giving up or Gaining?

Lent begins in a week. When you work at a church you become keenly aware of upcoming liturgical seasons. While my work calendar runs on a school year since the focus of my job is with kids, it also runs on a church year. More often than not, at least on the work front, I'm planning for Lent while it is still Advent. But when it comes to my personal life, I'm not always so 'on the ball' about planning for upcoming seasons. So here we are, Lent a mere week away, and I'm pondering what I'll change for Lent. On the one hand, I'm praying that I'll have a newborn by Easter, so that certainly changes the way I approach Lent. Last year when Lent came, I had about 80 days left until my wedding, so I knew that once it got to be Easter, I only had another 40 days until the wedding. This year as Lent approaches, I realize just how close the due date is. (41 days from today for those of you who are counting.) Whether Monkey arrives by Easter or not, I don't want to miss out on Lent because I'm impatiently waiting for her to arrive. After all, isn't Lent, like Advent, a time of waiting? Of anticipation? Of knowing something life-changing is just on the horizon? Of preparation? So similar then are Lent and the last few weeks of pregnancy. I wait for the sorrow of Good Friday while I also wait for the pangs of labor. I anticipate the resurrection at the same time that I anticipate the coming of new life in our own family. I prepare for the Lord's Last Supper at the same time as I prepare - as much as one can - for the arrival of our little one. In this sense, it seems like I'm already set for Lent. I'm journeying with Christ as I journey through these final weeks of pregnancy, and yet it shouldn't be as simple as that. If I'm being honest, I struggle to give up something for Lent when I feel like I'm already giving up so much. Sleeping through the night. A day without heartburn. Being able to tie my own shoes. Lifting a box without someone freaking out on me. Working out like I want to. Fasting (because doing so is not only dangerous for me, its unhealthy for Monkey). It could be argued that I chose to give these things up when I got pregnant, but in a way, I didn't choose these things. Giving up more, then, seems downright absurd, especially when Monkey will demand (in a loving, dependent-on-Mommy kind of way) so much more from me in a few weeks. It may sound silly, but throughout Lent - at least up until Monkey is born - I want to do the same thing I've tried to the past few years: silence. I want to sit in Monkey's room every day for at least ten minutes and not do anything, not clean, not rearrange (for the thousandth time), not read her a story, not ooh and ahh over her tiny little clothes, just rest and pray. Rest in the silence that won't always be in that room. Pray for her, for whatever God's plan for her is. Pray for the rest of the pregnancy. But most of all, in the silence, I want to simply listen, to shut my mind off and rest in God's embrace. I long to hear His voice, to be in His presence in these last few weeks before she's born. I don't know what else He wants to tell me about motherhood or wife-hood or life-hood, but I do know that if I don't make the time to listen, I may miss out entirely on where He's leading me. Here's to the silence.
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