I have a new cross in my office.
It is made of bigger than normal popsicle sticks… I think they are called “craft sticks.” The vertical stick has seven pink fingerprints in a row, covering the length of the stick. The horizontal stick is painted a bright pink with random geometric shapes. It’s a little off-center, but not too bad. Overall, you get the definite impression it was made by a child. On the back, printed in felt tip marker, it says, “I CAN, through Him.”
I got to choose the cross at the graduation chapel service on one of our campuses. Vicar Jason had a large number of crosses, each as unique as mine, made by the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. The theme of his message was the “I CAN, through Him” sentiment that was written on each cross. It was a really good chapel service.
What struck me though was what happened after the service, when Vicar Jason invited everyone to come up and choose a cross to take with them. There was no “stampede,” but there was a lingering as each of us waited our turn to claim our cross. I believe every person at that service stood in line to get a cross…and some took two.
Why? The monetary value of each cross is maybe eight or nine cents each so it isn’t like you’re getting a big “freebie.” They aren’t particularly artistic or creative or well crafted.
What they are is a symbol of a hurting child connecting with a hurting man who died for all our sins. One of our staff—a rather burly, bearded man with a heart of gold—took two crosses, one painted all red and one painted all green. He said to me, “Look, this red one is a reminder of His death, and the green is about new life and resurrection in Him.” I look at the pink fingerprints on my cross and see Jesus’ hand on the child artist’s heart.
I believe every one of us there felt the connection between the children, the crosses, and Him. These crosses represent our deep hope that each child truly believes, “I CAN, through Him.”
I have a new, very special, cross in my office. If you ever visit me at our Fargo campus, I'd love to show it to you.
Please keep our kids and staff in your prayers.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
Sign up today to receive ministry updates and stories about our precious kids directly to your inbox!