Wednesday, February 13, 2013

new beginnings, ashes, and church pews.

So I've been talking about starting a blog for quite awhile. So to begin this journey, let me introduce myself.
I'm Emily Joy, I'm starting this blog because I don't want to forget. I already keep a paper journal but a lot of times I go all scatter-brain and I forget to write down things. I have a feeling that writing publicly will help me in that area, a lot of what I write will be very raw and real. This is a place where I'm going to talk a lot about my relationship with my Lord, my loves, my struggles, and my fitness journey.

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Numerous times in the Old Testament people put on sackcloth and ashes; which was typically a sign of mourning and distress. That's the closest thing we get as a biblical foundation for Ash Wednesday. But let me tell you my story and how Ash Wednesday affected me as a young child and why it remains close to my heart today.

For most of my school years I went to a Lutheran school. So every Wednesday I'd sit in an uncomfortable wooden pew, twirl my long blonde hair and trace the stained glass windows with my tiny fingers. I was a nine  year old, I had no patience in chapel. But I remembered in past years that I liked my little ash cross placed so delicately on my forehead, I wore it around the neighborhood after school like a badge of honor. So this year I decided that I'd listen to every word the pastor said, I was determined to know why I got to wear a little black cross on my forehead for a day.

So I sat in the uncomfortable pew, my skinny legs swinging back and forth. We sing a hymn or two, pray, and then comes the pastor's sermon. I focus in on him and start to lose interest quickly then I hear the pastor telling the story of Adam and Eve, "Hey! I know this one", I think to myself. I'd already heard that story more than times than I could count but that day I felt it, at the deepest part of my nine year old being. I saw them trying to hide their shame in the garden that day, running from tree to tree to shield themselves. I began to cry, not stray tears either. . . I wept that afternoon. I was a bad person, I was flawed, and in that moment I felt shameful for everything I had done.

Then a few minutes later the Pastor talked about how the story didn't end there, that Jesus came to Earth for every person in that room. Through him and His sacrifice we were made new. That those dirty, murky, black ashes didn't just represent our flaws, they represented a new beginning through a man that came here to die for each of us. Which by that age I already knew who Jesus was, I went to church multiple times a week. But that afternoon it all became real for me, while the adults took communion I sat there in my pew whispering to Jesus how glad I was that he came here to die.  I asked for forgiveness, for Him to always be in my heart and I thanked Him for loving me. (Even if I did act up in chapel and spent almost half of them tracing windows or talking to my neighbor.)

So today, I'll sit in the same uncomfortable pews I did as a girl. . . and I'm so short that my legs will still swing. I'll sit there and sing the hymns, look at the stained glass windows that were my favorite distraction, but most all I'll remember why I'm there.  Honestly, I'll probably cry. But I'm so grateful for being washed clean daily, I'm so glad that I'm loved and accepted. I've been brought so far and I think a lot that has to do with that Ash Wednesday all those years ago.  So even though I'm not Lutheran, I'll always observe Ash Wednesday and Lent.

So it's official, I'm a blogger. Something I claimed I'd never be, but all of that aside. 
I think I'm going to like it here. 

Also my friends at Hotlife Clothing are releasing their new line today at 2pm EST. All shirts are printed here in the USA by some of the best folks! Check it out!

1 comment:

  1. I love how real and honest this feels and I love that you signed this ej.

    I love you.
    Anastacia Marie