Sunday, March 2, 2014

Preparing for Lent

For the majority of my life I've considered myself to be a good Catholic.  Through the years I've pretty regularly gone to church, completed all of my sacraments, participated in mass using my musical talents, and contributed financially.  My husband and I have baptized our children and taught them about God and Jesus since they were little.  We've shared Bible stories with them, taught them a special bedtime prayer, encouraged them to share their own special bedtime prayers, and recently begun singing (yes, singing) a mealtime prayer.  Our faith is important to us.  On the surface, it seems like we're on the right path, but upon digging a little deeper, I've realized we have some room for improvement.   

Last year I began reading some books by Christian authors and started to realize that while I was doing the "right" things, there were many ways that I could improve my spiritual life. Several of the books I have read were written by women; many of them mothers.  I have found myself feeling like I could relate to these women in so many ways, but the strength of their faith was far greater than mine.  It was a refreshing change of pace and I was left wanting more when I finished them.  

The past few months I have really been focusing on my spiritual life.  Some simple changes have already made a big impact.  I have a little more patience, am yelling less, and generally feel more calm.  It seems so simple that a few books could change the way I view life, but it's true.  Recently I have come together with a group of moms to discuss a book I've shared with you before:  Desperate:  Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe.  We are beginning to explore our roles as mothers, our relationship with God, and how it all ties together.  I am looking forward to this journey we are taking together and am counting down the days until our next gathering.    

With Lent beginning this week, I feel like it's the perfect time to focus on this part of my life even more.  Traditionally people give something up during this time and while I may do that, too, my aspiration for Lent is to learn to let go of past discretions, strengthen my relationship with God, and help guide my children to grow in faith, too.  My current reading material (You're Made for a God-Sized Dream and Desperate:  Hope for the Mom That Needs to Breathe) are filled with opportunities for reflection and to answer some tough questions.  I truly feel that this will help me in so many ways and I am looking forward to reading more books of this type.  If you feel like you could use some inspiration, are feeling a little down, or you want to deepen your faith, I would recommend picking up a book by these authors:  Holley Gerth, Jen Hatmaker, Lysa TerKeurst, Sarah Mae, Bob Goff, and Christine Caine to name a few.    

I picked up a few books to read with my kids, too.  Every Day a  Blessing and The Usborne Children's Bible are on our end table ready to go!  While the children's bible is out of print, there is the Usborne Little Book of Stories From the Old Testament available.  They are a great addition to your spiritual library, as they are durable, small (but not too small) and have nice colorful pictures. 

What are your Lenten goals this year?


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