Keep Love in Lent By Living in God


I’m participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2014, hosted by the Catholic Bloggers NetworkEquipping Catholic Families Campfires and CleatsTruly Rich MomA Slice of Smith Life   and  Home to 4 Kiddos.

We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on  Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.

Lent is a 40-day liturgical season that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with the Mass on Holy Thursday. The word “lent” comes from an anglo-word meaning “spring.” It is a special time of renewal and preparation for Easter.

I love this Season because it is a time to renew my prayer life and as a result refocus on the most important aspect of my life which is my relationship with God and with the people I am called to love

Often people think of Lent as a time to share in the suffering of Christ yet when they do so they become morose and end up centering more on their own sacrificial devotions than on God. Lent IS a time to get rid of the flub in our lives but only so we are able to connect more to the heart of our Beloved. I am thankful for ALL the suffering in my life because it has brought me closer to God.cropped-cropped-cropped-thehandofgod41.jpg

I once asked a priest what my life would have been like if I had not experienced suffering, if I had married a well-off dentist, had 1.25 kids and lived in an efficient, modern house. He put on a phony, pious face, put his hands together in prayer, and said in a high, mocking voice, “Oh, you would be a nice Christian lady, praising the Lord.” What he meant by that amusing bit of acting was that I would be shallow, without depth and strength.

If this is the situation, I say bring on suffering, because I want—no I need—to live in reality. I can think of no greater tragedy than to die and discover that I had deluded myself, simply living happily on the surface, eating, drinking, doing chores, sleeping, and yet missing out on the core reality of what it means to be fully alive, fully human, in relationship to other people and to God.

I was just thinking that I have not really written about my pain, the struggle to raise nine kids with little money on a hobby farm. I only really write about the joy of mothering. A friend also pointed out to me the other day that I never really talk about the long, dark periods in my life. I guess it is because joy always triumphs in the end in my life; I tend to forget about the painful years, the years of suffering. The love of little people, strong tea, laughter, and the Presence of God in the midst of chaos seems to crack anxiety and stress, but yes, I have been shattered by the demands of mothering.

Yet God always manages to use those moments when I am shattered to crack my heart and soul open to more of His presence and healing. It is like childbirth; the pain is forgotten when I hold my newborn. If there is no pain, no suffering, there is no baby or new growth in the Spirit.

For me God speaks through books, as well as my spiritual director, and the written word. He has often changed my life through these “tools”, flipped an inner switch by bringing insight and clarity. I then realize that each difficult stage in mothering is normal, not a big deal, because all mothers go through similar experiences. So I am not going through a dramatic or unusual crisis. I can see each difficult stage as a call from God to change and grow by going deeper, accessing the strength of the Holy Spirit within my own heart.images (13)

I want to live in Christ, healed, fully alive and strong enough to serve. I cannot tolerate the idea that my life was spent playing games, pretending to live, unable to love, whether as a mother, wife, daughter, or friend. If that means I must experience suffering then so be it.

© 2014. Melanie Jean Juneau. All rights reserved.

Check out these blogs for more ideas of how to keep love in Lent:

Monica at Equipping Catholic Families  (Equipping Catholic Families on Facebook)
Chris at Campfires and Cleats (Campfires and Cleats on Facebook)
Tina at Truly Rich Mom (Truly Rich Mom on Facebook)
Tracy at A Slice of Smith Life   (A Slice of Smith Life on Facebook)
Lisa at Home to 4 Kiddos (Home to 4 Kiddos on Facebook)

I'm part of Post A Day 2014

9 thoughts on “Keep Love in Lent By Living in God

  1. What a truly wonderful post! I especially liked your comparison to child birth – without the pain there is no baby. Yet as soon as we hold the newborn the pain is forgotten. How true!

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  2. This is such an encouraging post. Now I feel similar to your words “bring on the suffering”–at least in the sense that I know God’s strength can and will carry me through it. In the end, with God’s grace, we triumph! And what a triumph it will be. Your analogy to childbirth is great and so meaningful. What they say is true, isn’t it, no pain no gain? At least God’s grace given in the pain and suffering is greatest gain there is!

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