Shadow of the Cross Behind Us

Brenda Nail DeLauder


The hill behind our church has a winding path through the woods to a clearing where a large wooden cross stands. As spring unfolds, the walk up the path is filled with dogwood blooms bursting open, ferns unfurling and tiny leaves opening like hands of a newborn. I like to slip up there to spend a few moments with Christ before Easter, asking forgiveness and again afterward, to thank Him.

Yesterday, I found the opportunity to stop by and go up to the cross. Birds were singing and bees were buzzing, but all other sounds faded away as I moved up the path. It was the perfect breather to an otherwise hectic day, and I thanked God for having such a place to enjoy. I started back down when a gentle reminder filled my heart. “Leave the shadow of the cross behind, but take Jesus with you.” In other words, leave my burdens at the cross, but include Christ in every part of my life.

Being one to enjoy nature, it was easy to feel close to Him as I stood there in the middle of the woods, with the warm rays of sunshine and light breeze dancing around me. Yet once I left the church, heading out into traffic to run more errands, did I leave Jesus behind? Traveling a mile down the road, a car ran a red light in front of me. Thankfully I was able to avoid being hit and realized I must have felt I wasn’t alone, because I had instinctively reached my arm out to protect my “passenger.”

Not only is it wonderful to have the Holy Spirit along throughout each day, it helps me to stay grounded. By remembering He is with me, I give my words more consideration before I open my mouth and blurt something out. I feel less frustrated and more peaceful within myself. That’s not to say all is perfect and fine, as there are times when the trials of life are deeply troubling and tend to try to consume me. Yet instead of trying to figure out the solution, simply by including Him, I make better decisions.

Right now we are having a problem with people who either feel “Posted, No Trespassing” signs are not for them, or they truly do not understand what private property means. Either way, it is disheartening and frightening to be under attack. Not only during deer season were poachers killing deer in our woods and fields, but they did “drive-by” shootings within feet of Mom’s house. They have dumped trash and have driven through our hayfields as if the property were a playground. The police have responded as quickly as possible and the game warden has spent hours in the area, but the problems continue.

There have been definite moments of anger and frustration following some of these actions. It has taken a lot of prayer to get to a point of being able to give it to God, and even more to leave it there. After working through all the things one might like to do, the realization of what one can do becomes clear. Pray. There is no greater power or weapon at our disposal. Right now, I’m praying for the individuals who have been causing such problems at our family home place. I am asking God to cleanse their mean spirits and praying for them to find peace through Christ.

Jesus told us to include Him in all things and thankfully this does not come with a limit. Moving forward into spring, let us leave our worries and fears in the shadow of the cross and walk forward with Christ. Amen!

Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.