Friday, March 1, 2013

A Sacrificial Lent

Considering a pregnancy takes three-quarters of a year, chances are, you're going to be pregnant for a particular season or holiday. One season that sticks out for me in both of my pregnancies though, is Lent. I was newly pregnant for the Lenten season of 2011 and this time I am in my third trimester. Both times, I feel like God has been sending me a message about how we act when that little life is growing inside of us.

A couple of days ago I was chatting with Julie Musselman, one of our Mom Squad Bloggers. I'd asked her what she gave up for Lent and how it was going. We chatted for a second about pregnant women being exempt from the fasting portion of the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting & almsgiving. My thought to share with her was that I feel like Lent is a great time to be pregnant because it keeps the self-centeredness at bay. An expectant mother comes in a very close second to a bride in the race for most irrational women on earth. In both cases, we give excuses - stress, most important day of her life (for the bride) and hormones, discomfort, "I'm carrying a life here!" (for the pregnant one). Yes, one of those scenarios seems a little more excusable, but it's still not nice! (acknowledging my use of a 5 year old's word)

I have really enjoyed the very gentle reminder during these 40 days that it's SO not all about me. God is kind; He doesn't whack me over the head with it or send a messenger with a snarky comment to put me in my place. It's just that constant nudge that while I might be "exempt" in a way, I still need to focus on others more than myself and that even more important than taking care of the human that is kicking me from the inside out at this very moment, is the need to take care of my relationship with Him.

Julie's reassuring words were, "You know that you ARE sacrificing more than ever at this time." I agreed, aware that my rear end & thighs were expanding and my back was aching, but my reply was, "Yes, but I don't need to make everyone else sacrifice along with me and make their lives miserable!"

The perfect example of this self-sacrifice even in the moments where it is not expected is Mary. She was in her first trimester and traveled to be with Elizabeth to help her with her final months of pregnancy. It's nice to think that maybe since she was going to endure some serious emotional agony ("And a sword will pierce your very heart", Luke ch 2), that God had mercy on her and neglected to "bless" her with morning sickness, but chances are, she had at least a few moments of queasiness. She rode on a donkey for goodness sake!

She put aside her own needs and aches and took the long journey to serve. What a beautiful way to experience this season of sacrifice!

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