Alas, Providence Said No

Vanessa here,

One of my loop friends got a jolt this week, and her openness inspired me. Thanks Rachel. What God has for you, is for you alone.

Alas, Providence Said No.

I sit at my low window and draw the curtains open. Every handkerchief is tear-stained, and I seek a breeze to dry my face.

But the air is calm and still.

Alas, Providence has said no again.

The day is bright. The branches of the mighty oak framing my view revels in the shine and casts shadows upon the open panes and my wrung hands. I should be outside with my oils and canvas, capturing the lilies on the pond, the thick greenery of the close heather on my lawn. Yet, my artist’s soul is dour. My paints would be onyx or charcoal. I possess no light today.

With a dry spot on my wrist, I scrub my wet cheek. On my lap weighs the heavy letters of Your promises. I’ve no strength to open my Bible, or dump it from my skirts. I’m frozen in regret. What if I said…. What if….

Can any of Your words soothe my restlessness? I know You have plans for me, but what of mine?

Did You not know how much I craved the affection? It wasn’t a trifle to me.

Did You not care how I set my heart upon this dream?

Why let my mind to think, my soul to wish, if I am to be crushed when nothing comes to fruition?

Out on the lawn, a furry squirrel chases a rolling stone, no an acorn. As he seizes on the nut, it squeezes out of his paws and scatters to the pond’s edge. Undaunted, the animal makes a dash only to witness his prize tumble away. The acorn doesn’t float. It sinks, rippling the stagnant waters.

I am one with the varmint.

I turn away from the window. With a deep breath, I declare myself to be reasonable. I should chase a different nut and accept my lot, for You know what’s best.

But I am not so easily consoled. I wish to join the squirrel and reclaim the vision gone away, even in the murky depths.

My mind resounds with bitter memories, those times I forced my desires. Yet, in the wake of those disappointments, I still want my way now. I’ll admit to a poor track, missteps, but Abba, isn’t today different.

Oh, let me be Gideon. My fleece, my face, is still sodden with misery. Therefore, allow me to question Your hand.

Did my pleading for this cause, fall away like Abraham’s for Sodom? Was my dream truly so bad?

Can you not hear Habakkuk’s anguish in my voice? Have You forsaken me?

Is it so, Abba? Is it so?

The glazed glass rattles. A soft rush of air billows the gauzy muslin dressing the casement. Constant and steady this wind, this balm of Gilead, covers me. Hints of fragrant lilies and peppery heather fill my lungs, clearing my sniffles. I feel an embrace in my spirit. Thank You for not leaving me. I welcome this no.

Scratching noises assault my ears.

A few feet away, my friend, the squirrel, has scampered up the oak and dances on a thick limb. His cheeks are pregnant, bulging twice the size of before. He must’ve gathered other acorns. My brethren’s sorrow seems short-lived.

Chuckles gather in my throat. A glimmer of my joy has returned. Could it be Sarah’s laugh at impossibility? Yet, it is true. Abba, will You spin all my ashes to gold? I close my eyes and let the breeze stroke my countenance, tickle the bugle beads of my collar. I release more of my pity and woe.

Abba, my Father, my Provider, renew my heart to Your plans, Your ways. Ready my spirit to receive your promised provisions. Amen.

I hope this helps when God says, “No,” in your life.  Even though it is hard,  never be in doubt of His plans for your life. Below are some scriptures I use to strengthen my resolve. May they bless you, too.

Here’s God’s Promise of His Plans for your life:
Jeremiah 29:11

King James Version (KJV)

11For I know the thoughts (plans) that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Here’s the Catch, Delight 1st Then He gives your desires. (Note-if your delighting then His will and yours will match):
Psalm 37

3Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Here’s the patience clause:
Psalm 37

7Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way…

His promises for an obedient life:
Deuteronomy 28
1And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

2And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

3Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

4Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

5Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

6Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

7The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

8The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

9The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.

10And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

11And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

12The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

13And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.

