It Begins

Ash Wednesday. 

It begins. The forty day season of Lent that is a part of my story, and thus, meaningful to me.

It is arrogant to ignore the past and its gift of tradition; it is foolish to embrace past symbols as our own if they don’t, at some point, bear lavish meaning. (Dan Allender, Sabbath, 156)

Its meaning isn’t found in the placing of ashes on my forehead. It’s not in the doing of penance or purging of soul. It’s not even found in the choice of what to lay aside for the next 40 days.

It’s not about me.

It is about what God is doing in me in whatever season I am found. It is about the rhythm of days and the church calendar and the story of redemption and where God is growing me and what Christ has done for me.

Last year found me here.

This year looks different, yet strangely similar.

My observance is more structured, intentional, mindful. There is a specific place in my life that God is speaking to. It is a place where I am currently replacing intentional movement toward disruption and discomfort with comfortable escape from both.

I am reminded of Christ and how he chose to leave comfort and move toward messy. How he asked to have the cup removed if it was his father’s will. How he chose to remain present in all that was painful for the sake of redemption. How he even asked, My God, my God, WHY have you forsaken me?

I am aware that fasting is to be done in secret. That there is no time frame or right way other than Jesus’ command in Matthew 6.

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

I will still be anointing my head with coconut oil and washing my face each morning. If my countenance appears disfigured, it is because it reveals what is in my heart, not my choice of what to fast from. There are a few dear and close to me who know what I am giving up. 

I am choosing to keep that part off of the blog as I ponder where God is taking me and what he is doing in this season, as it begins.

Thanks for heart-composting with me! I appreciate your words.