#TellHisStory: When You’re Carrying a Heavy Burden

May 26, 2015 | 25 comments

Dear daughters,

No one was ever designed to carry her burdens alone.

That’s what I thought when I watched the two of you to carry that pail of rocks to the shore.  You volunteered to help carry the weight of someone else’s world for a few hundred steps.

I hope you never forget how heavy those burdens were.

Burdens like fear and unworthiness weigh people down, girls. So do comparison, unbelief, worry, loneliness, addiction, approval-seeking, and pride.

That bucket was filled with one-hundred rocks, bearing the words of the weary and the broken. I had invited women to write their burdens down on rocks, on a Saturday night in Nebraska. Then I carried them all home in the trunk, with a promise to pray. You girls said you’d help.

You said the words written on the rocks were like demons. That seemed about right to me. We listened to that Phillip Phillips song all the way to the little lake north of our house, while 100 rocks bounced around in a bucket in the back of the Acadia:

Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Girls, you can grow up, and move away from the school playground, but still carry the same old burdens and insecurities into your careers, your marriages, … your relationship with Jesus. You can, but you don’t have to.

I pray you don’t.

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but names really can hurt you. Here’s the truth: Some of the the worst names are the ones we call ourselves.

A lot of those names start like this: “I’m Not Enough.” How many rocks did we see with those three words scratched onto the surface? A LOT.

My chin quivered when I listened to you pray over the women who wrote on those rocks. Tears rolled, for a thousand ways that women see only what they aren’t. And for all the ways I have felt the same way.

Girls, you have felt it at times, too. And that’s why you didn’t have to ask me what “not enough” meant.

I pray that your Dad and I never made you feel that way. I’m sorry for the times we might have. We want you to know this one truth, more than your arithmetic or spelling lists —

We want you to know that you really are enough, that you have nothing to prove to anyone.

Did you know that some people can go to their graves carrying the weight of regret?

None of us has to.

Throw the rocks of regret away now, daughters, and keep letting them go if you have to. Toss them far, far away. Keep your hands free. Because you can love better with empty hands.

Believe the truth that you are beloved.

Then, you are most equipped to walk alongside the broken-hearted. To stop for the ones who are hurting. To let them know they are beloved, too. Don’t run on ahead, now. Help carry a friend’s burden to the place where she can let it go for good. Cheer her on when she walks away lighter.

Stay close to the cross, girls. That’s where you can always lay a rock down.

I heard the prayers that you said before you threw those rocks into the water. You picked each one up, one by one.

“It’s OK to make mistakes,” you prayed. “You don’t have to be perfect. Only Jesus is perfect.”

I heard you quoting from Matthew and Jeremiah and 2 Timothy.

I heard your hearty “High-YA!” I saw how you cupped your hands around your mouth, like a megaphone, to shout out across the waters: “Stay at the bottom of the lake!”

I’d like to tell you that you won’t feel the hurts in that bucket someday. But the truth is, you may need to throw a few rocks of your own into a lake from time to time. I’ll go with you, if you want.

And when you do get free of the rocks? That’s when you begin to really live, and to really love … to walk free.

Your mom


A video of the girls praying and getting rid of burdens, tossing pain and regret deep into the water. (Email subscribers can click here to see the video.)

An Exclusive Offer for Readers at JenniferDukesLee.com

This year, the Women of Faith are helping thousands of women let go of burdens, just like the ones written on those rocks. I’m crazy-excited about this year’s theme: “You are seen. You are known. You are free.”

I’m partnering with Women of Faith to spread that message to women like that. That’s why the good folks at Women of Faith are giving my readers $20 off the price of any Standard or Premium ticket in any city with the code: JDLEE20.

What a fun opportunity to hit the road with friends and make a memory. Take a look at the tour schedule here and click “more info” to see which speakers will be part of each particular event. Then register for a ticket (Don’t forget the discount code – JDLEE20.)


Regular Price of Standard Ticket – $99
Regular Price of a Premium Ticket – $109

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Website offers info on local hotels


Hey Tell His Story crew! It’s always a joy to gather here every week. The linkup goes lives each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great. And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Sarah is our latest featured writer. She is sharing about the “two words every woman needs to hear.” Can you guess what those two words are? Click here to see. (To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. 🙂 )

xo Jennifer

by | May 26, 2015 | 25 comments


  1. karen

    What a beautiful thing for your daughters to share at their age!!!!! May they always remember the truth of that experience!!

  2. Lois Flowers

    Jennifer, I love it when you use this space to share letters to one or both of your girls. Please don’t stop! And what a powerful thing for them to experience with the stones … and for you, too.

  3. stephanie adams

    Love this visual representation of throwing our weights away! Thank you!

  4. Christi Gee

    This is so beautiful. I have learned the truth of what you say about the broken. I have learned that scars become calling cards to speak truth to others who seem them as credentials. And that people will follow you as you limp who might not have followed if you were running ahead of them. Those who have experienced pain are the one who see the struggle in others more quickly and clearly. Thank you for this and for your sweet presence that permeates your writing. I’m so glad to have found you!

