Friday, March 7, 2014

What the ashes mean

Today I'm linking up with the fabulous community of writers at Lisa Jo Baker's blog for Five Minute Friday. This is just for fun. No backtracking and rewriting. This is writing for five minutes straight for the fun of it. Come on over and read what others are writing on the word willing. Or better yet, set your stop watch and join us today? All are welcome!


For the first time in my life, I had a cross made out of ashes drawn on my forehead on Wednesday.

I didn’t grow up around conversations of Ash Wednesday or of Lent or of what are you going to give up for 40 days till the resurrection Sunday?

photo credit--Google

The pastor started out by answering this question: 

What are the ashes all about anyway?

I was glad for this, well, because I really didn’t know. I had an inkling, but that is all. He said that in the Bible, ashes are a symbol of grief, repentance and of prayer.

Oh, now that began to make sense. I can relate to all of those. They embody me. They resonated.

The ash cross drawn on my forehead. 

At first I didn’t want that. I leaned to my husband and said, do I have to? But, by the end, I truly wanted that picture on my forehead.

I was all in.

See, by the way he explained it, the ash cross is just a reminder of my humanity. 

My frailness and my need for a Savior. 

It doesn’t mean I am dirty. 
That I am unworthy. 
Or unimportant. 

Rather, a true reminder of who I am and who I am not. 

A reminder of who Christ is and where I am in relationship to him. 

I am his daughter.


Yes, I am willing to remember this. 

I am willing to remember my humanity in light of Christ’s divinity. 

In light of the suffering he paid for me. 

In light of his Light and Salvation.

Yes, I am willing to remember that there is nothing that I can do to grow myself.

That my mess doesn’t get the last word. 

But that God is my History Maker and Life Changer and he promises to make a message out of my mess.

How about you? Did you grow up with the tradition of Ash Wednesday? I'd love to hear what it means to you.

Thanks for stopping by today, friend!


  1. I had never heard Ash Wednesday described as you just did. What a beautiful picture of our walk with God. I will be pondering "There is nothing I can do to outgrow myself. My mess doesn't get the last word." I too, am willing to remember! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Brandi! My pastor actually closed the Ash Wednesday service with the quote: Your mess doesn't get the last word. I loved it and had to use it here. Blessings to you, friend!

  2. Thank you for educating me in such a real and tangible way:) I never grew up around Ash Wednesday or lent either, and always felt silly to ask. Almost embarrassed that I didn't understand something that I probably should know. Hugs to you for being awesome!

    1. Tris, I think we have many things in common! Glad my learning could help you too! Blessings to you, friend for your kindness. I had the same feelings of not knowing and feeling silly about that.

  3. I did grow up with Lent and ashes and the ritually intoned Gen. 3:19.
    From your writing, I say you had a wonderful teaching and experience, better than any I can remember.
    This year, I'm meditating in Psalm 103 and especially verse 14 which says that He remembers that I am dust. Oh sweet Love that extends mercy and grace upon grace to this weak and dusty one. Gratitude of gratitudes.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Elaine! I am so glad He remembers that I am dust. I love your line, "Oh, sweet Love that extends mercy and grace upon grace to this weak and dusty one." Thank you, thank you!


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