The Simple Cross Where True Forgiveness Was Found

dads cross 1

Repost.

 

He handed me the reusable shopping bag and it felt empty as I took on its weight. Not only did he not make eye contact as he handed it to me but he didn’t say a word either.

I took a peek inside and there it was.

My dad’s cross.

I’ve only seen it twice and it’s only been through pictures.

My brother let my dad’s ashes go out on our family property in West Texas almost two years ago. It was a day that I struggled with more than I thought I would. He sent me a picture of the simple cross where he laid our dad to rest.

A year later, on the anniversary of my dad taking his own life, my brother went back and took another picture of the cross, sent it to me in a text and wrote “All good”.

The cross sat hours away from me in the middle of a few hundred acres of raw land. I would have never made the trip to see it. I left it as a place just between my brother and my dad and was content to never actually see it with my own eyes.

But here it is was.
In my hands.
Still covered in West Texas dust.

My brother didn’t want an oil truck to run it over or for it to get destroyed somehow so he pulled it from the hard ground last weekend and brought it home to me.

There are two crosses in my life that mean more than I could put into words.

The cross on Calvary where Jesus willing took on my sins so that I can be forgiven and live with my Father in heaven for eternity and the cross where my brother and I were finally able to let my earthly father go and forgive him of his sins. Those two crosses symbolize a forgiveness that cannot be measured.

At Jesus’ cross I leave my sins.

At my dad’s cross I leave the hurt of his earthly life, the hurt it put on me and my siblings and the hurt that it put on him. I will not carry the burden of bitterness, hate or regret. I will not carry his sins as if they were mine or try to make up for his mistakes.

I will forgive and let go.
I will love and not hate.
I will give and not take.
I will be better and not bitter.
I will let God.

The cross where Jesus took on my sins is the ultimate symbol of grace, mercy and forgiveness and the least I could do to honor my heavenly Father is to give the same respect to my dad’s cross.

From today on it will hang in my home as reminder of what Jesus did for me and that it is my responsibility to Him to do the same for others. The cross that will hang in my home, the one that once sat in the West Texas dirt and took on my dad’s ashes will be my reminder that while we are here on earth we must show grace, show mercy, forgive and forget, let it go and let God.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. “ Mark 11:25

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father lift the weight. Lift the weight of sin, guilt, bitterness and anger so that we can live the life You intended for us. Help us to show others mercy and grace so that we may be more like Jesus and less like us.  Remind us that the cross is not a decoration that we hang in our homes or around our necks but rather the place where our sins were taken away and forgiven. Show us how to see others through Your eyes so that we can forgive and love the way that You forgive and love us. In Jesus name, amen.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” Colossians. 3:13

A big thanks to Primary Graffiti

I want to thank Primary Graffiti for featuring me on one of their stories. Thank you for the acknowledgment and for the tweet! Head on over , check them out and follow them on twitter at @PrimaryGraffiti.

Here’s the link to their story page.

Primary Graffiti

 

 

10606576_10152702003486007_7145575712628306195_n

Cross Of Forgiveness

dads cross 1

He handed me the reusable shopping bag and it felt empty as I took on its weight. Not only did he not make eye contact as he handed it to me but he didn’t say a word either.

I took a peek inside and there it was.

My dad’s cross.

I’ve only seen it twice and it’s only been through pictures.

My brother let my dad’s ashes go out on our family property in West Texas almost two years ago. It was a day that I struggled with more than I thought I would. He sent me a picture of the simple cross where he laid our dad to rest.

A year later, on the anniversary of my dad taking his own life, my brother went back and took another picture of the cross, sent it to me in a text and wrote “All good”.

The cross sat hours away from me in the middle of a few hundred acres of raw land. I would have never made the trip to see it. I left it as a place just between my brother and my dad and was content to never actually see it with my own eyes.

But here it is was.
In my hands.
Still covered in West Texas dust.

My brother didn’t want an oil truck to run it over or for it to get destroyed somehow so he pulled it from the hard ground last weekend and brought it home to me.

There are two crosses in my life that mean more than I could put into words.

The cross on Calvary where Jesus willing took on my sins so that I can be forgiven and live with my Father in heaven for eternity and the cross where my brother and I were finally able to let my earthly father go and forgive him of his sins are two crosses that symbolize a forgiveness that cannot be measured.

At Jesus’ cross I leave my sins.

At my dad’s cross I leave the hurt of his earthly life, the hurt it put on me and my siblings and the hurt that it put on him. I will not carry the burden of bitterness, hate or regret. I will not carry his sins as if they were mine or try to make up for his mistakes.

