I'm having an interesting Lent...
It feels like it is a long endurance test just waiting until Holy Week to me!
And I already fell 'off the wagon' in terms of cutting out chocolate. (Raiding the Easter Egg box even. Heck, I never said I *was* Jesus.)
Yet, I have experienced profundity and change, and am still learning.
Our theme was Keep It Simple, and we have. We've eaten soup and baked potatoes A LOT. And other simple meals, so when we had a fuller meal, we appreciated it much more. We have sneaked in treats like ice lollies here and there, but in general, the children know we aren't having sweet treats in the house because it's Lent.
I haven't managed to up my fruit intake as much as I had hoped, but I did make a dental appointment and have been taking care of my teeth a lot more; I have kept exercising even though my instructor has a broken ankle. I do feel like I am waiting for a celebration, when we can crank up the treats and have a little party, but without having an ongoing season of gluttony.
But the main thing is, I have learned to just dig in and carry on in the face of adversity. Many people I know are mourning loved ones and dealing with serious illnesses in their family at the moment. My trials do not compare, just as I am different to Jesus (for example, my giving into temptation doesn't have disastrous consequences, it merely demonstrates my humanity and weakness.)
Yet, we have had sleep deprivation in my house this past 10 days or more. We have had a little girl with an ear infection, a bigger girl with a sprained ankle. We have had the small slices of 'my' time I am used to perpetually diverted back into serving others. Girls have had nightmares, and sleeplessness. We have had the baby teething, then being very sick with a virus for FOUR DAYS SOLID. On Mothering Sunday (the fourth Sunday in Lent, in the UK) I didn't make it to Church with the girls. It meant I didn't receive the Eucharist for two weeks running. It also meant I missed out on the bunches of narcissi traditionally gifted to mothers. Instead, I was up at 5.30am with children, and by 2pm I had been vomited on twice and sprayed spectacularly with liquid diarrhoea when I changed the baby's nappy. It was the pits.
However, I had hope. God's grace meant I knew, and know, these trials will end. One day when there are no small children around we will miss these times. They are exhausting, and require humility, patience and servitude, but they are our life. I am lucky enough to have these creatures to nurture. I am blessed with these particular trials and pitfalls.
And the baby got better. I finally got a bit more sleep last night. I craved some time alone, refreshed, and it has come. One of our church elders delivered 3 bunches of flowers to our house on Sunday evening as he knew I missed out. The sun is shining. It feels a little like I got a piece of Easter early!
(Yes, I know that's no excuse for chowing down on those eggs....)