Lent is here. I have seen many posts on social media and have heard conversations about what people are giving up for lent. Some are giving up Facebook. Others are giving up chocolate or carbs. I decided to search for Bible verses that talk about giving things up for Lent. Is it our Christian duty? Am I a “bad” Christian if I don’t give something up? Does it make me a good Christian if I do give something up? What is Lent?
For those who do not know what Lent is, it is the 46 days in between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. According to The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Lent is a time “to mediate on the suffering that Christ endured on our behalf.” It is also a time to “reflect upon our own Baptism and what it means to live as a child of God.” There aren’t specific verses in the Bible that demand believers give something up during Lent. However, people choose to give up something important to them in order to remember and personalize the suffering Jesus experienced at the cross.
Suffering. Grief. Pain. These are words that I would use to describe March and April of 2016. Comparing last year’s calendar to this year’s. I realized that this Lent season starts and ends with two very painful memories.
This year Lent began on March 1st. Last year, March 1, 2016, I found out that I was pregnant. I was overjoyed. I went to the store, bought swaddles and a card to give to Aaron. I wrote the words, “You are going to be a dad.” I couldn’t wait to give him the card. To see the expression on his face. I remember dancing around our apartment with our cat. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to be a mom until I saw those two pink lines on the pregnancy test.
Later that month, I went to the Emergency Room because I was experiencing sharp abdominal pain and heavy bleeding. Through blood tests and an ultrasound, the doctors confirmed that I was pregnant, but was in the process of losing the baby. There was nothing I could do. Each cramp was a reminder that the life growing inside of me was no longer growing and thriving.
This year, Good Friday will be on April 14th. Last year on April 14, 2016, my dad took his final breaths on Earth. After battling cancer fiercely for almost a year, my dad went home to be with Jesus and experience no more suffering or pain. His absence is tangible. At family gatherings, our daily phone calls, our lunch dates. I feel his absence every day.
This year, Lent begins and ends with the one year anniversaries of the two most painful experiences I have faced. I am not giving up something for Lent. Instead, I am going to acknowledge my pain and my grief. I am asking God to meet me in my grief.
There are two focal points for Lent. Jesus’s pain and suffering AND that I am a Child of God. This past year, I have been avoiding church, avoiding God and avoiding prayer. I have been very angry at God. I wanted to stay angry at him, because being angry at Him is easier than facing the pain.
During this Lent season, I will be processing some of my journey through grief. I will be sharing some practical ways to deal with grief, healthy ways to express grief and what God has shown me through these next 46 days.
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, the loss of a dream, the loss of an opportunity, come walk with me through our grief. Share your story.