By: Maddie Jomolca
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God.” –Ephesians 2:8
Just a little over a week ago, Christians around the world observed the beginning of the Lenten season, 40-days just before Easter Sunday, a time that is typically marked with warmer weather, longer days, fresh starts, and new beginnings. For some religious denominations, it was solemnized by the typical Ash Wednesday ceremony – Ash Wednesday coming from the Latin name “dies cinerum” (day of ashes), when the clergy uses ashes burned from last year’s Palm Sunday, to mark a cross on the members forehead.
As I entered room 5138 of Mercy Hospital, I found those very markings (a cross) displayed across my mother’s forehead, as she half-smiled to show gratitude for my visit. My “little mom” as I like to call her, who has been living with a heart condition otherwise known as -congestive heart failure, had been hospitalized a few days prior, due to shortness of breath caused by fluids in her lungs.
I greeted her with the usual kiss on the forehead, this time just above the ashes, made my way to one of her bedside chairs, and reflected about the meaning of lent, and Easter, and the ultimate sacrifice made for all of mankind that day on Calvary mountain, and then began to contemplate on the many sacrifices my mother has made throughout her own life for me, for the family.
Mom soon drifted off into a slumber, as she often does, and I bowed my head and began to silently pray an “Our Father”, when half-way into my prayer, when she suddenly, opened her eyes, fixed her sight on the ceiling above her, and said: “I am in God’s hands, Madeleine”… and , indeed, she is. Confirmed.
It is also a time denoted by many by the need to refrain from any bad habits that can interfere with one’s relationship with God, giving up some of their favorite things in show of some sort of acknowledgement or commitment to that of the ultimate sacrifice made for all of mankind that day on Calvary mountain.— A commitment that, let’s face it, should not be made lightly, or seasonally, but should instead be made and applied 365 days-24/7! Some will even go to the extent (and extreme!) of posting their intended disadvantage, (ashy forehead and all!) on social media platforms for the world to view and validate!
I am reminded of the term Louie Giglio once used: “This Lent, I’m giving UP!”, indicating that we are not the sum of our Lenten sacrifices; what we do and/or don’t do, is not nearly as vital, as significant as Who we do it for and with. We are ultimately the sum of what He [Christ] did for us.
Because you and I are created in Gods image, and for Him, a central part of very being should and must be to rid ourselves of any destructive behaviors, and that means striving for wellness, and good health, bearing in mind that – “Life is not about the body, but our health- mind, body and soul, is a means of praise!”
A PRAYER FOR THE BODY…
Thank You, God, for the body You have given me. Most of the time I take my health for granted. I forget how fortunate I am to live without pain or disability, how blessed I am to be able to see and hear and walk and eat. I forget that this body of mine, with all its imperfections is a gift from You.
When I am critical of my appearance, remind me, God, that I am created in Your holy image. If I become covetous of someone else’s appearance, teach me to treasure my own unique form.
Help me, God, to care for my body. Teach me to refrain from any action that will bring harm to me. If I fall prey to a self-destructive habit, fill me with the strength to conquer my cravings along with any destructive thoughts.
Lead me to use my body wisely, God. Guide my every limb, God, to perform acts of compassion and kindness.
I thank You, God, for creating me as I am. Amen.
As a former “diversion” junkie, turned avid health & fitness enthusiast; creator of “Firm Believers” group and Personal Trainer -Maddie Jomolca combines clean eating, good exercise habits, and godly behavior….”Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”(1 Corin. 6:19-20)
“Life is delicious!!… I am blessed to have an all-loving God who, despite my own negligence, has preserved my body (health, and mind) and restored my soul by His grace, so that I can, in turn bring others to the same place.” ~Maddie