Here’s David’s prayer for God to save us and grant us our heart’s desire.
Psalm 20
1The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

2Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;

3Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

4Grant thee (my plans) according to thine own heart, and fulfill all thy counsel.

5We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfill all thy petitions.

Finally, for comfort in your sorrow, read of the Bible Hero’s who questioned God and lived.

Sarah – Genesis 18:11-15

Abraham – Genesis 18:23-33

Habakkuk – Habakkuk: 1:1-3

Gideon – Judges: 6:36-40

Job – Job: 6-42


Naomi Rawlings Interview & Give-away! “Sanctuary for a Lady”

         Up-and-coming author, Naomi Rawlings, fills us in on her exciting new book, released on April 3. Titled Sanctuary for a Lady, it will be published by Love Inspired Historical. Naomi is the young mother of two little boys (5 & 2). She resides in northern 

Michigan, just a few miles from Lake Superior.  She shared about the book and some other fascinating aspects of her life.

Naomi, tell us about the book.
        The injured young woman Michel Belanger finds in the woods is certainly an aristocrat. And in the midst of France’s bloody revolution, sheltering nobility merits a trip to the guillotine. Yet despite the risk, Michel knows he must bring the wounded girl to his cottage to heal. Attacked by soldiers and left for dead, Isabelle de La Rouchecauld has lost everything. A duke’s daughter cannot hope for mercy in France, so escaping to England is her best chance of survival. The only thing more dangerous than staying would be falling in love with this gruff yet tender man of the land. Even if she sees, for the first time, how truly noble a heart can be….settings are often included in the early Regency subgenre, perhaps for 

Even though your story is set in France, it’s considered early Regency, correct?
French Revolutionary lack of a better place to put them. The French Revolution affected so much during the early Regency period that it can’t be ignored. Sanctuary for a Lady covers from late March, 1794 to early May 1794. Though it’s set during the Reign of Terror, the novel isn’t bloody or gory.  Its main focus is the romance between the hero and heroine, but the guillotine poses a serious threat to both my main characters (as it did to many French men and women during that time).



What, if any were the challenges to writing in this period?
     The biggest challenge was finding research sources. There are numerous resources about the peasants and local governments of North West France during the French Revolution, but they’re all in French. And I don’t read–or speak–French. Most English language sources pertain to Paris and the upper class, and my story is about provincial peasants (or almost peasants, as far as my heroine is concerned). Do you have a theme verse for your novel? The verse at the beginning of my novel ties in well with my story:  Colossians 3:13–Even as Christ forgave, so do ye also. Forgiveness plays a very strong role in the novel, though I don’t want to reveal much more beyond that.

Does any of your background in life bear on you becoming a writer?
     Those who know me say they can easily see me writing novels, but for me, writing novels kind of came out of nowhere. I’ve always loved reading and did a decent job at writing during high school and college. But as far as writing a novel and getting paid for it goes, the idea never occurred to me until after I’d graduated from college, gotten married, and had a baby. By then, I was reading so much during my baby’s nap times, that I decided to try to write a book, to give me something else to do with my time.

What drew you to be interested in writing Regency Historical Romance?
     Not one thing in particular. I get a lot of story ideas, more than I could ever possibly flesh out into a novel, and as it turned out, I decided to set one during the French Revolution. Sanctuary for a Lady has an interesting twist at the end, and I knew Love Inspired Historical was looking for European settings. So I hoped those two things would be enough to get my publisher’s attention, and they were!

What motivates your writing?
     I write because I enjoy it and it provides me with a bit of a challenge. I write to entertain people, and I try to write powerful, inspiring stories.

Thank you, Naomi, for sharing your writing journey with us, and for the copy of your new book Sanctuary for A Lady, which you will give away to one of the guests who leaves a comment below!

You’re welcome, and thanks for hosting me, Susan!

Money Changers: Working out Regency Money

Money was undergoing a change during the Regency. It began during the early part of the Napoleonic wars, in 1797 to be exact, when the guinea was discontinued officially. Guineas were still in circulation, though, and people spoke in terms of items costing X number of guineas.

