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"My story is how God used the Radio Flyer Wagon to free me of a difficult part of my life. You can find this story on my blog... www.bellareaux.com Here is the scene, I have this beautiful customized Radio Flyer Wagon. It is completed with dual canopies in the “Whirl pattern” along with seat pads and storage compartments. It even has speakers for my MP3 player and on the sides, the plaques carry my name…Shannon. The wagon unfortunately is loaded. The contents of the wagon are unfamiliar to me. I am not sure how they all got in there. I just know that to keep them in all in, I have had to use bungie cords, duck tape, and at times, I have even taken the necklaces from my jewelry box and fashioned chains to hold all of this stuff in my wagon. It’s heavy. I admit it. It’s heavy. What’s worse, is that it is getting heavier every day and I am getting to the point that I cannot pull it anymore. There are times that I sit down in front of my wagon and look at it, I try to think of ways that I can shift the contents around, that I can rearrange it, that I can make it look better. You now it’s a pretty wagon and the way it’s all shoved in there just isn’t pretty anymore. And then it happens, someone walks up next to me with their wagon, and it looks different than mine. It looks like there is something in their wagon that they might need help with. It is messing up the way that their wagon looks. Everything else in their wagon looks in order except this one thing, maybe I could help with that one thing. Maybe if I took that one thing out of their wagon and put it in mine, which is already sort of messy, their wagon would look better. So I take it. I am not sure which bungie cord will hold it but that doesn’t matter, their wagon is back in order. And off they go, their wagon is lighter and mine is well, mine is. And then comes the worst, the abandoned wagon. I come up on a wagon that is just sitting there. It has some stuff in it, but it looks like it has some room in it. Maybe I could put some of my stuff in it and then my wagon wouldn’t be so heavy. Maybe I wouldn’t need so much duck tape. I will put some of my stuff in that wagon and it will be easier to pull two lighter wagons than one heavier wagon. Right? So I pick up the handle to the abandoned wagon and I start pulling it too. Now the load feels even heavier. Now both of my arms are really starting to hurt. I am near a park and a see an empty bench. I pull both of my wagons to the bench and just sit down. I put the wagons on each corner of the bench and prop the handles on each corner and I fall back into the bench. I am so tired that I curl up in to a ball and drift off to sleep. About an hour later, I wake up to find that both wagons are still sitting there, propped on both corners of the park bench. It’s the first time I have had a chance to look down into the wagons to see the contents. I cannot even see inside my own wagon because it is so loaded with things I have picked up along my journey and haven’t discarded. I know I can’t leave this bench without at least trying to lighten some of the load so I decide, I need to go through one wagon while I am here. My own wagon is too much to even start to handle so I look at the abandoned wagon and see what I can do.The wagon itself is pretty beat up. The paint is chipped off, the wheels have large gouges in them and the handle is bent. It has definitely been through the ringer. Inside the wagon, I find a package of hurt. I have this same package in my wagon. I am not even sure where my package came from to begin with, what am I suppose to do with this one? Should I consolidate them into one? No, that doesn’t sound like a good idea. It’s like mixing chemicals, you never know how they might interact. Maybe I should open it and see what’s inside. That’s what I will do, I will open up the package. Let me tell you, I learned a lesson, when you open up someone else’s package of hurt, be prepared. It’s not a pretty picture. SO a word to the wise, don’t open it. Put their package back in their wagon. They need to open it and deal with it. It’s not for you to do. So I decided to go look at my own “hurt” package. It took some digging. Digging was an understatement actually. The tape and bungie cords were so tightly wrapped around the wagon and the contents that I couldn’t get them off. I had to get wire cutters and scissors to start removing them. With each cut, things starting popping out. It looked like popcorn coming out of a Jiffy Pop pan. Stuff started flying everywhere. I was embarrassed. I started trying to gather it up as fast as I can and stuffing it back in the wagon. Were people noticing? Did people see this craziness? Wait a minute? Did I say craziness? STOP, hold the phone. This is crazy. And at that moment, I stopped and I fell to the ground and I let everything fall out of the wagon. It all fell. It was no longer popcorn popping. It was literally just falling out. It was falling all around me. And when I started picking it up and looking at the pieces, they were things I didn’t even want in my wagon. Hurt feelings, resentment, enabling others behavior, tiredness, long nights doing work that didn’t matter, patterns for masks that I thought would make me look better in other’s eyes, make-up kits to hide my tiredness, the power suit to make people think I was someone I wasn’t, the juggling balls, the keys to someone else’s responsibilities that I picked up because they wouldn’t, the lies that I began to believe because someone I thought loved me said them, the abandonment feelings I owned because someone I thought loved me fell down on their responsibility. And all this stuff was laying on the ground in front of me. Literally popped out. And the bungie cords, duck tape, and broken necklaces were on the ground too. No longer binding it all up. And the wagon, it was still next to me. But now, it was empty. I could see the pretty pattern of the cushions again. I could see the storage compartments, and I could hear the music from the speakers. Jesus said, Come to me all the weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 Luke 13:10-13 10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. My wagon had some scratches on it. It was scratched from where the cords had been so tightly wrapped that it couldn’t do anything but inch into the paint. Jesus could fix my wagon. So I stood up, I looked at the two wagons, and I grabbed the handle of my wagon. I left all that stuff laying there on the ground. And I pulled my own wagon. It was lighter. It was so light that I could skip with it. I could skip to the sound of the music. I was not stuck trying to manhandle it anymore. So I have a piece of advice, GIRL, pull your own wagon. And then you can stand up straight and be healed. I pray today, this encourages you to let go of some of the stuff you may be carrying that is not yours to carry. I can tell you it is a process. It’s not easy and does not come without resistance. But God is faithful. I am learning that God has the power alone to free us! "
"From early on until I was about 9 and we moved away - which was some 40+ years ago now - my best friend was Shawn Stroh. We did everything together (he even asked to marry me when we were about 6). He had trouble walking - but as kids do, I ignored it and kept playing with him. I even took to walking pigeon toed like he did to make him feel better (I still walk like that today). Anyway, his parent were terrific. They bought him a very cool red wagon and I had him sit in the back and I would race up and down the sidewalks with him laughing in the back. Or we would just sit in the back and talk about all the important things children share. We were inseparable. We spent every minute of sunshine together. He knew my every thought and dream and I knew his. Shawn had Muscular Dystrophy and died in High School. But we had the joyous time together of laughter, talking and just sitting in that wonderful red wagon. Thanks for letting me share those precious memories."