Carrying a Burden

April 15, 2009 | 19 comments

A pile of rocks beckoned. The instructions were simple: Pick one up. Carry it with you. Don’t lay it down until you’re told. This rock is yours now. Feel its cumbersome weight.

Lydia and I hoisted rough-hewn burdens, then turned down dimly-lit hallways to start our Good Friday journey — my 42-pound daughter with a 6-pound weight in the bend of her arm. And me, with mine.


***

I cradled my rock low, feeling its weight against my stomach.

Look in the mirror. See the burden you carry. Now, put the rock behind your back. You can’t see it, but it’s still there.

We shuffled forward.

Lydia and I weighed our rocks on a scale. Whose burden was bigger? And did it matter anyhow? It was a burden, all the same.

We pressed on.

Lydia and I lay our stones in a drawer, then closed it. We heard a tumble of rocks, and walked away. Maybe now, our rocks were gone for good. We walked to the other side of a wall, where persistent burdens waited on the back side of a drawer.

You tried to tuck them away. But that wouldn’t work. They’re still here.

Who else would carry these heavy loads through the dark maze ahead? We picked them up again.

***

With each step, stony burdens pressed in heavier.

Mommy can you carry mine? she pleaded. But my own stony burden demanded all I had.

Could we just rest a while? she asked. But shuffling feet behind us commanded us to trudge on, around the next bend …

and another …

and still one more.

And then this: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

A wooden cross rose as a beacon from a mound of discarded rocks. You may place your burden here. You don’t have to carry it anymore. But if you’re not ready, you may take your rock home with you.

I whispered the instructions to Lydia. But at the foot of the cross, Lydia clutched her stone tighter.

Mommy, can I keep mine? I really like my rock, she whispered back.

But Lydia, I said. We’re supposed to …

I stopped, mid-sentence.

Oh, my Lydia …. Me, too. Me, too. I like my rock, too. My rock has been a reliable companion. Often, I trust my rock more than The Rock who has been waiting to rescue me.

Under the weight of conviction, right there at the foot of the cross with a 7-year-old teacher, my burden was lifted: I had to let go. I couldn’t carry it anymore. And I don’t want to pick it up again.

We stepped forward, each of us finding a place to bury a burden.

I liked my rock. Clung to it, really. But that night, I left it in a jagged pile. For good.

***

Thank you to Freshwater Community Church in St. Bonifacious, Minn., for this deeply meaningful Good Friday experience. And thank you, Lydia, for teaching me that I like my “rocks” too much. Child, you ministered to my heart. I’ve been changed once again because of God working in you, Little One.

by | April 15, 2009 | 19 comments

19 Comments

  1. patty

    (writing through tears) Thank yo so much for sharing this sweet, touching, convicting story.

    by the way…what were you doing in St.Boni?? Josh is considering Crown College…right there in MN!

    Reply
  2. Chris Godfredsen

    Powerful, moving, Spirit-filled teaching for us today! God bless you for sharing and praise him for teachings – even when they come from seven year old Christ-followers!

    Simply beautiful

    Reply
  3. Chris Godfredsen

    Powerful, moving, Spirit-filled teaching for us today! God bless you for sharing and praise him for teachings – even when they come from seven year old Christ-followers!

    Simply beautiful

    Reply
  4. God's Not Finished With Us Yet...

    Moving. That was very moving and a real example of what we each deal with from time to time.

    Thanks for sharing this story on your blog.

    Reply
  5. Billy Coffey

    This brought tears to my eyes. Our children can be our greatest teachers, can’t they? They don’t have the ego that we often use to get between us and the truth.

    I have a lot of rocks. Yes, they’re heavy. And yes, I get tired of carrying them.

    But I love them. And I guess the question I need to answer now is if I love them enough to give them to God.

    I’ll be thinking about this post for a long, long while.

    Reply
  6. Minister Mamie L. Pack

    Oh how awesome and touching your words were. They just came alive while reading. It is so amazing how our children can be used to help us learn. Truly a moving experience and a powerful one.

    with blessings,

    Minsiter Mamie

    Reply
  7. Lyla Lindquist

    Trying to figure out how to spell the sound my heart just made.

    Why, oh why, when we are crushed under the weight of them do we love our rocks so? Sin, burdens, or otherwise, why would we want to keep them when He is so willing to take them? Again, thank you.

    Reply
  8. valerie lynn

    What a powerful testimony! Wow, simply beautiful. God bless you!

    Reply
  9. Alleluiabelle

    Jennifer,

    To be honest with you, I read this earlier and had to come back to it. I just sat here thinking about the whole experience of it all. It is such a powerful post. There have been many rocks in my life and I have given a majority of them over to Him. I need to regroup and rethink things through. Is there any that I missed giving over to Him? I’m along with Mr. Coffey, I’ll be thinking more and more about this post.

    Thank you sweet one. You did it again. This time you really “Rocked” me.

    Hugs,
    Alleluiabelle

    Reply
  10. Alleluiabelle

    Hi Jennifer,

    If you get a chance, stop by my site. I have a surprise waiting for you there.

    Hugs,
    Alleluiabelle

    Reply
  11. Saleslady371

    Hi, Jennifer:
    Your experience is a powerful teaching for all of us! It is so true that those rocks we carry weigh us down. I don’t want to hang on to any of mine either!

    Thank you for stopping by and introducting yourself. I’m happy to meet you also and welcome you to my place anytime with open arms. Have a wonderful day!

    Mary

    Reply
  12. Wendy

    This was a powerful lesson to teach. Glad to have come across your blog. Looking forward to reading!
    ~ Wendy

    Reply
  13. Julie

    Wow! Those are all the words that I have. This must have been such a beautiful experience!

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  14. Sockrma18

    That is great! I liked how you placed the rock behind your back and even though you could no longer see it, it was still there. I, too, love my rocks….not sure what I’d do with my hands if I didn’t have them to carry anymore, though.

    What a great way to look at it. Your daughter is wise beyond her years.

    Becki

    P.S. I love the “Iowa Chapter of the Billy Coffey Fan Club” comment you put on one of Billy’s posts…..I’ll join for sure! :0)

    Reply
  15. hope42day

    Laying our rocks down, walking away, never turning back is leaving a piece of our hearts. But with Christ, the part we left is always given back, healed, whole and stronger than ever. And with Christ, the burdens that weigh us down, are never heavy for long.

    Reply
  16. Freedom in the Dance

    I love the imagery…so practical and visual. I keep a rock on my desk as a reminder of a hard heart…and to speak of it to our sons…the hardness of it…
    It grabbed me how your daughter said she liked her rock and then you stopped-it reminded me of how Daddy uses these little boys all the time to speak loud and clear to me about my example and how I can only give them what I have…ouch.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  17. He And Me + 3

    Beautiful post Jennifer. Thank you for stopping by my blog today. It was nice to meet you too. Hope to see you around more often.

    Reply
  18. LisaShaw

    Hi Jennifer! I found you via Alleluiabelle sisterhood post and I’m so glad that I did. This message absolutely blessed my heart. I so look forward to reading and ingesting more as the Lord pours into you.

    God bless you.

    Reply
  19. Chrissy

    Wow, what an experience. How difficult it is to lay those rocks down.

    Reply

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