Thursday, May 13, 2010

God's Stones


When I was a child, we had a bucket of rocks on our fireplace hearth.  They were the weights that held up my mother's artificial green tree and kept it from toppling.  The bucket of beauties came from rivers in the Smoky Mountains, where we sometimes vacationed.  The stones' surfaces often caused me to run my small fingers over their outer character.  I well remember feeling their somewhat sandy texture.   

My interest in my mother's stones inspired backyard rock-hunting.  My family was blessed with a lot filled with Georgia red clay that was carpeted in Bermuda grass, and filled with tall, Longleaf pines, Dogwoods, Maples, and Oaks.  The shaded, hilly land provided many hours for jumping in piles of pine straw and digging for rocks.  I loved finding God's stones.  Their various textures, colors, and weights of  captured my childlike curiosity. 

My favorite find was white marble.  (I did not then know its name.)  Determined, I would dig until I noticed it's white glitter peering up at me through the fiery soil.  I would pry it from the earth with my stick-shovel and caress it with curiosity.  It looked so beautiful and made me think of purity and diamonds.  My eight year old lips proclaimed it "crystal," and I loved holding it and watching it sparkle.  Every time I found a "crystal" rock, I washed the red clay from it and saved it, thinking it really was something special.

My eight year old imagination did not comprehend how close to truth I was.  I recently learned white marble forms when very pure limestone rock is buried deeply and exposed to high heat and great pressure.  I now understand what I could not get then:  anything that goes through a lot of heat and pressure is special because of the deep, undisturbed process used in its formation.  "Crystal" is a marvel because of its forming.  It is also a marvel because it begins in a very pure state of limestone.

It is pure in its beginning, yet, incomplete.  It is formed through specific circumstances that change its nature. 

Purifying.  Burying.  Working.  Changing.  Forming.  Becoming.  Being. 

White marble and God's unlimited capacity for analogies provide our limited understanding with more than a lesson in geology.  The way of white stone is a study in soul truth.

God's loving heart works purity in our lives, and He chooses to place our sanctified souls in the fire and vice of testing.  The Father's omniscient eyes anticipate the coming crystal result that will sparkle with divine, diamond-like specks.  Snips and shards of Christ's character that combine to create God's special stones.  His keepsakes.  Worthy of washing and holding and loving and marvelling.  Stones of life.  God's treasured collection.  His own.

With this truth planted in my own soul's soil, I today cling to Jesus Christ, the Rock of my salvation.  And I long to learn of His character and search and dig for more of His truth. 

In the process of seeking and digging, however, I often become frustrated.  Time limitations, daily duties, and physical hindrances get in my way.  My "arms" tire.  My will grows weary.  It feels that I have little of me left to unearth the treasures I crave.  I wish for instant success in my search.  I want to see more now.  Know more now.  Love more now.  Be more now.

But the understanding character of Father God has patience with my way and likewise speaks stillness to my restless heart.  As I grow weary with the process, He says, "Be still, Andrea.  Know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10, NIV).

Be still.  Like white marble.  Unmoved in waiting.  Unshaken in surrounding storms.  Yet, changeable with God-designed elements that will one day make me glitter in the sun. 

While waiting for the glittering reflection of Jesus, I pray for abandoned surrender, and sometimes I must search for it just as I search for Christ's reflection.  I not only need surrender to the final formation, but also surrender to the process that will get me there. 

And prayer, with whole heart, will keep me in His earth, planted in the place He has destined for design, so that I will get there and find Jesus' reflection.  

We can all find rest in His destined place.  We find that rest when we relax and let the process of Christ's forming work within us.

It sounds so simple.  Not!

When I was in labor with my sons, I well remember the words of the nurses.  They would gather close to me and strongly encourage.  "Don't fight the pains, Andrea."  I struggled with their counsel.  It was hard to let go.  My own nature wanted to fight against the intensity I felt in my body. 

As well, my carnal nature fights against the intensity of God's process, but as I stand on Philippians 4:13, I am able to do what is unnatural.  "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me."

We are all in a formation process.  And prayer is one important element that guides our transformation.  Friend, would you join me in prayer?  Would you mind if I approached the throne of grace for you today?  This very moment, as I write these words, I sense our Father's enormous love for you.  You, one very special stone, who are His child.

Dear Father God, I seek you with a heart of praise for your processes.  It is your love, Oh, Lord, that buries us in the hot, dry, weighty places.  It is your eyes of love, Oh, Lord, that comprehend the glittering reflection of your Son that is and will be in each of us. 

 I pray for my friends.  Each one is a choice offering.  Each life is so individual.  Each need is so particular.

