Ashes On My Heart

Ash Wednesday Symbol

I have previously fought our attendance at a reformed church, and a church that uses the church calendar. However, today is the start of Lent. Today is Ash Wednesday. Tonight, we will go to church where we will listen to a sermon on our sins and the darkness that led Christ to the cross. Tonight, the four of us will have crosses of ash placed on our foreheads in reminder that we are all in need of Christ’s grace. This is entrance into a grieving and humbling period in which we prepare to observe Christ’s death on the cross, and three days later celebrate His resurrection.

Over the next 40 days, I have resolved to seek Christ with all my heart. I am tired of this in-between faith I have been taking part of over the last year and a half. I am not the type to forgo material things for lent, because as I said, I have fought the church calendar. However, for the next 40 days I have resolved to give up fighting God with every ounce of my being. I will seek Him for healing of my trauma. I will grieve for my sins and the sins that have been committed against me, and I will pray to forgive. I have resolved to humble myself and listen to what He has to say to me. For the next 40 days, I will make sure my family is ready to leave for church on time, I will not complain about the church I attend or its distance from my home. I will listen to the pastor’s words to the best of my ability (with 4 year old and 6 month old in tow) and I will sing with all my heart. I will not fight my husband or speak poorly of him for any reason. I will not yell at my son and I will take the time to meet his emotional needs. I will seek God and fill the role He has for me with my whole heart. I can do anything for 40 days. For 40 days, I resolve to give myself to God. This may start as an endeavor in the flesh, but I pray God would enable me to follow Him once again through His grace.

Someone said to me that Matthew 27:27-31 is a picture of where Christ meets us in our physical suffering; of our past trauma. So I leave you with the verses:

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe around Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.



Something inside of me snapped. I’m not sure what it was because I’m still completely numb. People are asking questions. People are reaching out. People in my real life are telling me they care. This feeling is so foreign and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it. My daughter was given a beautiful quilt today at church. I had conversation with other women who also struggle to get dinner on the table, and who can’t sing, and who can’t sew. For the first time, it felt like there might be a small place in my church where I belong… And I don’t like this feeling. I am used to being the quiet one who is overlooked and often unintentionally ignored. I don’t like speaking out and I hate answering questions. I don’t like being called “strong” and “courageous” for speaking out against generational cycles. I don’t even want to speak, I want to hide in the corner. I am finding myself on the verge of retreating completely, of shutting down, of removing myself from all social interaction in order to survive. I am much safer when I’m not in the center of attention. I find myself desperately seeking my unhealthy coping skills in order to quickly feel like myself again. I want to continue to feel safe in my unsafe and scared world. There is a part of me that does not want to heal because it’s not comfortable. I hate change but it’s happening anyway; good change or bad change, I’m not sure. Probably a little of both. Against my will. Hopefully when (read: if) I come out on the other side, kicking and screaming against my will, I will open my eyes and see flowers, green grass, and sunlight. Only when I am sure I can stand on firm ground will I feel safe enough to venture from this box I have created for myself; a box chained and locked and thrown overboard so that nobody can find me. Only there am I safe.