So what was a guinea? 21 shillings.

Clear as mud?

Let’s break this down to the simplest terms possible.

1807 Farthing
1807 Farthing

Farthing (as in “I don’t give a farthing for that.) ¼ pence

Hapenny or half penny: ½ penny or pence

Penny: a penny or pence shown as amount in numbers with a d.

Tuppence: two pennies

Thrupence: three pennies

Sixpence: six pennies or half a shilling

1816 Shilling

Shilling: 12 pennies r pence and shown as amount in numbers with an S

Half Crown: 30 pence or 2S 6D

1819 Crown Piece
1819 Crown Piece

Crown: 60d or 5s

Pound: 20s

Pony: Slang term for 25 pounds

Monkey: Slang term for 500 pounds.

Sovereign: In 1816, Great Britain went on the gold standard and issued the sovereign, which was a pound in a gold coin.

South facade of Bank of England, London
South Facade of Bank of England, London, 19th Century

Although bank notes were issued for convenience, they were not legal tender as we think of paper money nowadays. That didn’t occur until a little over a decade after the Regency ended. Bank notes were promissory notes saying that the bearer could exchange it for the face value of the note in gold coins. This was one way in which money passed from bank to bank.

To explain the banking system and how it worked before even telegrams could be exchanged to verify accounts is a complicated subject that will have to wait for another post.

Pride and Money ~ A Dangerous Combination

Regency Pride

Beau Brummel has long been considered an important figure in Regency history. His friendship with the Prince Regent and his charm and wit brought him influence and prestige. He became the ultimate arbiter of fashion, with many historians crediting him with the transition from knee breeches to trousers.

Unfortunately, Brummel is also famous for fleeing to France to escape debtor’s prison. It was a temporary fix as he ended up in debtor’s prison in France a few years after fleeing there. By the time he died, all his gloss and glamour has disappeared, leaving him a slovenly pauper.

The saddest part of this story is that shortly after resigning his commission, he inherited £30,000. This was a veritable fortune in the early 19th century and he should have been able to live comfortably for the rest of his life. His pride was his downfall.

The “friends” he made through his connection with Prinny were all much wealthier than he was and he spent extravagantly and borrowed abundantly to maintain a similar lifestyle. He built himself the proverbial house of cards and it all came fluttering down.

Biblical Consequences

The combination of pride and money proved deadly for Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Pride made them desirous of the recognition a large donation to the church would bring, but their desire for money made them deceitful. They held back a portion of the money from the sale of their land and then claimed to the church that they were donating everything. It cost them their life.

Modern Day Freedom

God has called my family and I in a different direction than He took my brother and my parents. The struggle to learn that I could do without some of the things they bought was a long and hard one for me. We ended up with a large amount of debt. It took us several years and some outside help to dig our way out of it.

Whether you have fistfuls of cash...
... or palms full of pennies, God can use what you have better than you can.








I didn’t want to admit that we couldn’t’ afford to go on vacation with my extended family or that I couldn’t pay for my part of a group gift. Pride made me look to other solutions and got me into trouble. My focus was more on worldly things than Godliness.

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”  Luke 16:13

So often we want to be like other people. We want the designer clothes or the fancy cars or the big houses. When  we can’t truly afford it, the temptation to turn to credit cards and loans becomes greater. Pride can drive us into serious money issues if we aren’t careful.  If we find the strength to swallow our pride and say “I can’t afford that” we just might find a little more of that abundant life God wants to provide us.

Finding joy in the little things. My husband and kids enjoying a trip to the lake.

For me that included a lot less stress, a truer understanding of what really brought me joy in life, and a closer relationship with my family because honest lines of communication were being opened. I think all of that is worth way more than my petty pride.

A Bump in the Road

A Bump in the Road

Two years ago on the Thursday before Easter, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I believed God was calling me home. I was so stressed about leaving my family because without me here who would pray them into heaven? It took me three days to let go. On the third day I realized He didn’t need my help and it would be easier to pray from heaven because the devil wouldn’t be able to interfere there.

