Why My Forehead is Clear of Ashes Today

“Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”

~ Pope Francis

Today is Ash Wednesday. The Christian’s forty days of Lent has begun as it does each and every year. As Catholics, wearing the mark of a cross of ashes on one’s forehead represents the start of our most sacred time of year, preparing ourselves for Easter, and moving ourselves personally from darkness to light.

Today, I had good intentions of attending Mass with my son and his first grade class at our home parish. Instead, he is with Baby Girl and me, resting and fighting off a chest cold. To be quite honest, I’m not fasting today, either. At 35 weeks pregnant with another son, I’m finding it difficult to do much of anything these days but eat, rest, repeat. I’m making my sacrifices in other ways, however. Such as giving up social media, praying more whenever my anxiety levels kick in, going to bed earlier rather than staying up late to watch a show or read a novel.

This Lent, I’m slowing it down and taking each day as it comes. During the first six weeks of 2015, God has thrown my family quite the curveball and we’ve been carrying a heavy cross upon our hearts and shoulders ever since. In moving towards acceptance of some horrific realities as of late, I’m trying to leave the future in His hands, trying to let go of the guilt I feel, and trying to embrace this new normal for our lives. In my heart, I pray that the isolation we’re feeling is only temporary—no matter how long a time we must endure the pain.

The days have been long, tedious, heart-wrenching, and unimaginable–much like the beating, gripping, wretched journey Christ, himself, traveled. Even though it feels like our family is being pulled apart in too many directions, that we’re unraveling at the seams, I know God has a plan for our lives—and especially for the lives of our family members experiencing the most pain, facing the greatest challenges, carrying the heaviest crosses of their lives.

This Lent, I’m taking the advice of Pope Francis, quoted above, and trusting more in God. I must. I see no other way.

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