This Lenten season is the first one Danger and I have experienced as husband and wife. We began the season as brand new parents, and didn’t spend much time discerning what our Lenten sacrifices would be, either individually and as a couple.
At first, I declared I would give up Sonic for Lent. Those of you who know me, know that Sonic iced teas are my drug of choice, and it’s not uncommon that I have one several times a week. (It’s all about that ice.) As such, it seemed like an appropriate sacrifice for a new mom who could barely brush her hair on a daily basis. I thought that anything more severe wouldn’t stick. Surely, I could live without Sonic tea for 40 days.
Turns out I can only live without Sonic tea for about 5 days.
Yeah, I felt super weak and selfish, especially after watching a documentary about families in Guatemala who live on less money per day than the price of one of my precious iced teas. (It’s a great film, btw, so check it out when you have a chance: Living on One.)
Despite my personal Lenten failings, my husband and I were doing a decent job with our marital Lenten exercise. We decided to recite the Memorare and St. Michael Prayer with our normal nightly prayers before bed, regardless of how exhausted we were after negotiating the sleep of our newborn. It worked out pretty well, with each of us reminding and coaxing the other to pray when they were too tired and wanted to give up. It was cool to learn that we could be spiritual coaches for each other during a time in our lives when we slept a little and listened to crying a lot.
But the real Lenten lesson was unintentionally taught by my husband.
You see, Danger serves me. No, I don’t mean in the whole I’m-his-queen-thus-he-shall-treat-me-like-royalty. I mean that he often denies himself to do things for me. For example, he will take extra nighttime feedings if he knows I need more sleep. He will get up early with the baby and make me breakfast. He will go out of his way to buy me a Sonic tea. He listens to me patiently talk through whatever I have on my mind (which can take hours). He prays for me, he carries in all of the groceries for me, he does goofy things to cheer me up, and he tells me I am beautiful when I’m feeling like a giant, busted can of biscuits.
He serves me, and doesn’t complain. He serves me and smiles because he loves me.
This dawned on me as I was reading my favorite Easter Bible verses from Isaiah 53. You know, the “Suffering Servant”. That passage is incredibly beautiful, and it pierces my soul every time I read it. Jesus’ intense sacrificial love is unfathomable and breaks my heart, mostly because I am so selfish and lacking in love. I don’t make enough time to for Him in my daily life, and yet He waits for me – lovingly – regardless. He loves me as if I were the only one, and he suffered and died as if I were the only one. He is devoted to me. He suffers for me, and doesn’t complain because he thinks I’m that worth it all.
And you guys, I’m not worth it. But he did it anyway.
It’s this kind of sacrificial love that Danger shows me on a daily basis. Sure, he’s not enduring Christ’s passion, but he dies to himself in little ways over and over because he loves me. He denies himself to serve me because he thinks I’m worth it. He does this even when I’m being a lousy wife! Danger serves me and in doing so, reminds me of the Suffering Servant who loved me unto death.
Now, just in time for Holy Week, I am reminded of how I’m called to serve all of those around me without complaining, to serve with humility and love.
I have a lot of growing to do…
Happy Holy Week, everyone!