What does it mean to be free? What does it mean to simply be?
When I am asked to describe myself, I often reply that I am PWLawyerMom - I am a pastor's wife ("PW"), lawyer, and mom of three amazing kids. PWLawyerMom is an accurate description of my roles in society, but this is not who I am. I've been so consumed with "doing", that I have forgotten what it means to "be". This blog explores my journey as I find the freedom to simply be.
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I did not grow up observing Lent. Now, I love Lent.
Beginning on Ash Wednesday (which is tomorrow), Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities. It is a time of self-examination and self-denial.
For years, our church has challenged people to not only give up something, but also to take on something. If you have not observed Lent and are trying to decide what to give up, you can look at it a number of ways. You can give up something that you feel like distracts you from your relationship with God (people have given up television, social media, etc.) You can also give up something that you feel like you rely on to much or "need" too much. For example, people sometimes give up soft drinks, desert, etc. By giving up something that you crave, it forces you to turn to God when you would normally turn to something else for comfort. I have also given up things that I believe are detrimental to my soul in the past. For example, one year, I gave up "negative self-talk." The act of sacrifice during Lent helps us focus on the sacrifices of Christ. Historically, some people would fast. I have also had friends that try to fast from a meal each day of Lent.
We also encourage people to "take on" a new habit or discipline. For example, some friends have committed to daily Bible study, daily gratitude, or taking on other habits throughout the season of Lent.
Each week, Sunday is excluded from Lent. This means that you can "indulge" in whatever you give up on Sundays.
This year I am giving up all "electronics" between 6 pm and 9 pm. The only exception is that I can watch a television show with my entire family if they choose to do that for part of our family time. I have found that social media, responding to work emails, online shopping, and similar activities distract me from valuable time with my family. I could also use that time to relax, craft, read, or do other more beneficial activities. I am also "taking on" leading an online Bible study. The study will help me read and reflect on the life of Jesus each day.
Have you observed Lent in the past? If so, what have you given up or taken on? What do you love or dislike about Lent? Have you learned any lessons from the season of Lent?
October 25, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: DevotionThen Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!” Ruth 1:8-13 NIV Naomi is a woman that is filled with loss and grief. She has l…
October 26, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: DevotionSo the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:19-21 NIV When Naomi returned to Bethlehem, people were surprised to see her because she had been away so long. When people greeted her by name, Naomi replied that they should not call her Naomi. Instead, she told them to call her Mara because God had made her life very bitter. She had once been full, but now she was empty. Naomi’s pain was raw and her emotions were deep. In that moment, Naomi no longer knew who she was. She knew that she had once been Naomi – a woman blessed with a family. Now, she…
March 21, 2018by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:14-18 NIV When I was a teenager, I read this passage in awe. I could not comprehend why the disciples would just walk away from everything they knew to follow Jesus. Of course I understood that Jesus was the Son of God, but when I read the passage literally, it sounded like Jesus just walked up to Simon and Andrew and said, “Hi. Nice to meet you. I am the Savior of the World. Follow me.” I couldn’t understand walking away from the life that I knew because I still thought that I was in …