Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What I am adding for Lent.

Facebook, Twitter, and Chocolate were
the top three "Give-Ups" in 2009.
Well, she finally asked.  This morning Rebecca asked what I was giving up for Lent.  I replied, "I'm not giving up Facebook!"  To which she immediately asked, "What's wrong with my giving up Facebook?"

There isn't anything wrong with Rebecca giving up Facebook. In 2009 Facebook was one of the most popular things to "give up for Lent." Instead of testing my "will-power", this year I am looking at what I will add for Lent. One "add" is obviously working through Joyce Rupp's book with a small group from my church and with those who participate in this blog. What will I need to give up, in order to add this? That is most likely going to be TV from 8:00-11:00 at night, since that is the time of day I normally find myself vegetating. I feel as though this may be a "cheat" in some way though.  Dish Network and CBS cannot come to an agreement, thus I cannot watch any of my favorite shows! least for this moment.

So, my TIME of being present to God during Lent, is going to be in the evening.  My phone and home is normally quiet. Sophie has settled in and is not whining to be let out. ...and NCIS is blocked which will certainly help when my spirit is weak! Joyce tells us that some solitude and quiet are essential in order to make an inner journey.  Whatever it might be, each one of us needs to find "the" place and let it be our sacred spot as we read through this book together.

I have admitted that "being still" is difficult for me.  Joyce reassures me that this practice is difficult for many.
"Most of those who joined with me in praying with this book as a 'trial run' struggled to be faithful to a daily quiet time. At the end of the six weeks they all said that the struggle was well worth it. They noticed a change. It had deepened their awareness and their longing for God. It had created a desire in them to continue with a daily spiritual practice."
My PLACE is going to be one of my favorite rooms in the house, my living room/office space.  In this space I am surrounded by some of my favorite things.  The walls are a deep blue and my couch is comfy and rusty red. I have a beautiful rug at my feet, and, while the evenings remain cool, my fireplace is in this room as well.

The WHAT I will bring into my space is my book, and my cup, a candle, a journal and some colorful pens since I enjoy the practice of "praying in color" when I journal.    

My cup is marked Silesia, a porcelain made in Germany. It may or may not be valuable to anyone but me.  My maternal grandmother, Ruth Martin Edmondson, painted several pieces of china before being married. It is so delicate, I'm not sure how many pieces she painted, but only a few remain. How ironic that I became a "Martin" sixty years later.

Grandma passed when I was in the third grade. I have very few personal memories of her, yet I have been blessed by the stories of others who loved her.  So, during this time of having a cup as my teacher, I couldn't think of a cup I wanted to use more than this cup...for many reasons.

As you prepare your space and your heart for this study, Joyce suggests four helpful "signals."

  1. WAKE UP: Be aware, open, ready to receive.
  2. SHOW UP: Discipline yourself to be there!
  3. SHAKE UP: Be willing to have your inner viewpoint rearranged.
  4. START UP: Get moving. Take your relationship with God into your world. Let it make a difference in the way you live.
Joyce reminds us that our "spiritual life" is not limited to a set time and place of prayer. Rather, she says, " involves all of our life, every moment of our existence. God is always 'happening' in our lives.  We need to consistently nourish, restore, and renew this relationship."

Having grown up Presbyterian, I had not heard of the concept of giving up something for Lent until I got to college. It came as an interesting idea to me and so I experimented with giving up various things. Every Lent, it was something different: chocolate, ice cream, coffee. One brave year, I surrendered all three. Yet, despite my earnest efforts at Lenten discipline, I found that the only noticeable result was a modest savings in my snack budget. 

As the days of Lent have come near, I have thought how Lent is more than about fasting, it is also about feastingThe whole reason for giving up something is to make more room for God in our lives — so that we can feast on God’s mercy. I am looking forward to this feast, and I am thankful you will be walking along side me during this journey.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. Fasting vs feasting-lifes daily choice. During Lent I commit to feasting on ideas and fasting on instant gratification. I will stretch my mind while my body shrinks back into appropriate proportions. Gotta run--have lots of room for improvement.

  2. I am going to make the commitment to be open, stay open, and receive or give what God has in store for me throughout this Lenten study.