Yet, you know, Oh, Lord.  Yes, you know each one.

 
I ask You to fill your beloved with peace, with grace, with comfort, with trust, with faith, with joy.  Jesus, let us experience the power of Your holy presence that lifts us from our ache to our knees and to our feet.  May we all be overwhelmed with the realness of Who You are and the power of divine love that we have yet to know fully. 

 I ask You, Jesus, Who suffered for our liberty and healing, to strengthen, edify, and encourage each one who was destined to read here today.  Yes, Lord, You have set your love on her or him.  You care so much more than we can now know.  You care about things that seem small and things that are great, and nothing is too hard for You.  

Lord, You are good.  Your mercies do not fail.  They are new to us each day.  And we thank you for them, for Your merciful nature gives us hope in every circumstance.  Your grace, Father, gives us patience with the process, and please let it be so in all our lives.  

In the name that is above every other name and with faith in His name,

Amen.

Thank you for the honor of praying for you, and thank you for being here with me and for me.  You are precious in the sight of God. 

Shining Together with You as His Living Stones,






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29 comments:

  1. Thank you for the beautiful prayer, Andrea...

    I have never considered our Georgia red clay as being a blessing, but you have made me pause and see the beauty it creates...

    I love "God's unlimited capacity for analogies", also...what better way to teach His children!

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  2. Thank you so much, Andrea, for this beautiful post and for the prayer. So greatly needed and appreciated.

    Blessings to you dear sister in Christ Jesus!

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  3. "As well, my carnal nature fights against the intensity of God's process, but as I stand on Philippians 4:13, I am able to do what is unnatural. "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me."

    That's how I feel too.

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  4. You certainly have an eye for the beauty of eternal depths. What a simple, yet profound analogy!

    By the way, have I ever told you that every time I see your photo I think of the beautiful porcilin doll my mother gave me when I was young? Must be all that light from your parlor!

    Blessings,
    Kathleen

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  5. I always come here wondering what nuggets of truth I will find and I always come away so much richer! Thank you, dear Andrea, for your most gracious prayer! It is so hard, this *polishing*, but that is how we can shine for Jesus! God is good, all the time! And all the time, God is good!
    Be Blessed!

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  6. Oh my.... I have had such a carnal day today! I fight and struggle and resist....... Oh my why.. We need to learn that the chastisement of the Lord might be painful but it does bring forth life.....

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  7. You reminded me that here in Brittany the stones from which the old houses are built are Granite. the houses have stood for hundreds of years, and are warm, enclosing and safe.
    Wonderful analogy Andrea. Thank you.

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  8. Lovely post, dear Andrea. I love what you shared about crystals. How they are formed...and what it takes in order for these stones to become so beautiful.

    I am so encouraged. When we go through the heat and the pressure, what is being formed in our hearts is something so beautiful!

    The prayer at the end was so special too.

    Hope all is working out for you, dear friend. Have you moved back to your house yet?

    Praying for you and keeping you close...
    Lidj

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  9. Hello Andrea,

    The "crystal" analogy is a good one...That's exactly how I feel!

    "It is formed through specific circumstances that change its nature.

    Purifying. Burying. Working. Changing. Forming. Becoming. Being."

    God bless,
    Michelle

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  10. Amen! Relying on Jesus Christ is the only way...yet, it is so unnatural as you stated...I love the analogy of when you gave birth to your sons...the nurses pleading with you, "Don't fight the pain"...so true! I need to remember to not fight or resist the beauty that God incredibly sees in us through Jesus Christ and that He wants us to reveal for others to see...not just to admire but to live in...thank you for this beautiful post...mmmmmmmmmmm...delicious!

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  11. Hi Andea,
    I'm so glad I came over here today:) Your analogy is perfect. I thank you so much for taking the time to see the need to pray for each of us. I so appreciate that! May your day be filled with blessings!

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  12. "The way of white stone is a study in soul truth."

    I don't think I'll forget this one. Even as the soul truth of your white stones has forged a good analogy for your heart, it does so for mine as well. Even so, bury me Lord, and bring on the heat! I want the brilliancy of a good "find."

    peace`elaine
    PS: Love the hair!

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  13. Oh Andrea,

    Your words have touched my heart today. Isn't it glorious the way God finds ways to speak to us when we need it most? His love is the greatest love and we can do all things through Him! Praise God!!!

    Blessings to you dear friend,

    Kim

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  14. It's been so long since I've been on blog land and so glad I stopped by! I love this post. We recently did a study about the living standing stones, when Israel crossed over the Jordan and they set up the 12 stones. 1Samuel 7:12 Our Ebenezer stone saying, Thus far the Lord has helped us! As memorials to the greatness of Gods power to deliver us! God bless Andrea!

