I GAZED AT THE WORDS on the white card in my hand. Loneliness. Abuse. Rejection. Tears filled my eyes and slipped silently down my cheek. I prayed inwardly for the lady who struggled with these things.
Just moments earlier, we were asked to write down things we struggle with on a daily basis. The words that have defined us over the years. After writing them on the white card, we folded it, and the card was collected. Then, one by one, the cards were handed back out. Each person received a card that contained the struggles of another lady in the room. Once the cards were all distributed, the speaker called out a word. If the card we held had that word on it, we were to stand.
The first word called was loneliness. I glanced again at the card in my hand and rose from my seat. As I started to stand, I noticed five or six other ladies were standing, also.
The speaker said, “Look around, ladies. I want you to see that you are not alone.”
The speaker went on to name other words. Family problems. Lying. Hatefulness. Anger. Sexual abuse. The ladies stood and sat as struggle after struggle was named. My heart broke. The room was filled with women who were held prisoner by their past.
The speaker then talked about freedom. Giving our struggles, the ugliness, our past to the One who can free us forever. There was a cross, hammer and nails on a table at the side of the room. When ready, each lady took the card they held, and nailed it to the cross signifying they were relinquishing their struggles and placing them in the hands of Jesus.
I watched as lady after lady took the hammer and nail. For some, the task was difficult. They fought with letting go. They feared what would happen when they no longer held onto what was comfortable to them. Even though what defined them was dark and evil, it was all they knew.
When the cross was full, and every woman had completed the task, the speaker held up the cross covered in cards. She explained that come morning, the cards would be gone. She and her team were going to burn every card, turning the bad things into ashes and getting rid of them once and for all. The challenge that lay ahead for each of us was to not pick them back up, but leave our struggles at the cross.
Many of us were set free that night. Our bodies were cleansed of the past, the ugliness, and emotions that had defined some of us for years. We were ready to start anew.
As the sun rose early the next morning, we gathered in the meeting room. Placed on the hearth in front of the fireplace was the cross. It stood empty. No more cards. No more struggles. No more lies. The cross no longer held the burdens from the days before.
With the first rays of sun shining through the darkness of the fire-lit room, our hearts were ready to step into the light. The light of our Savior. We were free at last.
What are you struggling with today? What continues to define you? What do you need to let go of? Let me encourage you to look to Jesus. Nail your burdens the cross. Be set free once and for all.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14, ESV)
Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for the freedom You offer in Christ Jesus, Your son. Thank You for the courage to put the past behind and the opportunity to nail our burdens to the cross. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.