Lent: The Meaning Behind the Fast

Lent: The Meaning Behind the Fast

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Lent is the season Catholics celebrate before Easter. Catholics give up something for 40 days and 40 nights right before Easter Sunday. This is a season where Catholics fast from something they are dependent on, such as soda, sweets, a bad habit, etc.

The meaning of this is so we can recognize what Jesus did for us, and do something for Him in return. Since Jesus suffered on the cross for us, we suffer for 40 days and 40 nights by giving up something extremely important or difficult.

You do not have to be Catholic to participate!

Lent is a tradition specific to Catholicism; the only other denominations that really celebrate it is Lutheran and Orthodox. However, many other non-denominational Christian churches have adapted the tradition of fasting around the same time Catholics celebrate lent. Many of these other churches don’t recognize their fasting as “lent” but it is the same idea.

In fact, you don’t have to be Christian to give up something for Lent.

In many instances in the Bible, such as in Luke, Matthew, Daniel, Samuel, and many others, people put ashes on their foreheads when they mourned, so Catholics receive ashes in the sign of a cross on our head to mourn Jesus’s death and suffering on the cross, and our own sins which caused Jesus that suffering.

Daniel 9:3

So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.”

In the Bible, Jesus encouraged us to fast. Catholics do a similar fast where every Friday of lent; we do not eat meat because Friday was the day of the week that Jesus was crucified. Though we do not eat meat on every Friday of lent, we can eat fish because fish are a symbol of God.

For many people, this may seem unnecessary, Jesus loves us no matter what. But if the least I can do for Jesus, who gave me life and died on the cross for me, is giving up something for 40 days, I'm going to do it.

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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11 Verses To Help In Times Of Trouble

These verses have helped me when I was lost and I hope they help you to.

hannahd
hannahd
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The bible has always been something I could turn to in my times of trouble and confusion. God really does have so many answers for the millions of questions I have for him. The verses I have below are only a few of the ones I can count on I guess you could say. I know that God is always there even when I have self-doubt about it and think I am all alone in the world.

He might not answer right away but he always answers even with the little things that come along in my life.

1. John 14:1-4 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

In this verse, it would help if you are ever upset because God is letting you know that he will always have a place for you, that you will not be alone.

2. Psalm 18:6 " In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears."

If you are ever weak or frustrated because you are lost, God will always here you cry out for him and he might not always answer right away but he hears you and will help

3. Psalm 23:1-4 "The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

You might be feeling alone like nobody is there for you, but God is always there and will guide you through the tough times you are facing.

4. Matthew 8:26 "He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm."

Self-doubt or worried and you are scared of what might or even can happen and things will happen and you get overwhelmed, but God will calm everything around you.

5. Philippians 4:8-9 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Being anxious about things and working through them too fast and you can be messing up and get upset about it. God tells you to slow down and practice the things he has taught you and they will work out.

6. Joshua 1:5-6 "No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them."

Needing courage because something just happened and you have lost your way. God is saying that you need to hold your ground and stick up for yourself, on your good and bad days the devil will try and test you but God will be with you always.

7.  Psalm 73:23-34 "Yet I am always with you;you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward, you will take me into glory."

You have lost direction and don't know what to do, the lord will be right by your side, guiding you through life. He is there to listen to you and help you find your way back to the right path.

8. Psalm 27:6 " Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord."

Feeling alone, depressed and you have lost all hope in everything God is telling you he will lift your head above everyone who has doubted you or made you feel less, he will pull you out and you will succeed above everyone else.

9. Colossians 3:12-24  "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

God is telling you to humble yourself and have certain traits you need to hold. If you are unhappy with someone, forgive one another because the Lord forgives you for what you have done and he sees you doing all.

10. Psalm 51:1-2 "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."

This is more of a straight forward verse in saying that if you have sinned, you are asking God to forgive you of your sins and to help you not do them again

11. Psalm 91:3-5 "Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will no fear the terror of night, or the arrow that flies by day."

Being worried or in danger or scared of something God will save you. If you are in trouble God will find a way to get you out of that situation, he will protect you and get you out.

I hope you can turn to at least one of these in times of trouble or confusion or lost. I have been so lost on where I should be or what I should be doing with life and these have helped me a lot.

hannahd
hannahd

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