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  15. HI Andrea,

    Thanks for your blog comment.

    This post made me extra joyful tonight. I speak about rocks to groups. God opened my eyes to a parable about living stones from a rock tumbler in 2002 or 2001. Every time I share this visual, similar to yours, people need comfort and hope. So this post was a perfect treat to my heart. Confirming. Beautiful. I loved this truth and the wonder of God's creation and what it teaches me. And you!

    Praising God with you in prayer.

    His living stone. T :)

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  16. Hi Andrea, I wanted to tell you how much I am comforted by reading your blog. The words I read from it bless me every time and I wanted to thank you for encouraging me especially in this post. It really spoke loud in my heart, I will probably be reading it again soon.
    Much Love
    In Christ,
    Marie

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  17. Thank you so much for the prayer. I needed it so very much. As always, I have been blessed to have read your blog today!

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  18. Andrea:

    Somehow today I can see your little 8 year old hands and heart! What a beautiful analogy in this word today. As always, your words and the prayer touch my heart deeply.

    I hope things are progressing with the house, praying still for re-entry to be smooth... and soon!:)

    Love you,

    Sonja

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  19. Your white marble "crystals" also remind me of the white stones in Rev. 2:17, "I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it."

    Love,

    Cindy

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  20. "To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it." Rev. 2:17.
    You reminded me.
    Sometimes when I'm out walking, I find a pile of white stones and I think about this verse.
    Blessings and love, Andrea!

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  21. Strengthened in spirit by your words of encouragement and prayer for my strengthening and refreshment, I enter a fresh and unspoiled Monday.

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  22. Dear Andrea, Thank you for visiting me and for your sweet comment! You are such a blessing and encouragement! Thank you for sharing your beautiful words and the beautiful prayer! I am so thankful that God is merciful! The Lord is using you in a mighty way! Love in Christ Jesus,
    Paula

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  23. Andrea, thank you for stopping by my blog. Reading this post blessed me so!
    God bless you!

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  24. Andrea, you blessed me tonight with this post. You took me back to my own childhood and allowed me to see into the past of something that was pure and beautiful.

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Your comment brought comfort to my soul.

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  25. Andrea,
    Your heartfelt, empathizing comment on my blog post that was more of a ramble of thoughts did my heart good. Your writing is so refined as a retired English teacher's should be. I'm having to let go of my extra editing in my blogging...otherwise I wouldn't post much. Having you read my stuff is also humbling but you connect with my heart due to life's circumstances being similar. I can't tell you how much that means to me. So, I will continue to simply let my heart talk and I'm privileged to have you listen and relate.

    I've now read this post of yours twice. The theme of being buried under pressure is understood and lived. My burial lies in the ministry inside the home that rarely is seen outside...except in the outward lives of my husband and children. The pressure is the physical pain and with it, emotional pain.

    You also talked about being willing to be transformed into something you did not expect. I'm living that too. Jesus told us to deny ourselves. For me that is the denial of what I thought I would be in this season of my life. But He also said that as we lose our life, we will find it. I am finding the humble, quiet life to be filled with great treasure as I plumb the depths of our great God. He then, in His time and His way brings to me people who just need to hear what He is doing in my life...somehow, the Holy Spirit encourages or convicts that one, anointing the divine appointment and He gets the glory....I don't! This is exactly what I wanted and didn't know how to fabricate it. I realize that I can't stage it. I have to live always ready. And often it is just for my husband and children. I'm learning to be content with that. This is where I am beginning to see Jesus' shine and glittering nature appear. It isn't how I thought it would come about and I often still fight it. It is a pleasure walking the transformation road with you.

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  26. Andrea...

    Your posts are not coming up on my blog roll. I had to hunt to find you and I even thought maybe I wasn't even following you anymore. :( I looked and my picture is still there.

    I'm going to STOP following you and then start AGAIN. Maybe this will JOLT blogger in correcting whatever problemo :) there is!

    Love to you~Wonder what I've been missing! :(

    xoRebecca

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  27. You have such a beautiful way with words, precious Andrea! I enjoyed every line and have a new attitude of being shaped and molded into His shiney stone. Can't thank you enough for the prayer. I am ministered to in your gentle, powerful way. Bless you!

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  28. Andrea,

    This is a much needed post for me...you always touch my heart with your beautiful posts. THANK YOU!
    Clinging to HIM,
    andrea

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Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,

Andrea