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Letting Go During Lent

We seek God’s forgiveness during this sacred season, but are we prepared to forgive ourselves?

Pair of swans symbol for Lent
Credit: larioslake
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For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. —Romans 6:14 (NRSV)

I’ve been told that swans mate for life. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know they are very loyal parents.

My husband Charlie and I have been watching two swans and their baby for a while, long enough to see the baby grow from a tiny creature carried on its parents’ backs to a figure as impressive as its parents in everything but its gray plumage.

Whenever we spot one swan, the other two aren’t far away. The mother sticks very close to the youngster. If it veers off in a wayward direction, she’s right behind. If it tries to befriend a group of ducks, she heads off any intermingling.

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The father is more nonchalant, gliding off in a show of majestic disdain but never too far. Lately, though, both parents are giving the baby more freedom. They stare after the young adventurer with what seems like longing and fear for its welfare, but they let it go anyway.

I understand that need to hold on. During Holy Week, I usually go to a reconciliation service, where I confess my sins and ask God’s forgiveness. The problem is I find it hard to accept that forgiveness and to let go of my guilt.

This year, my pastor looked me in the eye and said, “You do know, don’t you, that this only works if you believe God has forgiven you and, therefore, you forgive yourself?”

I do know it; I don’t always feel it. So now I’ll try to imitate the swans and let go of what’s no longer mine—what Jesus lived through this week to take from me.

Lord, give me the strength to lay the burden of my sins at the foot of Your Cross and to leave it there.

Looking for a way to observe Lent and deepen your relationship with God? Join Our Lenten Prayer Program and receive daily encouragement for your spiritual journey.

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