As I let go of them and accepted whatever God had in store for me, my faith began to arise. My prayer was “Let me do this with grace and dignity.” He did. Through radiation therapy because I was so tired, I cried all the way to my treatments. When it was over I went back to work. I look back on it now and that mountain I climbed looks like a little bump in the road. Isn’t it strange how when we are in the midst of a trial it looks so big, yet when it is over we look back and its size seems to diminish?

I wonder if we told ourselves at the beginning of each trial, “Soon it will be just a bump in the road,” if we would get through it faster. Having the faith to believe God is going to help us find our way out sets the stage for the enemy’s defeat. Satan loves to slam us into a wall wanting us to feel overwhelmed and defeated from the beginning. I have found it really frustrates him when I trust God to bring me through from the outset.

Obviously He wasn’t ready for me two years ago, but when He is I’ll be ready. Life has new meaning for me now. Going through the ordeal of cancer and the multiple surgeries it required has made me stronger. For me ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’ has been proven true. This year the trials I am facing are even more difficult than surviving cancer, but I know from experience He is in control and His will will be done. He has my best interests at heart and no matter how difficult life on earth becomes, He will help me through. This time I am choosing to see the bump instead of the mountain.

If you are going through a hard place, remember, He is faithful forever. I like to think about how Jesus spent the three days from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. My favorite part is when He took the keys away from Satan. Can’t you see him cowering and sniveling? And what did our wonderful Savior do with them? He gave them to us. Now we have the same power He used to send the enemy away sniveling and cowering to lick his wounds. WOO HOO!

Women and Money in the Regency

Women today have many options open to them when it comes to making a living. Just looking around my own circle of friends I see women with careers in law enforcement, in education, in psychology, in child care, and so much more. But in the Regency, the options women had for obtaining money were much more limited.

Marriage and Family

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales

Upper-class women would usually have their expenses covered by their husbands (if they were married) or their fathers (if they still lived at home). They might even be given “pin money” to spend – money to cover clothes or other small sundry expenses. Any money a married woman had, however, belonged to her husband. There were cases where wealthy women had some of their property set aside for their exclusive use – these legal arrangements had to be made before marriage under Equity and cost a lot to arrange – but those were rare exceptions. Accepting an offer of marriage was usually a woman’s most important financial decision because she was deciding who would support her for the rest of her life.

Widows could inherit some of their husbands’ property and when their husbands died the women’s own property from before marriage would revert to them. Also, women were allowed to inherit money and property, and if they were single it would belong to them alone.


There were few respectable jobs open to upper-class women, but there were some. The most ordinary were taking care of children by becoming a teacher or a governess, or becoming a paid companion to an older woman, often a relative. Though these were respectable occupations, being forced to work was still a diminution of one’s social status.

Dorothy Jordan

A woman was more likely to be viewed at least a little askance if she became an author. Though it did not put her beyond the pale, those who did sometimes published under an alias to avoid public comment or censure. Worse yet was becoming an actress, especially as it was not at all unusual for actresses to also become either mistresses or prostitutes. One famous actress, Mrs. Jordan, became mistress to the Duke of Clarence, who later became King of England.

Women could also sometimes run or work in shops, and lower-class women often went into service, working as maids or cooks or other domestics for upper-class homes. Less respectably still, many women fed themselves through prostitution, and this was so common in Regency London that the language of the time is rife with slang terms for all the different kinds of prostitutes who made their living in the city.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell


Annunciation, approx. 1628, Peter Paul Rubens

On the Church of England’s calendar (as well as in the Roman Catholic, Lutheran and other liturgical church calendars), Annunciation Day was the holiday (“holy day”) which celebrated the announcement by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she was to bear a son called Jesus who would be the son of God (Luke 1:26-38). It was traditionally celebrated on March 25, nine months before Christmas.

