Thursday, May 26, 2011


I hold the rock in my palm and turn it over and I suddenly stare into the sun and my heart grows full-sized once again.

It's been awhile since it has felt full-sized.

It's been a little more akin to a grinch sized heart - you know, before the grinch's transformation. There were days, not long passed, when I felt it shriveling to a pea-sized nothing.

Why is it that way? Why can't I see glory in the untidy and broken? Why must I yank back at grace and snap closed, and rail fist at the holy with jaw tightened and back arched when I don't like the looks of the gift? How can I fail so many times to trust the goodness of the giver?

This was the year God took me to the woodshed. My world imploded on so many fronts and if it were possible I would have stayed in bed until my body dissolved.

Third graders turn their rocks over in their hands - shale, tufa, sandstone, granite, basalt, marble...

We look at each one - uniquely patterened with its own story. And though I've taught this lesson every year for 12 years, I see differently today.

Sedimentary and Igneous rocks - we name them each one. Then I hold high a new kind of rock - Metamorphic, made of the first two types but transformed by the addition of heat and pressure.

There is a seismic shift and plates collide and I hold answers I cried out for with bitter tears in my very hands and I know in an instant I am seeing right.

I hold Sandstone in its first stage and smile a sad smile because I know.

This is deepest love. I am loved in this moment because He speaks to me - alone - and I stare, unblinking into full glory

and I am known.

Stones - living, breathing stones fashioned for the very Dwelling place of Zion. Isn't that the point? To be fitted for my forever home? Ordinary made extraordinary because He is a sculptor, not to mention a miracle worker, after all.

I have been Sandstone too long.

I hold broken Shale transformed and I must look twice at my teacher's guide to see if this is correct. Can it be the same?

But so very different?

And I know it in my deepest part of me that the earth shakes because He meets me and draws near - not because He hides His face or abandons me. I am rock-held and revealed and melted and transformed all in one instant because the Holy has sought me to not leave me where I am. Heat and pressure applied and the ordinary becomes beautiful. There is no meeting the Holy without melting the dross.

Thankfulness replaces barrenness. Gratitude fills the void loss once consumed.

I am rock and He is sculptor and fires I thought would melt me changed me.

And it is all I can do to keep the floodgates from spilling over onto my pile of rocks on the table in front of me.

1 Peter 2:5 You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 20, 2011

For Jim

A little something wonderful from Kate Voegele.

22 years and it's still hallelujah. Happy Anniversary.