OPINION

Green: What I learned during the season of Lent

RENAE GREEN

We Baptists are good at a lot of things, but abstaining from any kind of food item is not one of them. We love our potlucks. We love our dessert fellowships. We love our coffee.

Giving up something for Lent isn’t something we talk about. I don’t even know if it’s something we do, unless by personal conviction or choice. I’ve been a good, faithful Baptist girl all my life, and I don’t recall ever giving up anything for Lent. This year, I decided to try it.

I gave up coffee.

Yes, you read that right. The Coffee Girl gave up coffee and lived to write about it. The first few days weren’t easy, but I didn’t give up caffeine… just my daily cuppa. A single mug full of black tea decreased the withdrawal effects. Still, tea doesn’t taste the same. It doesn’t have that delightful kick I look forward to each morning. I longed for my coffee.

Green

After a couple of weeks, I realized something shocking: I was OK. I was actually good. I was stunned to learn this about myself. Prior to this experience, I thought a complete separation from coffee would turn me into a dark creature from the movie Aliens, or at least one of the ghouls from The Walking Dead.

I did miss it. Every single morning I missed it. I missed the taste. I missed the smell. I missed the warmth of the mug in my hands. But each time I reached for it, I remembered why I gave it up in the first place. It’s such a small thing, by comparison. But each time I felt the urge to throw in the towel and fix a pot of brew, I remembered.

I remembered what Christ gave up for me.

And I’d say to myself, He gave everything for you, and you can’t even give up coffee? And I’d love Him a little bit more.

During the forty-day period leading up to Easter, I had many such conversations with myself. And I began to view His death in a new way. I’ve always known He gave His life for me, as in, He died. He took the punishment for my sins. But for the first time, I thought about all the other things He gave up when He chose to die. He gave up the chance to get married and have children. He gave up the chance to grow old alongside His friends. He gave up His chance to have a long life. He gave up so much for me.

Easter morning, when I took my first sip of coffee in a while, I relished it—the scent, the texture, the delicious warmth. And I remembered all the freedoms I have because of what He gave up. I have peace in the midst of chaos. I have joy in the mist of trials. I have countless sunrises and sunsets and laughter and friendships… I have abundant life. And I’m so, so grateful.

“He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone.” 1 Timothy 2:6

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com