I will forgive and let go.
I will love and not hate.
I will give and not take.
I will be better and not bitter.
I will let God.

The cross where Jesus took on my sins is the ultimate symbol of grace, mercy and forgiveness and the least I could do to honor my heavenly Father is to give the same respect to my dads cross.

From today on it will hang in my home as reminder of what Jesus did for me and that it is my responsibility to Him to do the same for others. The cross that will hang in my home, the one that once sat in the West Texas dirt and took on my dads ashes will be my reminder that while we are here on earth we must show grace, show mercy, forgive and forget, let it go and let God.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. “ Mark 11:25

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father lift the weight. Lift the weight of sin, guilt, bitterness and anger so that we can live the life You intended for us. Help us to show others mercy and grace so that we may be more like Jesus and less like us.  Remind us that the cross is not a decoration that we hang in our homes or around our necks but rather the place where our sins were taken away and forgiven. Show us how to see others through Your eyes so that we can forgive and love the way that You forgive and love us. In Jesus name, amen.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” Colossians. 3:13

For You

My prayer for you today.

Father please help us to remember that those who have hurt us and sinned against us are just as worthy of Your love as we are. Remind us that they are also worthy of our love and show us how to give that love to them. We are forgiven by the blood of Your son and so are they. Free us today. Free us from anything that stands between us and You so that we can accept Your amazing grace and love with pure and loving hearts. Free us of the chains that have held us captive in our head and heart so that we can be closer to You. Thank you for Your son and what His death on the cross means in our lives. In Jesus sweet and precious name, Amen.

Seasons come and go. What counts is how you choose to get through yours and help others through theirs.

seasons

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 3am and I couldn’t decide if I should shake my phone to prompt the snooze or do a math problem to turn it off completely. I mean seriously, it’s not natural for humans to be awake that early.

Through my foggy mind I remember why we were getting up so early and I shot out of bed. My coffee couldn’t brew fast enough and after waiting the entire 45 seconds for it to brew I grabbed my mug and sat down at my desk.

I quickly skimmed through my emails, chugged two cups of coffee and then went to wake my husband so he could join me. He’s a gentle giant and woke up without even a grumble.

We were on the road by 4:15, wide awake and full of anticipation.

After a few short hours and racing hearts we finally got to wrap our arms around him.

Our brother.
His brother.
My brother-in-law.

For the first time all three of us got to sit together for hours and make our plans.

We talked about forgiveness.
We talked about letting go.
We talk about moving forward.

Then we talked about our girls.

Our brother finally gets to watch his nieces play. I bet he’ll sit for hours on our porch and soak up every laugh and every “watch this”. One little girl that he’ll watch shares his name. She calls him Uncle Me.

With an exterior as tough as stones, he will melt at the very sight of them. He reminded us that one of the best days of his last 20 years was getting the news that his triplets nieces had been born. He’s carried a stack of pictures of them around for the last 6 years.

We never thought this day would come.
But God has plans that out weigh ours in a way that we will never be able to understand.

Our lives are full of different seasons.

Some come in like a lion and viciously tear us down.

We think we’ll never break free.
Never be forgiven.
Never forgive.
Never find redemption.
Never heal.
Never recover.

But our lives are full of different seasons.

The hard winter snow will melt away and the flowers of spring will bloom.

We will be restored.
We will be forgiven.
We will forgive.
We will recover.
We will move forward.
We will be free.

One day we’ll look in the rear view mirror and see that God carries us through it all, every season of our lives.

He didn’t promise a life without trials and some of us will go through things that others couldn’t imagine but in the end we are all just trying to make it through and maybe, just maybe, come out a better person than when we went in.

Instead of judging each another’s actions we would be braver to seek the season they are in. We would be closer to God if we reached out a helping hand. We would be lighter if we we’re strong enough to let go. We would be free if we learned how to truly forgive.

Let’s pray

Merciful Father forgive us when we forget to extend our had and be Your feet. Forgive us when we judge before we know. Kick us off of our pedestal when we place ourselves above others. Remind us that we are all in a different season and when the flowers are blooming for us it may be storming on those around us. Open our eyes. Fill our hearts. Give us ears to hear prayers. In Jesus name, amen.

Our brother joked with us because we insisted on our daughters saying sir and ma’am. He made it very clear that he never wants his nieces to call him anything but Uncle Me.

I Choose.

I choose

“Wake up, get out of bed. Pull those covers across your head”
The sheets would come flying off of us as we yelled at him to stop.

My dad loved to irritate us and loudly waking us up in the morning was his favorite thing to do. It was most rewarding to him when we had friends spend the night and he got to mess with them too.

