In this episode Lorissa shares some of the things she and her family are doing this Lent to draw closer to our Lord as well as some beautiful ideas from other Catholic women in our Master’s community. Lorissa also has a special challenge for all of us to embrace this Lent. Listen to hear what it is.

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Hello, my friends, and welcome to episode 70 of Made for Greatness. I am your host Lorissa, and today I’m gonna be talking about Lent. This episode is gonna air on Ash Wednesday. And so I thought this would be a very appropriate topic for this episode, but I also wanna mention really fast before I dive into the kind of, what’s been on my heart-mind for this episode. I just wanna share with you that our minimalism challenge is just kicking off in masters. And in fact, it’s not too late to join. If you haven’t already, it’s gonna be a powerful month. I not just really like the strategies of minimalism or clearing out the clutter or getting organized, things like that. It’s really a deep dive into the mindset work as to like, why do we let things pile up? And why is it hard to get rid of things to let things go?

And what is all the mind drama that comes up? And I’m excited about this. I’m excited. I know that Sterling has a lot to teach us both Sterling and I are gonna be kicking off a really powerful workshop next Monday, March 7th. And so if you haven’t joined Masters, it’s not too late to really dive into this pro program, particularly for Lent. And I think it’s gonna be very life-giving for all of us. Now, in this episode, I really just wanted to share with you a little bit of the things that I’ve been thinking about and praying about for what I wanna do for lent and what my family is doing. And then I also wanna share with you what some of our members are doing for Lent. I posted a question in our private Facebook group, and there were some really cool things that were shared there.

And I don’t know about you, but I always love hearing people’s ideas. And especially when it comes to how people are striving to grow in their relationship with God, it always excites me. I always love hearing what people are doing and, and getting ideas and, fresh perspectives because so often we can kind of get into a rut or we kind of do a lot of times the same things and I just love new ideas. And then at the end of this episode, I’m gonna give us all a little bit of a challenge for Lent as if Lent isn’t challenging enough, but I’m gonna kind of give us all something to think about. So stick with me till the end. And I really do hope that this episode is life-giving for you. So for me, one of the things that I’m gonna do, and it’s very, this is a very common one. I’m not gonna spend much time on it, but I am going to be giving up sugar for Lent, which for a lot of us as women, especially that

Is a really big deal. That’s a really big sacrifice to make. And in thinking about this, I came across a book on Amazon and I’m always hesitant to recommend books that I haven’t completely read, but I ordered this book it’s called the 40 day sugar fast. And just sharing that in case anybody else out there is doing something similar. I’ve read a couple chapters so far, and it’s not even written by a Catholic author, but it’s so far it’s really, really good. And the whole premise of it is really allowing, you know, giving up sugar do detoxing it out of our bodies so that we can completely experience the sweetness that Jesus offers us. And that so often, you know, the impact of sugar in our lives, not only does it, you know, it Rask havoc on our body and it, it kind of creates this addictive nature for many of us.

But when we get it out of our system, it clears up space for us to really desire Jesus. And this is also an opportunity I know for myself, I know for a lot of women in our Master’s program, women that are doing this work of learning how to manage our minds and learning how to process urges process desires is that, I mean, we have the capability of having a really strong, strong desire, but not having to get into it. And for, for me offering this sacrifice, during Lent is so beautiful because then not only is it just, it’s not just saying, Hey, I’m just not eating sugar because it’s, it’s not good for me, but I’m using this as an opportunity to draw closer to our Lord. And I am using this as an opportunity to offer up my sacrifice, my offer up this suffering and to make it count for something.

And so I’m excited about it. I’m excited about this book. I think that it’s gonna be nice to have something to kind of read as I’m going through this process. And I just wanted to share that if anyone else is doing something now, one of the things that my husband and I, we were talking about the other night in regards to our family and what we’re gonna be doing as a family with our children is that we were really analyzing it and reflecting on what do our children need spiritually in their lives right now, what do all of us need? What do we need as a family? And there were a couple things that through prayer and through my husband and I talking through this and discerning it, there were a few things that were very obvious. Number

One, we know that all of us in our family, at least, and especially our children, don’t get much silence in our lives. We have a big family, we’re going a million different directions, always on the go. There’s always noise. And truly, we don’t really get silence unless we’re very intentional about it. And then the other thing that my husband brought up is that, yes, we pray every night as a family. A lot of times we’ll pray the rosary or several decades of the rosary. But a lot of times we find that our posture isn’t always the best or, you know, maybe kids are just kind of laying on the couch or we’re easily distracted by the little ones, things like that. And that’s just part of family life. I don’t wanna be critical of that because I wanna applaud all of us that are actually really trying to pray.

