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

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

Family Scars

World War 3

Way back in my other life I spent about 90% of my time with two of my cousins. We did everything together. We were the three amigos.

When were were in our early twenties we spent much of our time doing whatever we wanted.

One wild night after a little too much drinking we went back to my apartment to hang out and hopefully pass out. Somehow a fight ensued.

When I say a fight I mean a knock down drag out fight.

I won’t name names or say who did what to who but at one point there was a bic pen shoved on someones leg, a bottled throw in someones face, someone got choked, someone got slapped and someone got their face smash on to the concrete in the parking lot.

Yes, it was only the three of us involved.

The night ended with our aunt driving 45 minutes to pick on of us up and the other two finally hitting the pillow and passing out.

Talk It Out

Early the next morning the phones started ringing. We mostly wanted a recount of what exactly happened the night before and to figure out why we were so mad in the first place. It turns out that one of us said something to the other to express their feelings and the one on the receiving end took it the wrong way. All out war followed.

But we are family. We love each other and just because we had one disagreement we were not going to throw our love for each other away. We sat down and talked it out. We laughed in the end at how out of hand we got but we all apologized, accepted apologizes and moved on. We would have never cut each other out of each others life over a disagreements, never.

Just Not Worth It

Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride, give or accept an apology and move on so that you don’t lose someone who is important to you. Life is just too short to hold a grudge or refuse an apology. It’s not worth it. You might wake up one day and not have the opportunity to forgive or accept someones forgiveness. I is it really worth it to be right?

We also need to set an example to the little eyes that look up to us.

Your Family’s Not Perfect, Never Will Be

We are all flawed, we are all a mess and if your pretending that your family is perfect then take a rest, you must be exhausted!

It’s okay if your aunt drives you crazy, that your husband doesn’t pamper your ever need, that your kids don’t make perfect grades, that you sister always tells you what you need to do or that you your ex doesn’t parent exactly the way you want them to.

The beauty of it is that you are family, the family that God designed. It’s okay to be frustrated and it’s okay to forgive and most importantly it is okay to ask for forgiveness.

However, it is not okay to stab your cousin in the leg with a bic pen.

Let’s Pray

Merciful Father thank you for giving us the ability to forgive. Thank you for the families that you so carefully designed for us, weather they be by blood or in our hearts. Teach us how to set our pride down and pick up forgiveness. Even though you have created all of us and the families that we have, none of us are perfect and we all fall short of your glory. Help us to see beyond ourselves. When we have our backs turn to our family to prove a point, gently take us by our shoulders and turn us back to them. In Jesus name, amen.”

I have a very small scar on my left thigh. It’s about the size of a bic pen. It is a sweet reminder of how far my cousins and I have come and how much we have grown. Oddly enough I do not regret that night. I have come to appreciate the scars that life has given me and the things that they have taught me. I pray that one day I can forgive everyone that has created the scars within me and that the people that I have left scars on can one day forgive me.

Giant Justin

A Tight Grip

My daughter often becomes attached to inanimate objects. I think it goes hand and hand with her autism. She was completely obsessed with the Jessie doll from Toy Story and absolutely had to have it with her at all times. I can not tell you how many times we had to completely stop the world when she would lose Jessie’s hat.

Her first obsession that we can remember was with a spoons. She held that thing for four days straight. She held it during bath time, dinner time and bed time. When she woke up in the mornings it would still be in her hands.

We tried to talk her in to letting it go but she was not having it. It became a distraction and a handicap for her. She couldn’t take her focus off of it. When she would try to do something that required both hands she simply couldn’t do it. Instead of putting down the spoon and accomplishing what needed to get done, she would just not do it.

She would rather keep her grip on the spoon and miss out on climbing the monkey bars or swinging the softball bat. The spoon was what brought her the most comfort and was also her biggest downfall.

I bent down to her level and looked her in the eyes. I softly told her that she needed to let this go so that she could be free to do the things in her life that required more of her than just one hand. I let her know that it was okay to really love this spoon but she needed to put it away. She could put it somewhere that she could get to it easily and could hold it when she thought she needed to but she was going to need to detach herself from it.

She finally let it go.

My Own Weight

I think that we tend to do the same with our hurts.

I’m a victim of suicide. If you haven’t experienced it then I don’t think that you can fully understand what it does to someone. It’s not for a lack of compassion but simply because it is a hurt and loss that is so bizarre and enormous that you can’t fully wrap your mind around it unless you have experienced it.

My fathers suicide is my spoon. I have become attached to it. I hold it for days at a time refusing to put it down. When I am in a position that requires me to let go of it, I can’t.

I’m also a professional at hiding the fact that I have my fist tightly gripped around it. You can’t see me in my car or hear the song that is blasting on my radio. “There Will Be A Day” by Jeremy Camp is so loud in my car that I have no idea of what is going on outside of my little world. My grip tightens.

The Boots

There is a pair of huge decorative boots outside one of our malls. They’ve been there all of my life. My brother and I always called them “dad’s boots” when we were growing up. I can’t look at them anymore. My oldest daughter says “look, there’s your dad’s boots” every time we pass them and it makes me mad at her. Obviously it’s not her fault, she is just trying to be fun and sweet so I don’t tell her how it cuts me like a knife. They will be decorating them in white lights next month for the holidays. That’s always been one of my favorite things about the holidays. This year I won’t even be able to drive by them.

My friends try to talk me in to letting it go. My sister worries that it has becomes an obsession. My mom worries that it will be a weight around my ankles for the rest of my life. My husband worries that it’s a pain that I will never recover from.

They are all right.

Why am I handicapping myself? Why am I holding on to something that is only causing me hurt?

One morning before my walk, my husband asked me if I thought about carrying weights with me while I walked. I reminded him that it was hard enough for me to go on the walk in the first place so why would I make it harder by weighing myself down.

Isn’t that what I’m doing everyday?

I wonder if people can see my leg dragging behind me with the weight of suicide or if I’m so good at pretending that they don’t even notice.

I don’t have to let it weigh me down. I don’t have to let it control my emotions. I don’t have to let it cage me. I don’t have to let it bring me to tears because of a song.

It’s my choice. It’s time to put down the weights. I may be too weak to carry them but my heavenly Father is strong. He will carry them for me.

Are you dragging your leg behind you with the weight of hurt. Do you cringe when a certain song comes on the radio but you can’t force yourself to change it? Do you have to look away when you pass a reminder?

You don’t have to.

Hand your weights to your heavenly Father. Free yourself.

He has knelt down to your level. He is looking in to your eyes. He is telling you to let go of the things that are keeping you from the good things that require all of you.

Let go of the spoon.

Let’s Pray

Merciful Father thank you for carrying our weight for us so that we can have both hands free. Help us to let go of the of the hurts that are dragging us down. When we consume ourselves in the pain gently kneel down to our level, look us in the eye and remind us that we have beauty all around us but in order to see it we are going to need to let go of the spoon. In Jesus name, amen”.

Those boots outside our mall that remind me of my father are ironically named “The Giant Justin’s”. My daughter who is autistic and taught me the lesson of letting go is also Justin. She is my new “Giant Justin’s”.