With all six of us home, it feels like two whole days spent in the kitchen, preparing meals with results of varying degrees of success, fastening bibs on moving targets, overseeing clean-up for the big girls and on my hands and knees wiping up the floor offerings left behind by the little ones.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Again and again.
And I'm confessing to you that I haven't handled it well. I'm confessing to you that I've grumbled and been terse and sometimes even cried. I'm confessing to you that a few weekends ago on a late Sunday afternoon, it came bubbling up and pouring out in a hot, volcanic mess, and I sat on the living room floor and sobbed to my husband, "I might as well just be a waitress at Denny's!"
I'm deeply embarrassed to tell you that, but it's where I've got to begin before I offer this invitation to you.
I'm embarrassed because there's nothing shameful about waiting tables at Denny's, or anywhere, for that matter. Many men and women have provided for themselves and their families by waiting tables.
I'm embarrassed because there's nothing humiliating about serving others. Many men and women have provided for their families, communities, and churches by serving others.
I'm embarrassed because I am one who literally wrote a book with a message of gentle servanthood at its core.
But in the days after I spat out those angry, tear-soaked words, I realized I have lost my way.
* * * * *
Lent is a big deal for me. Even though I'm a (post)evangelical, non-denom-er who always feels like she is saying something wrong or breaking a Lenten rule that everyone else knows, still, I look forward to this season with an anticipation that is bigger than I know what to do with most years.
In the past here on the blog, I've observed it in various ways: some years closing comments throughout the Lenten season, other years focusing on a theme for 40 days. But this year is different. This year, I want to invite you to join me in a very real way in this season.
* * * * *
In the past year since the twins were born, my spiritual life has soared and plummeted. I've been, in the same heartbeat, unspeakably grateful for my family, for my four children who mean the very world to me, and in the same space bitter, angry, and resentful for all that has been placed in my lap. Mix in an overwhelming amount of grief, and you've got a recipe for soul implosion.
And so I think that's why I've been longing for Lent this year with an intensity that surprises even me.
To the best of my understanding, the Lenten season is a sacred time, holy and set apart, to draw close to Christ by reflecting on His suffering and sacrifice. It's a time to prepare our hearts - individually and collectively - for the brilliance of Easter morning, the moment in time upon which our enter faith is centered.
* * * * *
I looked around for a devotional guide or a book or something to guide me through Lent this year, but I just couldn't quite find what I was looking for. Sure, devotional guides and Scripture readings for Lent abound, but I just couldn't quite land on what I knew I needed most - a way back to the path of servanthood, the path from which I had so disastrously strayed.
And in the midst of my searching, I felt God lead me to this idea, that maybe this is the year that I would write what it is I need the most. That this is the year for me to plunge into the mysteries and practices of Lent. That this is the year that I would be all in.
And so here I am, offering to you this space that we might walk through Lent together this year with our eyes on what it means to draw close to Christ, the Servant Savior.
Beginning Ash Wednesday, March 5th, and throughout Lent, through Holy Week, all the way to Easter, I'm devoting the blog to a Lenten series called Waiting Tables. I've invited some friends to join me, and each day, we'll offer short devotionals on the theme of servanthood while considering surrender, sacrifice, and suffering, as well as the traditional Lenten themes of baptismal promises and repentance.
I'll share more in the way of logistics later this week, but for now, I just want to offer this gentle invitation.
We won't be focusing hard on what we are giving up. We won't be emphasizing taking on more. We'll be less about doing this season and more about being, allowing Lent to show us who we already are in Christ.
Thank you in advance for bearing with me and for receiving this all-laid-out-on-the-table invitation, offered to you with deep humility and grateful understanding.
Waiting Tables series:
Day 1 Day 8 Day 15 Day 22 Day 29 Day 36
Day 2 Day 9 Day 16 Day 23 Day 30 Day 37
Day 3 Day 10 Day 17 Day 24 Day 31 Day 38
Day 4 Day 11 Day 18 Day 25 Day 32 Day 39
Day 5 Day 12 Day 19 Day 26 Day 33 Day 40
Day 6 Day 13 Day 20 Day 27 Day 34
Day 7 Day 14 Day 21 Day 28 Day 35
photo via easylocum on flickr