the remains of something destroyed

I’m looking at this entirely wrong.

Earlier this week, I wrote this sentence in my journal, and it gave me pause. One of my most-pleaded prayers is: Lord, be strict with me. It is an important prayer in order to live the life I am meant to live. I don’t want to live on the margins of righteousness, nor in the fringes of goodness. I want God to be strict with me. 

Usually God does heavy lifting with me in scripture, but on this day it was through prayer and reflection. I was recalling some of my long-time prayers and wondering if this new season (that I inadvertently tumbled into with a broken ankle and mandatory stillness) would be the fodder for the answers.

The earth has made many trips around the sun as I keep praying to:

  • be unhurried.
  • be less.
  • see unconventional and raw beauty in the midst of everyday life.
  • value the ordinary as extraordinary.
  • cultivate a habit of gratitude so that it becomes the fiber of who I am.

What if being grounded on the couch is the way I will become these things?

It was then that I realized I’m looking at this situation entirely wrong. Rather than sitting on the couch feeling like I’m lazy and unhealthy, I need to acknowledge that I’m sitting on the couch and healing while nourishing my body with rest. Healing is an active practice that, in this case, happens when I stay still.

It is a unique season that I’m in. I have never been in a season such as this, a season where I’m forced into stillness and dependent on others. I’m caught up in worrying about gaining wait and losing muscle and a messy house and undone work tasks and missed connections with the kids and the extra burdens I am placing on Andy. Yet, what if these concerns are stealing the power of this incredibly unique season?

It’s not like God is surprised by any of this. 

I’ve been thinking about ashes as part of a prompt the Spiritual Thursday community offered. The definition of ashes is the remains of something destroyed. Isn’t it interesting that something destroyed can remain? 

My eyes drift to my broken ankle. Although I would not use the word destroyed to describe it (drama is not my forte), it did destroy my daily routine. I’ve been grasping the remains and trying to return to normal. It is as plausible as grasping ashes and trying to mold them into what used to be. 

It’s why the Spirit insists that I am looking at this season entirely wrong. 

Rather than rebuilding what used to be, it is time to embrace the healing process wholeheartedly. That means sitting still with the intent to be well. This means opening my heart and opening my fists to receive what God has for me. I wonder what there is to learn that couldn’t be learned while running along a snowy road. 

Regardless, I am excited for this adventure to go anew. (Even though it is killing me to still sit still.)

Thanks also to the Spiritual Journey community and to Ruth Hersey in Paraguay for hosting on the first Thursday in March. Ruth chose the theme “ashes” in connection with Ash Wednesday.

PS—I am on the long-haul healing road. The damage was significant and the repair added more no-weight-bearing time. Rather than being ready to walk in 3 weeks, I have 9 more weeks (and 3 days). Then there is expected to be 3- 5 weeks of PT to be able to walk again. Another surgery will follow in a few months.

Let's Be Email Pals!

Teaching writers doesn't have to drown us.

Enter your information to receive my free eBook, plus weekly tips and encouragement for teaching writers.

Don't worry, I won't send you spam, and you can unsubscribe any time. (I'd hate to see you go, though.) Powered by ConvertKit


  1. It’s hard to embrace that healing process, but I pray that a lot of good will come from it! Ruth,

  2. I’m not sure what this season will teach you, but I’m here to tell you that your prayers have been answered on several of those counts. Seeing beauty in the midst of everyday life, valuing the ordinary, cultivating gratitude – your writing leads us to do these things and we’ve been blessed by it for years. While you sit still with the intent to be well, never forget that your writing and the encouragement you give others to write has been a healing balm for years.

  3. Ruth…so much is in my mind and heart after reading your words. The prayer for God to be strict, to keep from being on the margins of righteousness… the Spirit’s insistence that you are looking at this season of stillness in the wrong light… both call us to ponder the omnipotence of God. I can also hear a literal whispering of one of my life’s verses: Be still and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10. And this: “One thing is necessary”… Christ’s words to Martha when Mary was seated at his feet, a student completely ready for the Teacher. I cringe anew at the extent of your injury and this long recovery. I pray for your healing and your reliance as you await the daily revelations to come…something bright and breathtaking amid the ashes. It is there! Thank you for the profound gifts of your words and faith.

  4. I am so sorry to hear of your injury and the long road of recovery. It sure sounds as if your reflections will lead you to a healthier place – to trust this time of healing. I love this question about ashes so much – “Isn’t it interesting that something destroyed can remain?” Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  5. Nursing such a bad injury takes patience. I once had surgery on a herniated disc in my neck. That experience changed me, calmed me down. I came to know what was most important. I pray you find your way through this healing with renewed strength. I’m praying for you.

  6. Ruth: Oh dear, oh dear!!! I’m so sorry for your situation. Your writing will surely help you, although I have had enough (but lesser) injuries to know these next weeks will be quite a trial. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  7. Wow, that is a long recovery, Ruth. I am so glad the ashes prompt helped you to take a renewed look at the healing process. I like your prayer that you want God to be strict. I need to pray that prayer. Blessings to you as you sit still and receive from God, teaching and healing.

  8. Ruth, the healing process is a lengthy one. I think most humans are taken aback when life interrupts their flow. Being confined is not pleasant but the good piece is that determination and faith clear the way. Closeness to God is felt when we open our hearts to the positives which I know you do all the time. In fact, you are a food mentor. Your practice always give me a new outlook as did this blog of yours. I am praying for you and your family in this unique season that you receive healing during stillness.

  9. Rereading. And touched again by your words. And this…”This means opening my heart and opening my fists to receive what God has for me.”