Gratitude and Lent

by Mar 20, 2024Uncategorized0 comments

Guest blogger Valeria Conshafter reflects on gratitude and Lent. How can special needs parents make additional sacrifices?

Gratitude and Lent became paired in the mind of guest blogger Valeria Conshafter. In this post she explains how being the mom of a daughter with special needs led her to a powerful practice she implements every year.

Lent has always been a time of reflection and contemplation for me. It’s a time of confession and repentance, sacrifice and fasting. But I must be honest, I have had too many times where I forgot to follow through with this very important Christian practice.

Some years ago, my husband and I went through a very difficult and traumatic experience with our special needs baby. Struggles and challenges were right in front of my face. Christ felt so far away and my capabilities to commit to Lent and take in another form of sacrifice were nearly impossible.

For many years, I had only focused on my day-to-day life, mothering my child and trying to survive hospital stays and a multitude of diagnoses my baby girl had. All too complex to understand. Too stressful to even mention. Our lives had turned upside down so fast from the moment we got the news.

Your daughter was born with a rare birth defect and needs immediate surgery.

Trying to make sense of anything else was the hardest experience we had ever faced. Taking on any additional tasks besides caring for my child, such as engaging in a particular spiritual practice like figuring out what to give up for Lent, was a major undertaking for me.

I felt bad about this for a long while, comparing myself to other moms who appeared to have everything together. They had plenty of time in hand to figure out what they were giving up for Lent and what their families would do together during this very-important-in-your-kids’-life season. I was barely able to keep my nose above water. Jealousy, hatred, and feelings of inadequacy—not to mention depression and anxiety—flooded my being each time I compared myself with everyone else.

Thankfully, I soon realized that my attitude wasn’t serving me or the God in whom I believed. However, the struggles and challenges, the sleepless nights and tense weeks spent in that cold hospital room, Lenten season in and Lenten season out, God became evident to me in every procedure my baby had and in each complication she faced.

Even when my brain could not focus on anything else, God showed up.

Whether I sought him or not, he was there all along. The same God who had blessed me with this very special little baby girl to love and care for, birth defects and all, who had trusted me to be her mommy and caretaker, never left our side.

It was then, during what I call a Holy Spirit awakening, I decided to follow what worked for me.

I knew the medical hardships and trials with my daughter would surely continue. But I also knew that God would not abandon us. I felt an immense gratitude in my heart—gratitude that filled my soul with hope and peace. I integrated myself into my own gratitude and Lent discipline. Gratitude would become my day-to-day commitment as an act of repentance and sacrifice—my way of staying connected with Christ.

Gratitude and Lent. That is what I needed. Come as you are, with all that you have, with a grateful heart.

  • I am grateful to be her mom.
  • I am grateful for my daughter’s health and her good spirits despite the ups and downs.
  • I am grateful for a husband who supports me and cares for me.
  • I am grateful for the doctors and nurses who provide the best treatment for our girl.
  • I am grateful for moments of quiet and calm after the storms have passed.
  • I am grateful for the laughter and play after pain and tears are gone.
  • I am grateful for answered prayers and the peace within that surpasses my own understanding.
  • I am grateful for our merciful God and his never-ending grace.
  • I am grateful for what has passed, for today, and for the future. For God’s love never fails.

What are you grateful for during this season of Lent?

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Photo courtesy of Valeria Conshafter

By Valeria Conshafter

Valeria Conshafter is a native of Brazil. She has a background in Counseling Psychology and currently works for a women’s organization providing emotional and spiritual support to women all over the country. She loves writing, cooking, and praying for her family and friends. Valeria lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband Todd, their 15-year-old daughter, Sofia, and their two Standard Poodles, Chocolate and Oreo. You can find Valeria on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.


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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.



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