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Jar of Rocks

March 7, 2017

I have a jar of rocks. It sits on my desk where I can see it every day. Silly for an old lady to have? Perhaps, but what those rocks represent makes me think—think about the choices we make all the time.

Those rocks represent words and actions directed at me some time in my life. Each was hurled at me intended for harm, some from anger, some from indifference, some with the intention of tearing me down so the person could be built up. The reason for the rocks doesn’t matter nearly as much as what I choose to do with them when they are thrown.

I can choose to let them hit me—and many have– or I can choose to let them whizz on past me, or I can raise my shield of faith behind which I stand because I know who I am. When the rocks hit that shield, they might make a noise, but they all fall to the ground, useless in their intended purpose.

I used to pick them all up and put them in my proverbial basket I carried on my back. It was heavy with all the weight of my life. Funny thing was, I never seemed to empty out that basket and let things go. I just hid them with more. The weight was horrendous, and it grew over time. I didn’t talk about what was in my basket, I just carried it. Somewhere along the way, I lost me in my life. I was depressed and overwhelmed, but couldn’t-or wouldn’t—talk about it. It just wasn’t acceptable to do so. Besides, anyone I felt I might be able to trust to talk to was already busy with their own lives and problems. I didn’t want to bother them with my troubles.

Time went on. Years, in fact. I helped others with their struggles, but my own went untouched, growing and becoming heavier. Loss of people I loved added to the weight. Separation from family didn’t help, it added to the weight. Words spoken by another in pain stung and cut deeply, yet rather than let it go, I pushed it in my already full basket. I always told myself that someday I would deal with everything in there.

One day, I felt my Father in Heaven speak to my heart. “My precious child, why do you continue to carry that weight? I never asked you to. It is time. It is ‘Someday’. I am with you as I have always been, even when you didn’t feel my presence or think I cared. Let me help you with that basket. We will take each rock out and look at it. We will deal with each individually.”

“Why?” I asked, not understanding. “Why not just throw them all out and be done with it?”

“Oh, my sweet daughter, I love you so much. I want to look at each one of these with you to remember, not to hurt you again, but for your healing. You need to understand what you have been healed from. And some have lessons for you, and yes, there are some you just need to let go of. You will learn what forgiveness is, and how I can turn what was meant to harm you into something beautiful that will bless you. Take my hand, child of my heart. Take my hand and together we will go through this heavy basket.”

And as I took His hand, He gently removed one stone. He showed it to me, and when He did, I heard again the cruel words spoken to me. Tears ran down my face. But my Father was with me, and as I released the power of those words, He turned the stone over, and there was the word “TRUTH”. The words that were spoken were untrue, and yet they hurt. My Father spoke the truth about me to replace the cruel untruths.

One by one, He removed the stones. It didn’t happen all at once; it took time, over three years now, and there are still a few rocks in my basket. But each one, when turned over in the light of the Lord, showed a strength, an attribute, a truth. And through it all, my Father has been with me. He decides which rock comes out when, and never too many at a time. He has always told me through the Spirit that He was going to work on that basket with me.

Now as I look at these rocks—real rocks I bought at the craft store to remind myself of the invisible rocks in my basket—I see the words I have learned over this time: Faith, Joy, Hope, Love, Integrity, Gentleness, Self-control, Kindness, and one that is a major key in my healing—Forgiveness.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what was done to me or said to me was okay. It wasn’t. But forgiveness means letting go of that rock, releasing its power to hurt me. Forgiveness is a key to freedom. In forgiving the person who said or did whatever that rock represented, I have allowed myself to acknowledge that it happened, but that it no longer controls me. Those same rocks that were hurled at me to hurt me are now building blocks, they are under my feet in their negative, but in front of me in their positive: fear becomes faith, pain becomes gentleness and joy, “you can’t” becomes perseverance. Hate and apathy become love. Mercy and grace have always been with me, special gifts from my loving Father to see me through this adventure called life.

I have seen a tremendous amount of growth in myself these past three years particularly, but I know there is still a ways to go. That process will continue until I meet Jesus face to face in Heaven. In the meantime, I hold my Father’s hand and let Him guide me, even though some of what I have learned, especially some things I had forgotten unconsciously to protect myself, has been painful, the resulting healing is awesome.

Do you have a basket of rocks you are carrying? Do you have a jar of rocks?

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