Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Thoughts on Lent...

Lent kind of crept up on me this year...
Ash Wednesday fell on the same day as this young lady's 18th birthday. We celebrated this milestone birthday by going out to dinner at a fairly new Korean-style restaurant in town. {Side note: Korean Cowboy is a must-try if you are a foodie.}

As we started chowing down on kimchi fries, mocha pork belly and Korean tacos... it dawned on me that it was already Ash Wednesday. In fact, Ash Wednesday was almost over by that time.

The day before, on Shrove Tuesday, I read this blog post by Ann Voskamp and posted this excerpt on my Facebook wall:
On this Shrove Tuesday before the start of ‪#‎Lent‬... this is my prayer and the confession of my heart...

People are dying for the faith we take for granted, that we take and hide under a bushel, that we take and paint vanilla so we don’t get persecuted.
Are we people who humbly take up the Cross and take our faith seriously — or people who seriously take and hide our faith under a humble bushel?
That’s what we get to decide and carry home, carry in our heads, carry around in what we read, what we watch, what we support, what we cheer: Cheap Plastic Commercialized Feel-Good Love?
Or Wood Passionate Cross Made-New Love? Worth humbly laying down our lives for.
I want that — I want to be counted as People of the Cross, carrying around the Cross in my head — because that’s the only way there will be real love in my hands and feet and heart.
So the People of the Cross will pray that our faith in our Saviour is worth laying down our life for our Saviour. We will pray that we don’t live lives of cheap grace but of costly Christianity.
Too long The People of the Cross have crusaded for safe lives, too long we’ve wished for comfortable lives, too long we’ve wanted easy lives of Vanilla Love instead of Cross-shaped Love.
But the People of the Cross — we are done with safe lives of comfort instead of living dangerous lives that speak of the comfort found in Real Love who hung on a Cross."
~ Ann Voskamp.
We read the entire blog post as a family after eating hubby's home-made pancakes for dinner... because that's what you're supposed to do on Shrove Tuesday right? Eat pancakes for dinner. :)

As I read aloud, in my heart I said, "Yes! Yes, I want to be counted as one of the People of the Cross..."

Early the next day, on Ash Wednesday, I read Ann's next blog post, one meant to kick-off this season of Lent... The Call for the Next 40 Days: To the Nations and People of The Crossbut I didn't take the time to really absorb its message due to the busyness of that day.

In fact, it has been such a busy season... that I hadn't even thought about what we should be doing as a family for Lent this year.

It wasn't until Thursday when I really had the time to sit down and absorb this powerful, powerful, powerful Lenten message...
On an Ash Wednesday, The People of the Cross repent of wanting to be greatly known for anything other than for loving greatly.
The People of the Cross repent of loving our agendas more — instead of interrupting our agendas because we love Jesus most.
We repent of loving You, Lord, so little because we have loved ourselves too much.
What if the next 40 days is asking The People of the Cross to do more than Give Up something — but to Take Back something?
Take Back taking up our Cross,
Take Back our time so we can turn back to our First Love,
Take Back our hypocrisy and our complacency and our apathy and Love Lavishly,
Take Back our excuses for not committing to Give Back every day in some tangible, real way — to the local food bank, to a woman’s shelter, to the refugees and the foreigners and the Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and to the forgotten neighbour next door with her meowing stray cat.
Maybe now is the time —
Now is the time to Take Back what it means to humbly and genuinely live the love of The People of the Cross.
~ Ann Voskamp.
Ah, yes... yes, I do know it... I do! Lent is not going through the motions of the supposed-to-dos... of eating pancake dinners and of reading devotionals and of giving up something.

It is more than that. Way more than that...

It is praying this prayer... it is repenting of loving God so little because we love ourselves too much.

{Please press the "play" button to hear this powerful prayer.}

Perhaps it's a blessing in disguise that Lent kind of crept up on me this year. There are no meal plans prepared. There are no devotional plans ready. There are no plans to give up anything. There are no plans of any sort lined up at all.

Except for the above prayer. A call to repentance...

One I am badly needing to pray. Everyday, for the next 40 days of Lent. In repentance, of loving myself too much... and loving God so little.

Refreshed anew with the right perspective on Lent...
Our family got ready to head out for the weekend. We were scheduled to serve as Compassion Advocates at two events over the weekend, including a huge conference for youth and youth workers.

#1000gifts ~ This SUNSHINE as we drive across the city to represent Compassion Canada at the Today's Teens conference this weekend!

Upon arriving at the event on Friday night, we were surprised to learn that my girl has been invited to speak the next day about Compassion's ministry and to promote their upcoming youth curriculum, True Story {#TrueStorySeries}, of which she is the host.

#1000gifts ~ Excited to be promoting @compassionCA #TrueStorySeries at Today's Teens conference this weekend! Check out www.compassion.ca/truestory to watch the trailer. You just might recognize someone. :) #proudmama

As I watched my girl share her heart with hundreds of her peers that day and as I thought about why we have chosen to spend our entire weekend advocating for children living in extreme poverty, it dawned on me that this, this is exactly what it means to observe Lent and to live as People of the Cross... {and I am paraphrasing Ann Voskamp}:

When we want to be greatly known for nothing else but for loving greatly.

When we interrupt our agendas because we love Jesus.

When we repent of loving God so little because we love ourselves too much.

When we take back taking up our Cross.

When we take back hypocrisy and complacency and apathy and Love Lavishly.

Let it be so... 
Let me be counted as one of the People of the Cross... one who acts justly, loves mercy and walks humbly with the God of Justice everyday and in all of my ways. This is my prayer.

I recently came across this song, God of Justice by Tim Hughes. I love these words...
We must go, live to feed the hungry,
Stand beside the broken, we must go.
Stepping forward, keep us from just singing,
Move us into action, we must go.
To act justly everyday.
Loving mercy in every way.
Walking humbly before You God.
Have a listen here...

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!


  1. This is wonderful. Thank you so much for all you said. I love this. I am right there with you. I love hearing Alyssa speak. My Lysa is praying about whether to speak at our Compassion Sunday or let me do it! Love these girls with a heart for Him and to serve! Haven't heard that song.... I love it. Oh and I left you a comment on my blog.... thank you for understanding! much love

    1. Thanks for dropping by today, Teena! We are cheering Lysa on from here... I know she will be awesome speaking for/about Compassion. :) Yes, saw your reply to my comment on your blog... many times, I've thought the same thing... that it'd be awesome to call on my fellow Compassion Advocates because they'd be the ones to understand my heart. :)