Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Keep LOVE in Lent

I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families.

We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.

I've been bad... really bad. So often while carrying my cross, I have neglected to remember my partner. In many of the same ways, and in many very different ways, my husband struggles to get by, day to day, as do I. And instead of leaning on that support for myself when my times are tough, and providing that support for him when my times are peaceful, I have been operating as the One Woman Show.

Last night at dinner, after a long, draining day at work, I listened to my husband. Really listened. And heard him tell about his day, which was much worse than mine, hands down. Finally getting dropped off at home at 7:30pm after his car broke down in the freezing cold, he came in looking tired and defeated. I served him dinner and just listened. Of course, I was tempted beyond belief to remind him about all of the things that needed to be done this week- things I could not get done on my own- and now the list was growing because his Monday was shot with an unforseen delay... but, I stopped myself. And as I listened to him, I listened to that inner voice, too. You know the one. The one that quietly urges you to "let it go," while the louder, more obnoxious voice continues to hound you to vent your own frustrations. Eventually, contrary to popular opinion, that quiet inner voice will quiet even the most intolerable loudness and commotion and turmoil. And my first lesson in this was last night.

I have been thinking of what to write for this blog post. A way to Keep LOVE in Lent. And, suddenly last night, it became so obvious.

It is contrary to my temperament to slow down and not get swept away in The Busy. Action is my mode of operation, and when unable to act, I resort to planning my next action as soon as I am able. But this is not how I will best be able to keep LOVE as the main focus of my daily sacrifices and prayers this Lent. I will need to step outside of my comfort zone, slow down, and remember that I have a partner through it all. I admit it. I often take him for granted. Yet, how sad it makes me to see those with children taking their blessings for granted, and not recognizing their opportunities for graces through motherhood/fatherhood. Here I am doing the same thing.

The turning point starts now. I will best be able to keep LOVE in Lent this season by remembering my blessings. In doing so, I will be better able to offer all of this for the Adopt-A-Blogger of the Month, which will be a win-win :) My husband will get a more peaceful and supportive wife, and the Adopt-A-Blogger will receive greater prayer as I struggle to remember, daily, to slow down, focus, and love.

So. How are YOU keeping Love in Lent?

Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.

Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!

Equipping CatholicFamilies: Keep LOVE in LENT

Call Her Happy: 40 Simple Lenten Activities for Kids

Lenten Love: Little Acts of Love

Building Rocks

Grow the Roses: Keep Love in Lent

Family At The Foot Of The Cross: Loving Service

Catholic Homeschooling Joy: A Lenten Activity

JOY: Keep the Love in Lent

Twenty Tuesday Afternoons: Tuesday # 11: Pancake Tuesday / Keeping Love in Lent

Campfires and Cleats: Why a Failing Lent Really Isn't

Harrington Harmonies: Make a Lenten Holy Hour

A Mommy of Three:Good Deeds for Lent

Loving the Semi Country Life: Lent: special time to reflect and keep the love in lent

Written By the Finger of God: A 7 Step Lenten Plan

Mommy Bares All: Giving Up and Making Space for Love this Lent

The Irish Lassie Shop: Seek God Everywhere

Hand-Maid with Love: Living Lent, Loving Lent

Words On Heaven: IN THE DESERT FOR 40 DAYS

On The Way Home: Keeping LOVE in Lent

Homeschooling with Joy: Keep Love in Lent

Mountain Grace: Keep Love in Lent

Eyes On Heaven: I am Choosing to Live

Joy Alive in Our Hearts:"God's Love at Work"

Life of Fortunate Chances: Love is Fun: Keeping Love in Lent

Fifth of Five: Keep the LOVE in Lent

I Blog Jesus: for Praying our Loud!

Overflow: Loving Lent with Little Ones

This Cross I Embrace: Keep LOVE In Lent

Sole Searching Mamma: 15 Ways to Experience a More Meaningful Lent

Catholic All Year: My Biggest Lent Fails and How I Learned Mortification...

Four Little Ones: Keeping Love in Lent

Gaels Crafty Treasures Keeping Love in Lent

Bear Wrongs Patiently: Lent for the Scrupulous

Rosary Mom: Keeping Love in Lent

LoveLetters 7.10: Teacups {Keeping the Love in Lent}

Little Saints in the Making: Keep Love in Lent

Blessed with Full Hands: Keeping love in Lent- Praise Him

Normal Chaos: Our Own Personalized Lenten Journey

These Little Blessings: Gifting Love this Lent

The Cajun Catholic: The our Father; a lenten reflection

Truly Rich Mom: Keeping Love in Lent... Even When It Is Difficult


SaIsa Pang Sulyap - Fullness Of His Love

LiturgicalTime: Keeping Love in Lent - Finding Balance

Grace Loves Iggy: love in lent

Sacred Oysters: Empty (Keeping LOVE in LENT)

Tercets:Make Heart Rosary Decades to Pray for Others

The Diary of a Sower: Our Lenten Prayer Tree

A Living Garden -- Giving for Others with Love: Keeping LOVE in LENT

Homegrown Catholics: Motivated by my childrens' activities {Lent}

MyBroken Fiat: Keeping Love in Lent... Barely

Journey to Wisdom: Keeping Love in Lent: Bands of Love

Softening My Heart: An Anniversary Lesson during Lent


Unknown said...

