Lenten disciplines give me strength amid life’s challenges

I’m offering it up. There is this challenge in my life and I’m not going to let it get the best of me. I’ve been praying about it for at least a year now. And the Lord is bringing me to greater peace and understanding about it. I know he will bring me through this trial. Which one hasn’t he? He always helps. Always hears me. Always delivers me from my worries.

And, usually, it’s in a much greater way than I could have ever imagined. He blesses me. He carries me. He rewards me for my faithfulness. I’ve got to remain faithful through this one, too.

By Rita Meyer

How do I do that? How do I remain strong in my faith? It’s pretty close to what Lent is all about — prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Prayer. By asking God to help me, to be my strength when facing a tough responsibility, I’m lightening my load. I’m handing the reins over to God and asking him for his sustaining grace to do my work.

Enough of me trying to do something by sheer willpower. For me to succeed, he’s got to be working through me. So my prayers these days are more like, “Lord, please give me the strength to do your will” vs. “Lord, please find someone else to do this; I’m not qualified.”

I mentioned previously that I’m mentoring my niece through her confirmation preparations. One of our assignments last week was to find a Scripture passage that helps you understand your relationship with God. I’m curious to see which one Kim selected. I chose Philippians 4:4-7:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

That pretty much sums up my relationship with the Lord on my journey these days. I’m trying to rejoice more. Stress less. Feel his peace. Sense his presence.

Fasting. This fasting from coffee thing — it’s going along. I definitely miss a good cup of coffee (my definition of a good cup of coffee equals strong dark roast, freshly ground beans and the International Delight creamer — that’s the melted Cold Stone Creamery product no longer fit to sell as ice cream but works like a charm when it comes to sweetening up my coffee. How bad for me is that?!). Instead, I’m doing the Chai Tea bags steeped in hot water with a little skim milk added. It’s not bad. At least it’s something fun to drink other than all the hot water I consume.

Almsgiving. Each week, I’m trying to get rid of stuff that is cluttering up this house (not to mention, collecting dust) and donate it to Goodwill, Savers or some other charity.

That counts for a little bit of almsgiving, no? More so in that “giving” category, I’m trying to provide an act of kindness to someone at least weekly, preferably daily, but I don’t think making supper or washing my kids’ dirty clothes counts, does it?

My random or unexpected form of kindness usually comes in the form of something started in my mixing bowl and baked in the oven. Boring? I hope not. Creating something that I can see, feel, smell and taste gives me great satisfaction. And, the receiver of my gift almost always blesses me with their appreciation in a much bigger way than my small gift.

Hope things are going well with your Lenten journey, too!

Rita Meyer is married and the mother of four children age 17 and under. She and her family are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. Email her at ritameyer@meltel.net.

 

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The Visitor is the official newpaper for the Diocese of Saint Cloud.

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