The Church Year

Why I Didn’t Give up Anything for Lent

My mother in law is 93 years old and lives downstairs in our finished basement apartment.  She’s still got a pretty agile mind (when she remembers her hearing aids and actually listens to what is being said) but her body has pretty much given out.

We help her with meals during the week, bringing down extra casseroles and soups, salads and an occasional dessert.  She doesn’t mind being reminded to eat (that being a precursor to staying alive and all) but she is so over it when it comes to being bothered with meal preparation.

“I’ve cooked so many dinners in my lifetime, I’m just tired of even thinking about it.”

That’s the thing about our daily lives–as someone said, they’re so daily.  If you are breathing again each morning you wake up, Jesus has made it clear He still has a purpose for your being here.  
“But really, you wonder, do I have to cook dinner again????”

I can’t decide to only eat (or not eat) certain days of the year; I can’t give up something for just 40 days of Lent–a vice of some kind, a bad habit, a fleshly indulgence–I need to decide to give things up for LIFE

I was not raised in a Christian home and when I found Jesus (or He found me) I began worshipping in a very evangelical Protestant denomination. We’ve never followed the Church calendar when it comes to liturgies, we don’t ‘do’ Advent or any of the organized observances like Lent. (Frankly, it’s much to our loss, as those rituals can often bring a deeper meaning to our faith.)

However, I still wanted to read something this year about the season of Lent, words that fit my mindset and the way I worship. Kris Camealy’s book “Holey, Wholly, Holy” seemed to fill the bill. The book’s subtitle is, “A Lenten journey of Refinement.”
From ‘Why Lent?’ page 8:
“This is the hard refinement, the journey from holey (broken in sin) 
to wholly (surrendered) to holy.
Kris’ words resonated,
“It occurred to me that perhaps what God calls us to give up, really, is ourselves.  
The paltry offerings we prefer to give up, 
(less TV, no chocolate, shopping for clothes), 
while they feel challenging, are perhaps less pleasing 
because we fail to give up the one thing that stands between us and Christ. 
‘Why Lent’, p. 8, italics mine.

Yes, giving up myself and my wants and my fleshly desires and my sin (for that’s what it is) will be a lifelong journey. My daily life provides me ample opportunity to do the same thing over and over again, to repent anew each day, to be reminded of how much I need the Cross and God’s salvation–not just preceding the Easter Season, but every day of my life.

While I’ve been reading HWH, I’ve also been memorizing Isaiah 55 with the online group at Do Not Depart (see my sidebar….the gurgling fountain picture 🙂
The word ‘behold’ begins many of the verses in that chapter, and I’ve been meditating on ‘beholding’ Jesus and ‘being held’ by Him.  

:When we turn to Him, he holds us.  When we behold His face, we are changed.:  

A quote from Alan Redpath opens the Introduction to HWH:
“Give up the struggle and the fight; relax in the omnipotence of the Lord Jesus; 
look up into His lovely face and as you behold Him, 
He will transform you into His likeness.  
You do the beholding–He does the transforming. 
There is no shortcut to holiness.”

If there are no shortcuts, clearly this WILL be a lifelong process.

I will have to find new manna every day.  
I will have to come back to God’s table to be fed. 
I will have to come back to the feet of Jesus and lay my sins and 
shortcomings at the cross.
In the week before Easter, this seems a fitting focus for my life.

Kris writes in the last chapter,
“The journey through Lent is a journey that doesn’t end at the cross.  No!  
This journey ends at the empty tomb when we realize that He’s beaten back death.  This journey ends in the victory of grace for sinners and redemption for those who believe.”

Oh, I say Hallelujah, for that.

As we move into the Holy Week preceding the Resurrection,
I pray that you and I will have a heart of thankfulness that rests in the daily assurance
of God’s grace 
that gives to us again and again and again,
the grace that causes us to say, “I give up!” for Life.
Linking with my sisters Jen
               Finding Heaven
Jennifer, Emily and Lyli

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  • Kel Rohlf

    Jody- I always feel refreshed after reading your posts…beholding and being held…that's what I needed to cling to today.


    You are always reading the best books. Thanks for sharing these reflections.


  • Jen Ferguson

    Yes. This is why I gave up something like criticism — God knew I needed a life change, not just a 40 day change. I am praying that these new mindsets will root all the way down.

  • Jody Lee Collins

    Dolly, thanks for reading. It is a joy to just be on a journey together….God bless you this Easter week.

  • Dolly@Soulstops

    I'm realizing more and more how it is a lifetime process and how much I daily desperately need His grace…like you, I attend a Protestant church but in the last few years, it has begun to recognize Lent …we have always had Good Friday services…now I feel like I practice it on my own…blessings to you:)


  • Jennifer Dougan


    That Holey, Wholey, Holy book sounds interesting. I especially liked the highlighted line about Jesus wanting all of us, and for all days. Thank you.

    You mentioned that you like to study the hearts on pilgrimage verse too from Psalm? I'd love to learn more and read those posts of yours. 🙂

    Have a great week,
    Jennifer Dougan

  • Kelly Greer

    Just what I needed to hear just when I needed to hear it. Just the nudge I needed to spur me on. Thanks Jody! And, I am glad to see you sharing from Kris Camealy's “Holey Wholy Holly.” I have been inclined to buy it and read it, but just hadn't followed through. I am even more inclined to buy it now.

  • Jody Lee Collins

    Marlece, I like the idea of adding something in instead of taking away…. you'll have to tell me about your journey when I see you 🙂

  • marlece

    the grace that says I give it up for Life. Love that saying. I go to the same kind of church and I each year choose to do lent of some sorts this year I added not take away. Trying to begin a good habit with the Lord, I figured this was a good time to do that too.

  • Jody Lee Collins

    “40 days doesn't mean much if there is no life change.” Wow, I might steal that… Thanks for reading, Lyli, and may Jesus bless you this Holy Week.

  • Lyli @3-D Lessons for Life

    Beautifully said, Jody. 40 days doesn't mean much if there is no life change. I need to pick up Kris's book — have heard so many great things about it, and I love her blog. 🙂

  • Thoughts for the day

    May we enter into this week remembering the magnitude of the moments. and the love that was poured out for us.

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