I am Surprised with What I am Fasting For Lent This Year.

Happy Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent! I cannot believe we are forty days from celebrating Easter week. 

Growing up, I do not remember fasting for Lent.  I had heard people talk about giving up chocolate, soda, or social media, but I personally had not participated until 2 years ago. 

My first Lent, I gave up saying hurtful and unkind words. I joined Karen Ehman’s study, Zip It: The Keep It Shut 40 day Challenge; the goal was to pause and think before you speak.  Last year, I celebrated Lent by participating in Mark Batterson’s book, Draw the Circle: the 40 day Prayer Challenge. Focusing on prayer each day is an excellent way to prepare our hearts for Easter.

This year, a new book caught my eye.  I heard about it first from a Facebook Live and then the same book title appeared in an email.  Both times, the description of the book grabbed my attention.  It read, “What if you fasted regret?  What if your friends fasted comparison?” 

I love the idea of fasting the negative emotions and lies that can easily entrap us.

These heart fasts came from the book, 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chloe. Listen to how she describes it: “I offer forty different fasts in the hope that collectively they will prepare us to be duly awed by Christ’s resurrection by being daily available to daily crucifixion.”

I want to be “awed by Christ’s resurrection.”  I want you to be “awed by Christ’s resurrection” too.

My prayer is that as we prepare our hearts for Easter, we can give up whatever is holding us back from becoming the amazing person God created us to be.  I don’t know about you, but I am pleasantly surprised by what I am giving up for Lent this year!

Who wants to join me in fasting appearances, discontentment, and criticism? Who wants to give up comparisons and regret? I cannot wait for us to say goodbye to these things.

Friends, who would like to accompany me in the 40 Days of Decrease? I would love to have you participate with me as my hope is to email a few truths and encouragement from the book each week as we prepare our hearts for Easter.

Love, Jodi

3 Truths I Wish I Knew as a Young Mom

Sixteen years ago today, I became a mom for the first time.  As my eyes locked with my sweet son, I remember how in love I felt.

I had no idea all the emotions that would flood my heart over the next years: feelings of inadequacy and the need to do it all right.  Feelings of disappointment and exhaustion as well as excitement, joy and deep pride in who he was becoming. 

Motherhood is the most rewarding job and the hardest job all at the same time.

What would I say to my younger self if I could go back in time and share some of my life experience with her now?   Below are three truths that I wished I had learned at the beginning of motherhood.  

1. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is empathy.

Deep connection happens when you feel both heard and understood. Listening and understanding their emotions is a priceless gift that I wish I had learned early on in my motherhood.   I remember when my second son was born and my first born would act out when I was nursing the baby. I wish I could go back in time and say to him, “I know it is hard to have to share your time with mommy now.  I also miss our special one on one time together.” Instead of getting angry with him for misbehaving, I so wish I had given him this gift of understanding. Try putting yourself in their shoes as you listen and understand what they are going through.

2. Let go of perfect and comparisons.

No one has a perfect life.  As you are grasping for this ideal life you built up in your head, just remember everyone has their own struggles.  There are no perfect moms or perfect kids. Give each other lots of grace.  Let go of needing it perfect and just enjoy each moment with your loved ones. 

During motherhood, you will be so tempted to compare.  Compare yourself as a mom and compare your kids.  Don’t fall into the comparison trap.  It will leave you either feeling horrible about yourself because you will not measure up, or you will become prideful because you think you are doing it better.  Either way, it is a lose-lose situation.  Instead focus on how God made you unique and how He gifted each of your kids. 

3. Be Intentional!

Be intentional with your time and words. I know the days are long, but the years are short. Time truly goes by so fast. Guard your time with them and show them how important they are to you with your words and actions.  Laugh together, play games, and go on adventures.  Savor your time with them.  Get into their world and let them know that they are a priority in your life.    

Before you know it, your child will turn 16 and you will only have a precious few years left with them at home.  Friends, this is my motherly advice to both you and me.

  • Remember the gift of empathy and be your child’s greatest listener! 
  • Don’t compare but instead share with your child what makes them special and unique. 
  • Use your time to spell love and be intentional with your kids.

Praying for you and cheering you on in your special role as mom!

Love, Jodi