Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Five Ways to Survive (Actually to Thrive) This Lent!

I really had hoped to have this post up last week. Does anyone else feel like Lent is racing toward us like a freight train, giving one very little time to prayerfully prepare? Well, maybe that's a good thing that will keep me humble. If I don't have a carefully thought out plan for Lent, God can't laugh at me when the plans don't go my way, right?

I want to share five ways you can have the best Lent ever! While most of these are resources to purchase, I chose to highlight them, because they can take us all the way through Lent. I don't know about you, but somewhere around the third week, I often begin to neglect the spirit of Lent, even if I miraculously stick to my Lenten prayers and sacrifices. I need something to keep me on track all the way to Easter, and I hope one of these tips/resources will help you do just that!

1. Get an Accountability Partner! I had this idea last weekend, as I was debating my Lenten sacrifice. Find a friend who understands you and can be positive and encouraging. Share your Lenten commitments with each other and text or email daily to share successes and challenges. Help each other not to give up, especially when you fall on your face! A friend and I did this once when we both admitted having a tough time getting out of bed in the morning and starting our days with prayer. A quick "good morning" text made it so much easier to get out from under the covers! Having another woman to both keep me accountable and push me to persevere this Lent might just make these 40 days more meaningful than ever before.

2. Join the Waiting in His Word Scripture Study! This lectio divina study is an ebook ($11) designed especially for mothers of young children by a team of women, which includes a dear friend of mine. I used their Advent study and found it was a simple addition to my daily routine. Each week of Lent provides reflections written by fellow Catholic moms in the trenches and five related Bible verses with which to pray. Pope Francis said he wants us to grow closer to the Lord by "listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy" this Lent, so this is a great way to follow his wisdom!

3. Immerse yourself in Elizabeth Foss's Restore Workshop! (affiliate link) If you are a Christian mother feeling depleted, this study is for you. I have enjoyed participating in this online workshop for the past two years. The meaty essays and daily prayer prompts in the bargain bundle ($15) provide both a spiritual balm for a wary mama's soul and practical suggestions for finding joy in our daily lives and avoiding burnout. Plus, there are podcasts, printables, and more if you purchase the full bundle ($49). In fact, if you feel worn down by motherhood, doing this workshop is an act of mercy for yourself! Read more here, and please consider purchasing at my affiliate link above.

4. Grow with the Catholic Conference 4 Moms: Faces of Mercy! This is another online resource that I'm excited to join for the second year. Starting February 20 through Easter, you can view over 20 online presentations ($14.99-$4 with coupon code "mother") by such well-known speakers as Kimberly Hahn, Fr. Frank Pavone, Gary Zimak, and Simcha Fisher whenever you want. The flexibility of the online conference concept and the quality of the topics combine to make a perfect plan to meditate on mercy during this Jubilee year! In fact, our mom's group has signed up for the group conference, so we can use the presentations at our meetings over the next several months! Read more here, and please consider purchasing at my affiliate link above.

5. Just breathe. Remember that it's not about choosing the most challenging sacrifice or prayer plan. The Lord is waiting for you and simply wants you to turn to him. Even simple sacrifices offered with a heart for Christ can radically change you. All God asks is faith.

What are your ideas for a way to keep the spirit of Lent for all 40 days?