Mar 6, 2012

My First Ever Lent Entry

This entry may seem late but it's not.  I've been praying about how to journal about my decision to participate in Lent.  I wanted to be sure I waited until I was journaling about what God was teaching me through fasting rather than just the fact that I decided to fast. Truthfully, this is only the second year I've ever done a fast for Lent and so far, I've made it farther than I did last year. In even more truth: I can't remember what I fasted from last year. So, with this as my background, I wanted to fully participate, in spirit and action, and make this Lent season one that I would remember by not only fasting from something but adding consistent prayer in its place.

I put a lot of pressure on myself and prayed very seriously about what God wanted to use to speak to my heart during this season. I wanted my focus to be drawn to Him, not to my self, not to what I was missing. It took me until the night before Lent started to make the decision of what to forgo.  This may sound silly to some but what I have given up is... using my dishwasher.
The first day was terrific! I prayed my little heart out while I did the dishes and Micah slept and I really felt blessed by the whole experience.  I mean, we use a lot of dishes (apparently) and that equaled LOTS of praying time!
By day two and three I felt my mind start to wander and it became very difficult to focus and pray (there's so much to look at and think about when your sink faces the neighborhood)! The idea came to me to make a Prayer List that hangs by the sink so I could see the list and focus my prayer to those areas. I had an extra frame and some cute scrapbook paper that I threw together and made a list using dry erase marker. This made a huge difference in helping me to dedicate the time to prayer!
I was reenergized and my dishwashing/prayer time was looked forward to...for a day or so. Then LIFE once again "got in the way" and another round of teething started, napping took a turn for the worse and I began to loath not using the dishwasher. I remained faithful in action but certainly not in attitude or stature of the heart.  I was hitting an all time low, with dishes piling up higher and higher. I would get half way through and get distracted by something "more pressing". The whole time at the sink I was thinking about what a difficult task it was, how little time I had to do it, maybe I'll just forget it and go back to using the dishwasher. It's not that big of a deal, right? In my heart I knew it was more important than I was trying to make it seem. This was time that was valued by God. He loves when I pray and build my relationship with Him. 

By day ten, Sunday, I was avoiding the kitchen so that I wouldn't be reminded of what I wasn't doing (ha!).  I guess my husband could tell that I was getting tired of the task because he encouragingly reminded me that Sundays were a day of REST and that for one day a week it would be okay to use the dishwasher. Praise God! I seriously was overwhelmed and overjoyed with the realization that even in the minutest speck of a "trial" God doesn't give us more than we can handle! 
As I loaded that dishwasher on Sunday I began praying with a lightened heart, thanking God for providing a break, for understanding the weakness of his created being (me), for helping me stay faithful thus far, even if it was just in action for a few days, and for all that he has taught me in just this simple everyday task. I may not take every Sunday off from washing dishes (I don't want to use it as a loophole), but I was so glad to be reminded of God's grace to me this past week!

I started the week fresh, remembering the purpose of fasting is to draw closer to God. I have truly been surprised at what a struggle it has been to stay focused on prayer with a right attitude over these past 12 days. After my day of rest, I am now glad for the upcoming 30 days and look forward to what God will show me now that my attitude has been adjusted.