Sunday, October 11, 2015

On Burden Lifting

Backpackers know things...

Like how to make it to your destination.

On foot.

And over mountains and rocks, through streams and in spite of PUDs .

For those like me who are not familiar with backpacker lingo, that means pointless ups and downs. It's where you think you are about to reach the top of a mountain only to find that there is another climb down before you can continue to go up.

Tough stuff that.

Very often, the conversations at our house are about the trips Bud (my Mr. Amazing) made to the mountains to walk along part of the mountain path known as the Appalachian Trail. 

This has been something that he took up for himself and did for many years.  While we both enjoy time spent in mountains and by the ocean, he really finds that his best times of soul renewal happen when he is in those mountains.

I need to state right away that backpacking is not, nor ever has been, an activity that we have shared.  While I do enjoy going camping, I am just spoiled enough to really need to have those hot showers and electrical outlets available nearby! 

My not going doesn’t mean that he goes hiking alone.  He has gone with family members as well as friends. On these trips, there have been anywhere from just two people to 20! 

I believe they enjoyed those trips, though "enjoyable" might not be the word they would use if you asked them when they first came back home!  But even while nursing sore feet,  I have seen this happen again and again, that after a few days pass by, the talk goes right back to the trail, to the next trip and how the next trip was going to be so much better.

When we were talking about all of this the other day, something struck home with me. 

I asked him what the hardest part of backpacking was, and he told me that it was carrying the weight.

That while you can prepare by taking walks carrying a full backpack on your back, it isn't until you are actually on the trail, day after day, climbing and descending, that you just really know how hard it is on your body and how quickly it zaps your energy. 

I watched him over time make little improvements to his backpack, going with lighter items and completely disregarding some great new gadgets that would only add to the weight.

Things that had proved unnecessary in the past.

I’m sure that this is what Paul had in mind when he said that we should “lay aside every weight” in Hebrews 12:1.

It was the next point in the conversation that the topic took on more meaning to me.

Bud told me that there was one time when he needed to carry a heavier load than he would normally carry, and how one of the men with him noticed.  Without saying a word, this good friend took items from my husband’s pack and added them to his. 

Never making a big deal about it, just stepping in and sharing the load.

I think this is a perfect picture of how we should be with each other's burdens in this life. 

There are times when we most certainly can make another’s journey easier when we take on some of the burden they are attempting to carry alone.

Galatians 6:2 (NLT) says we should: 

 “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

We have been so very blessed in our life by the burden sharers God sent our way during the hard in our life. 

Family and friends who have encouraged us by cards, phone calls, Facebook comments, flowers, Bible promises and visits.  By numerous restaurant gift cards and meals.  By a getaway trip. By blankets and slippers and books and tapes and pink pens and so much more.

We have been amazed as God used some very special (actually beyond special) people to meet the bigger needs for us in big ways as well.  Bills paid, groceries bought, gas provided, cars loaned, and countless times of help.

So much more than we had ever hoped. 

At a time in our life when we could have given up under the burden we carried, 
their help made it possible to keep going.

It is no understatement to say that we are and will be forever grateful to them 

and also to the Lord for them.

I remember at the beginning of this, when someone was looking at our situation, being asked what we were going to do, and only being able to say, I don’t know.

By all standards, it looked pretty hopeless.

If you leave God out of it...

So here we are on the other side, and I can see how this happened because of the actions of each and every one of these people who put self aside and just showed up and helped us.

I am so thankful to have seen first hand how beautiful it is when it happens

and you are on the receiving end.

I want to be on the burden lifting end for others as well... 


I could talk now about how life resembles those PUDs (pointless ups and downs)…

but that will be another post

another day.


In the meantime,
if you have ever wondered about how to help someone in their hard place,
let me direct you over to the blog Mundane Faithfulness 

where there is a lot of talk is about a new book by Jill Buteyn.  

Written with Kara Tippetts, it's about stepping in to another’s place of need and sharing the load.

It’s called Just Show Up...

And it is really good!  


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