As a girl Lela sang praises to God while her mother played the church organ and her father played the viola. But the music stopped for Lela the day her mother was committed to a state hospital as a schizophrenic. Of course, Lela was very sad. She hated being alone. Fear gripped her heart.
What does a little girl do without her Mommy? Lela turned to food for comfort, but of course she couldn’t fill the emptiness in her soul and she couldn’t make the anxiety go away. She developed an eating disorder and had bouts of agoraphobia in which she was afraid to leave her house.
Freedom through Praising God!
Years later as an adult Lela learned to overcome her attacks of fear, anxiety, and depression by using the words of Scripture to “take every thought captive” to Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5). As she did this the music returned! She worshiped the Lord. She began to hear the Lord singing in her heart and she used this inspiration to compose a children’s musical for her church based on Pilgrim’s Progress.
The songs of the Lord kept coming to Lela — as a young mother washing dishes, as a middle-aged children’s ministries pastor suffering through breast cancer and chemo, and as an empty nester and chaplain’s wife reading my devotional, “The Cross on Jesus’ Back.”
My Reader Became my Friend
Lela and I started exchanging e-mails. She wrote to me:
When I read your devotional the words “I was the cross on Jesus’ back” sang in my head. I saw Jesus… He picked me up on His shoulders and carried me, a fatherless child, with all my burdens. He took my shame on Himself. He died for all the things I have struggled with — anxiety, depression, overeating, cancer. By His wounds I am healed now and in the life to come (Isaiah 53:5).
So for the first time I recorded a song to share with others! “The Cross on Jesus’ Back” is my interpretation of the vision and experience you had.
There is still the scared little girl inside me who wouldn’t get up in class to sharpen a pencil and who is afraid what people may think about my writing or my music! But I know the Lord can use that to remind me His purpose is to have people focus on Him and His love, not me and my insufficiency or self-sufficiency.
Lela Took Courage
Inspired by my devotional, “The Cross on Jesus’ Back,” Lela took courage. She reached out for Jesus and he took the hand of the scared little girl inside her and helped her to share her song as part of the “On Cross Roads” Soul Shepherding retreat I led last week. The cross sang in Lela’s soul — and ours too!
Now Lela is sharing her song with you and the world in the new ministry that God birthed through my devotional.
New Devotional for Holy Week!
God has brought me deep healing and great encouragement through the Stations of the Cross. For nine years I’ve been sharing these with other people who also have had powerful encounters with Christ. I invite you to join me on the life-changing journey of my 68-page booklet: Unforsaken: With Jesus on the Stations of the Cross.
Jesus’ Way for You is Best — and Easier!
As Jesus is carrying his cross he is sustained through horrific suffering by the Father’s love. This is why he is able to keep blessing those that curse him. In You Can Live in Jesus’ Easy Yoke I share the secret to Jesus’ power and grace and how you can follow his example in the challenges and struggles that you deal with.