But that is one thing that we talked about for my husband and I like, what can we do during this life to make our prayer time, our nightly prayer time, a little bit more focused and a little bit more intentional and adding in silence, this is hard to do when you have seven kids, ages ranging from four up to 16. And so what we came up with is a plan that every night, when it’s time for our family prayer time, we’re gonna get together in the living room and start off our prayer with a very, just simple opening prayer. And then we’re gonna send everyone off to a designated space where everyone’s gonna have their own space by themselves, somewhere in our house, whether it’s a bedroom room or the living room or the basement. And everybody’s gonna take 15 to 20 minutes and have their own private, quiet prayer time.

I’m not exactly sure how this is gonna look for the four and six year old. My husband and I were gonna have to get a little creative there, but for the other kids, this is not gonna be a problem. They can go to those designated prayer spaces and have quiet time, no devices, no distractions, just their own quiet, silent prayer time. And then we’re gonna come back together and close in a, in our prayer area that we’re gonna create a prayer area. That’s not in our living room. We’re not gonna be sitting on the couch. It’s gonna be kind of in our front room. We’re gonna create a prayer space and, and really work on our, on our posture during prayer time, kneeling or sitting and looking at some, you know, sacred images, having some candlelight and creating a, a prayer space during Lent.

Now we’re gonna do some things. We’re gonna get a little creative. When, when we send the kids off to their prayer time, some of the days we’re gonna just let them do whatever they want, like completely on their own. If they wanna pray some decades of the rosary, they can, if they wanna just sit quietly, they can, some of the days we we’ll give them something to kind of reflect on. We might ask them to read a scripture passage and prayerfully reflect on it. And then when we gather back in prayer time together, then we’ll spend some time sharing what they came up with. Or maybe it’s giving them a question to reflect on or journal during their prayer time, things like that. But we wanna kind of mix it up a little by give them a couple different opportunity to experience different types of prayer.

Maybe it’s just to sit down with a piece of paper and write a letter to God or to letter to Jesus, or maybe it’s to just sit down and reflect on what are the top 20 things you’re most grateful for today. Write those things down. Maybe it’s another day, like spend 15 to 20 minutes doing a deep dive, into an examination of conscience where there’s, you know, some reflective questions on examining the things that we’re sorry for. And then coming back together and sharing, opening our hearts to one another and then praying together as a family. So that’s what we’re hoping to do. This Lent as a family for our evening prayer. And I’m really excited to see the fruits that come from it. Now, this is the really cool thing. Now my kids, you know, aside from my little ones, I’ve got, you know, a 10 year old, 11 year old, and then the rest are teenagers, the older ones.

But with my experience in youth ministry, I have had so many years of witnessing God, moving in the hearts of young people. I know it’s possible. I’ve seen it so many times. The young people, even as, as young as 8, 9, 10 years old, can have really powerful and deep thoughts. They can have very introspective ideas and they can in a lot of ways, they’re so open to God speaking to them and, you know, experiencing powerful prayer moments. So this is what I wanna say. Maybe, you know, maybe you have a seven year old, an eight year old, a 10 year old teenagers, let us trust that that they’re capable of potentially going deeper than we even realize. Every time I’ve led young people in prayer, whether it’s third graders or seventh graders or 12th graders, I am always blown away by their openness and their willingness to experience God.

I just, I’m always blown away by it. I’m always blown away by what God does in those moments. When we create these experiences where we allow ourselves and we encourage our children to let God in. But sometimes it takes a little creativity. Sometimes it takes thinking outside of the box and helping our children to experience different types of prayer. So I’m, I’m super excited about this, even with my little ones I’m imagining, you know, maybe sometimes maybe giving you some little books to read, maybe some coloring to do or drawing to do during that time. Even in some of those moments, it may just be myself and my husband holding them, praying with them quietly. During that time, I’m really, really excited for this and this, my sisters in Christ. This is The Gift of Lent. It gets us out of our, our ordinary routine and it draws us in to go deeper.