By regency times, Annunciation Day, which was also called Lady Day (the “lady” being the Virgin Mary), occurring around the Vernal Equinox, also was one of the “Quarter Days,” which divided the year into fiscal quarters. Since the spring quarter day had also marked the older New Year, it was the time when landowners and tenants ended and began new contracts, either moving farms or plowing new fields.

The Annunciation, 1610, Hans von Aachen

In the Book of Common Prayers in the Anglican Church, the Scripture readings for Annunciation Day were Psalm 89 for Morning Prayer (service), and Psalms 131, 132 and 138 for Evening Prayer (service).

Psalm 89, a joyful paean foretelling of a savior, is quite appropriate to this church holy day:

The Annunciation, 1489-90, Sandro Botticelli

1I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. 2For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.

3I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, 4Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah….

I read a lot of the more modern Bible translations, but to me nothing improves on the King James’ English for the Psalms. How about you?





Special Visit from Julie Klassen

Julie KlassenKristi here with special guest Julie Klassen!

Julie is the author five fabulous historical Regency  novels. Two of them have been awarded the prestigious Christy award for Inpirational fiction. She has also been a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s RITA award. We’re honored to have her stopping by Regency Reflections today!

KAH: Why did you choose to write stories in the Regency time period? 

JK: I’ve long been enamored with British literature in general, having read The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre at a young age. But it wasn’t until later, when I had seen the Pride & Prejudice mini-series and read all of Jane Austen’s books, that I chose the Regency era in particular for the setting of my first historical novel. I jokingly say it’s all Mr. Darcy’s fault!

KAH: I think many of us blame Mr. Darcy! What is your favorite thing about the Regency?

JK: I love the chivalry of the Regency era, the men in tall boots and ladies in beautiful gowns, the balls and manners and restrained attraction. It was a romantic time–at least if you had money! And, compared to some other time periods, I think it can be a little easier and more natural to include Christian content in a Regency novel, when things like prayers, attending services, and having the vicar over to dine were commonplace. (Remember, Jane Austen herself was a clergyman’s daughter. :))

KAH: Which of your books was the most fun to write?

JK: For me, writing books is a lot of hard work. The fun doesn’t come later until when the book is finally finished and people are enjoying it. The icing on the cake? Listening to the audio version. The audio book publishers usually hire talented British actors who perform the characters so distinctly and really bring the book to life. I dream up places to drive just to listen further! I will say The Apothecary’s Daughter and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall were probably the most fun to research–since I was able to travel to England to do so.


KAH: What is the most interesting historical factoid you’ve come across when researching your novels?

JK: It’s not so much any single big discovery, but more the dozens of little historical details I find to bring the stories to life. For me, the most exciting research takes place when I’ve actually been able to travel to England and see the settings I plan to use in my books. For example, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is about a young lady who finds herself working in service. To research this novel, I read many books about servant life–the sources of most of the epigraphs (quotes) at the beginning of each chapter. My husband and I also had the privilege of touring several old country estates and town houses in England when we traveled there last May. There’s something about walking down those dim stairs and entering the “belowstairs” world (massive kitchens, the servants’ hall, huge water cans that had to be carried up many flights of stairs, the footman’s livery, butler’s pantry, housekeeper’s parlor, sculleries, etc.) that really helped me envision my characters in the scenes I was writing. Hopefully, this allows readers to visualize the scenes as well. I’ve posted several photos of this research trip on my web site if you would like to see them (

KAH: What is your favorite Regency set book? movie?

JK: I have enjoyed all of Jane Austen’s books (which were published in the Regency era, though written somewhat earlier) as well as the movies based on them. Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice are probably my favorites. One of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen was Bright Star, both in terms of Regency costumes and the beauty of the film itself.

KAH: Tell us about your most recent release.

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

JK: I’ve been looking forward to writing a book like this for some time, first, because my novels are set in the Regency era when live-in servants were common. And second, because I’ve really enjoy programs like Upstairs-Downstairs, and more recently, Downton Abbey, which portray the life of servants as well as the people they serve. So, I’m very happy to have written my own “belowstairs” novel and am thrilled so many people seem to be enjoying it.

