Historically, I love Lent. I became a Catholic in 2004 (after growing up in the Baptist Church), and Lent quickly became one of my favorite times of the year. Even my friends who aren’t Catholic, seem drawn to its themes of simplicity and sacrifice.
Two years ago for Lent, I gave up soda. Last year for Lent, in lieu of giving something up, I prayed daily for someone I knew would be hard for me to pray for. You can guess which one helped me grow in my faith more.
This year during Lent, I want to restore what needs to be restored. I’m sure my desire to restore my home and homeschool to an environment of peace was greatly fueled this year by Charlotte’s surgery and hospital stay. I had a lot of time at the hospital to think about what was working, what wasn’t, and how I wanted things different. I spent a lot of time thinking about her homeschool experience from what I perceived to be her point of view and was sad to realize it had been more busy than beautiful lately; more task driven, more hurried… which had affected our daily rhythm.
I want to restore PRIORITY.
It is so easy to allow distractions such as social media to take more than their fair share of my time or home life. I want to be sure my family knows they are my priority; via my actions, deeds, and words. Same goes for my house; taking care of my home should always be a priority over taking care of any online spaces, though I confess some days that has not been the case. Having five children under the age of 14 I know first hand the daily-ness of trying to keep a clean house, and I don’t want to step on toes, but the truth of the matter is, I realized that if I have time to facebook then I have time to keep my dishes and laundry caught up. I want to continue to show my family I love them by taking care of their living spaces to the best of my ability. I am thankful that when I was not doing this, I had a great partner who encouraged me to see that my real ministry was my home and family life. I want to continue to give them my best…my very best.
I want to restore RELATIONSHIP.
It is so easy to either get out of practice of your faith or get into a “going through the motions” mindset. Schedule becomes a problem for us as we are so busy during tax season; the boys having special needs is another problem that infringes upon regular mass attendance. This Lent, I want to move away from any “going through the motions” mentality that might have set in over this past year and continue to grow in real relationship with God. If you find yourself a part from your religion, focus on relationship. God will find you there.
I want to restore SIMPLICITY.
I want the schedule to reflect our familial priorities. I want all the rooms of my house to reflect the aesthetic of peace and order. I’m going to do this through applying minimalism to my home and homeschool, one room at a time. This is more than spring cleaning, this is lifestyle maintenance and a great project for the six weeks of Lent. I began learning about minimalism in 2010 when I discovered Francine Jay’s book, The Joy of Less. I have done an okay job with this so far, but this Lent, I want to take my minimalism journey one step further. I want to clear out the distraction, clutter and the unneeded to make room for the necessary, important and desired. So far, 9 boxes have went to Goodwill and my enthusiasm to create spacious, clutter free environments within our home and homeschool seems to be rubbing off on other family members.
I want to restore GIVING.
It is so easy to get busy and then suddenly I am immersed solely in what is going on in my own home and not in any big picture. This year, I want to branch out. There are so many good causes in the world. So many people with need. Since I have two children with special needs, I get questioned when I volunteer; surely I need more time for myself. But you know what is good for hard days? Helping someone else’s day be easier. When we become a part of something bigger than ourselves, it grants us two things: Perspective and Purpose. I am excited to start these new journeys with my family.
I want to restore PEACE.
Lastly, I want to restore peace. There is a sweet book that is my 4 year old’s favorite. It is a picture book of an excerpt of Charlotte’s Web . The pages she loves contain this sentence: “And every day was a happy day and every evening was peaceful”. The first time I read this book aloud to her those words touched my heart. What a wonderful thing to aspire to. Not aspiring to be perfect, just happy and peaceful. You can have happy and peaceful in the midst of disability. You can have them within the midst of a home that is suddenly cluttered with toys from a play date or homeschool lesson. Happy can be achieved via our attitude and reactions. Peace can be achieved through prayer and how we talk to each other. I resolved this Lent I would watch my words…and allow peace to overtake my home by allowing words of encouragement and peace be my normal and not my exception.