I don’t know how you’re feeling about Lent this year, but it’s been kicking my butt. Hard core.
I’m not sure why that is, exactly. It’s not like things around here have been terrible. Nothing awful has happened. Then again, nothing phenomenal has happened, either. I think I’m falling victim to my all-too-familiar sin of comparison again. Last year was such an amazing Lent with so many spiritual doors opened, so much growth achieved. This year? I’m just not feeling it.
So, I keep plodding along. Doing (or, more accurately, mostly doing) the things I said I wanted to. I find nuggets of truth here and there in the reading I’m doing and I hold onto them for dear life. And doing the photo journal is good because it keeps me focused each day on something new to look for, to be aware of. It’s not always easy and I’m usually a day behind, but I’m glad I’m doing it. So, without further ado, here are this week’s entries.
Friday of Week 5 – #NEAR
(OK, so technically this wasn’t part of the photo journal and I totally spaced on doing last Friday’s prompt. But this needs to be shared anyway.)
This sentence from Wednesday’s reflection in the Take Up & Read Lent Journal, Above All, left me like…wow. It’s like Elizabeth Foss, the author, climbed right into my brain for this one and spoke straight into a struggle I know all too well.
It’s true! We need to be careful with the words we speak because they are just SO powerful. We can use them for great good, but they can also be weapons of mass destruction in their own way. Whether we speak about the faults of others in their presence or not, we need to do so always remembering that they, too, were made in the image and likeness of God. And then we need to tread carefully.
If nothing else, this reminder to counter negative words with prayer will stay in my mind as a balance. I need to weigh carefully the words I say and temper them with love. Always.
Saturday of Week 5 – #EYE
“Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?”
Never thought I’d use a Bob Marley quote for my Lenten photo journal! But if ever there was a time to step back and take a look at your life, to see what needs changing and what needs saving, it would be Lent! There’s only three weeks left until Easter, so let’s make the most of it!
Sunday of Week 5 – #HOLYSPIRIT
My oldest son just got back from his retreat this evening. It’s so awesome to see him really alive in the Spirit! I pray that this weekend has lit a spark that will continue to be fanned into a flame throughout his life. He’s already talking about wanting to be a peer minister next year, so that seems like a good sign! Thanks to his youth minister, Laura, for all of her hard work with the St. Joseph’s youth!!
Monday of Week 5 – #WELL
You’ve heard that, when the plane is going down, you should put your own oxygen mask on before helping others, right? And you’ve heard that you can’t fill someone else’s cup when your own is empty, yes?
As moms, we can’t take care of other people if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Every so often we need to go back to the well, as it were, and refill ourselves. Whether it’s with some self-care, some time in prayer, better food, more exercise, whatever! What is the well you need to visit and replenish? What will help you do better in your vocation today?
For me, it’s the Word. I’ve been slacking on my Lenten journaling and really need to get back to it.
Tuesday of Week 5 – #PRAYER
I’ve always loved the candles in a church. The idea that I can say a prayer, light a candle, and know that as long as that flame shines, my prayer is being continued by the heavenly host is so dear to my heart. I just wish more churches would stick to actual candles instead of push-button lightbulbs! While the idea remains the same, something is lost in translation, I think. But, I’d venture to guess that God hears our prayers whether or not they’re sent up on candle wax. Don’t you think?
Wednesday of Week 5 – #GATHER
Every couple of years, my dad’s side of the family gathers together for what we lovingly refer to as the Burch Bash. My Grandmother and Grandad have been gone for a long time now (8 years and 15 years, respectively), but that only serves to make us more intent on coming together.
See, my dad is the third of seven kids. Between them, their spouses, my siblings and cousins, our spouses, and all of our kids…our turnout this summer should be over 60 people! Isn’t that crazy?! And it doesn’t even include extra cousins or any friends that may tag along!
But you know what? I love it. My husband, who is from a super small family, loves it. My kids, who hardly ever see any of these people, love it! The times when we can all gather together to eat and drink and play games and tell stories…these are priceless times, indeed.
I wouldn’t trade any one of these weirdos in this picture for anything. Their love and support are pieces of my very soul. And, as my cousin Tess reminded me that our Grandad would say, “They aren’t worth a plug nickel, but I wouldn’t sell ’em for a million.” Here’s to family.
Thursday of Week 5 – #CREATION
I found this little thing on one of our bushes out front this morning. Lucy always calls them “our flowers” because she was with me when I bought the bushes. And it was her job to water them after they were first planted. Now, while I am generally terrible at taking care of plants, it really is nice to see the work of the Creator come alive again every spring.
Links to Previous Weeks
Want to take a look through my iPhone album this Lent? Go ahead and peruse the previous weeks’ journals. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at the handle @bethwilliby!