June 18, 2009

12 Stones

Nope. This isn't another post about my heart rock collection. It's about 12 "invisible" stones I've collected over the past 48 years. Stones I wanted to share with you.

A few months ago I was reading the book of Joshua in my bible. Chapters 3 & 4 describe the eventful day when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the promised land. The Lord caused the river, (which was at flood stage) to stop flowing so the people of Israel could cross on dry ground.) After all those thousands of people had crossed over, the Lord commanded them to take 12 stones from the middle of the riverbed and pile them up in a place called Gilgal. The 12 stones were to serve as a constant reminder so that, "...all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord."

I've been thinking about that ever since. This last year has been extremely difficult for me. Most of it has been my own doing-it was a constant struggle for me to sit down and read my bible, or pray, or repent....I lost sight of who God is and really wrestled with despair and depression. I neglected to tell myself the Truth about who God is-that He is sovereign. He loves me. He is in control. Instead, I "emptied out" spiritually and emotionally. There was nothing left in me to give to anyone.

OK-back to the stones. This post is about the stones I would pick to remind me that the hand of the Lord is powerful. That He has constantly been intimately involved in my life since the git-go.

I sat down this evening and made a list of 12 specific things the Lord has done that I will never forget. 12 things that only a loving God could've done.

1. He gave me a good beginning. When I was little my family seemed solid and healthy. It appeared that they loved each other-we had laughter, traditions, respect, a safe home. (Apparently I was wrong because my parents divorced when I was 8. However, the memories I acquired when I was little were embedded in my heart. They gave me something to shoot for when I grew up. I knew what a family could be and that's what I've prayed for and, with my husband, what we've worked hard to create.)

2. The bible promises that God will be a father to the fatherless. After my parents divorced I stayed with my mom. Looking back I can see so many instances where the Lord was guiding and protecting me. I had a very tender conscience which kept me on "the straight and narrow" even before I became a Christian. While my brothers got into drugs and promiscuity and the whole "hippy" scene, I wanted something better. Even at the ripe old age of 12 I could see that those things weren't fulfilling them....
I also desired purity. I wanted to save myself for my future husband and be a gift to him. I didn't want to give away any part of me to just any guy who came along.

3. When I was 13 I began contemplating suicide. Long story, but I was a mess. That's when the Lord opened my eyes to who He is and showed me that He loves me. That He wanted to be my father and heal my hurts....

4. Shortly after that I began meeting with an older, wiser mom-type woman once a week for counseling. Like I said, I was a mess. I hated my parents and my step-mother. I hated myself. I was an angry, hurting girl. That woman sat with me week after week for 9 months-she taught me how to pray. How to repent of sin. How to love unconditionally when that was the last thing on earth I wanted to do. She pointed me to scripture and to the Lord for the strength to do those things....

5. After that I entered high school. I joined a great youth group where I had some good bible teaching, a lot of fun, made some good friends and received even more healing. I learned that I could be a likeable person.....

6. The Lord has blessed me with an incredible husband. There are not enough words out there to express the love and appreciation I have for that man. He is my other half. Our sons should be included here-our family is one of the sweetest gifts I've ever received.

7. Our youngest son would be another stone I'd pick. Someday I'll tell you how and why we "ended up" with him, but in my thinking he's a miracle.

8. 7 months after we were married I had an ectopic pregnancy. The doctors I had had no clue what was wrong with me. For an entire month they messed around trying to figure out what was going on with my body. They finally sent me to a specialist-he was the best OBGYN in the country at the time. One of the top surgeons around. If I hadn't seen him and had emergency surgery one of two things could've happened. I could've died. Or, I could've lost the ability to conceive...

9. Hang in there. I'm almost done!
Before my dad died in 2002 the Lord restored our relationship. We became a father and daughter and a lot of healing took place.

10. 5 years ago I went through a really nasty time of rebellion toward the Lord. He loosened my leash, let me wander around in my misery, then brought me back to Him. That's been one of the sweetest stones in my life!

11. He's restored our marriage twice. Once when I didn't see we had any hope at all. I would've left if I'd had anywhere to go and any income to go on. (That was during my "time of rebellion".) The second time wasn't as ugly, but was bad enough that our relationship was just yucky. Only because of prayer, repentance, and forgiveness did we make it through those times.

12. The last stone would be named, "Lessons Learned". Especially as a home school mom. I have felt so inadequate, so fearful, so weary at times over the past 18 years. I've seen His faithfulness over and over again as we've walked this road...

I can't figure out how to end this post. What does one say after writing something like this? Thank you for taking time to read it. That's one thing I'd like to say! I'd also love to hear about your stones if you want to write either a post about them or leave a lengthy comment. It's so good to read about what the Lord has done in other people's lives...it encourages me and gives me hope...

(PS-Big doofus-for some reason I can't leave a comment at your blog. Every time I try I get kicked out of blogger and sent back to the Google home page. Just thought you might like to know.:-) )

5 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post. In my busy day I thought I'd stop and check if you'd posted anything. And now, I feel so peaceful. Thank you. And happy 39th birthday! oh you....

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  2. Great minds think alike...I just posted about Ebeneezers too this week. http://mstheophilus.blogspot.com/2009/06/ebenezers.html It's good to have the list there to remind you--why is it easier to remember bad things than God's provision?

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  3. I thought it was another post about your rock collection, honest! So I'm glad you put the "disclaimer" at the top. :)

    Anyways, thanks for this post. I heard a sermon recently about Hebrews 3 and 4.
    The pastor made a great point: A huge part of guarding against unbelief (and from thenceforth falling away) is remembering what God has done! From time to time it is good, I have found, to mark out a prayer time just for thanksgiving. No petitions. No supplications. Just straight, pure, thanksgiving for what He's done and worship for who He is.

    And when we see God's perfect faithfulness in our past, how can we not trust Him for our future?

    And when we see how great is our God, how can we not burst forth in giant grins of wordless joy?

    Sometimes the best antidote for feeling spiritually "blah" is some intense praise and worship.

    Get your eyes off yourself and on to God.

    And sometimes the best way to do that is to look at the 12 stones piled on the bank.

    Looks like I need to listen to my own advice!!!)

    Thanks again for the chat this morning. It got me thinking in many ways, and pushed me spiritually. Thank you for your wisdom. :D

    Love,
    Alexandra

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  4. Very meaningful thoughtful post!

    I wanted to come over and thank you for your kind comment at my blog. It`s not you I meant when I wrote about people who never commented. It`s the people who "lurk" and just read my blog to snicker about me, the people who know me personally, that you know they are reading the blog, but never encourage you. They let you feel it`s such a waste of time and I`m just tired of it. I can never write what is really on my mind, because I always think of these lurkers and what they will say about me.....
    My next blog will be for people I know who want to read it. And you`ll be one of them!

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this, dear Judy. I think I've said this before in a blog comment, but I really appreciate hearing about your struggles and lessons and hurts. It really is a blessing and reminds me that I'm not alone.
    Love you!

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