For the last eleven years, my entire adult life, Matt and I have been on staff or pastoring a local church during the Lenten season. Most of those years were spent pastoring a church. If you’ve ever been involved in your church during the time leading up to Easter, you know how much preparation and work goes into the special services, plays, and events. It’s exhuasting and a lot of work. Enjoyable and worth it, yes, but I am thankful to be spending this season differently this year. With Matt’s new job, we are serving the Lord and our church in a different compacity. I feel a new peace and slower pace for this Lenten season, which is why I’m excited and thankful to be observing my first Lent during this time.
So, why now? Honestly, during past years I haven’t given Lent much thought. I knew what it was but didn’t know the application of it for my faith. Selfishly, the thing I have been most excited about this Easter is that we won’t be late to the big Easter gathering at my mom’s. Spending years showing up late because we lived an hour away in a different time zone, I was thrilled to know we could attend a service close to mom’s before heading there for lunch and hunting eggs. However, I felt a pulling to focus on this season more intentionally, which peeked my curiousity about Lent. After hearing Lent mentioned on several podcasts and researching the motivation behind the observance, I decided this should be something I do every year. No better time to start than now.
During Lent there are personal things I am doing, but my main objective is to take time to refocus on Jesus and intentionally find time to spend in God’s word. Lots of days it is hard to find time to read or focus on something besides keeping my kid alive, but I’ve tried to get create with ways I get into God’s word. Podcasts are one of my favorite things because I can listen in the car or while I’m cleaning or cooking. I have also started doing my reading in the morning, usually with her snuggled beside me watching a show. Find what works for you. I promise there is time in your day for spending time with God.
For Lent specifically, She Reads Truth has a reading plan for the book of Job that leads into an Easter plan. You can buy the books for these plans, but I decided using the app would work best for me. This keeps track of my daily reading, and I still get to enjoy the commentary offered from She Reads Truth. It even includes a discussion section for readers. The app is free and the Job reading plan is only $1.99. The discussions help it feel like a bible study group, which I love. I usually prefer a book in my hand, but having the reading easily accessible has been great.
I do have some books I plan to get and read during this time as well. I have been trying to keep my word for 2019 in my mind, so I can continue working on myself and praying about it. The two books I have found seem to aline with the work I need to do within myself. Even if they aren’t exactly what I’m looking for, I know they are both still good books and wouldn’t hurt me to read them. The first book I’ve been dying to read is Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher. I worked with Brencher’s husband at Chick-fil-A, so I feel like I know her. Kind of. Haha. When I started looking at what they book is about, I knew it would help me with my word for the year.
Then, I’d love to read The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman. I have the hardest time making decisions and worrying what if I make the wrong one. Right now the book is on Amazon for pre-order, so if you buy early she offers some pre-order gifts. The book is set to come out April 2, 2019, so there will be plenty of time to read before Easter. Lastly, I want to share some personal photos and thoughts about Holy Week with y’all. We visited Israel in 2014, so I have some beautiful pictures to share.
Even if you don’t observe the 40 days of Lent this year, I encourage and challenge you to take some time to spend with God. Yes, we should do this always, but sometimes I need a refreshing and reminder that He is my Savior. I should be honoring Him daily with my life, but everyday is busy, distracting, and sometimes crazy. Being intentional and having a plan to spend time learning more about my walk with Jesus is important. Don’t boil it down to rules or chores, it’s a relationship. He wants a relationship with you. Find what strenghtens your realtionship with Him the most. The way I hear from God will likely look different from how you hear from Him.
I’d love to know how you are planning to celebrate Easter this year and if you are observing Lent. Leave a comment below and let me know or get in touch on social media @annakateturner. I’ll let y’all know how great these books are soon!