Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What?! You too? I thought I was the only one!" ~C.S. Lewis
Emily Freeman from Chatting at the Sky is hosting a book club this summer to discuss her book, Grace for the Good Girl. We are not in this alone. Many women recognize themselves in it’s pages. Chapters 7-9 reminded me of a time in my life when God asked me to pick up a couple of rocks.
Rock One: Fifteen years ago at a Women’s Retreat I took a walk around a beautiful lake at the conference center on a damp and misty morning. I was tearfully pouring my heart out to God. I was having problems at work. I was worried for our families finances because my income was necessary. My husband and I had three children and the resulting demands that go with it. I had recently injured my back and was in almost constant pain. It was one of the lowest points of my life. On the side of the path was a small pile of rocks. I felt God lead me to pick up a large muddy rock. I thought, “Yeah, right. With my bad back I’m going to pick up rocks.” I chose a smaller, cleaner rock, so that I could be at least partially obedient to God and I continued on the path. I hadn’t gotten far, when I knew that I had to go back. God had told me to pick up a specific rock and I knew that it was the rock I was to carry even if I did not understand why.
Eventually, I sat under some trees to pray. I opened my Bible. I questioned God, “Why?” Why the job? Why the back? Why the problems? Why the rock? What was I doing wrong? I wanted to learn the lesson quick so the pain would go away.
This is what God showed me. I would always want to carry a smaller, cleaner burden then the one He requires, but it’s not my burden. The burden He has for me may be larger and somewhat muddier, but it is the one necessary for me. It’s also a burden that I don’t bear alone. My Heavenly Father carries me and my burden. He would go with me through this pain, future times of difficulty, and the good times that were sure to come.
So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10
I just had to trust God. And trust Him I did. There was nothing else I could do. Things got worse before they got better. Yet through it all I was aware of God’s presence and leading. I learned that my hope is not based on the fact that I hold on to God, but rather that he holds on to me. In the years since that painful time I have had bumps and obstacles, illness, loss, and three additional children. But I know who I belong to.
Rock Two: Eight years later, I was on the same path spending time in prayer. It was a glorious day. The sky was a clear blue and the air crisp. There had been some heavy rains during the week before and the runoff was cascading down a hill and into the lake. There were places where the trail was covered by water and I had to pick my way across cinder blocks placed in the water as a path. At one of the water crossings I noticed a small round egg shaped stone. I felt led to pick it up. Obedient this time, I placed the cold, icy rock in my jacket pocket and continued on. The rock soon warmed up from the warmth of my hands and wasn’t icy anymore. Over the weeks and days that followed I forgot about the rock in my pocket. In fact, when I noticed it, which wasn’t often, it was smooth and felt good when I ran my fingers over it. I continued to carry it without giving it any real thought. Occasionally it clunked into things. I carried the rock to school, to church, shopping, to friends houses, pretty much everywhere I went. Finally, God brought the rock to mind when it bumped into a chair with a loud thunk as I took off my jacket. I had become quite comfortable carrying my rock.
“Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Rest from carrying heavy loads, heavy burdens, and unrealistic responsibilities. We can go to Jesus with those worries, because only He can handle them anyway.” ~ Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman
So I ask you, is there a rock that you are comfortable carrying? Sometimes we carry a burden for so long that we only notice it from time to time. It goes everywhere with us. Burdens can be self imposed like my rock. Burdens can be trying to do things, even good things, under our own strength. Do you have a burden that God wants to take from you? Sure it may be larger and muddier than you want it to be, or it can be clean, round and almost comfortable, but God wants you to trust Him with it. Leave your burden with God who is strong enough, capable enough, and loving enough to take it from you.
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. ~Psalm 68:19
My other Grace for the Good Girl posts are: