So here we are, day three of our Lent Devotional for Women. We’ve already smiled ourselves silly through day two right!? Two days down, thirty-eight to go! And that’s if we don’t count Sundays! Is it too soon to ask how Lent is going or is now as good time as any? I know it always helps me to remind myself, Lent is a marathon, not a sprint. In today’s daily devotions for Lent, let’s focus on God. I know we’re focusing on God all through Lent, but in this Lent Devotional for Women reflection, let’s focus on God’s love for us so we can love others.
Let me begin with a story. A number of years ago our dishwasher broke. All of our dishwashers break. According to our appliance repairman–who we know too well, the average lifespan of an average dishwasher is five years. Ours last three to five. Our dishwasher broke and I told Chris I didn’t want to replace it. I was tired of buying a new one every few years and the idyllic idea of handwashing dishes sounded rather pleasant at the time. To me at least, the children not so much.
Chris reluctantly obliged my hairbrained idea and obliged me one more time by making a little bookshelf area where my dishwasher had once been. But he really wanted to replace the dishwasher. He knew the gift a dishwasher was not only for our family but especially to me. We were a busy household of probably seven or eight people at the time. I loved reading and food to eat, clothes to wear, and other such sundry things. Having to handwash dishes was going to cut into some of that time.
I started handwashing dishes enthusiastically those first few days. And then life…It seemed like there were always dishes to do. It even seemed like the dish pile grew the longer they sat there together. But I persisted and my attitude became less and less enthusiastic; all because I had some notion that handwashing was better than running them through the dishwasher. And then I starting berating myself because all the other mommas, from Caroline Ingalls to the beautiful stranger momma with the lovely curated Instagram feed could stay on top of their dishes.
The ‘no dishwasher’ idea was totally and completely mine. Chris wasn’t asking it of me and God surely wasn’t. And that one simple, silly little thing opened the door for comparison and a self-loathing.
Let me ask you as we journey through our Lent Devotional for Women together, have you heard the oft-repeated phrase, “A thing cannot give what it does not have?” So I’m going to ask you, “How’s your self-love?” I don’t mean a disordered, selfish love. I mean a self-love inspired by the fact that God the Father made you and is crazy in love with you!
If we are carrying around a self-loathing, even though we are made in the image and likeness of God, will we be able to love others? The answer is sadly, “No.” And in my case, this lack of self-love all because of a dishwasher? Really!
Our contempt of self, or at the very least, our false sense of love will be evident. We will be prideful, judgmental, resentful, and all around unwilling to (fill in the blank). Our ability to practice virtue will be stunted…more like atrophied; we don’t want that! Lent Devotional for Women friends, let’s change that quote into, “A person cannot give love if she doesn’t love herself.” Ouch? I told you, this Lent may seem simple but that doesn’t mean easy. I also said we were going to focus on BIG love and I don’t know anyone who loves us BIGGER than God. In this sense, BIGGER is better.
Let’s start very little on our path to BIG love. Let’s be kind to ourselves. Today, when we’re tempted (especially by habit) to speak ill of ourselves: “I’m a clutz, I’m scatterbrained, I’m fat, I’m ugly, I can’t do anything right, I’m depressed, I’m angry, I’m moody, I’m an emotional wreck…” Let’s replace those comments with the truth: “God blesses me, I am created in His image, God loves me forever, He takes pleasure in me, God chose me, He sings over me, God has me engraved on the palms of His hands…” For a free printable with all these and more visit this page, Bible Quotes: How Does God Feel About Me?
Look, mommas, our lack of BIG love towards ourselves not only keeps us from loving everyone else BIG, it sets a bad example for our children. It can also make them wonder, and I want you to read this slowly, it can make our husbands, our children, and our friends wonder, “What’s wrong with me that I love her so BIG and she doesn’t love herself?” Mommas, we do not want that! If we can’t love ourselves yet just because God loves us, let’s at least love ourselves because we want our children to love themselves and be secure in our love for them.
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Remember our Devotions for Lent assignment today. When we feel tempted to start talking and thinking badly about ourselves, we will replace those words with The Word telling us who we really are and how our loving Father feels and thinks about us. Bible Quotes: How Does God Feel About Me?