Lights of Grace



Giving Up is Harder Than You Think

forsythia“What are you giving up for Lent?”

This is a common question among my fellow Methodists. I must confess, the first time I “gave up” something for Lent was about five years ago. Oh, I had tried in previous years, but just couldn’t sustain forty days; just too much temptation I guess.

A few years ago I was determined to try again. I knew it had to be meaningful and near and dear to me – a real sacrifice! Anyone who knows me, if asked, “What would be hard for her to give up?” resounding response would be – SWEETS!!!

It was so hard. But every time I was tempted, I would tough through it by remembering why I was giving something up. After all, Jesus gave his own life for us.

What a success it turned out to be – I lost 14 pounds in forty days. This giving up something paid off. Oh, and Jesus’ sacrifice did too – so that we might have everlasting life.  Of course, it wasn’t long after Lent season when I began to eat sweets, and in the doing – you guessed it – I found those 14 pounds again. Lent didn’t change me a bit.

It is now Day 6 of this season of Lent. I didn’t give anything up this year except worry and anxiety. I modified my strategy because it’s so hard to give up something.  Therefore, this Lent season I am receiving by focusing on my relationship with God. I schedule a quiet time each day in self-reflection and prayer. I begin by closing my eyes seeing only darkness and I think about what happened yesterday, and what’s going on today, and I begin to feel His presence right beside me. I then pray by repeating, “God, God, God” with each breath as I allow sparks of thoughts in that darkness to guide me in my prayer, ending with,“Father, thank you, forgive me, lead, guide, and direct me that I may serve You through and with others. Amen.”

Until yesterday that is – it was but Day 5 of Lent.  I got busy with errands, laundry, and dinner and a movie with a friend, and I missed my time with God.

Temptations come in the most mundane forms; allowing worry and anxiety in again…just like those 14 pounds. I’ve always thought that the simple act of living your best life is a daily endeavor, requiring courage, which is but fear and faith holding hands.

As I took Teddie for his walk today, I noticed the forsythia bush has the slightest glimmer of tiny yellow buds. Snow and ice had bent it’s straggly limbs only days ago. I smile with the knowing that seasons don’t wait until everything is perfect. Nor does God.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  –1 Peter 5:12

Something Actually

All too often we hear a story, we may even be the bearer of the story, followed by looks of astonishment and the declaration, “You can’t make this stuff up!”.

Maybe, just maybe, ya’ can.

According to my Facebook feed and The Today Show, every day seems to be a National “something or the other” Day.
The trend to declare every day as a National Day of Something actually makes me happy. Some, in fact, make me delirious, while others are just a bit odd to me, but each one is meaningful to someone(s).

A few examples of these National Awareness Days …

Food Day: How do you recognize this day? Going without food in order to understand what that feels like; or contributing to the local food bank? To do is to understand don’t you think?

Thankful Day: Is this a day of giving thanks or of receiving thanks? Which has the greater purpose?

Thinking Day: We need a day for this!?! Oops, did I say that out loud?

Poetry Day: How special to take ten minutes to read a message that impacts the heart and the head with a meaning that I think about for the rest of the day, often memorizing those words to repeat them when I need to be reminded of that message. Try it because the next step is addiction to stories, then an ascension to the world of full length novels. Want to try this three step program?

Trivia and Humiliation Day: Observed on the same day – coincidence? As an active trivia team member I think not, but am certainly open to other opinions.

Peanut Butter Day: I observe this on Thankful Day.

Jelly Day: So many choices, how good is that?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Day: NOW we’re talkin’!!

Dance Like a Chicken Day: How do chickens dance? I’ve seen some do the Michael Jackson moon-walk, some do the Texas Two-Step, while others do the yoga standing- on- one- foot- pose. Namaste.

Chocolate Day: Everyone is aware of this. However, there’s more specific chocolate days such as Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day or Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, just to name two. While I realize you may have to wait to Thinking Day to respond, what is your specific chocolate day of choice?

Peculiar People Day: Pretend to be peculiar for a day. What would that look like? Who would you become? Why would you become that person? Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes…that’s all I’m sayin’… .

Be Nasty Day: Ah-ha, now’s our chance! On this day we can get away with doing, saying and acting…well…er…mean? This makes me sad.

Some of the more unique awareness days that I also find interesting are:
Bologna Day, Clean Out the Fridge Day, Use Even If the Seal Is Broken Day, Roof Over Your Head Day as well as Enormous Change At Last Day and Bicarbonate of Soda Day – these last two are celebrated on the same day. Coincidence?

Then there’s the Day of Prayer. I surely hope that this Day raises the awareness of what prayer can do. I pray my way out of bed each morning, pray my thankfulness as my children say “I Love you Mom” before they hang up the phone. Every. Single. Time. I pray for wisdom, for guidance and for strength. So if a Day of Prayer brings awareness of the power of prayer, then Glory be to God.

Play God Day. Who wants to take that on?  God is God, and we are not.





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