cross with flowers at church entrance

40 Days of Lent and My Own Personal Season of Disappointment

It has been a rough couple of weeks for me. There have been numerous disappointments over the past month. Things that I took for granted would happen, and then they didn’t.

Things that were a pretty big hit to my confidence and self-esteem. Things that were a hit to my faith.

I’m not talking about your casual, run-of-the-mill disappointment. I’m talking about the devastating feeling of being punched in the gut when you learned the news. I’m talking about the kind of disappointment that requires a mental health day (or two) off of work. The kind of disappointment that makes you think, “what’s the point!?”

Why would God let this happen? Why did he keep ignoring my prayers? Did he just forget about me, or did he not care about me anymore?

It’s been interesting because this season of disappointment and doubt has corresponded amazingly well with the season of Lent, which began on March 2 this year: Ash Wednesday.

I went to my first Ash Wednesday service this year. In the faith tradition I grew up in, we just didn’t observe Lent. I had never even heard of it until I went to college, when suddenly people were talking about giving up caffeine or chocolate for the 40 days before Easter.

I think some people feel very uncomfortable stepping outside of their own faith traditions, but I have found it beneficial to keep an open mind, and see if there is a potential spiritual benefit in partaking in other faith traditions. Lent is not even that far of a stretch for me, it’s still a Christian tradition, just not the brand of Christianity I was used to.

At our Ash Wednesday service, we sang hymns together and had a time of private and public confession of sin. It was a time to focus on our mortality, and our thankfulness that Jesus died for our sins. It was a time to be grateful for the grace of God.

I thought about giving up something for Lent, but nothing seemed right. I started out the season of Lent with a lot of hope, but found myself unfortunately collecting disappointment after disappointment. Our church had created a podcast especially for Lent, where members of our church shared prayers and Scripture and recited the Lord’s Prayer together. Many people talked about how much they loved the podcast, and how uplifting and meaningful it was for them to listen to it each morning.

But I found myself less and less able to listen to it as the weeks went by. I felt like my faith was failing as I watched and waited (and waited some more) for my prayers to be answered. And then they weren’t.

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Election Grief Is Real

It’s 5:30 am (for me at least) the day after the election. Try as I might, I did end up checking the polls a few times yesterday, despite telling myself I wouldn’t. I didn’t feel like there was a reason to get excited or riled up based on results that weren’t final yet.

I was successful in avoiding Facebook, however, and plan to avoid it for at least the rest of the week. Maybe that week should turn into the next four years…

Recently I saw a post that said something to the effect of: no matter who wins the election, half of America will feel like they lost.

That has really stuck with me. Inevitably half of our country will be feeling sad, defeated, and perhaps angry or outraged. That’s 165 million people who may be grieving the results of the election.

And when I say grieving, I really mean it quite literally. I thought about the term “election grief,” and while I’m not sure if it’s a clinical term, it’s a real thing. A quick search of “election grief” led me to results such as “Grief and Loss After the Election” and “Your Post-Election Pain is Real Grief.” They were articles from 2016 and 2018, but are still obviously relevant to 2020.

Psych Central reported that their page “5 Stages of Grief and Loss” got a 210% increase in traffic the day after the 2016 election.

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“Growing Up In the Lord” – My Youth Group Memories

*cue “Growing Up In the Lord” by Acappella – ca. 1987

A few Sundays ago was “Senior Sunday” at my church. All of the graduating seniors at our church were presented with a bible during morning worship, and a slideshow was shown featuring pictures of their lives from back when they were little babies to now – 18 years of life.

The theme for worship was “Family” – our youth minister spoke about how this class of graduating seniors had really come together and created a family amongst themselves, demonstrated by the love they had for each another.

It made me think back to my years of being in my church’s youth group, and how I was really blessed to have an amazing youth group family from middle school until my senior year of high school. Those were some of the best years of my life – I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I thought I would take some time to reflect back on those years and write out some of my most memorable moments – I’m sure I’ve missed some, but I picked my top 10 moments, which are written about in more detail below. My memory has failed me on many of the specifics, and I wish I had more pictures to share (I used disposable cameras back then!)

I also really wanted to thank each of you who were a part of my Camelback Church youth group family – (you know who you are!) – you meant a lot to me, and I honestly miss you all! Thanks for some amazing memories!

Favorite and Memorable Moments of the Camelback Youth Group         (1998 – 2005)

1. Christmas Parties at the Robert’s House – this was a special memory for me, not only because it was a fun Christmas tradition, but because it took place at my Grandma’s house. My grandma died when she was only 75, that was during my senior year in high school. When I think of my grandma, I think of her giant front yard with the horseshoe driveway – I think of chicken enchiladas, which were the main course for any and every event – and I think of the big Lazy Susan table in their dining room where we used to eat. Each year she would host the youth group Christmas parties, which would always include a gift exchange – one of those where you steal gifts from other people and eventually they get “frozen.” YG Pic 4

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