The Cross in My Backyard

We have so many new followers on the blog that I want to share this story with you again for those who’ve not heard it.  You may be wondering, Why the cross?

Two years ago, I was spending time with the Father (God) outside.  Autumn in

Sunrise at the Tree of Life, November 2012

Pennsylvania is quite a beautiful time of year.  I tell my children that I am spending time with the Father “under the Tree of Life”.  I want my relationships and my entire calendar to spring out of that time “under the Tree of Life”.

One morning, the Father asked, “Will you build me a cross and put it up there?”  He directed my attention to a tall telephone pole that the previous owners put up in our back yard.  It’s a dusk to dawn light so we can see the fields and back yard behind our home at night.

I answered, “Well, Lord, I don’t know how to do that.  But sure, I’ll put a cross up there.  Please speak to my husband.”

Later I asked my husband, Scott, “I think God’s telling me he wants us to put a cross up there in the back yard.  But I don’t know how to build one.”

Scott answered, “I think I can do that.”  And so one cold November night as I slept, Scott built a cross in the garage, and nailed two rugged boards together.  I’ll never forget when I came downstairs that next morning before dawn.  Leaning up against the living room wall was a life-sized wooden cross with white lights glowing all around it.  I literally gasped.   Tears sprang to my eyes.  I found out later that it took him hours to meticulously staple each white Christmas light around the frame of the cross so that each light stuck out to display just right.  He didn’t come to bed until 4AM!

I couldn’t wait to see the cross displayed outside in our back yard!  Our teenagers helped us raise that cross and tack it onto the telephone pole.  (It was a different kind of family project, but one I’m sure they’ll remember for years to come.)

The Cross in My Backyard
The Cross in My Backyard
Constructed by Scott & Hope Flinchbaugh

 And there is something special about that cross.  We put it up in November and kept it up until Easter.  That year, 2010, we had terrible winter storms until the snow accumulated more than 30 inches.  Day after day I’d look out at a blizzard of blowing white and there was the cross shining through the threatening gray.  It was a mystery to me.  I still didn’t know why the Lord wanted that cross out there, but I knew we obeyed him.  I wrote the following words in my journal:

The Cross in My Backyard  

Flurries of cold dance into December’s gray

And forecast

What the cross, erected in my back yard,

Will endure in the days and weeks ahead.


No matter.

Its lights continue to shine

And outline a call to reflect on the past

And prepare for the future.


For the work of the cross is a mystery.

It was completed—yet it is active

It was finished—but yet to be seen

Is its power to rally every soul to choice—


Life or death

Remit or retain

Humble or exalt

Believe or reject


Winters coldest fury has not weakened its stance.

Nor can it be engulfed in flames

For its purpose is rooted, more mighty than the cedar,

And its flame hotter than all hell has to offer.


See it flash its message? The cross is the doorway for the Holy Spirit to bring passersby into conversations about their souls.

See it flash its message?

Bread of Life

Covenant Cup

Fragrance of Eternity

Destroyer of the Grave!


Lifter of the dead

Conqueror of Hell

Skeleton key to heaven—one for you and one for me

To have and to hold or

To throw out as waste.


I can no longer sit here

I must move.

I must choose.


I must act on what I truly believe

And mark my address for eternity.


Today is the time

While the key is mine

To keep and to cherish

Or to discard and perish.

This simple act of obedience drew my husband and me closer together.  It’s difficult to explain in words, but we sensed that the cross was a light on our hill in more ways than one—that the Holy Spirit was using that cross as His personal “conversation piece” to point people to salvation, people who simply drove by our house.  (I often wished I was privy to a few of those conversations.)

Jesus said, “If I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”  I believe when we lift up the cross and display it in some way, it is a reminder to saint and sinner alike to think of Jesus.  And it still issues the power to draw people to Christ.

About Lift the Cross of Jesus!

My day job is writing--I'm an author and publisher of a number of books. More on that later. But there is nothing of greater importance to me than the early morning hours I spend with the Creator of the Universe. Although He knows everything there is to know, His greatest delight isn't to give us knowledge, but to give us love. My highest joy is to watch the sun rise with notebook in hand and write the words he speaks to my heart. I want to share some of those words with you here . . . words on the cross.
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3 Responses to The Cross in My Backyard

  1. carol lehman says:

    I love this story Hope! The cross is such a picture all that He has done for us and it is really neat to hear how God drew you and Scott and your family as a team to raise up the cross!


    • Great to hear from you, Carol. I agree–I thought we were blessing God but he truly blessed us in the “doing” of this.

      And welcome to three new young poets who “liked” the cross blog today. We need a few new poems on the cross–honoring and honest content and we’ll post it!


  2. Larry Who says:

    Simple obedience to the Lord always produces good fruit.


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