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Ash Wednesday 2020

Every year, for as long as I can recall, I always gave up something as a "penance" for Lent. It has been as simple as giving up soda to as challenging as giving up all meat. This year, I struggled with a new "penance" to Fast for Lent. I couldn't think of something I could really sacrifice for Lent. I considered doing meat again, or alcohol, or even coffee (my family vehemently said NO!) but those weren't really true sacrifices (well, the coffee would have been, but I imagine even God will forgive me for that one). While I struggled and I saw that Ash Wednesday was rapidly approaching, I did the only thing I could think to do--I prayed. I prayed for guidance on what to Fast this year. And the answer that was placed on my heart was incredible.

Intention. It means to do with purpose and intent. Purpose. What is my purpose? My purpose is to do God's work. But how can I effectively and INTENTIONALLY do God's work if I'm not spending time WITH God and IN His Word? There are so many vices in my life today (the primary one being my PHONE) that take me AWAY from Christ and His Word. I am not living intentionally for God. Therefore, I'm not living intentionally for myself!

This year, I have decided to Fast ALL THE THINGS that keep me from living INTENTIONALLY. I will be more intentional with God. More intentional with my husband and kids. More intentional with my external relationships. More intentional with my food choices. More intentional with my movement. More intentional with the things that matter. Not social media, the news, toxic thoughts. But those things have crowded their way into the forefront of my life, wedging out what really counts.

I'm committing to a Daily Devotion all 47 days of Lent, beginning today and ending Easter Sunday. If you'd like to join me, comment below or send me an email and I'll get you connected! I'm also committing to writing a Daily Gratitude Item for the next 47 Days. I'll be blogging my Lenten Journey, so feel free to follow me here every day, if you wish! And if you'd like to join me, I'd love for that to happen, too! You can connect with me on Facebook by following the link here.

So now that you have the backstory for my Lenten Fast, here's today's Daily Gratitude Item:

The beginning of our Lenten Devotional brings us to learn a bit more about the birth of John the Baptist. It never really hit me how doubtful John's father, Zechariah was when Gabriel came to him at the alter. But God's words were truth and Zechariah and Elizabeth had their son. And when John was born, Zechariah, unable to speak after his distrust of God's Word, was finally able to speak again and rejoiced and praised God, immediately.

This story reminded me of the long, arduous journey of Parenthood that J and I embarked on over six years ago. I knew God would bless us with children. And He did. Two incredible children. But I know I'm not nearly grateful for them enough. My children are healthy. They are smart. They are LOVED by many. While we may have thought we struggled, there are others who have struggled harder, longer, and some, without the promise of these gifts at the end of that journey. We were lucky. We were blessed. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Father God, THANK YOU, for helping to me to see that my vices aren't just ONE specific thing, but, many things that rob me of the ability for me to be INTENTIONAL with You. With my family. With my friends. With the world. Thank you for putting on my heart the ability to Fast not just one thing, but ALL things to gift me more time to be where I count. Thank you for blessing us with our two beautiful, perfect, healthy children and the village that surrounds them and us. Thank you for this Lenten 2020 Journey. Amen.

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