I wrote this many years ago….and I’m still learning lessons from the rocks….Patrice
Hearts of stone are what we all have to varied degrees. Several years ago, it seems like eons ago, I began to collect heart-shaped rocks. I didn’t intend to collect them. Actually the first one was a gift to me. An unexpected gift from God, I believe, to give me comfort and reassurance that He loved me.
For many years, I lived what I thought was a Christian life. I went to church, sang, prayed, participated in church activities, etc. My children came along, and I was busy. My husband worked, and he was busy. We didn’t have much time for each other and our relationship was strained at times. Mostly we didn’t communicate our feelings to each other. Of course, I was frustrated with this, but he didn’t seem to notice, or so I thought.
I began to look for something more. I don’t know if I knew what I was looking for, but God led some people to my life. At a garage sale which a friend and I were having on my porch – (a porch sale, I guess it was!) – my friend and I were generally discussing how uncertain and terrible the world situation was, and our lives were, and a woman overheard our conversation and commented that there was really no need to be so worried about such things. She recommended to us several books to read. I found the books later and read them. They changed my life. My friend did not read them. And her life changed, too. But in a different direction than mine. She and her husband eventually divorced and I’ve lost track of her in the past few years.
On the other hand, my life has been changed to one of an adventure, a continual revelation by God of His plan for my life, on a daily basis, if I ask and listen and respond to His call. The rocks are part of that story.
I discovered a new relationship with God on a personal level. In my joy and excitement, I became aware of God’s continual presence, abiding within me, always there to guide and love and encourage me if only I open up to Him. At the same time, I became acutely aware of things around me that were offensive to God’s presence, and at times was overwhelmed with a sense of sorrow at the offense and pain I was subjecting Him to by being around profane speech and actions. At times, I would have to leave the people I was around and I would weep in sorrow for having offended Him.
This happened once with people who were very close to me. I was shocked by the actions and attitudes of these loved ones, but I reacted, not as Jesus would have, but in an offensive manner that accused and declared and judged them to be sinners. Even though I may have said words that were true, I did not say them with love. Feelings were hurt. I was hurt. They were hurt. And wounds inflicted even with “right” intentions are still wounds. And this is when God gave me the gift of my first heart rock.
I had left the situation in tears and despair and gone walking, with the intention of going I don’t know where and I don’t know for how long. I walked and cried for a long time. Miles. I stepped off the side of the road to do what I don’t know, looked down, and in the dirt was a small red rock – a heart-shaped rock, and God said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, and I knew you needed to know this, so in all eternity I made this rock and placed it here for you, just for now, to let you see how much I love you. This little stony heart is like your heart. Let me help you make your heart into one of flesh, so you can love the sinner like I love them.”
There were little cracks in the rock, and it wasn’t totally smooth and it was not a perfectly shaped heart, but I knew it was a heart. God could see in my heart that His love would fit there, even though I had cracked, rough, mis-shapen attitudes, actions, behaviors and thoughts.
Today, 15 years after I found that first little love letter from God, I still enjoy walking and finding those special messages from by best friend. I ponder and pray for the message that He wants me to see when I spot them in the road. We live 10 miles in the country and have very little traffic. So the walk is a meditation and prayer reflection.
I’d like to describe some of my rocks and share some of the insights I have about them.
The smooth flat ones have been hipped from a bigger chunk, washed smooth, chipped and broken to get the heart shape started, washed and worn some more. How many years does it take to get that smooth? Thousands? Millions? Is God that patient with me? Does eternity involve a process of smoothing out our rough edges to get our rough stony heart to resemble the smooth perfection modeled to us by Christ? What about the pain of chipping? Are our struggles necessary to achieve “perfection” ?Are any rocks automatically formed in the heart shape? Not that I’ve been able to discern. All go through breaking, struggle, stress, heat, cold, to become “beautiful”.
What about the rock that has a heart-shaped hole in it? We have a space inside of us that is shaped to only allow God’s love to fit there. We try to fill it with money, cars, sex, TV, kids, church activities, and we never allow His Love to fill the space. We are hollow. We are empty. No gas to keep us going. We need to go to Him and allow Him to fill us with His life. If we do not eat His flesh and drink His blood we have no life in us.