I am guilty of the same with my husband. I often forget to listen, or carve out enough time to spend with him. Thankfully he can remind me, tell me to not plan so much and rush to the next thing, but slow down and experience the now.

Monique G. said...

Thanks for reminding us to slow down. I am guilty of the same thing with husband. Often he comes home and I forget to listen to his day. I have even asked him how his day was 4 times in one night....not a good thing to do if you want your husband to think you are listening to him.

pinulotta said...

Thank you so much for this post! A beautiful reminder of the true meaning of keeping love in Lent and throughout all of the year. I needed to hear this. So often I am guilty of interrupting my husband when he is trying to share something with me. We can give best when we are silent.

loving the semi country life said...

Great post and your right sometimes we do need to be the listeners and not get caught up in our own troubles.

Unknown said...

I needed this post today. I have unfortunately learned to tune my husband out, and that does not foster a better relationship. I will be joining you and truly listening for the rest of lent, giving him the attention he deserves.

God Bless!

Stephanie @ Harrington Harmonies said...

Slowing down is so important. It's a fabulous way to keep the grumble out of Lent. We are so busy that's usually what gets me flustered is trying to do too much. Thanks for sharing this reminder from such a personal perspective.

Anabelle Hazard said...

Ouch. I should've consulted your post before I made my resolutions but thankfully there's still 5 weeks left to be a better wife. Thanks for the inspiration.

Nancy Shuman said...

Oh YES, I know the voice! The one that urges me to let it go while the more obnoxious voice hounds me to VENT! VENT! VENT!

Thank you for this post. I identify, and I am very glad to have found your blog!

just my luck said...

adding "being a better wife" too this Lent and always...

Darlene said...

That really hit home for me. Thanks for reminding me to listen more - talk less.- Darlene

Unknown said...

Thank you, you've inspired me to try to be a better wife to my husband. When Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, I sometimes forget that husbands are included.

JellyBelly said...

What a great Lenten reminder!

Kari said...

It can be so easy to get into a sort of competition of who does more, whose life is harder- even with our husbands, can't it? That loud obnoxious voice inside that ALWAYS wants validation can just be so overwhelming.

This story is a beautiful reminder that if we just ignore it, the quiet voice CAN be heard. What a wonderful blog post-- very inspiring.

God Bless!

Cheryl said...

Stopping by as part of the "Keep Love in Lent" link-up.

I'm ashamed to say I'm guilty of it too. Sometimes it feels like just another responsibility weighing heavy on me. That isn't fair to him or good for us. Thank you for reminding me to stop and really listen to him, really hear him.

I added your blog to my feed reader--would love to stay updated with your blog!


Anonymous said...

I really admire your determination to slow down and marvel at the many blessings God has graced your life with - it's similar to my own goals for this Lent. You'll be in my prayers! God bless you!

Kim said...

Guilty over here, too! If I listened for even one-tenth of the time I spent talking, my husband (and I) would be so blessed. It would require me to die to self and remember that I am not the Center Of The World. Hard! So hard, but so worth it!

Many prayers!

Michelle said...

It is so hard to just stop and focus without mentally going through the to do list! It's one of the areas that I'm trying to work on, too!


Regina said...

Isn't it funny that the comments here all include something of the same sentiment? *sigh* Guilty here, too. I'm glad I'm not alone, and I'm glad to have found a bit of inspiration to recommit here. And I LOVE the Adopt-a-Blogger idea! How beautiful. I just read through your "My Story" page and am deeply humbled. May you be richly blessed for connecting with other women who experience infertility. I'm adding the Adopt-a-Blogger name to my prayers, as well. Good Lent to you.

Carissa said...

This is a great one! I was just thinking of all the people in my life that deserve so much more of me. Including my Husband, family and friends! Lately through everything I am going through with my infertility, I find it so consuming. It's all you think about, pray about and spare time is researching and worrying. I too often forget to ask my husband, family and friends how are you doing, and really listen to eveything they are saying. This hands down, is going to be my priority during this Lenten season. We need to find balance with whatever struggles we are going through in our lives. God has our backs for sure, we just have to start believing him. I will also be keeping all of you in my prayers this Lent.

Katie said...

I can totally relate. I often just "unload" on my hubby right after he walks in the door and do not even think of asking him how hus day was or to empathize with him when his day did not go well. Thanks for the reminder to slow down this Lent!

Glad to find your blog through the blog hop!

noreen said...

Interesting post Amy. I appreciate your honesty and openness to sharing what we all struggle with at times~ being a one woman show! I'm guilty of that too and need to be reminded again and again. God has brought a wonderful man into my life and I have to remember, to stop and give him my full attention at times. Not half-heartedly listening while I'm helping quiz my son on an upcoming test, or washing the dishes or writing out bills...etc. Not getting caught up in myself and my own thoughts because he needs me to support him too.

