The notion of “running on empty” is a common idea for many parents. We often feel like we are giving from a place of emptiness, and yet we alway seem to be able to give just a little more when it is required.
As we enter into Lent, rather than fighting the emptiness, Blessed is She wants you to encourage you to cultivate the awareness of the emptiness, invite the Lord into those areas of poverty, and allow Him to fill you with His love and grace. This year, by focusing on various areas where we are invited to cultivate a poverty of spirit, we can grow closer to the Lord and help our children to do the same.
It is hard to teach our children to do something that we ourselves can not yet do. Learning to do it together is the best and most authentic way to teach your children how to do anything.
Revealed to the Little Children
As one of the contributing authors for All She Had, I received the books included in the Lent bundle in mid-January. They were laid out on the table and my 10-year-old daughter was drawn immediately to the spiral bound version All You Have.
“Can I have this, Mom?” she asked.
I explained that this year, during Lent, I was going to focus on developing a greater poverty of spirit. This is a hard spiritual concept to explain even to adults, but children are able to understand these concepts when we explain them in simple ways.
To be poor in spirit means that we have detached ourselves from wealth, comforts, and control in order to learn to entrust everything we have to God. We do this because the practice of doing so will help us grow in holiness and ultimately help us get to Heaven.
Having a poverty of spirit means we know we can rely on God for everything. We surrender control of our days to Him, and learn to trust in Him.
Childhood gives us many opportunities to practice entrusting things to the Lord. Learning this skill not only helps us grow closer to the Lord as our trust deepens each time we entrust our worries to Him, but it also helps reduce anxiety and frustration. Learning how to live with a poverty of spirit takes time, and Lent is the perfect time to practice littles ways to surrender with intentionality.
The Blessed is She Lent series takes both mother and child (and dads, get Born of Fire!) through five ways to grow in deeper trust related to:
For the Benefit of the Whole Family
For instance, when we focus on poverty of control, that may mean that we learn to distinguish what is in our control, and what is not in our control. When we are angry about something we can’t always control the situation, but we can control our response to the situation and trust that the Lord will help us through.
Growing in poverty of spirit means to learn to take care of the things we can control, and entrust everything else to the Lord.
Cultivating Poverty of Spirit Together
The children's book All You Have is written to parallel the adult book All She Had in themes and content. There are stories, memory Scriptures, reflection questions, journal sections, and areas for doodling and coloring as well.
The concepts and ideas are both important and intense, but the artwork is light and engaging.
Whether or not you journey through Lent with the All You Have/All She Had theme, consider taking some time to this Lent talk with your children about poverty of spirit, and what it means to trust deeply, live hopefully, and invite the Lord to live in greater intimacy every day.