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 | By Alison Blanchet

When the Season Isn’t What We’d Hoped

Easter Amid Our Imperfections

There is a Lent that stands out in my mind. I was probably 22 or 23 and at the somewhat gentle prodding of my roommate, I decided I would give up hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock. My roommate was an enthusiastic morning person. I was not. In hindsight, I’m not sure if she was more interested in my holiness or her peace.

I have never failed at self-discipline so spectacularly as I did that Lent. It would be generous to say I mastered my mornings 5 out of 40 times. Probably more like three. And I’m sure I gave myself every Sunday as a freebie. Inevitably when that alarm went off, I hit snooze.

Then, Easter Sunday arrived.

Easter still happened. Even after I planned to sacrifice the snooze button for 40 days and hit it 400 times (not hyperbole — just ask my roommate), Easter still happened. I still celebrated Christ’s life, death and resurrection. That year, in fact, my worship was punctuated with a newfound appreciation that Christ’s love for me was so great that he suffered and died for me, very imperfect though I was.

One of my kiddos is always excited to tell me what color he’s on at the end of the day. His class has a system and good behavior gets you closer to the end of the rainbow. Being on purple is good, being on red means they “struggled to meet expectations.” When he reports being on blue or purple I always tell him I’m proud of him but then I always add, “but I love you the same on red — and so does Jesus.”

Of course we talk about how Jesus wants us to be the best we can and be obedient in school, but the reality is that nothing he can do will change how he is loved by us and God.

Are you crushing your Lenten commitments? Getting up early for prayer? Reading the Bible daily? Kicking the habits you’ve been battling for years? If you feel you’ve really grown through prayer, fasting and almsgiving this Lent — that is a grace! Self control, discipline and generosity is not easy — especially for a whole season — and growth should be celebrated!

However, maybe this season did not go the way you hoped. You made plans for growth that you struggled to put into place. You gave in to temptation more times than you care to admit. You hit the snooze button. Your prayers feel dry and you’re not where you hoped you’d be as Easter nears.

Sometimes we can treat spiritual progress like a class behavior chart. While it’s important to never stop cooperating with the gift of our salvation, the reality is that just like I love my kiddo the same whether he’s made honor roll or gotten demerits, God’s love is not conditional on how well we feel our Lent went. In fact, God’s love doesn’t depend on any of our feelings, ever.

If you aren’t where you hoped you’d be on Easter Sunday, rejoice that God’s love is unconditional and that an “imperfect” Lent is an opportunity to realize — even more — how much we are in need of salvation.

Alison Blanchet lives in Panama City with her husband and three children. She works as a therapist for children and teens. Email her at