I love this special time, and I know that you do too. And then finally, one other thing that I’m actually just kind of doing for myself is that I’ve really been challenged lately in my life. I’m, I’m really working on my health, my overall health and wellbeing. And one of the areas that I really have noticed lately that I’m struggling in is getting adequate sleep every night. In fact, a really good friend of mine. We would into lunch a couple weeks ago and she called me out a little bit. She challenged me, which I was so grateful for, but I was sharing with her some of the struggles that I was going through. And she looked at me, she said, how many hours of sleep are you getting at night? And I kind of shared with her, you know, anywhere between six to seven hours of sleep.

And, she said, Lorissa, you’ve gotta be getting like striving to get eight hours of sleep. Our bodies need that. And, and listen, I get it. I know, I, I understand that. That’s what I, I preach. That’s what I tell other women, but I’m not always good at holding myself to that same accountability. And so for Lent, I wanna really make it a priority to shut things down earlier, to get off of my devices earlier and to really be very intentional about doing whatever I need to do to get eight hours of sleep at night. And I know that when I do get a really good night’s sleep, I feel so much better. The next day I have more energy. The brain fog goes away. I’m able to be more present to my husband and to my children. I’m more focused with the work that I’m doing.

And overall, I’m more capable of stepping into the mission that God has called me to do in my vocation, in my, in the work that God is calling me to do in the ministry that God’s calling me to. And so this really, although, I mean, it would be an incredible gift to myself to get this eight hours of sleep, but it also requires giving up some other things like sometimes it’s giving up some of those things that maybe I wanna do at night after I get the kids down. That’s, that’s kinda like my, my time to read a book or to do other things that I might enjoy doing, but to actually say no, Lorissa, your overall health and your wellbeing is, is more important than even that. And so that’s just one, one thing. I don’t know if anyone like if that resonates with anyone, but I’m excited for this challenge for myself to be able to do that.

Aside from that, for those of us that are doing the minimalism challenge in Masters, I’m also kind of working on getting the laundry under control, clearing out some clothes, like going through the kids stuff. And because for me, laundry is my problem. That’s my problem area. And I can get on top of it. And then the next thing I know we’ve just got piles and piles of, of laundry. You know, I, it’s hard to keep up on it, but for me, one of the reasons why it’s so hard is because I have, we have too many clothes I haven’t gone through and gotten rid of things that don’t fit. We just have too much. And so this minimalism challenge is, is awesome for me to be able to, to, to work on minimalizing our clothes and the laundry situation. And I think if I can do that, then it’ll be so much easier to stay on top of the laundry.

Now, I also mentioned that I wanted to share with you some of the things that our Masters members are doing for Lent. So one of our members mentioned that she is doing the love dare for Lent. And if you’re not familiar with that, it’s, I believe it’s a Protestant book, but it’s a daily love, dare challenge in a way for couples to do married couples. And it’s really beautiful. I believe that it was highlighted in the movie fireproof years ago. Really good movie. And it’s awesome. You can go actually, you can go buy the book, the love dare, but I think even if you Google search, The Love Dare PDF, you could, you can look it up and you can find all of the daily challenges

For loving your spouse in a really powerful way. It’s a really cool idea. And I love that idea of, of really laying down your life for your beloved, for your spouse during Lent and several of our members share this idea, which is fascinating because several of ’em shared it. I’m sure this is very like a very popular Lent in tradition. It’s just not something that I was aware of. I’m like, how did I miss this all these years? This is so cool, but it’s like a bean jar. So you get a jar, you need to, you get beans like hard, right? And whenever a child or anyone in the family does a sacrificial act, they put a bean in the jar. And then on Easter Sunday, when the kids wake up, that jar of beans has turned into a jar of jelly beans.

Ah, so fun. I’m totally doing this. We’re gonna completely do this. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this. I clearly have missed something over the years, but I love, love, love this idea, super sweet and just getting it gets the kids thinking about their little sacrifices. It reminds me of St and her sacrifice speeds, where she had this kind of little mini decade where every day she would just slide a bead down every time she did a little active sacrifice or an active love for someone. And she used it as an offering to our Lord. And I love that so much. Another one of our members was sharing with me this really fun Lenton tradition. I think it started in their parish where they called it family fun night. And it was in correlation with their Friday stations of the cross. So families would get together at the parish.

They would do stations of the cross together. Then afterwards they would gather they would all pitch in, get cheese pizzas, and then they would do, you know, so they would eat together and then they would do something fun. You know, the kids would, would do some games or they would all play bingo or Dodge ball or something like that. And really make it a fun family evening and love this idea. So, so much, in fact, I was telling my husband about it the other day, and we’re like, we gotta do this. We gotta do this at our parish. Even if it’s just one Friday during lent, like how cool is that? And I know a lot of parishes have stations at the cross, or they have fish fries or Lenton meal, but I love like taking it even one step further and adding some element after that, like after the stations or after the Lenon mill of particularly getting, doing something fun for the kids and getting the families together and getting the kids together and creating these fun memories around these special Lenton traditions.

