker he heard
– my 5 year old seems to be confused about what march means for the weather

-heather was at church today, so good to see her again!
– a second excellent broadcast all about practical forgiveness

– still getting used to the two little boys on Sundays 🙂
– mmmm Mexican fiesta today, these enchiladas are just the best 🙂

– boys all playing boy stuff w sticks on the back deck
-little bear crawling in the dining room
– pikachu peekaboo

– toddler just decided to go pee by himself 🙂
– froggie and gill, together at last!
– Lorax movie and discussion about the world’s idea of success 🙂

– roly poly spinny kids
– even though my leg has given out for tonight, still, I have an opportunity and the ability to serve and bless my husband 🙂

– my comfy bed after a long day, top gear and mom’s lemon mousse 🙂

Mon Mar 3

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– Ty God that it’s still early, never too late to start the day over
– a shelf for all the stuff on the boardroom counter- only 20 minutes too late lol..

– falling in love w a little 4 year old girl on the Internet, oh dear!
– toddler prancing around in my froggie shirt

– Ty for the crazy this morning, pushing me to want to make some healthy changes around here- I’m done w white bread
– superman built his very own railway track

– favourite childhood story book – smiles and happy time in our otherwise bad day here
– mmm leftover Mexican 🙂
– pikachu motivation at the end of the row of 9s
– big kid wrote ‘tool’ today

– wow I have never had a day that threw me off this much without an actual crisis! Thankful for a hubby who can step in to pick up the slack, make this worn out mama some healthy dinner and watch a movie. Tomorrow will be another day!

Tues Mar 4

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– Thank you that the sun is still shining behind the dark clouds
– Ty that Your mercy is new every morning

– everyone working together to make juice
-Bible party in the bathroom
– toddler serving his brothers the food he made in his kitchen 🙂
– poo over the potty and not in his underpants!
– a lesson on place value 🙂

– boys w block goggles
– homemade lasagna ready to assemble for the crock pot
– a typo of mine, I want to clear off the mantle…

– after 3 accidents this morning because I was distracted, he went to pee all by himself!

– lasagna came out delicious in the crock pot, even w the noodles uncooked 🙂
– mmm shrove tues crepes
– one last smash brothers session before lent
– superman w his pikachu all wrapped cozy in a towel

Wed Mar 5

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-Ty for a personal lent that will be unlike any other

– Ash Wed and there is blowing snow out the window. By the end of light it should be gone 🙂
– FB is off my home screen, I know this is a good thing, but I find myself clicking the weather or just turning off my phone again because that was all I unlocked it for!
– beautiful deep purple curtains make excellent lent cloths 🙂
– simple Lenten altars
-crayon pictures of each of the things we’re giving up for Lent ( kids decided for themselves w a little help)
– toddler on the bookshelf

– hockey glass
– sneaky toddler climbing back out of my room w 3 chocolate orange slices in his teeth
– afternoon family prayer together: station 1.
– all 3 boys snuggled and listening to the Lorax

– snow eggo
– long afternoon shadows across the yard
– prayer speed date w Jesus over tea

– ash wed mass w just my 5 year old
-unexpected surprise, seeing our friends there at mass too
– the moment where the whole family went up to get their ashes, even the baby in a carrier 🙂
– those 2 little boys together w their ashes 🙂
– just the two of us, w really long legs!

– a cop car to lead me through the shortcut by the stadium back to where I was supposed to go
– sleepy supermen ❤

Thurs Mar 6

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– Ty for a play date this afternoon

– an elaborate play setup
– superman dangling over a shark tank, oh dear!
– the Lord’s Christ, suffering for us

-little boys sitting on the mat listening to bible
– spice jars all lining up to see king Noah ( to demonstrate numerical order)
– making lollipops, we make a ball and then a stick
– it’s a bacon day

– renewed wonder and love during my praise litany

– a whole bunch of books and booklets and goodies to bring over to bless our friends
– a long awaited play date after 3 weeks or more
– a nice long chat about the kids and faith and lent
– I finally got to tell her all about Annabelle

– all of us coming home from our play date to a semi tidy house and supper in the crock pot
– boys running circles around each other

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Struggle, and what it has to do with loneliness:

When I struggle, that is when I desperately seek out comfort and encouragement. If I feel I’m struggling, then for w/e reason, I’m not finding it – so this will help bring peace in those times.

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