“Hey Dad, why do some kids at school have ashes on their foreheads?” the kids asked.

“It’s a Catholic symbol for Ash Wednesday, the day before Lent.” I responded.

“What’s Lent?”

That’s a great question. I went on to explain what Lent is and the response quite honestly shocked me.

“We need to give something up!”

Libby, our eight year old daughter gave up chocolate. Little did we know this decision was about to transform a life.

My wife, Amy, and I are not legalists or traditionalists. We buck against kind of traditionalism and legalism. If you say we “have” to do something, odds are we won’t. Up until our kids wanted to participate in a Lenten fast it never really crossed our minds to do so.

I have been so impressed at the faithfulness of my little family. Lent has been pretty well kept in our home and that’s saying something.

However, one day at a party Libby wanted chocolate. Everyone else was having chocolate, but she couldn’t have any. She couldn’t have any because of “Lent”.

The door was opened.

Amy asked her what was Lent? Libby said something about how it’s a time to give up things before Easter. Right.

“What’s Easter?” Amy asked.

“It’s when Jesus died on the Cross and was came alive from the dead.” Libby said.

“Right, and why did he do that?”

“Because we sin and he loves us so he died for us to forgive our sins.”

“Right. That’s called ‘grace’ sweetheart. We don’t deserve it. We can’t get it ourselves. It has to be given to us. Jesus got it for us when we died and rose again. Guess what?” asked Amy.


“He even gives you grace to have chocolate today. It’s OK. Jesus died on the cross and rose again so you have freedom to eat some chocolate today.”


“Yes, really! That’s what grace is all about. Jesus loves you and wants you to live free. You can give up chocolate again tomorrow. He knows what your heart is. He loves you.”

Grace has become something that Libby understands.

This morning I said, “Libby gets grace.”

She exclaimed, “NO DADDY! I live it!!!”