Lent for dummies!

 I sometimes think that the way Lent plays out in our home would read to a stranger like a 'Lent for dummies' edition! We really try but at the best of times our plans are thwarted and so often we feel back to square one! 
 For us as Catholics, we regard Lent as an opportunity to have a spiritual 'spring clean.'  It's a time when we focus on our faith and drawing closer to God through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
 When I was single, this seemed SO easy to do. I was totally in control of how I would spend these weeks. I could fast from junk food, get to church frequently, read my Bible in peace and ultimately feel that yes, I was having a very 'successful' Lent, thank you very much!

Now the way Lent plays out is an entirely different matter. Take today for example: hubbs and I decided to go for a three mile walk with the kiddos, specifically to talk about problems and pray together for clarity and direction. Sounds like time well spent? Did I mention our company? Apparently praying was not on Noah's agenda right there and then, and so our time was happily interrupted and distracted. 

It's a totally different ball game getting through Lent with children. I find myself learning more and more that 'feelings' are not the measure of success at all. Whilst at the time I 'felt' disheartened that we had only managed a couple of prayers, after we made it home I knew that actually it was a success story and in a way, more of a heartfelt attempt than passing up a slice of cake would be.

As a family we now look upon Lent with an approach of 'taking each day as it comes' as opposed to charging in with a strict 40 days and 40 nights commitment. To some, that may seem soft, but to us it's extremely beneficial. We spend far less time worrying about where we've fallen and broken our fasts and more time spontaneously finding opportunities to draw closer to God. Whether by reading the children's bible as a family, talking about church around the dinner table, or simply having quiet peaceful time in the home and a chance to reflect.

My children are my constant reminder that God doesn't count my prayers on a tally sheet, He is infinitely more interested in the heart that offered them.

I don't know what your plans for Lent are, or even if you partake at all. However, I love hearing about how other families navigate it with their littles- do feel free to leave comments and tips below!



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