Having been raised in the Midwest, wintry weather has always been a way of life that I’ve learned to just push through from year to year.
But it wasn’t always that way…
At one point in my life, I lived in South Florida for a short time. This meant daily access to the Atlantic Ocean, 350 days of sunshine, and flip-flops all year round.
But what surprised me most was how much I actually missed winter. And how that realization impacted my faith in unimaginable ways.
As we approach the season of Lent, I’m reminded that the word “Lent” comes from the Old Saxon word “lengten,” – which means “lengthening of days”, or “springtime.” And it’s in spring that we anticipate new beginnings and begin to feel a new sense of possibility.
But what would happen if spring never came?
Living in an oceanside paradise, I found myself missing the cycle of the seasons, especially from winter to spring. I even missed the way everything dies in the winter.
Because when winter comes, the grass dies, and the flowers fade away. But in that season of death is when I find myself longing for the colors and warmth of spring. Longing for change.
As the death of winter brings the new life of spring, the Lenten season can bring new life within the believer.
I write this in a season where I have struggled to take the time with God that I desperately need, which has left me often empty and weary. I could blame the winter because it’s been a rough one where I live.
I could talk about being busy at work or parenting three teenage daughters (pray for me!)
But the reality is that it doesn’t matter why I need renewal, what matters is that it’s being offered to me, right here, right now.
You may also find yourself in a time of spiritual darkness or in a season of death, and yet, Lent is encouraging us to turn our focus to Jesus for the hope that our hearts are longing for.
When I think back to the start of my journey with Jesus, I know that the process of renewal only begins there. The book of Romans tells us that God has determined that those who are spiritually reborn will also be conformed to the image of his Son.
The renewal He brings is continual. He transforms our hearts again and again.
Lent serves as a reminder that the transformation God has started in us – He will continue.“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)
God is doing a new thing in you.
I encourage you to grab hold of one of these helpful Lenten resources below and let His Spirit bring the renewal you long for.
Winter has caused me to spend more time indoors than I care for, but as spring makes its appearance, I would never choose to remain inside and miss the warmth and beauty to be explored.
In the same way, if we want to experience the renewal that Jesus is offering us in these weeks of Lent, let us focus not just on our self-denial, but on the beauty that our Savior wants to bring into our lives.
All we have to do is open the door.
Lenten Resources For Gospel Renewal
By James Madsen and Emily Hamilton
This six-week study guide explores Jesus’ seven “I AM” statements in the Gospel of John that describe how He wants us to relate to Him and His world. Unpacking these statements gives us a better understanding of who Jesus is and what He uniquely offers to those who accept His invitation to follow Him.
How to get it: Download Free PDF Lenten Guide
By James Madsen, Emily Hamilton, and Serge Staff
How is your heart as you enter this season of Lent? This six-week study guide invites you to slow down and not rush to the “good part” of Easter – but to take honest stock in your heart. With stories from the mission field and thoughtful questions for reflection, this guide provides an opportunity to make space in one’s own life to both receive God’s love and to encourage us to serve and love others with a greater sense of purpose.
How to get it: Download Free PDF Lenten Guide
by Will Walker and Kendal Haug
“If you’re skeptical of Lent, or if you doubt the relevance of the church calendar for gospel-loving Christians, this resource is for you,” says Pastor Bob Thune. Through forty days of Bible readings, prayers of confession and thanksgiving, and daily devotional readings, this resource will help remind you of what Lent is all about and deepen your spiritual walk through Lent and beyond.
How to get it: Book is on sale for $10.79 at New Growth Press
by Gospel in Life
This daily devotional begins in Genesis and journeys through the entire Bible, revealing that all Scripture is about Jesus and culminates in his life, death, and resurrection. May these daily readings remind you of the reality of our broken humanity, as well as the abundant reality of God’s redeeming grace for renewed hope.
By Alicia Britt Chole
For Lent, what if you fasted regret? What if you fasted comparison to others?This daily devotional offers a meaningful consideration of Jesus’ life and invites you into a daily fast of heart-clutter—the stuff that sticks to your soul and weighs you down. Decrease life’s unnecessary details and increase your relationship with the Lord!
How to get it: Kindle or paperback book available on Amazon for $10.49
By C.S. Lewis and Others
Looking for inspiration this Lent and Easter season? Dive into this rich pool of devotional writing from Christian writers and thinkers of different eras. Take a moment each morning to pause and reflect on the mystery and miracle of Christ’s death and resurrection and gain insight and spiritual guidance from one of the most acclaimed Christian authors of all time.
How to get it: Hardback book is available on Amazon for $13.49