I've no doubt that God has blessed you with a wonderful husband too. That's great that you were able to recognize he needed you to focus in on him. You're a good wife!

By the way, that inner voice, is the Holy Spirit directing and guiding you down the path you should go. If only I can tune him in better! May God bless you on your Lenten Journey!

Unknown said...

Wow! This is a wonderful realization. I have also been too hard on my husband for a very long time now and I am very glad that he is really keeping up with my attitude. I have become an angry wife for no reason at all and basically made it terrible for him but he is still very patient and understanding through it all. Oftentimes, I don't listen to the things that he shares and just completely ignores him. I have been really difficult to understand this past days and I want to change that. Thank you for reminding me Amy.

Chris said...

I absolutely love your blog--your style, your honesty and your wisdom.
So true, the importance of slowing down and r-e-a-l-l-y listening.
Thanks for this beauty.
God bless

Unknown said...

Thank you for reminding me that I should give time to my husband. :) And to slow down! Like you, it's a challenge for me to do so, but it's one of the things I'm being convicted about lately, especially since I'm on the last trimester of my pregnancy. :) Let's pray for each other during this Lent and beyond! :) Thanks for joining the link-up! God bless always!

the misfit said...

This really resonates with me. The plans and schemes going on in my mind easily drown out any serious investment in what's going on in the heart and mind of the person next to me. I have found that if I discipline myself to ASK and LISTEN for long enough, gradually I start to really CARE, too - not just in principle, but actually feel spontaneously that I care. I feel awful saying that, because I'm supposed to care deeply automatically, and I know that some people do - automatically care about how others are doing, notice if they're not well, draw them out. I don't. Definitely a good thing to work on for Lent!

Heidi said...

Our first duty is to our vocation! Thank you for your post, I need all the help and encouragement I can get to live it out. It is so hard to listen sometimes!

Elisa said...

I understand your experience, as I too am guilty sometimes of not being in the moment because I am thinking of all I have to do. My husband does the same thing, so we continuously have to work on listening to each other! Wonderful idea to work on this during lent.

Unknown said...

I've noticed that the tables have turned a bit since our childen have grown older. My husband used to say that I worked harder than he did at his, "day job." Now, I think it's the opposite, although we work together now, and life is intense with college agers draining the bank account. I like a short allegory: A man chops wood in the sun. Another man walks behind a mule plowing a field with a straw hat and blistered hands. The man chopping firewood wipes his brow and thinks to himself, "I wish I could walk behind that cool mule digging troughs, instead of chop firewood in this hot sun." I guess loving one another is the only cure to not taking each other for granted. Love...

Unknown said...

Slow down. Focus. Love. Great advice. I think that I see myself in this - when it comes to my husband and I. He works very hard to provide for our family's needs - and I think I have the tendency to nag and expect things from him when he's home. I need to stop and just listen too and let him know I am here for him. I think that I will personally add this to my Lenten sacrifices this year. Thanks for the idea. God bless!

Kendra Tierney said...

I've only been blogging for a couple of months, but it's really been something that has brought my husband and I closer together. I never post anything without running it by him first (since I am the more impetuous of the two of us) and we have had some really great conversations over blog topics. Who knew? But I could stand to spend more time on his stuff in conversation! Thanks.

Gina said...

Yup, as many of the other posters have said, thanks - we really do need to slow down and listen more, especially where our spouses are concerned.

Side note - I'd never heard of the "Adopt-a-Blogger" thing. What a great idea! Thanks for the heads up. :) Have a blessed Lent!

melanie jean juneau said...

Mother Theresa said it was never about you and the other IS all about you and Jesus..changes my perception almost immediately

Martianne @ Training Happy Hearts said...

My post was about almost this same thing - my busyness, my forgetting to slow down and LOVE. So, I am right there with you and praying we all have a meaningful, love-filled Lent.

Unknown said...

What a great post...and reminder of the importance of listening! I have a few narrators in my or two kids who will tell me EVERYTHING about a book they're reading, a game they learned or friends at school. Sometimes I find it hard to 'be present', pretending to listen while I multi-task or resenting the interruption when I'm immersed in something. I have to remember this:

Michelle @ Liturgical Time said...

Your wise words have convicted me. I never thought, in all of my years of infertility...while lamenting how lightly so many women took the ability to conceive...that I was much of the time taking my husband lightly, while so many women prayed fervently and long for a husband. I have much to repent of , but hopefully many years ahead to make up for it.
Wishing you blessings this Lenten Season,
Pax Christi,

melanie jean juenau said...

I agree- slowing down and gratefulness are the key to receiving His love and letting it flow back again to him and all those around you

Melissa @ Homegrown Catholics said...

I'm always shushing people in my household. I think it's time I get shushed. As you said, it can be so easy to dump your dirty load of a day onto your husband when he walks in the door hoping he'll clean it up for me. Just like you, I'm going to try harder to listen to my husband. Reminds me of the old movies where the wife welcomes the husband all prim and proper, the kids all smiling. If only it were that simple to do each day. Thanks for the inspiration.