When We Forget {And Why I’m Observing Lent This Year}

The alarm went off at 6 am as it does every morning, but this particular morning I couldn’t keep hitting the snooze. I had to wake up so I could get my daughter to school earlier than usual for her band practice.  I fought hard to climb out of bed, not happy about sacrificing just an extra 20 minutes of my sleep.

I went into the kitchen to make coffee and observed the crusted dishes in the sink from the night before thinking: Why hadn’t I just put those in the dishwasher last night? Would have been less work tonight, and my kitchen would have been clean this morning and I wouldn’t feel the ball of dread that always comes with knowing when I get home from work I’ve one more thing to do.

I rushed to throw some clothes on, still mentally grumbling that I was having to get up earlier. I overheard my son and daughter arguing (as they do most mornings) and I decided to bring up the stress factor in the house by hollering at the both of them. A simple question from my son turned into a long tyrade from me filled with everything but the answer.When it’s time to leave the house, those last 5 minutes are crammed with running to the coffee pot, grabbing forgotten snacks for school, putting the dogs in the kennel, trying to find my phone, getting to the door and realizing I don’t have keys, looking for said keys, turning the house upside down only to find them in my pocket and then running to the car. And this sets the whole mood for the entire day. The rest of the day I tend to be short-tempered with everyone, I’m preoccupied with my own thoughts, I find it hard to hold a conversation, and I have to force smiles. These days happen more often than I would like to admit.

When I later stand at the sink, scrubbing the grime from the dishes of the night before, not really liking myself for the way I acted that day, I’m reminded of His grace.

I’m reminded of His scrubbing my soul clean of it’s grime with His blood that shed on the cross.

And I’m reminded of why He did and why I need grace:

Because there is no good thing in me.

Paul wrote :

For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. Romans 7:18

I’m reminded that apart from Christ, this flesh of mine… is no good.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23

And how easily I seem to forget that my freedom was bought at a heavy price. How easily I forget that I’m really a wretched mess, and that without the precious gift of Grace, there would be no hope for me. How easily I forget the suffering that was endured. How easily I forget the sweat that turned to blood that dropped from His body because He knew what was coming. How easily I forget the lashes that tore the flesh from His body, the nails that were driven into His limbs, the blood that gushed to wash me clean. How easily I forget that He could have called a legion of angels to stop it all, but He didn’t because He loved me and He knew the only way I could ever be His again was to die for me.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14

And in this thing called life when you get so busy that  you forget the only reason you’re even breathing, the only reason you even opened your eyes that morning was only by His mercy, it’s time to slow down. It’s time to remember. And time to praise God for His mercy and His grace that He bestows daily.

Lent is a 40 day period leading up to Easter that many Christians observe to focus on self-denial and self-examination from what I’ve read. I have decided to observe it this year for the first time. I want to make clear that Lent is mentioned no where in the Bible. It originated as a practice to reflect on Christ’s death, fasting as a means to depend on God more wholly and giving to the poor. It’s based on the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness.While it’s not mentioned biblically as a practice, it’s based on biblical principles. Christians observe it in different ways, but the most common is to practice some form of self-denial to prepare our hearts for Easter.  It is not a means to obtain righteousness because as we know faith in Jesus Christ is the only way. It is a spiritual discipline. The more we practice spiritual disciplines, the more we mature spiritually. It does not makes us acceptable to God, we are only made acceptable through Jesus Christ.  Just as people fast for different reasons, so is the period of Lent.

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