Friday, February 24, 2012

...and it was ash wednesday - a letter to my daughter

dear jb,

it is almost your ninth birthday. i'm not quite sure how, but you, my sweet girl, are about to enter your last single digit year.

this past wednesday was ash wednesday and it got me thinking about the day i had you. i had you on ash wednesday, 2003. if you are wondering why i had you on ash wednesday and your birthday is still two weeks away this year, it's because ash wednesday is determined upon when easter is each year, which is determined by the liturgical calendar. honestly, i don't understand how it all works. i only know what the days represent.

on this day, some people have their priests put ashes on their foreheads to represent their repentance to God. this also marks the beginning of Lent. the ashes are used to symbolize mourning. before Jesus died on the cross, he went into the desert for 40 days to fast...he was mourning.

i'm not sure about you, but for me, fasting something for 40 days is uncomfortable. last year, i gave up bread for lent and i can tell you that i lasted about 2 days before i started having visions. i thought i might die. mama likes bread.

so, back to my story. the day i had you was ash wednesday and the nurse that was assisting me during my labor had ashes on her forehead. i remember focusing on the cross on her forehead through each contraction as i was beginning to push your sweet little body out into the world. i kept wanting to give up, it was so hard. and, so very painful.

when i was eleven, i had a tumor removed from my spine, and because of my nerve damage, it was very difficult for me to have you. growing up, doctors always told me that having a baby would be pretty much impossible. yet, here you are 9 years later. i truly believe that when God has a plan, He makes a way for it to happen.

so, there i was, 25 years old, giving birth to the baby that doctors had told me i would never be able to carry.

it was uncomfortable.

but, i kept focusing on that cross, praying to the God who loves us all, and thinking to myself that He would get me through this pain. if i would only keep focusing on that cross, He would give me beauty for ashes.

to grant to those who mourn in Zion -- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called  oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. --Isaiah 61:3

an hour after pushing, you were here. and, sweet baby girl, what a blessing you have been to my life. 

you are the beautiful thing from these ashes...and i love you more than anything.


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