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Take Up Your Cross

take up your cross

I hit a wall last week during vacation. And that wall hasn’t budged as we return to a world I don’t quite recognize. This pandemic has lingered too long. People are hurting in so many different ways. Add that stress to our recent move away from all the people we know and love to a place where I still have to use my GPS to find my way around. I miss coming home to people who want to have lunch with me. I miss coming home and my parents inviting us over for lunch the next day because they missed us. I miss our people.

Last August, nearly a year ago now, I started to pray about a writer’s conference in September. I was taking with me what I felt was my very best chance to attract the interest of a literary agent. While I was excited, at the same time I was afraid of getting ahead of what God wanted for me. Sometimes (read: all the time) I have to check my ambition against God’s direction.

In the quiet of our closet as I prayed each morning I physically opened my hands before God and repeated day after day: I want to go where You lead me. And if You lead me to stay, to not move forward, I will stay, as long as You are there. If You lead me to go, I will follow You as far as this road leads.

He did grant my earnest request to land a literary agent. Then He took me at my word and moved us in directions we never saw coming.

Throughout our move, I’ve repeatedly turned the whole process over to Him. Again. And again. And again. He sold our house. He eliminated the need for our family to be separated for nine weeks. He granted us so much more together time than we ever imagined. I wish I could say I took it all in stride. I did not. I cried some nights because I did not understand, but still I trusted.

Last week my trust faltered. Why in the world would God uproot us from all of our friends to sequester us in a house so far from everyone and everything we know? Why when we followed would He make it so much more difficult to get to know new people and settle into our new community? He said “go” and we went. We followed. Why were we not surrounded by flowers and sunshine and unicorns?

God showed up to my pity party for a quiet moment. And He said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”

Not grab a swimsuit and beach towel.

Take up your cross.

Not pick up your fishing rod and lures.

Take up your cross.

Not put on your hiking boots for an adventure.

Take up your cross.

Not pack a picnic lunch.

Take up your cross.

My cross is so much lighter than His ever was. It’s lighter even than so many people around me. I’ve not experienced the loss of a loved one or the loss of my life’s work or the loss of my health. I’ve faced some inconveniences and disappointments. In our human minds, we tend to think if we follow good will come. Following Him will lead to some beautiful, green pastures even if it’s at the very end of our lives, but we may go with through some valleys before we get there.


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