Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stones of Remembrance

It was 1982. Not the best of years for me. It seemed that my life was falling apart and I had no idea which direction to go. After spending some time in Virginia, I moved back to Florida, the one place I had a home to come to, and I started over ----- again. I had no job, so I took a part time newspaper route. It’s the perfect job for hermits and loners. I could be alone, out in the wee hours of the morning, no one bothering me, no dress code, just me, my papers, and my van.

Perhaps it was seeing my Dad so sick with cancer shortly before moving, or maybe the emptiness of my own soul, or a combination of both. I knew that in my moving that I would probably not see him again and that hit home. Not that we had ever been close and “cozy,” but I loved him, hated to see him suffer, and I felt sad for all that had NOT been there between us. My father’s faith had never wavered through his illness --- it only grew deeper and stronger. And somewhere in the deepest abyss of my soul I knew I was so far from whatever it was he had ---- I might as well have been keeping company with the prodigal son in the pig pen!

It “just so happened” (some would say this, but I believe the Lord makes these things happen) that someone from my way-back past popped up and suggested I read a book, the name of which I just can’t
remember. How can that be????? But I remember that the gist of the whole thing had to do with opening doors of your heart, as you would the doors of your home, and dealing with one room at a time. The only trouble was, you just kept finding more and more doors. And it became a lifetime of “cleaning house.” But one room and only ONE at a time.

As I was delivering those newspapers one night, I was thinking of all the upside-down stuff in my life, all the crazy choices I had made, dreams that turned into nightmares, faith that turned out to be so weak that I wondered if there was any at all, and a tomorrow with no plan or vision or promise. Several hours before, there had been a storm. The tide had been higher than normal and what I did NOT know was that the waters of the Gulf of Mexico had come up over the road, then receded, but left muddy, slippery seaweed on the pavement. So here I come at three o’clock in the morning, and my van full of newspapers slides uncontrollably off the road and into the Gulf. I was able to climb out unhurt, and I just started walking. I had no idea where the nearest phone would be (this was LONG before cell phones), but on that walk, I prayed. I asked the Lord if there was ANYTHING at all left for my life. It just seemed so dark, useless and yes, wet, at that moment. It seemed that I walked forever, but suddenly a verse that I had memorized years and years before came into my thoughts --- Phil. 1:6 -- “He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ.” I said it over and over and over. And somehow, I knew. He had not lost me, had not let me go, had always known where I was.

So much happens in those sacred moments. Soul washing, heart cleansing, reuniting with a Heavenly Father, and a burden lifting type of peace! And I stooped down and picked up a stone. I wanted something from that place. . . That place of new beginnings.
I still have that stone, along with many others that I have picked up along the way since that night. Each one has a verse that I clung to at a particular time of significance on my journey. Since my Pastor is teaching in the book of Joshua and spent one evening talking about the crossing of the River Jordan and how Joshua had one man from each tribe pick up a stone from the middle of the river as stones of remembrance, I have been thinking of my own stones. Remembering where we’ve been somehow helps me to know where I’m going. His ways don’t change, there is no shadow of turning, He is faithful to His Word, and He is always there! I need to continue to pick up more stones. . . .!


Debbie said...

If we've truly come to know Him we all have that moment of turning. I recently read the testimony of another blogger and her moment of truth and turning. I' so thankful that he lead me to turn and has never allowed me to turn back. Your post is so moving and reminds one of a thankful for the memory and the time.

Debra said...

Oh Cora-
You truly are a kindred spirit. I was there too-different story maybe, but same lost soul...
We cannot comprehend the depths of His love-it's that simple, and that profound at the same time.I also collect stones, but don't have the memorials with them that you do. That's going to change now, because of you.
Thank you Cora, so very very much.
Love, Debra

Kristin Bridgman said...

A beautiful story from a beautiful woman! I also used the Joshua passage at the end of my tree story. I'll be sharing that one soon.
Love ya,

Lea said...

Phil. 1:6 -- “He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ.” -- I'm hanging onto this verse Cora. I learned a little more about you tonight and ... I LOVE YA!

Denise said...

Oh my gosh...... How beautiful the story..... HE is so faithful but we doubt but HE is faithful..... and so it goes... such a journey you have walked girl...... and you do not always know how strong your faith is until you need it...... Faith is just trusting God....... and girl friend, you have shown that over and over and over again in your stories and your sharing here on the blog.. It is not about is and having faith in faith, but it is all about us knowing our weakness and TRUSTING HIM......... I am moved by your story....... HE is touched by your love for HIM....

dsblanchard said...

Dear Cora,

Funny how we both wrote about stones. I can see you sing, "Here I raise mine ebenezer, hither by thy help I've come."

He is our rock-solid help--in life, in living that life; in death, in facing that death.

Hitching my boat to His dock, I shall not be moved,

KathyB. said...

Cora, this touched me deeply. I can picture you on that sad and dark journey,it makes me happy it was a turning point for you towards Him. The One Who never forgot you or let you slip into the gulf...He is faithful even if I forget that.Praise him.

"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

I'm so moved by your words....
And once upon a time in my own life....

Truly God does not give up on us! Not always realized until that moment of moments.

This has touched me greatly! Thank you!


Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

We never know when hard times are going to come but we that live in faith know the lord will be there with us and that he has a purpose for the trial. We learn from the trial so we can help others and GOD gets all the glory. Sometime the trial is long and painful both physically and mentally but if we believe, we have GOD walking with us.

In your trials you now are helping others with your words and know that you are helping someone who is where you were.

GOD bless and keep you safe.

Debra said...

Hi Cora-The white flowers are Miscanthus grass when it blooms. The fall pics were taken 2 years ago I think-it's still a little early here for fall color now.
Aw-now I've forgotten what your other question was!! Be right back!

Debra said...

ok-yes, the version I used was the Amplified. It's the Joyce Meyer study Bible. I love her extra stuff, and the translation has been a real help to me, after 20 years of using the King James. (I still love it though)

Love, Debra

Elaine said...

I really enjoyed this post. How awesome that you picked up a stone that night...a stone of remembrance!
I know the book you are talking about. I think it is called something like My heart Christ's home.
Thanks for sharing this story!

Andrea Dawn said...

As a fellow gatherer of stones, I so enjoyed your post, Cora. I am sure I know which book you were referring to but I can't remember the title either. It was one of several books that the Lord used to help bring healing to my heart. Bless you, girl,
Andrea Dawn

Jennifer said...

I am blessed by the stories you share, Cora :) They always strike a cord, a memory or something I know needs attention in my own life. Thank you for your words here, friend!

Janet Beckwith Macy said...

We are so much alike. I love stones and rocks. I have friends bringing them to me from their vacations. I started a jar full of smooth stones from the banks of Lake Erie. (There is slate on the banks and the water breaks them down into dark grey flat stones) I write dates on them and it's a reminder of what God did for me or someone on that day.

Satan does not want us to remember. So - we have to make a conscious effort to remember. I used stones, because that's what they used in the Old Testament times.

Here I raise my Ebenezer - for the Lord has not failed us.

LindaSueBuhl said...

He is faithful to provide - so often we look for what we think we want - not realizing He is giving us what we need to grow toward faith. Bless you - lovely story and memory stones are precious

Ladybug said...

Your post is moving and what a
touching testimony for others..
Yes the Lord Never give's up on
us..He is Faithful through it all..
Thanks for sharing from the heart
so moved by the expression of your

Warm Blessings / Hugs