  5. Leah Adams

    Tossing our hurts and hangups at the feet of Jesus is where we find true healing. I’ve been guilty of picking them back up, but even then, Jesus is so faithful to take them. I’m so thankful that He heals and holds us.

  6. Trudy Den Hoed

    Oh Jennifer, this really touches me and brings me to tears. The writing on rocks, praying over them, and casting them to the bottom of the lake is all so moving. What beautiful lessons you are teaching your girls. I loved the video, too! Hugs to you and your girls!

  7. Tiffany

    “Throw the rocks of regret away now, daughters, and keep letting them go if you have to.” Yes, this. Purposing not to cling to the old but embrace the new. He makes us new everyday and His mercy and grace rise up to meet us. That fills my heart with gratitude and wonder. Great is our God!

  8. Karrilee Aggett

    I love you so… I just listened to a powerful spoken word and one of the line that right undid me was God saying, “I have drained your lake of regret”… yes, this! Praise God for this! Love you friend!

  9. Martha Orlando

    Still drying my tears, Jennifer. What an amazing gift you are giving your daughters, to know they are beloved by God just as they are. Praying for all the women who are weighed down by the false impressions of others; may the rocks of their insecurities never rise from the waters again.

  10. Sandra Black

    Having had a daughter who was bullied at school I am so thankful to God that she did not end up carrying heavy burdens around with her because she knew the one to give them to.

  11. Mary

    I love everything about this. The song-which has special meaning for me, the video of your daughters and the power of prayer in the release of the rocks and the demons and the reminder we are loved and worthy. Thank you!

  12. Tara Ulrich

    “And a little child shall lead them” Kids sure teach us don’t they? God knew what he was doing when Jesus said “Let the little children come to me for the kingdom belongs to such as these.” Love the honesty in your girls words. So often it seems that we have forgotten to pray. Your girls are a great example of how awesome prayer is. And I truly believe prayer works! 🙂 Loved everything about this post!

  13. Christine Duncan

    I made sure to share this post with the teen girls mentoring group I help lead here in Ontario… so much wisdom packed into this post Jennifer, I hope they digest all the goodness there and then totally live it out!

  14. Betsy Cruz

    What a beautiful experience for your girls and how wonderful for those women. My girl wrote a letter just yesterday to unburden herself of her own burden. A letter to forgive a figure skating/gymnastics coach who was cruel to the girls. I cheered her on.

    Let’s keep throwing our burdens at the foot of the cross. I pray now along with you for those 100 women in Nebraska.

  15. Kristine Brown MTY

    What an awesome offer, Jennifer. It will bless many! Love the precious video:) So beautiful to see your precious girls praying for women. Thank you for sharing this today!

  16. Katie Reid

    The post was powerful but THAT VIDEO was incredible- the prayers of your daughters, wow! As Kara Tippetts talked about…may their prayers be tossed into the future, continually impacting and having a ripple effect of hope in the lives of those prayed for, now and then. A resounding Amen.

  17. Lisa notes...

    Tossing our “burdens” like that is such a powerful visual image of what God really does, if we’ll let him. I know I’m my own worst enemy at releasing them, so I appreciate this encouragement to stay at it.

  18. Jennifer Camp

    Jennifer, I love this! I love hearing your girls’ voices. I want to do this with my kids. Thank you.

  19. Nancy Ruegg

    What a powerful gift you’ve given your girls, Jennifer. As the years pass, and a few rock-burdens of their own threaten to weigh them down, they’ll remember this experience by the lake. They’ll visualize those demons sinking beneath the sea (OK, lake) of God’s forgetfulness. They’ll recite those powerful verses in response to Satan’s hateful lies. And now you’re making it possible for that powerful gift to spread through you to other Moms and their young girls. Hallelujah! I have a feeling the ripple effect is going to be HUGE!

  20. Dawn

    Beautiful Jennifer. We need to write these words to our daughters, we need to read these words for ourselves. Thank you for writing them for us. Thank you for being a voice of affirmation and encouragement.
    Much love,

  21. Elizabeth Stewart

    Your message at the first JT was such a blessing to me. I loved revisiting that moment via your post.

  22. Kamea Hope

    Beautiful Jennifer. How wonderful to involve your girls in this, what a great lesson. It really resonated when you said, “Some of the worst names are the ones we call ourselves” – How true, but in His strength, I am learning to find freedom!
    Blessings and hugs,

  23. June

    What a profound gift you have given your daughters, Jennifer. They are blessed to have you as their mamma and spiritual guide. To carry and care about another’s burden is counter-cultural, but more importantly it’s the key that opens the lock to understanding so much about our eternal kingdom. Bless you.

  24. Laurie Collett

    What a beautiful story! Praise God that we can lay our burdens at the foot of His cross, where He exchanges them for His blessings! Thanks for hosting & God bless!



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