Lent, Rest, and Living {Guest Post}

I’m so honored to have a blogging friend, Jen, from Expanding Wisdom and Extending Grace, here with us today to share about Lent. I know you are going to be blessed by this post. Lent can be a time for people of ALL faiths to focus our hearts on Jesus, the cross, repentance, and prayer. I shared here some of my favorite Lenten resources, devotions and inspiration from around the web

Lent for People of All Faiths

For a long time, whenever I heard the term Lent, I thought about a bunch of people who gave up eating certain foods for a while as a way to earn their way into God’s favor. I am not entirely sure where that idea came from, nevertheless it was the one I held for some time. In the last year, I have been noticing more and more beauty within the forms passed down through the Church to help the believer enter the Divine rest (Heb. 4). I think everyone can agree that Lent is a tradition that many Christians around the world observe, yet some are not sure whether it is a tradition they should attend to and even more disagree on the purpose, nature and powers of Lent. Personally, I cannot pretend to be an expert on these things, nor do I feel equipped to discuss all that Lent is and ought to be. I can, however, speak as one woman who desperately wants to know and be like her Savior and the role that traditions and the disciplines have played in that pursuit.

I have chosen to celebrate Lent for three main reasons. The spiritual disciplines make room for a holy harvest in the life of the believer, the celebration of Easter invites me to be fully present when the day arrives, and it sets a form before me to imitate every day throughout the year.

I think first I should clarify what I mean by spiritual disciplines and why I am using this term in a discussion about Lent. When I first heard someone refer to the spiritual disciplines my flesh had a bit of a fit. I did not like the sound of the word discipline, nor did I want discipline in my life. Of course, I was viewing this through the lens of having had an abusive father. My view of authority and discipline was seriously skewed because of those memories. It was only on the other side of healing in this area that I began to feel more comfortable with the idea of discipline. Furthermore, when people talk about disciplines, they are referring to certain practices. Some of the common practices are silence, solitude, prayer, fasting, study, and confession. Lent is a time where one hones their focus on these kinds of practices for the purpose of spiritual growth.

The mature Christian knows that spiritual growth only happens through repentance. The thing all these practices have in common is that they lead to repentance. We all live in a reality that is inconsistent with the Divine reality that existed in the garden and exists in Heaven. We have to be cured of the foolish and deceived notions we each carry about people and life, we have to pray “Your kingdom come”. Repentance is the way in. People who join the military have to go through boot camp to become oriented to the vastly different life they will be living. It is the loud call that says “Wake up, things are going to be different and you need to know how to live here.” Lent and the spiritual disciplines are like that. They are practices that immerse the Christian in the ways of Kingdom of Heaven. In doing so, we can leave that time with a feel for how we ought to live and, prayerfully, a clearer view of who we are and who our God is.

Secondly, the very nature and purpose of Easter invites me to be fully present as the day arrives. For a long time, I have gone to Easter service on Sunday, the kids got an Easter basket, and we went on an Easter egg hunt and that was that. We had celebrated Easter. What!? How could this be enough? Easter is the most important holiday for the Christian and the Church. For Christmas, people start preparing the day after Thanksgiving. Furthermore, it is always my joy to do so. I love it, the celebration, the light, the love, the stories. It is glorious and when Christmas Eve and Day come I am fully immersed in and present for all that those days bring. I do not think it would have been the same if I did nothing to consider Christmas before the day on the calendar arrived. Why in the world would I do anything different for THE most important holiday in my life? Lent is our preparation for entering into that Holy and glorious day, the day our Savior made a way. It is entirely fitting and right that as the days lead up to Easter that my heart grows in expectation and devotion for Christ. After 40 days of prayer, repentance, fasting, and contemplation I will be ready and the day will have its proper place in my heart, mind, and body.

Lastly, it sets a form before me to imitate every day throughout the year. The pattern of recognition of sins, repentance, and restoration is the pattern the Christian should be living every day. It is the only way to enter in and stay in His rest. Hebrews 4 discusses it at length.

