Monday, March 1, 2010
I'm very, very Protestant. My three year old is in the midst of the many "whys", and we have a little routine when he asks why something is that something.
"why are you protestant?"
"Well, buddy, I was born protestant. My mother was protestant. My father was protestant. I was born this way, and I'll die this way. I'm a protestant."
All that to say, growing up, Lent was some sort of foreign concept. Something those people did. With the chief definition of those people being, well, Yankees, of course.
Somewhere in high school, I got interested in Lent, though, and I figured out that it was a fast of sorts. And, I tried it out. I think the first few years were about just doing it because I could. Over the years, most years, I've fasted from something during the Lenten season. I'm still not completely sure of all this Lent stuff, but these days, it's a good time for me to fast and pray and draw closer to God. All good things.
I've talked my sweet husband into fasting along with me, too.
This year, I gave up, wait for it... Cokes!! As any reader of this blog can tell you, I love cokes. And, being from the south, "cokes" is a category that includes anything with bubbles. So, I'm bubble-less for 40 days. Sounds silly, but I really do enjoy my carbonated beverages. ~smile~ And, for me, one of the big parts of fasting is a bit of a continual reminder that I'm giving something up and an opportunity to replace that object with prayer.
So, instead of enjoying a coke during naptime, I'm enjoying some quiet time with God. Instead of strapping my babies in the backseat and rushing to Sonic for a happy hour drink before the 4:00 cut-off time, I'm throwing up a flare prayer to help me make it through the afternoon.
And, it's been a sweet time.
This year, Mike gave up sweets (oh, my!), but we also decided to do something new. We are fasting from meat on Fridays. Technically, this isn't that hard for us. We almost always eat meat-less at least one day a week. We like beans, and this isn't a huge hardship. But, for us, the beauty has been in the joint fast. It's been surprising to me to feel so connected to him in this time of fast.
We've fasted before, but giving up different things. To us, there's just something different this time about giving up the same thing. I love this journey, and the turns and twists it takes us on. Always learning something new. Figuring out a little bit more about "kingdom come" and a little bit more about marriage. Sometimes together. And sometimes without a lot of pain on the way there.
Always a good thing.