Burdens in My Backyard
Jun 26, 2016 03:30AM
● By Bonnie Lyn Smith
I took my dogs out a few days ago and noticed some flowers scattered at the foot of the homemade cross in my flower bed. They were sprinkled so carefully: a layer of white petals creating a bigger ring with a smaller circle of pink petals inside, almost hugging the cross.
I was so touched by that, wondering which child put that there, or, did a stranger happen by? That would be unlikely, but it still intrigued me. I guessed the wrong child. My daughter had “prettied up” my little memorial,
Something about it called her in, and she adorned the holy ground there. To me, it was pure worship, adoration of what the cross means to us.
It’s a curious story how the cross ended up there. It all started in my therapist’s office. Yes, I have a therapist. [Feel free to reference some family therapy sessions if you like. If you find them as intimidating as I do to all be in the same room together with the eagle eye of a professional, this might bring you some relief.]
We were processing some events in my life since my father’s passing six months ago, and she suggested, in order to move on from some of the wreckage around it, I have some kind of ceremony or visual display of truly giving those ongoing concerns to Christ. That’s when I thought of Good Friday, when my husband and I went up with almost everyone else in the church service to hammer our own particular burdens to the cross. I’ll never forget feeling his muscles exert force along with mine to give those things to Christ. It was so beautiful and worshipful to do this corporately.
But what about in my own backyard?
I decided to nail two twigs together, place them firmly in our flower bed by the back door, and write a note to Jesus.
My note was simple:
“Dear Jesus: I give you these things (back of paper) for safe keeping, healing, and redemption. I love you! Love, Bonnie”
On the back were the relationships, situations, and burdens I wanted to give to Him—well, actually, give back to Him—because He hung on a cross for them 2,000 years ago. I just hadn’t taken those particular heartaches and hopes to be redeemed yet. He had redeemed them, but I hadn’t cashed in those promises.
My concern had been that I was abandoning some people and situations beyond my own control, but hanging those requests, literally facing the cross, reminds me every day when I accompany Samson and Delilah (my Shih Tzus) outside or check on my plants, that I didn’t walk away. I just gave them to the Healer, the Savior, the Redeemer, the One who, by the power of His spilt blood and resurrection, makes righteous what isn’t—in my life and in the lives of others.
It’s a tangible reminder that He’s at work, I can trust Him, and His love runs deeper and power and might stronger than anything in my own strength.
I hung part of my heart against that cross.
I taped the end so my note wouldn’t blow away.
And you know what?
Rain can fall and smear my words.
Sun can fade the note.
Weeds can grow around it.
Vines can twist and creep.
But nothing keeps my Father in Heaven from hearing it, from answering it, from redeeming it.
Maybe that note can be taken down next winter. It might need to stay up for years. I really don’t know. I just know that two perpendicular sticks nailed together in their centers are holding up areas of surrender and deep prayer to my God.
Right in my backyard.
This marked a turning point not only in my complicated-by-circumstances grief but also in my levels of peace.
I kind of wink at God when I see that cross several times a day, as if to say:
“You got this. I know it. I trust You. I believe You. I love You with all my heart.”
What’s propping up your heart, hopes, dreams, disappointments, heartaches, relationships, needs, struggles?
I’d like to suggest that if it’s not the truth of the cross, the gospel message of our Savior born, died, and resurrected as the sacrifice for our sins through Jesus, the Son of God, you will keep rotating through a spin cycle, with true peace still out of reach.
Do my circumstances still stink? Yes, in some places. Is the past all patched and wrapped up with a fancy bow? No.
But I can walk the journey knowing that I invited God, and He will direct my paths:
Proverbs 3:6, KJV, Solomon speaking
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
I invited my children to place their burdens there as well. At 16, 13, and 10 years of age, they nodded politely but haven’t taken me up on it yet. My youngest suggested that he start putting his worries there. Absolutely. Oh, my, yes.
It’s okay if they don’t do it my way. We do it all the time in prayer:
“Jesus, we need You to invade this part of our hearts, our lives, our thinking, our minds. Please help us make right what isn’t. Help us live for You and to please You. Let us bring You honor in our trials so that others can see how real and loving You are.”
Sure, it’s not always that eloquent, but the ideas are there.
What about you? What would your heart cry sound like? Is there anything you need to nail to His already-conquered cross today?
The penalty is paid. The burdens are loosed. His restorative power is already at work.
Go ahead. Go claim it. Once you believe in Him, tell Him, and claim your inheritance. It’s yours for the taking.
A symbol of my inheritance is gently swaying in a forceful breeze, pollen flying all around it, in my backyard.
John 19:30, ESV, Apostle John narrating
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.