Nikki Lamberg ponders the significance of the little sacrifices we make in Lent, a time when we're called to stop, reflect, and repent.
Lent is a season of modesty of our thoughts and actions. As we await to hear the story of Jesus’ last days and rejoice in how He defeated death by rising from the dead on the third day to save us from our sins, it is a time for us to reflect and repent on our own lives as well, and to remember all that God has done for us. He reminds me every day, whether it’s through the sunrise, waiting for the coffee to drip out of my coffee maker, or perhaps something my child did.
Lent is a time to reflect on where we are in life and where we want to be. Are we where we want to be in our spiritual life as well as our earthly life? Are we taking the opportunities to consider if something we are bothered by will matter in five years or not?
I think Lent is also a time to pray on past transgressions as well. It is the perfect opportunity to forgive and to ask to be forgiven. Perhaps one of the hardest things we will do in life is to forgive those who never gave an apology, or to apologize to someone who really hurt you. At the end of the day, who is really the one suffering when forgiveness hasn’t been given? It always seems to be the one who is holding the hurt, the one who needs to turn the other cheek—doesn’t it?
When I was driving to take my kids to school one day I had to stop and take a picture of the sky. It was a cloudy day, however at that moment there was a small break in the clouds and the sun shone through, depicting a beautiful blue sky on the other side. It made me stop and think about how sometimes things may seem bleak or upsetting on the surface, but on the other side of that are beautiful blue skies—or opportunities—to make our situation better.
A wise mentor of mine once shared with me a quote and it goes something like “You can do anything as long as it’s not forever.” I can’t tell you how many times I have applied this in my life. It came in handy when my husband was finishing up his bachelor’s degree and we had just brought home our third child. It got me through some of those precious but sleepless nights of feeding a newborn. It brings me sanity during the times of year where I don’t know if we are coming and going with all of the extracurricular activities and commitments we have. These are just a couple of examples, and I am sure there will be many more opportunities in my life to use this again. Just when we feel we can’t push ourselves any harder, we find ourselves in a place of peace.
As Catholics, we choose to give up something for Lent, as a symbol of our love for Jesus and all that He gave for us by dying on the cross. We are reminded every time we reach for that snooze button, that treat, or whatever it is that we chose to give up, to say a quick ‘thank you’ to God. It’s not easy, but it’s not meant to be easy. It’s meant to encourage us to stop, reflect, and repent of our materialistic and human ways, and to try to become closer to God. It’s a time to slow down and be reminded of all of the little ways God reminds us each and every day that He is near.
So, when you think about how hard it is right now to give up that candy, junk food, and so on, just remember that it doesn’t matter what you eat: if you keep feeding your soul and stay connected to Jesus, you will live forever. And one way we can achieve this is to stop, reflect, and repent, during Lent as well as any other time of the year.
Copyright 2022 Nikki Lamberg
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About the Author
Nikki Lamberg is a born and raised Catholic, full-time working, wife and mom of three young children. It brings her great joy to read, write and help others as she can, especially when it comes to infertility and raising young children.