I know that at our parish, it sometimes feels like that the majority of the people coming to stations of the cross are a lot of times older couples or older people. We don’t see a lot of children. We don’t necessarily always see a lot of teenagers, but what could we be doing to reach out to that group and get our, our younger families involved and stuff like that. So I love this idea. I know that sometimes that feels like it could be daunting or overwhelming to try to organize or put something like this together. But I think part of, for me, like being involved in so many church events and coordinating so many things is that sometimes you just gotta do it. Like it doesn’t have to be hard. You could keep it simple and just put the word out, share it with some families and just kind of see what happens.

See what pops up. The same woman, what that was sharing this with me said that they did this for a number of years in their parish. But at times they’ve also just done it in their homes with a couple families. So like this year, they’re gonna get together with several families in one of their homes, or maybe alternate to a couple people’s homes and get together, pray the stations of the cross together as, as the families and then have dinner and just let the kids play, let the adults talk and spend time together. And I love that idea too, just creating these special moments, creating these memories, coming together with other families, whether it’s a big group at the parish or a small group in someone’s home, either way, gosh, what a beautiful opportunity to, to come together during the season of lent and pray together as families, our children will not forget those moments and they’ll have fun.

They’ll be hanging out with their friends, they’ll be doing it together. And these will be the memories that will stay with them when they get older. And they start having kids. They’ll remember that they’ll remember family fun night and they’ll wanna keep that tradition going. Another one of our members shared that her and her husband are recommitting to having personal prayer time together after the kids are in bed. I love that image to just that, that idea of, okay, the kids are down instead of turning the TV on, or instead of just going to bed, we’re gonna have some quiet moments together as a couple to just pray together. I think that’s so beautiful. And then finally one other of our members and, and I had so many responses that were so beautiful. I wish I could share them all. But this last one this particular member in Masters has been struggling for a while with infertility.

And this is a big cross. It’s a big cross for her. We know it’s a big cross for a number of our other members and for women that might even be listening to this episode right now. But this is a beautiful thing that this member said. She said, I am focusing on embracing my crosses during Lent this year and increasing prayer and specifically choosing people to offer it of, for particularly moms with crisis pregnancies, moms who have lost children, moms with children who have left the church, families in poverty, struggling to provide for their family and women who are struggling with infertility. What I love about this is that this member is at the very beginning of lent. She’s getting very intentional about what her intentions are like, what are her prayer intentions? She’s got this particular group of women that she’s gonna be praying for when her own suffering arises.

And it just, you know, in reading that it made me pause and think, okay, how can I be more intentional about that? Who do I wanna pray for as we go into Lent? Because there are gonna be times that I’m gonna be experiencing suffering. When I struggle with sugar, who am I gonna be offering that up for? If I, someone in advance that I’m gonna be thinking about if I have a particular intention or a person that I, that I know or love that’s hurting, or right now, you know, maybe it’s for the people in Ukraine and this situation with Russia and just praying for God’s peace. But whenever we have kind of an intention on the forefront of our minds, it allows us to enter into that suffering in just a much more intentional way and, and almost not looking forward to the suffering, but just knowing that when we face it, we know instantly who we wanna offer it for.

So I think that is so incredible beautiful and so powerful. And it’s something that I encourage all of us, the beginning of this Latin season to think ahead and think, think very intentionally who or what are my intentions going to be offered of for during Lent. And certainly things may come up over the next few weeks where you, somebody comes to us and asks us for their prayers or a situation arises. And we, we really wanna be praying for that specific intention, but it’s just so nice to have something right there on the, on our hearts that we just know

That we can be offering those things up for. And finally, my sisters in Christ at the beginning of this podcast, I mentioned that I was gonna give all of us a challenge, and this is it. So much of the coaching we do in Masters has to do with overcoming the negative self-talk in our lives. Now, as someone who has struggled with negative, self-talk like for, so for so many years of my life, this has been a huge area for me of personal growth, because through these coaching tools and through learning the model and a little bit more about managing our thoughts and our minds, I myself have been able to, to improve in this area significantly. Not that it’s perfect, not that I don’t sometimes have negative, negative thoughts, but just that I’m better at it now with dealing with it. And the prop sometimes with negative thoughts is that we’re so used to beating ourselves up or tearing ourselves down because we’re trying to make ourselves better.

