Posted by: littlebitofparadise | March 3, 2014

My Lenten Challenge: 40 Days of Living Sacrifice


Last night the Hubs and I sat down for a “family meeting” before breaking out the bowl of popcorn for our Shark Tank date night. At the top of my list of things I wanted to discuss was my need to get back into a regular exercise routine and re-commit to eating healthy as a family.

Ever since my family came down with the flu from hell, which took up most of our February, we have eaten poorly (carbs, gluten, sugar, takeout, whatever comfort food we wanted), and I haven’t exercised at. all.

The result? I feel bloated and gross. I’ve also had almost daily headaches, which is unusual for me, and I feel generally lethargic. It’s been a struggle to make it through the afternoon without a nap or a venti-sized coffee, and that’s not the mom I want to be for my family.

I need energy – lots of it – to keep us with my three boys under age four. I need energy to get through the “witching hour” with hungry little men while I make dinner. I need energy to be a happy, loving wife to my husband when he comes home at the end of the day. I need energy for bath time and late night kitchen clean up. I need energy for evening relaxation with my husband, and for bedtime sex. And right now? I feel tired and blah and I chug coffee morning and afternoon like a boss.

I know it’s not the healthiest, best version of Steph. I’m convinced it’s not the best way to live out my vocation as a wife and mom.

And so last night, I told my guy that I desperately needed his help holding me accountable to working out and healthy eating. I stick to my goals SO much better when he is my cheering section and goals partner. We recommitted to the paleo diet, and over the next 48 hours the sugar and gluten in our house is getting eaten up or thrown out.

I’ve also committed to working out every. single. day. of Lent. Yep – 40 days of exercise, no cheating (I’ll use Sundays as my rest day). My plan is to start working out with Jillian during my boys’ afternoon nap times, and as Jill gets easier or boring for me, I’ll start doing CrossFit from home again. I’ve also committed to running/jogging one day a week while my Hubs babysits the boys.

I truly believe exercise is a worthy addition to my Lenten sacrifice. It’s not easy to find the time to work out every day as a SAHM. But exercise gives me health, wellness, and energy like nothing else. It truly transforms my life, my marriage, my motherhood, and my relationship with the Lord: my mind is clearer, I sleep better, I pray better, I exhibit more virtue to my family, I’m able to clean and care for everyone better, and I’m happier. Much happier.

I’m calling my plan to exercise every day of Lent my “40 Days of Living Sacrifice” challenge. St. Paul exhorts us in Romans 12:1 to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. This, he says, is our “spiritual worship.” In my life, this sacrifice includes taking care of my body properly so I can in turn offer more of myself to God, to my spouse, and to my children.

As I was preparing to write this post during nap time, I read Susan’s post today at Sole Searching Mama. Susan is quickly becoming a favorite blogger of mine (she’s the mother of FIVE boys with baby #6 on the way. Yes I’m in awe of her…). I hope each of you click over and read her post today “How Sacrificing Time for Exercise Can Become a Lifelong Offering.” It’s awesome. I wish I written this post myself. It truly gave me added encouragement and motivation to start my 40 days of exercise.

I’m not going to post daily updates about my 40 Days of Living Sacrifice challenge, because I probably will have less time to blog and I know I’ll have other things I want to blog about. BUT, if you’d like to join me in 40 days of exercise, I invite you to post a comment below and I promise from the bottom of my heart I’ll include you and your intentions in my morning prayer each day of Lent.

I hope y’all have a beautiful journey with God through Lent. I’m so excited to get started.


A few Lent posts from past years you might enjoy: 

A Toddler’s Lent

A Crown for Our King

Lenten Pretzels

Feast of St. Joseph: Joseph’s Table

Toddler-Friendly Seder Supper



  1. Thanks for the motivation, Stephanie! I’ll be joining you! At 2 months postpartum I have yet to do an official situp or crunch yet, but the unceasing bending over to pick up toys/food/clothes/toddlers/etc. etc. surely counts for something—right?? But I do want to start toning so I’d like to take a few moments for that each day! The discipline to do that will surely pay off in all the other areas of my life as well!

  2. What a great blog post! I will join your challenge- what a difference it makes in my energy level when I exercise! (and I need that energy) I was just getting back into a good exercise routine when extended Christmas travel and a minor procedure got me off track. I have one of Jillian’s DVDs I have been using, but really want to get back into weightlifting and running again as well once the snow finally melts for good now that John can sit in the front of the jogging stroller. Bring on the sunshine! 🙂 Thanks for the motivation!

  3. I am right there with you- I am doing T25 and crossfit from home with Ashley Horner but really need help in the back to Paleo way of eating. I totally hear you in this post and will be recommitting for Lent too!

  4. This is actually on my list for Lent too Steph! I’m in…40 days, Sunday break…let me know how it’s going for you. I’ll use you as motivation when I am tempted to take the day off!

    • Yay! I’m so glad to make this journey with you awesome ladies!

  5. […] My Lenten Challenge: 40 Days of Living Sacrifice [and] Planning for Lent: How Sacrificing Time for Exercise Can Become a Lifelong Offering of […]

  6. This is great, Steph. Exercise is something I desperately need right now, and making the time for it is a sacrifice!

  7. […] Sole Searching Mama, I started a 40 day Lenten exercise challenge for myself that I’m calling “40 Days of Living Sacrifice.” I invited other moms to join me in the journey of challenging our physical bodies in order […]

  8. […] much as I desperately wanted to hop on Steph or Susan’s bandwagon and make the gym commitment, I knew it would be for me and also, all […]

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