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is about a well-born lady, Margaret Macy, who disguises herself as a housemaid to avoid marriage to a dishonorable man. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of two former suitors! As Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life, she is soon entangled in intrigues both belowstairs and above.

I hope you will enjoy the book. Thanks for having me here!

KAH: Thanks for coming!

You can find Julie at her website, Her books are available from Bethany House,  Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books A MillionChristian Book Distributors, and your local bookstore!

Easter’s On Its Way!

Easter is right around the corner.  In just over a week, women will don their finest dresses, girls will wear Easter bonnets, and children will color and hunt Easter eggs.  It is a special time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with family and friends.

During the regency period, the time from Easter Sunday to Ascension Sunday was known as the Easter Season (or sometimes the Easter Holiday).  During these weeks, it was common for people to travel to visit with family.  Many of the traditions they participated in we still enjoy today.


Easter has long been considered the unofficial start to spring.  After the dark, heavy winter fabrics and reverent clothes worn during Lent, Regency ladies welcomed in the Easter Season with light colored gowns and spring bonnets decorated with ribbons, bows, and flowers. Since the Roman times, wearing something new for Easter had been considered good luck.


Eating hot cross buns on Good Friday is a longstanding English tradition.  A hot cross bun is made from yeast dough and contains sugar, milk, flour, butter, eggs, and a variety of spices. Today, icing is often used to create the cross on hot cross buns, but during the regency it was most likely formed with a knife. The idea of consuming and bread in as a religious ceremony is well known, and some even say that the tradition is tied to the blessing that Jesus gave a woman who offered him bread while he was carrying the cross to Calvary. During the days leading up to Good Friday, the streets would be alive with vendors selling hot cross buns. In fact, this practice is the basis for the nursery rhyme:

Hot cross buns!
 Hot cross buns!

One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny, Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons

One ha’ penny,
two ha’ penny, Hot Cross Buns! 

According to legend, Good Friday hot cross buns never molded, and it was considered good luck to hang a bun in your home.  Sometimes, these buns were kept until the following Easter as a trinket.


During Lent, it was common for Christians to abstain from eating eggs.  In order to preserve them and not let them go to waste, the eggs would be boiled, which would make them last until Lent was over. Onion skins were used to dye the eggs red in remembrance of the blood Christ shed on the cross.
Happy Easter!


“Welcome, dear feast of Lent”

Most Regency gentlemen and ladies were members of the Church of England, so most of them would – in some form, at least – have celebrated Lent, the forty days of fasting and repentance that are traditionally observed before Easter.

I love Lent. I rarely enjoy Lent. But I do love it. It is such a good tool in God’s hands. I always learn, I always grow. But I often learn more from the places where I fail than the places where I succeed.

Why Fast?

I sometimes think the purpose of fasting is to make it clear to us what sinners we really are. Not in a defeating, accusing way (the way the Enemy would), but more the way tiredness reveals the two-year-old-ness of two-year-olds. In Lent, the voice you hear isn’t the diabolical, “well what did you think you were, you scum?” but the Fatherly, “you really are tired, aren’t you, small one? Come and rest.”

Detail from Michaelangelo Caravaggio's "Supper at Emmaus" (PD-Art|PD-old-100)

As C. S. Lewis once pointed out, our good moods often aren’t, as we’d like to suppose, evidence of our virtue, but evidence of our full bellies and our good health. Take away food or health or rest and you can see how weak you really are. But fasting, in its orderliness, reveals our weakness to us in a way we can stand. It doesn’t destroy us because it is intrinsically linked to prayer, and so as soon as our weakness is revealed, there we are in the presence of our Father. And there our weakness isn’t despair, it’s joy, because He is ever ready to supply our lack. Praise God!

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell 

P.S. the title quotation is from English poet George Herbert’s excellent poem “Lent”.