“9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore, let us be diligent to enter that rest so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The ideas of rest, the Word of God, revealing our sin, and grace are all discussed in this section. They are unapologetically connected. The way to enter His rest is through repentance. The way to repentance is through his Word and in His presence. Those things become much more accessible to us when we encounter them in the forms of the spiritual disciplines and traditions our church has been practicing since Christ ascended. Lent is one of those traditions.

So yes, I am observing Lent this year because I desperately need a holy harvest in my life, I need to be fully present before my Lord, and I need patterns to imitate in my daily walk. Imagine the power of the Church if we all were living like this? I can imagine a people, free from sin, death, anxiety, and depression proclaiming truth where ever they went. To God be the Glory.

40 Day Devotional on Waiting on God

Resources for Lent and the Spiritual Disciplines

Expanding wisdom, extending grace,




Jennifer Dow, wife to Ernie and homeschooling mom to three great children, is passionate about teaching and writing about the things that make us more human and the tensions we experience along the way. Jennifer maintains her blog, ‘Expanding Wisdom: A Christian Classical Homeschooling Blog’, teaches writing and literature throughout the homeschool community and online with CiRCE Academy, and serves other homeschool moms at a weekly Bible study group.

Lent: Waiting On God

Lent Devotions and Resources

“I can’t seem to follow through in giving up for Lent.

Which makes me want to just give up Lent. 

Which makes me question Who I am following. 

Which may precisely be the point of Lent.”

Ann Voskamp from this lovely post on Lent

Lent is fast approaching, it begins on February 18th this year. If you’re wondering why I observe Lent even though I’m not Catholic, I hope you will come back Monday for a guest post on why Lent is meaningful for all of us. In a nutshell, I just love this special time to re-focus our hearts. And here is a beautiful post from Edie, at Life in Grace, on Lent from her Lutheran perspective.

Lent is a time to focus our hearts on the sacrifice of Jesus, the cross, repentance and prayer. Lent is a time to devote ourselves to God’s Word and to constant prayer in a way that maybe we aren’t blessed to be able to do year round. Lent is a time to ready ourselves — allowing Jesus to cleanse our hearts of impurities, repentance, turning back to our first love.

Won’t you join me in this beautiful season by learning to wait on God alone. I have found, in my own life, that I often wait for things to change, for circumstances to come about, for the next best thing, for my kids to reach a certain age…but I’m not waiting on God.

Lent is the perfect time to set aside the busy calendars, to calm the rushing of our daily lives, to still our hearts before the Lord. Does this mean our regular lives go on pause? Unfortunately, for most of us, no. What this does mean is that we set aside time purposefully and intentionally to make our hearts right and pure before God, asking Him to change us and mold us, yielding to the work of the Spirit in our lives.

Wait Only Upon God Devotions

The first resource I want to share with you is my new devotional guide for waiting on God. We will spend 40 days reading Scriptures on waiting, a short devotional thought and praying the Scriptures. I would love for you to join us with the ebook or print copy. I also hope you will join me on instagram and social media with the hashtag #prayingthescriptures as we read and pray God’s Word concerning waiting.

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More Lent Resources

I have been collecting ideas I’ve found online for the past several years, books, devotions, ideas for activities and ways to observe Lent…there are some awesome ideas out there! I hope you will take a look at these resources.

Favorite Books for Lent
Links Around the Web

Lent & Easter Pinterest Board

Join me on Pinterest where I pin lots of great Christ-Centered ideas for families to use during the Lenten and Easter season!

Follow His Mercy is New’s board Easter ~ Christ Centered Ideas & Other Easter Fun on Pinterest.