And we think that if we put ourselves down or if we speak to ourselves in such a negative way, that we will get positive results from that, like we motivate ourselves in a negative way to do the things that we want to do. But we actually know that that never works. Unfortunately we have to kind of retrain our brain so that our brain realizes that it doesn’t work. And this is the deal. A lot of times, BEC has, we’ve oftentimes spoken so negatively to ourselves for so many years, a lot of that negative, self-talk it hovers in our self, in our subconsciousness. So it’s like, it’s like there it’s background noise and it’s always there, but we’re not really attentive to it. Something major happens. And then we, then we really beat ourselves up. But this is my challenge for all of us during lent is what if we became a little bit more attentive to that? And what if we made a decision this lent to give up speaking to ourselves in negative way, ways? This is my challenge. A lot of us ha like the only way we can do this is by being very intentional. And I wanna say this, I was thinking about this the other day. Like, what if every time we had a negative thought about ourselves, like, you know, a DERO who thought, or like we said, something really horrible to ourselves. What if like every time that happened $300 was automatically deducted out of our bank account?

Like, could you imagine we would probably be pretty motivated to be like aware of that and to really work at that, like, and we would catch ourselves more if literally every time we were speaking poorly to ourselves, money was being deducted. Money was being deducted. Now, if this was the case for me, five years ago, my bank account would be depleted in probably two days because I can look back at my life. And I could probably tell you that in a normal day, I probably had hundreds of negative thoughts about myself, constantly running through my brain. It wasn’t until I became very intentional about recognizing them and catching them in a way, like I would start to catch myself, beating myself up or tearing myself down. And it wasn’t until I legitimately told myself, Lorissa, you’ve got to stop it, that I was actually able to take control of it.

And so I wanna present this challenge to us. Like this is an, a beautiful opportunity to say during lent this year, no more, no more of that. And when the temptation comes up, like, because it’s PA part, part of it’s like such a habit for a lot of us, but just to be like to catch it and to be aware of it, when, when we start to find ourselves doing it to ourselves to just say, oh, no, no, no. I’m giving this up for lent. I’m not doing this. I’m not gonna entertain this thought. I’m not gonna allow this thought to run through my head today. So whatever it happens to be is like, oh, Nope, that thought doesn’t serve me. It’s not helping me. And I want to clear those thoughts out. So just like for me, I wanna clear out the old clothes that no longer serve our family.

I wanna also clear out the, the negative thoughts, particularly about myself. That don’t serve me. They don’t help me to become better. They don’t motivate me. They’re not doing anything, but making me feel terrible about myself or make me feel bad about myself. They’re not helping me grow closer to Christ. In fact, in a lot of ways, they’re keeping me from running to him, they’re keeping me in a spiral of shame or doubt, or, you know, self-loathing that doesn’t serve me in any capacity. So I want wanted to present this challenge to all of us during this Lenton season as just a way of bringing it to our consciousness and saying, Hey, no more. Is this possible? What would our Lenton experience B like by the time we got to Easter, if we really took control of those thoughts, if we really intentionally said no more, I’m not doing this.

I’m not allowing these thoughts to be in my life. So this is it. My sister’s in Christ. I told my students today, I said, what are you gonna do this lent that that makes it different than possibly past lens. Like if we just maybe give up soda or give up chocolate just to, to roof that we’re strong enough that we can do it. And then we, we get to Easter and then we eat a bunch of chocolate or drink a bunch of soda. Like, is that what lent is really about, or is like lent calling us to transformation is Lent calling us to a deeper relationship with Christ, because know my sister’s in Christ. Like if you are listening to this podcast, you are wanting transformation. You are wanting to let go of the things that are keeping you like, like holding you back from the love of Christ, whether it’s sugar or whether it’s distractions or whether it’s piles of laundry.

What is it that if we take a little bit of time to focus on it and work on uprooting, some of those things that maybe are getting in the way will lead us to a deeper transformation will see closer to Christ. So that on Easter Sunday, not only are we able to cry out hallelujah, he is rise, but that we too will have gone through our own Paschal mystery, our own suffering death and resurrection that we too will experience the new life, that Christ desires to give us through this beautiful Gift of Lent. I’ll right. My friends, I hope you have an incredible first week of Lent and I hope you know how much you are loved. And of course, remember mama, you are Made for Greatness.