Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. 1 Peter 2:7 NIV
Faith lessons my daughter taught me…she’s twenty years old now, so there are enough stories to fill a book already! (or two!) Here’s one of my favorites:
“Mom, Mom, come over here!” My twelve-year-old daughter excitedly called to me as I strolled along the sandy Maine beach. “Mom!” she enthusiastically waved and signaled, “I have to show you something!
I think God wants to tell you something!”
What could she possibly have discovered?
Beaming, she opened her delicate hands and held up two small stones. My wonder turned to awe. God had suddenly answered a prayer hidden deep in my heart and known only to Him for the past twelve years! A prayer I had tearfully prayed just moments before as I wandered alone on that sandy beach. “Lord,” I had desperately pleaded, “Please could I have another rock?”
Thirty-two years before on another beach, with another prayer, it had all started…
…It was a warm summer day on the secluded Maine beach my family loved to frequent. My two brothers were laughing and screaming as they jumped and played in the foaming waves. Mom and Dad lounged on the sand, enjoying a much-deserved rest. I had wandered off to be alone…
I loved to the climb the craggy glacier-formed rock cliffs and imagine myself a great explorer searching for secret treasure. I spent hours studying the shapes and colors of the thousands of rocks that had been thrown far onto shore by the pounding surf. On this particular day I had wandered off, not to explore, but to be alone to think, to ponder my changing body and new unfamiliar feelings.
I was a tall and awkward twelve-year-old, in transition from child to woman. Shy, introspective, and not sure where or how to fit into life, I had become reclusive, shunning the fun activities of my youth and spending more and more time alone thinking.
As I climbed to the top of the hill of rocks above the shore that day, I felt a sudden wave of desperation, a need to know that I was a “somebody”…that my life had meaning. It was a prayer of sorts, though the only prayer I really knew at that time was “now I lay me down to sleep!”
A bright flash of light jolted me from my thoughts. A bolt of lightning? But it was a clear sunny day and the light had come, not from the sky above, but from below, from a stone that lay among the thousands in the path ahead of me. I took a few tentative steps forward and looked down.
A nondescript light gray rock, about the size of my hand, lay there. There was nothing unusual about it…or was there? I picked it up to examine it more closely.
Then I saw it.
In the upper left hand corner of this otherwise ordinary gray stone was something quite extraordinary! The sight of it took my breath away. I realized that only a miracle could have shaped the fine quartz vein in the upper corner, caused the light to shine from it, and placed it in my path at the very moment I had felt so desperate and alone.
In the corner was a small, delicate, and perfectly formed white cross!
It was a unique and exciting discovery…but what did it mean?
I didn’t have the answer and I was afraid to ask anyone. So I put the rock in my pocket and told no one. I knew it was special but I had no clue as to its significance. I took it home, put it in my desk drawer, and waited for an answer…
…Twelve years later I was cleaning out the desk and found the stone under a pile of old papers in the bottom drawer. I picked it up and remembered…the beach, the light, the questions…but still I had no answer.
“What could it possibly mean to me now?” I wondered. I was newly divorced–hurt, confused, and angry at life. “What do I need a stupid rock for anyway?” I rationalized, and promptly…without remorse… threw in the trash…
…My daughter’s voice pierced the shame of the memory, “Mom, I really think God wants to teach you something!”
Her innocent and eager young face turned to me as she held up the two small stones in her hands for me to see.
Rocks? I stood in stunned silence. How could she have known I had walked the beach that day, praying silently and tearfully just moments before for God to give me another special rock? How could she have known the depth of the pain and shame I had felt? I knew now that I had been given a special rock—a priceless treasure—thirty two years ago. But I had cast it off like a useless trinket…
My daughter excitedly continued the story of her discovery…
“Mom!” she exclaimed. “I was walking along the beach and I noticed this rock. I walked over and picked it up. I thought it was just a plain old rock, but then I felt like I was supposed to get it wet and hold it in the light.”
She dipped the larger stone in the water and held it in the sunlight for me to see. “Look Mom! See what happens in the light? It sparkles all over! See all the glitter hidden in the rock?”
She joyously baptized the other stone in the water and continued, “Then I picked up this smaller rock–and look! It does the same thing! I think God wants me to tell you that these rocks are just like people! Sometimes we look at people, or at ourselves, and we think, ‘oh it’s just a plain old rock.’ But God wants you to know that’s not how he sees you! He wants you to know that he sees what you are in the light.
You aren’t plain Mom, you sparkle!”
“And Mom,” she continued, “God wants you to have these rocks so you will never forget this!”
Smiling broadly, she handed me the two small stones, one slightly larger than the other. I stared at them, numb with awe. Two rocks…like mother and daughter, I thought. Tearfully, I hugged her and thanked her, holding tightly to three of my greatest earthly treasures.
The next day I told my daughter the story of my rock. I told her about our faithful and loving God who blesses and forgives, hears our prayers and knows the hidden cries of our hearts…
The two small glittery stones now live in a beautiful hand-beaded red velvet box on my desk. I am the keeper of the stones for now, though one day I will pass them on to my daughter for safekeeping.
Whenever I feel discouraged, I take out the stones and remember the precious words my daughter shared that day. They are our personal “stones of remembrance” and they are precious to us. When I hold them I remember that with God I am never plain, never tossed aside and forgotten, never lost or alone in my pain and shame, and never left unforgiven…
With God, I live in the light and to him I sparkle!
And so do you! 🙂
Linda chats about red shoes, the chicken dance, scrambled eggs, and her daily life trying to display God’s glory at her blog: Sunny Side Up
© Linda Crawford, 2012.