Cross Centered & Meaningful Easter Art Projects

Easter Art Projects That Point To Jesus @mercyisnew.com

Pinterest is FULL of Easter eggs, bunnies and spring flowers. I love bunnies, eggs and flowers! After all, God DID create Spring and these gorgeous creatures and flowers for us to enjoy!! But, for me, Easter is the most important holiday we celebrate as believers! I want to do some art projects with my kids that show the importance of the cross.  But, I admit, pinterest let me down a bit when I went searching for “cross art projects for kids…” and such.

So, I have a few ideas for you…

Oil Pastel Cross Project

Simple project! (Similar to the hearts we did for Valentine’s Day!)  Items needed: Paper + Oil Pastels = that’s it! Start by drawing a cross in the center and color in – I used brown, but you could use any color for your cross. Take another color and go around the cross with a thin line, continue using different colors for each layer until you reach the edges of the paper. Faith Based Easter Art Projects @mercyisnew.com

See The Light: The Crossmaker Easter Story + Art Lesson!

These are lessons are PERFECT for your older elementary and middle school kids…it’s often hard to find art lessons for these kids, especially on pinterest! I was SO excited about these. I watched the videos first myself and then am using these DVD lessons with my co-op art students in the month of April.  You can find the Easter projects and many other Bible based art lessons on DVD at See The Light website. This DVD actually contains 150 minutes of instruction! 3 different art lessons all based on the Easter story, as well as an amazing telling of the Easter story with chalk pastels!

Here are some examples from one of the See The Light lessons we did in our art class at co-op!

5 Faith Based Art Projects for Easter @mercyisnew.com

Crown of Thorns Chalk Pastel Tutorial

Tricia & Nana have put together another lovely chalk pastel tutorial for Easter!! This crown of thorns is the perfect art project for the month of April, reminding our children of why we celebrate Easter to begin with.


Colorful Light Ray Cross

Here is another lovely cross art project for Easter! Tammy tells you how to go about this project on her blog.


Watercolor Cross

This cross (FREE printable) is a lovely option for watercolors! You can watercolor the floral cross and then cut out to hang in your window like stain glass! I love this one!

5 Easter Art Projects That Point To Jesus @mercyisnew.com

More Spring Art Tutorials

Celebrate Spring with Art for All Ages!

Read the rest of my series, Teaching Art {With the Help of Pinterest} here!

Tomb Cake for Easter


I want to share with you a sweet tradition that my husband’s family passed down to us. His mom always made a TOMB CAKE and I have found a way to keep it simple.

Tomb Cake @Mercyisnew.com

My husband grew up with a tomb cake to celebrate Easter each year with his family. I kind of cheated and created my own tomb cake that wasn’t quite as time intensive in the kitchen. Because, remember, I don’t exactly love cooking and spending hours in the kitchen. 🙂

Items Needed

  • 1/2 of a bundt cake (homemade or store bought)
  • green food coloring (just a few drops)
  • coconut
  • real flowers
  • toothpick & piece of paper for banner
  • tiny piece of cloth to fold and place inside the empty tomb


  1. To make this tomb cake, you need to bake ANY type of BUNDT cake! You can even BUY one!! One of those rounded angel food cakes would work also!
  2. When you have the bundt cake, cut it in HALF.
  3. Stand that half up on it’s side. Voila! An empty tomb!
  4. Once you have your tomb, I like to add green colored coconut for grass, a few real flowers, a sign that says “He is Risen!” and even a tiny piece of white cloth for Jesus’ clothing was was found folded in the tomb.

Another fun idea is to use LEGO soldiers to guard the tomb!! My MIL did this one year when she had all of the grandkids over for Easter. Such a fun addition to the tomb cake!

You could use an ANGEL from Christmas and lego soldiers/figures from just about any Lego set!! Your kids will be super impressed. 🙂 My mother-in-law iced her tomb cake with chocolate frosting, but I usually left mine without icing. Whatever you prefer!

Tomb Cake with Lego Soldiers @mercyisnew.com

More Christ-Centered Easter Ideas