Tightening my Lips for Lent
When did a nice catholic girl educated in parochial schools start cursing?
I believe it began after raising a child, being a caregiver for multiple family members, nine surgeries, and 62,000 miles on the body odometer. This realization came during a conversation with my son-in-love where I wanted to make sure he was okay with his in-laws moving 2 miles away from him. His response was both sweet and sour.
“We are all really excited about your move and look forward to having you spend more time with the grandchildren but I worry about your “potty mouth”.
Well, shut my mouth!
Besides feeling knee high to a grasshopper, I realized I had moved from being the light and salt of the earth as God calls us to be; to just being salty and not savory.
It was then that I decided to give up my “potty mouth” for Lent, for my grandchildren as well as for myself. Besides, I only use those words when I became upset, frustrated, or angry so I would work to keep myself calm no matter what.
It proved harder than I thought. To my chagrin, I didn’t realize how much I salt and peppered my daily conversation with these words – even when I’m not upset, frustrated or angry.
To make things worse, it felt as if the devil was doing a happy dance in anticipation of Lent. I was playing right into his hands with my poor speech. He was laughing as he put one problem after another in my path. First the air conditioner was cutting in and out, however, the A/C Company couldn’t figure out why. This went on for several weeks and as we have our home on the market, we prayed that it wouldn’t fail during a showing. Then the garage door spring sprung and it was two days before I could get my car out. When the cold water line bursts at the kitchen sink the night before another open house, I was close to losing it. And that was before the first day of Lent.
On the first of Lent as I prepared to get up out of bed, Thad informed me that the special order water line to repair the kitchen faucet would be delayed another two days. Two more days of schlepping the dishes into the laundry room while trying to keep the floors clean for a possible showing? As I threw the covers aside and bounded out of bed I started the day with “You have got to be (@#$%&*) kidding me!” Horrified by what I just said I caught myself with another salty expletive! Ouch!
It was a difficult day to say the least. I felt like I had failed God before I even started.
But the beauty in this is that God never fails us. He never leaves our side no matter how much of a potty mouth we have. And He tells us how to be the true seasoning in the world.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. (Matthew 5:13 The Message Bible).
Now that’s the salt I want to be for my grandchildren! I want to be the seasoning that brings out the God-flavors. I want my family to see clearly the road to follow by my example and not a garbage truck filled with nastiness.
The first day of Lent was difficult but eye opening, nevertheless each day since has brought awareness. While I sometimes stop and start my sentences like water sputtering from a line that has been turned off for a long time; choosing my words with care has helped to curb my frustration and anger.
Come, Holy Spirit fill my heart,
Come, my Savior, Jesus put your arm around me and your hand over my mouth.
Come Abba Father guide my speech that it may glorify you.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit grant me peace.
The devil may try to wreak havoc but it is the Lord’s strength that is invincible.
Lent gives us the opportunity to face our human condition, open our hearts and understand our Lord a little bit more. How are you preparing for the grace that God offers us at Easter and beyond? Please share so we who are the body of Christ might encourage one another.
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