Someone asked me this week what I am giving up for Lent. I have to admit, it was the first time in a long time that I had been asked that. My answer caught me off guard for a second because it was the first time I had shared the truth. “I don’t celebrate Lent.” It was an interesting question with an answer that left me wildly at peace and ridiculously happy.
Growing up Italian-Catholic, giving something up for lent was what you did. If you were like me you eventually gave in and ate the candy that you gave up, or you forgot and ate meat on Friday. If you were also like me you then guilt and shamed yourself until Easter that you couldn’t even follow something so simple, for God nonetheless! …Or you just plain lied about it because you didn’t want to feel the shame from others and if everyone else could stick with it why couldn’t you!? (Yes, I may have done that. Classy, I know.)
I remember growing up thinking me giving up candy for Lent pales in comparison to what Jesus did, and I usually felt like a jerk for thinking I could in some way repent by giving up candy… But when in Rome… You know the rest… Don’t buck the system, Dollface… At least not when God is involved.
I’ve realized something profound about what I believe and being able to acknowledge that I don’t celebrate Lent and say it out loud and own it is freeing.
Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. He defeated death and rose from the grave on the third day just like he promised he would. Jesus already paid the price.
There is nothing I can do and nothing I can say to earn the grace and forgiveness that Jesus has so freely given. No amount of candy I give up is going to show my regret for my sins. Repentance happens, for me, through a conversation with my Savior. It is something that I do everyday and not just the days leading up to Easter. Jesus came so that we don’t have to live under the Laws of the Old Testament. He came so we can be free and live a delicious, amazing, crazy happy life!
If Lent is your thing, that’s awesome, more power to you! Just do it knowing Jesus loves you no matter what you give up in his name or don’t.
Through my short 30 years on this planet I have compiled a list of things people have said to me that has made a profound impact on my soul. Yes, I really literally have a list… It’s pretty Earth-shattering and extraordinary. It’s filled with everything from sound advice that I have built my life on to swoon-worthy text messages that have made me smile. I keep these words around as reminders of wisdom and good in my life. One day when I am old and wrinkly, sitting in my rocking chair with a big cup of tea, I will be able to read and remember the souls that have touched my life. Spirits that my path has intertwined with to create my story…
Today I open my intimate book and share some of that wisdom…
An incredible woman that I knew once looked me dead in the eye and said “Little Darlin’ you got it backwards. You have the rest of your life to get divorced. You only get one shot at this marriage.” Her words snapped my life back to reality and then put a calm over my soul. In my reckless pursuit of happiness, she was right- and I knew it.
Too often we let our priorities in life get shifted. Too many things become more important than our relationship with the person we promised to do life with. Our jobs, our finances, our desire to have our needs met, our workouts, our dreams, our families, our friends, our children. These are all things that while important, can quickly shift the priority of marriage out of the #1 spot. Much like earthquakes, the slightest shift in priorities can cause utter destruction in a marriage. Multiply that priority shift by any amount and you can bring a relationship to the point of breaking.
So here’s to marriages. The flourishing ones. The broken ones. The thriving ones. The bent ones. The restored ones.
Look at your priorities. Be real about them. Then look at the state of your marriage.
Every year the Oscars evoke nostalgia, fascination and awe in living rooms across the world. Ever since I was a little girl I would watch with wonder as these larger than life people became real in front of my eyes. Maybe it’s because movies pull us away to another time and place that we can only dream of. They captivate us for a little while and sometimes are moving enough to change the way we see the world.
The 2014 Oscar’s did not disappoint. Ellen killed it as the hostess-with-the-mostess for the night. Live performances from Bette, Idina, U2 and Pink stole my heart. Twitter crashed with the selfie-of-all-selfie’s. What moved me the most were the acceptance speeches. Raw emotion on display from Actors and Actresses who usually have it all together- they come on stage overwhelmed with emotion by the realization of a dream being achieved.
Here are a few of my favorites: