By: Sharon Russo

I remember very vividly when I was about ten years old, some kids at school asked me why I had that dirt on my forehead. I didn’t know exactly what to say but being raised a Catholic and it being Ash Wednesday I was pretty sure I had this “dirt” on my forehead because I was a sinner.

Now that I’m much older than that naive 10 year old girl, I feel sorry for her. I feel sorry that she grew up being afraid of God and always worrying about hell. But, I am so proud of the 21 year old me, that was brave enough to make changes and learn about Jesus the friend and God the father.

When my daughters were ten they had to experience a different fear. A fear where some churches were standing on street corners with signs saying that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. I will never forget them asking me “Why mommy?” “Why can’t we love who we want?” “Why can’t everybody just love everybody?” With tears in my eyes and my heart bursting with pride, I knew in that moment that I had done something right. I knew that raising my children at Foothills had allowed them to have an open mind and open hearts.

During this Lenten season my prayer for all of you is that we continue to learn to love as a child does, pure and true, with no boundaries or conditions. This is a time to remember that life is precious and short. That life is a gift from God and how we live it and leave our mark is our gift back to Him.

My faith journey is never ending but I am forever grateful for this Methodist path that I have been on for the last 15 years. Grateful that every day that God gives me I have the opportunity to be a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend and a better Christian. So as Ash Wednesday approaches and we begin our season of Lent, the 10 year old girl in me now knows that she is blessed and will celebrate with reflection on her mind and peace in her heart.

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