Collecting Rocks

Dear Kiddos,

We made a break for it today. The sun was out, not too warm, but the sun was out, so we drove away from home. I’m smiling right now recounting our steps, our inside jokes and how the things that were bugging us melted away as we walked together, talked together.

I’ve been thinking about our walks in the woods. I’ve been thinking about the rocks we collect. Smooth stones, taking years to form and worn over with water and wind. We start out skipping them across the water, then one catches our eyes. Draws our attention, we point it out, then place it in our pockets.  It goes in a pile on the fireplace, or in a box of treasures in our bedrooms, symbolic of the time we spent together. After a while, we don’t know where one rock came from or who found it, but it doesn’t matter. The rock was only a physical reminder of something that formed in our hearts.

Kids, there are three kinds of rocks: Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. It’s important to know the difference between the three and recognize them when you see them. You see, igneous rocks are the strongest and most valuable rocks. They are formed deep within the earth from molten magma. Sedimentary rocks are formed from the water and the air, leaving deposits from here and there. Temperature and pressure can also alter other rocks, otherwise known as metamorphic rocks. You will encounter all three of these rocks as you move through life. Pay attention to them. They are reminders.

Rocks have been used throughout time, mainly to build structures to live or work in or to mark a boundary. I’ve seen beautiful, low stone walls that meander through the English countryside, begging you to stop and wander over. I’ve driven past high, cobbled ones with broken bottles on top, a warning to the unwanted. I’ve seen rocks in a river providing a way across and still others stacked together, a memorial of remembrance.

Stones. Rocks of remembrance – they are what build you up. Those stories that go deep, that tell you who you are. The things you will learn over the years of your lives. It takes years, it takes dedication. It takes time. Yet God will continually whisper it over you forever, from the center of you, “You are mine.”These are your strongest, most valuable rocks.

Outside the core, family and friends will leave behind pieces of themselves. They get added to the pile. A few more stacked on top and an alter begins to take shape.  They’ll share their life with you as you share your life with them. You’ll make some trades, learn some hard lessons, some will stay with you and others will scatter. It’s ok, Jesus understands. He had close friends and family that didn’t get him either, but for those who stuck it out, who came back around, he shared his glory.

More years will pass and some of your rocks will take on new meaning or change in some way due to  the pressures and stress of life. These new rocks will accumulate, and sometimes seem stronger than they are. The good news?  They can be chiseled off and discarded. The place they once were will remain, another reminder, a space in your heart that was touched and is now gone. It’s a tender place, so let God fill it up with his whisper,

“You are mine.”

You see, when you were born, your dad and I recognized you were too precious to belong to us. You are a part of us, but make no mistake, you are from God. HE is your rock. He has these incredible, masterful plans he’s made just for you, things I could never begin to dream of – just for you. He loves you more than I ever could. It is impossible to match his love and this is something I don’t understand, because I love you more than my own life.

So I’ll keep taking walks with you, I’ll keep talking with you, keep adding rocks that catch my eye to your life. You’ll decide where they go on the top of your pile. It will take a lifetime. It will take dedication. It is my gift to you. Layers of memories sitting atop the eternal Rock.

This legacy, these rocks, were left for me to stack on my pile. When I was a little girl, your grandparents took me to church every Sunday and sometimes every Wednesday night. And sometimes we’d sing a song that I now know is one of my igneous rocks, one of my strongest rocks. All I remember is the chorus:

On Christ the solid rock I stand.

All other ground is sinking sand.

All other ground is sinking sand.

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