Pick it Up

I got up with an attitude. I hadn’t slept well and the fog outside wasn’t helping my mood. I grabbed a quick cup of coffee and the leash and stumbled outside and went for the woods. I walked and prayed but couldn’t climb out of the funk.

“Lord, I don’t know what’s going on, but I need your help. Please show me you are with me!” 

The flowers in the field looked drab, the gnats were bugging me, and my allergies were acting up. I was feeding my grumpy attitude with negative self talk, how I was failing, especially as a wife and mother. Then I saw what put me over the edge.

Something that reminded me of Hansel and Gretel slowly unfolded. But instead of breadcrumbs and little rocks on the trail, candy wrappers were strewn all along the path. Every few feet, like pictures from a crime scene of a kid gone rogue on sugar, the case unwrapped. Tootsie Rolls, Jolly Ranchers, and Starburst had all been on the offender’s menu. Then at the end of the trail, a brown lunch bag gave evidence that the spree had ended for the litterer. My mind went nuts. “I can’t believe this! Who does that?” 

I stomped ahead for another half a mile and turned around to head home. When I came back to the place where the wrapper trail had ended I heard something in my soul,

“Pick them up!”

My husband says, “You can tell a German. But you can’t tell a German anything!” He is right. This strong impression didn’t sit well with me. If it was God telling me to pick up the wrappers He was just going to be out of luck.

“Pick them up!” 

If this was just my conscience I could talk myself out of it, but if this was the Lord, I was being disobedient. Reluctantly, I grabbed the brown lunch bag and stuffed one wrapper into it. Then another and another. Each time I bent over I became more irritated.

I walked until I found a garbage can close to where my car was parked and tossed the wrappers into it.

I didn’t expect what happened next. When the wrappers hit the bottom of the bin, it was as if a huge weight went with it. My attitude suddenly changed. Like a mountain climber untying a heavy backpack after a long hike, I felt a burden lift.

“You only carry burdens for a short while!” 

I knew it was the Spirit. So many things came to mind that I carry around. The weight of my own burdens seems to be too much to bear at times, not to mention all the burdens of others I often carry. I quickly get bogged down and let these things make me sad and angry.

There, in the woods next to that garbage can, set in a deep awareness of the temporal. When we serve Jesus, we give God permission to put burdens on us as He sees fit. At times they seem too heavy and even unfair. However, we are only stewards of them for a short time. We can be assured that He is with us on the path and shows us how far we must carry them. He is faithful. We can trust that He is going ahead of us and in due time will have us put them aside.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV)


(Pictures and Devotional, Heidi Viars, 2019)


  1. This is so good, Heidi!
    You are such an encouragement to Mary and me. You are real and vulnerable. Unfortunately, it seems that only the emptiness of difficult trials make us humble like you are. And… Your photography is SO good!


  2. Dear Heidi, you described the scene we so often face in light of the human experience. It may be picking up after others, and sometimes carrying their burdens along with our own. It always brings me back to the cross and breaks the bands of pride when I see what our Lord endured for us. Thank you for sharing these times with us. Blessings as you continue to hear His voice. 🙂


    • Dear Fran, I am so grateful we crossed paths. May we all continue to bend our ears to His voice to us … In His Word, through others, and always by the His Spirit. Thanks, faithful friend!


  3. That is a great message! Thanks so much for sharing this. I try my best to follow Him but I admit that I have been struggling. Being locked in a body that has kept me imprisoned for so many years now, I admit that I am beginning to struggle. In the beginning, I never thought “Why me?”. I thought “Why not me.”. I was strong enough to carry it. Now though, I’m tired, I think. I wonder why I am still here. What is my purpose? I’m not sure anymore. Maybe He will one day tell me.
    Enough of my grumbling! xo


    • Dearest Lisa,
      I came across your blog when I stumbled onto one of your comments on Bill’s site. Bill and Mary have changed my walk with Christ like no body has in the over twenty years I have been following Jesus. Because of Bill I have understood the Lord and His purpose so much more. I used to believe in a “sanctified” version of a prosperity Gospel. You know, the version that says that Jesus did it all but all was not good enough, and you had to do what He couldn’t do. Like, “Why don’t you pull your boots up a little more… then Jesus will be so pleased …” Like, “God helps those who help themselves!”
      That was until I met Mary and Bill. They have given me a true glimpse of God’s grace made perfect in our weakness.
      You seem to be made of that same kind of material, dear Lisa. I am so grateful to the Lord for allowing me to have met you…. Can’t wait to hear more … even grumbling 🙂


  4. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing that. It’s scary how we don’t comprehend, how slow we are to understand His ways and His thoughts. Pick them up, I won’t forget this one. Pick them up also means lifting others up, serving others, whenever the opportunity presents itself, giving them to Jesus in prayer, in rendering assistance. We’re all to be God’s picker uppers! And when we obey the leading of the Holy Spirt, our compliance leads to Him taking the load (my burden is light). Grace and blessings Heidi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, our burden is ultimately light. The heaviest burden, our sin, Jesus carried to the cross. I praise Him for that!!! Thanks for sharing Him at your place~ Blessings and grace to you as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A glorious insight, Heidi: even burdens are temporal, given to us to carry for only a short time. We are mere stewards; in due time God will have us put them aside. Your experience also reminded me of Naaman. He was enabled to put aside the burden of leprosy only after completing all seven dips in the Jordan River, just as Elisha had instructed him (1 Kings 5:1-14). Praise God he is indeed faithful!


    • I get so easily distracted by the “now” and the demands of this moment. I appreciate you (and this community) for the constant reminders of how faithful our God is! Thanks for being there!


  6. Heidi, thanks for these words. I sometimes forget that a burden is mine to carry only for a certain period of time. Sometimes, I hold onto them much too long after the Lord has told me to lay them down. And sometimes, I carry someone else’s burden when I haven’t been asked to carry it. I’m grateful for God’s patience with me when I’m being stubborn or not listening. But, I would rather be an attuned listener and only carry what He’s given me to carry. Great post and illustration!


    • Jeanne, thank you so much for stopping by. You are such an encourager in the blogging/writing world. Keep going … encouraging … pointing your readers to Jesus … in the end it will be well worth all the effort 🙂


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