Sometime today, you might find yourself hearing these words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3.19) as an officiant traces ashes on your brow, made from burning last year’s palm branches.
On Ash Wednesday, the church begins the 40-day season of Lent by reminding us of our mortality.
While that may sound morbid, this holy practice can actually become a catalyst to pursue a deeper, more significant life.
“But Hope could rise from ashes even nowMalcolm Guite “Ash Wednesday”
Beginning with this sign upon your brow.”
As Ash Wednesday launches the beginning of our journey towards Easter, I’m focusing on remembering the past, reflecting on the present, and relinquishing my future to a sovereign God.
There are many brilliant Lenten resources to guide you on your 40-day journey, and I know you can find them. But for those who feel you can only add two spiritual practices to your life right now, may I share my own strategy for this year?
Every day I’m going to count it a Lenten win if I do the following, in addition to my daily prayers and Bible reading:
1. Open my hands toward Jesus and confess my sin, releasing to Him all the times I have chosen my own way, instead of His. I will release my fears, concerns, loved ones, longings, and everything that is complicated. “I give everything and everyone to you, Jesus.”
2. Open my hands toward Jesus and receive all He wants to fill me with – hope, peace, mercy, compassion, assurance, love, soul strength, healing, wisdom, time, companions, patience, steadfastness, and most of all – Himself, right beside me. “I live and breathe always in your presence, Jesus.”
It will be enough.
Lord, Holy One, have mercy on us as we confess our sins to you. We have fallen short of your glory and without your mercy and grace, we would be dust. Thank you, Lord, that Easter is coming! Death has no sting, no victory, because of Jesus! Glory and honor and praise to His name! Thank you for rescuing us. Help us keep the weight and the joy of this season in our hearts as we move through the next several weeks. Help us bear the good fruit of your Spirit. Thank you that the ashes on our forehead do not symbolize our ultimate reality. From dust, we might have been formed, but our bodies, our spirits, ourselves, await beautiful redemption and the restoration of all things. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Hineni, Here I am.
Thank you for your continued prayers and words of encouragement….
Every Blessing, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength”
©2022 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, she has authored 16 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” , “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most,” “God’s Purpose for You,” and “The Courage to Write.” (Purchasing my books here benefits me as an Amazon associate.) She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words weekly at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com