It's that time of year when your Catholic friends walk around with black smudges on their foreheads and get creative with seafood recipes.
Yup... it's officially Lent.
In the past, this season of the liturgical year has seemed like a serious and sad time. The church is draped in purple, we can't sing the Gloria at mass, people are fasting, everyone has given up something they love. I always associated this period between Mardi Gras and Easter to be the gloomiest part of the year. I mean... we're all just pushing through until Easter, am I right?
This year I am seeing this season of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in a new light. It has always been a season of preparation, but I don't think I truly honored the purpose of preparation before this year.
Steve and I have been in a season of preparation for our family for a while now. We got final approval from our agency at the end of last month and are only waiting on one letter from the state before we can begin matching with children. The day when we can finally meet our children and bring them home is imminent.
But, we aren't quite there yet. And it's a good thing because we have a few things we need to do still. Little things like painting the bathroom, washing the new towels and bedding we purchased. As well as big things like meet with case workers to identify which kids we are willing to match with.
This process is a microcosm of what is happening our hearts as we prepare for Easter. That day when Christ rises from the dead will be filled with a joy worthy of a southern banana pudding celebration. But you can't truly appreciate it and enjoy that day without buckling down and honoring the journey.
By fasting, praying, and giving alms we are doing those big and little tasks which prepare the way for celebrating the gift that is Christ's resurrection. Just as we must prepare for the gift of parenthood, we must prepare our hearts and minds for the greatest gift we will ever receive, which is Jesus on the cross.
I have said it before, but I'll say it again. I may never know the full list of reasons behind our infertility in God's plan for us, but I know without a doubt that he is using our adoption journey to draw me incredibly close to him and rekindle the relationship which all but died between us over the last few years.
I hope all of you who are fasting have an easy fast and that you use this Lent to grow your own spiritual relationship.