I’ve never participated in lent.

Aside from remembering classmates talking about ‘giving up chocolate for lent’ during middle school, I really had no idea what the lenten season was about. The only context I had for it was ‘giving up something that you get back at Easter’. 

 

As I started attending church as an adult, the non-denominational church I attended didn’t share about lent (at least, not that I can remember!), and the only really specific times of the year I recall being spoken about with an invitation to participate were Christmas and Easter. Easter, of course, included Good Friday, with the odd mention of Ash Wednesday as a thing other churches and denominations did.

 

As I ventured out on my own, seeking out resources like bible studies and devotionals, I was introduced to the season of Advent (a personal fave), and within my chosen advent resources, I was also introduced to the liturgical church calendar. Introduction is truly the perfect word. I saw the six seasons of the church calendar printed in a beautiful design across a page or two that highlighted the seasons in our calendar year. As I continued to expand my horizons in the ‘seeking out bible study resources’ front, I remember following a company on Instagram that did primarily catholic resources and I would see them post about lent. Therefore, my association was that lent was something catholic or traditional denominations took part in, and lent wasn’t really for me.

 

Fast forward a number of years, a faith journey that has invited me away from devotionals and into more contemplative moments, an expanded variety of folks I follow on social media to learn from, and lent seemed to be popping up everywhere. Perhaps spurred by Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day, a wildly beautiful and hilarious mix of the love and grandeur of valentine’s day paired with the remembrance that we, too, will die, created some delightful memes and shares on Instagram. During this time, I remember, in particular, a few things that piqued my curiosity…

 

 

As I watched and read, I felt inspired. Perhaps I would engage in the season of lent in this more beautiful and invitational way than the ‘give something up to make time for God’ way that the previous messaging I had heard about lent was all about.

 

The invitation I felt from Spirit was to engage in writing.

 

I love creative writing, and have since childhood. Creative writing was an outlet for me to write stories of lives I dreamed of living, to write song lyrics to music I’d write on piano, or to write poetry with the random lines that came to me as I walked or cleaned or took in my environment.

My morning writing is often journaling as if I was writing a letter to God, which feels so beautifully soul nourishing as I use descriptive language and pour my heart out onto the pages. Yet, I still felt this pull to writing more expressively though forms like poetry.

 

I chatted with my spiritual director about this change… This journey that, just a few years ago, would have had me feeling like I was doing something ‘wrong’ by not engaging with specifically scripture each day as my ‘morning time’, but how beautiful and freeing it felt to be living more into this space of discerning where I’m noticing I’m being led (while realizing I can still read scripture anytime, can read books about faith anytime, and that doing these things first thing in the morning doesn’t make me any more or less or that God doesn’t view me as any more or less because of it) and following those prompts.

 

While exploring this invitation to write, I was drawn to a book that had been on my shelf for a while. Healing Through Words by Rupi Kaur…

 

As I had read about living an embodied lent that invited us into self-awareness and exploration instead of a denial and shame of self, as I read about the invitation to a creative writing retreat during the season, and as I read about lent as an act of repentance, as a returning to our souls and coming home to our own aliveness, I felt stirred to explore this book in all its depth and beauty, challenge and unfolding awareness.

 

My morning time once devoted to previous adventures of Sacred Belonging, a Psalm a day through Psalms for Praying, is now the sacred space of Healing Through Words. A space to write creatively and unearth memories and hurts, love and healing, and revisiting this expression from younger years that was a form of escape, of expression, of writing the words I wouldn’t say.

 

So here I find myself. Each morning I open my bookmarked next exercise and I begin…

 

It’s not perfect writing.

It’s not going to be bound into its own book one day.

It’s not even in the pages laid out in this book to work through because my personal notebooks feel more private and beautiful to write in.

But, it’s something.

It’s memories from childhood spurred seemingly ‘out of nowhere’ to be the subject of what is written; a gift from Spirit to work through.

It’s feeling like healing of the past is actually happening as words tumble out of me in fluid motion of pen to page.

 

It’s been a gift, and a challenge, and surprising, and lovely, and wild, and all the things already and as the chapters progress and I continue to write on topics I never thought I would, I am sure this lenten journey, my very first at that, will be a memorable one.

 

As I’ve written and then chatted with our Creative Creator about what I’m writing, I have been stirred many times to find a pocket of safety and beauty as I acknowledge my own creative writing as an expression of divinity– the Creator made us, and we get to create, too. There’s something sacred about creating, whether that’s painting or poetry, dancing or music, writing code or building buildings, that makes us feel alive. It feels like we are tapping into something deep within that propels us to bring something to life. It feels like we are tapping into the Spirit within that beckons us to live into our divine expression, our humanity as creators, who get to make beautiful things.

 

I imagine God smiling.

I imagine every bit of creating we do that nourishes our soul brings God nourishment, too. To see us create, I imagine, gives God a sense of deep joy as we live into expressing in a way that God, too, has expressed.

 

Perhaps, this lenten season, you, too, take time to nourish your soul in a way that makes you feel connected to the Divine in a creative way.