He would insist that we get up and eat breakfast. There was always a skillet of sausage and eggs ready to go by the time we shuffled our way in to the kitchen. Lots of orange juice, he loved orange juice.

Even though my friends didn’t want to wake up with the roosters and my dad, they thought he was so cool and would laugh at his morning song. They always thought it was cool that he would cook for us and want to hang out with us.

Not me, I was just mad.

I’m not a morning person, never have been never will be. That’s why I get up an hour before my family and have my cup of coffee. It’s for their own safety.

What I didn’t know back in those days was that my dad wasn’t getting up early, he had never gone to bed.

He was an addict.

He was addicted to ….well everything.

He wouldn’t just wake us up to eat sausage and eggs in the morning, he would wake us up in the middle of the night and drive us around in his stolen car for hours. He would wake us up in the middle of the night to sit in the kitchen and talk to him. He was high and needed someone to hang out with, that’s where we came in. He was addicted to drugs, money, cars, women and anything else the devil offered up on a silver platter. He lived in 100 different houses and several different cells.

I’ve spent most of my adult life being angry at him.
I’ve spent many months being bitter.
I’ve spent weeks crying in abandonment.
I’ve spent days pretending not to care.
I’ve spent hours wishing ill will on him.

It took me only one minute to forgive him.

About four months before he took his life I wrote him a two page email. I hadn’t spoken to him in 10 years. I let him know that I had forgiven him and I begged him to create a better relationship with my younger siblings than the one he had created with me. I begged him to do right by them. I begged him not to make my 12-year-old little sister search for the love and acceptance of a man the way that I had.

His exact response:
“Thanks for the letter and thanks for the forgiveness”

I’ve never heard from him again and never will.

Never.

I wish I could rewrite that email.
It might go a little more like this.

Dad,
I’ll empty my bank account and hand it over to you if you come over and play with my kids just once.
I’ll search the streets, buy a bag of cocaine and give it to you if you sing that stupid morning song to them just once.
I’ll steal a car for you if you make a skillet of sausage and eggs for my girls to taste just once.
I’ll do anything dad if you would just give them one moment, one good memory, one kiss, let them run to you and wrap their arms around your neck just one time.
Just one little moment dad.
I truly, honestly forgive you. I forgive it all.
Your daughter.

I get to make a choice, that’s the beauty of our lives. I get to make a choice how I tell my daughters about their grandpa. I get the choice how I tell my stories about him or what stories I don’t tell. I can choose to start growing that seed of what becomes bitterness and hate by planting in them stories to crush their hearts. I can make them hate him.

I won’t.

I get to make that choice.
I won’t hold on to the memories that make me sad.
I won’t hold on to the memories that bring up anger.
I won’t hold on to the memories that disgust me.

I’ll tell my little girls about the time there was a horse harnessed to a tree outside of our house on Christmas morning.
I’ll tell them how he would keep the car slowly rolling while we were trying to get in and laugh hysterically as we trotted next to the car.
I’ll tell them how he would hand us a $20 bill, let us go wild in the convenience store and tell us to keep the change.

I get a choice.
I can be happy or sad
I can forgive or carry a grudge.

I’m going to be happy. I’m going to forgive. I’m going to let go.

I’m going to wake my little girls up today by pulling the covers off of them and singing
“Wake up, get out of bed. Pull those covers across your head”.

You have a choice.
You can let it go or you can crush beneath it.
You can put it away or pass down.

You can forgive.
You can.
Forgive.

Let’s Pray

Merciful Father thank you for giving us a choice. We can follow your son or try to create our own way. I choose You. I choose to follow Jesus. When we get off track gently help us refocus on what truly matters. You did not design us to be angry, sad or weighed down and sometimes we need help remembering that. Help us to leave a legacy of love and forgiveness and to not pass down the trials. Be our guide, our light and our path. In Jesus name, amen.

 

My Prayer For You This Morning

My prayer for you this morning

Loving Father thank you for another day. As we face this new week give us the kind of faith that Mary had when she heard the voice of Gabriel. Let us have the same kind of courage that Peter used to step out of the boat. We are weak and can not do any of this on our own, we rely on your strength. You have already seen today, tomorrow and the next day so we can be confident that whatever it is that we will face is already taken care of. Help us to face all of our obstacles with faith instead of fear. You are the Mountain Mover and the Problem Solver. All we have to do is trust in you. Father if there is anyone that needs to give the weight that they are carrying over to you please gently remove it from their shoulders and ease the strain it is having on them. Give us all the ability to love without boundaries, forgive without stipulations and live boldly in our faith. In you sweet sons name, amen.