The Transforming of Souls and Stones

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Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2  (My One Word 2014 Renewal and the verse that guides me)

 

I’ve written many words in my life. Words I share now are like pebbles from Heaven, bits of hope, to pass out freely. My words have not always been edifying, for words reflect the inner being. Words are the great revealers of the inner life. Or lack thereof. Once they are poured forth they never fail to show who we are, what we believe, and where our allegiance lies. Words can give life and extinguish life. Words are the stuff life is made of from the very beginning:

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

For me writing has been a journey of transformation. My words written, a portal into my very soul. My soul has been on a journey since before I even realized I would become a word loving, stone gathering, modern day disciple. I took my pen in hand and began to write the journey, mostly in journals, as the path stretched before me. I wrote it down.

There has always been something about creation that has been a gentle invitation to me. The light dancing through the sheer curtains, when I was a child, would capture my imagination. A certain tree. The ever-changing canvas of the sky intrigued me, wooed me. God was an ever-present whisper. Unseen, unknown, yet somehow seen and known in Creation. God was disguised to me. Hidden but ever present. I can’t remember exactly when I picked up that first stone…or when stones became a reminder of Him and more to me. It’s a bit blurry around the edges for old souls. But there is beauty in the blur.

I wrote words in journals and poured out my allegations toward the whole human race. I ranted, I accused, I slandered, I mocked. I pursued God on paper with my pen and didn’t even realize that in His time He would meet me there…right there in my ugly, angry, nakedness. Having experienced sexual abuse at the hands of both sexes, I thought little of  people in general. I used to say, “I don’t like women, and I don’t like men much better.” My goal in life was to live hard and fast. To do it all, be it all and live it all as much as I could. I was in a race and I wanted to grab all I could. What drove me then was fear. The fear that at any moment, the reality was, my life would be over. It would be done. Guess what? I wanted to beat death from taking me before I had my share of the pie. I lived the world’s philosophy loud and hard. I pursued my golden ring.

People?

They were stepping-stones to me. The fact is when you have been treated as an object, your perceptions get distorted. People were just another means to an end. Even I was a means to my own ends. When you survive the disgusting horror of being used in a way for someone else to gratify themselves at an early age (or any age, for that matter), you harden a bit to survive. A part of you goes into a shell. The tender part, that no-one sees. But God.

As far as God went, as time went on and I grew older, it got to hard to try “to be good”. I knew I was bad. I knew because I hated people, and raged from within. The tender part of my being was wounded, fractured. Broken. I realized the only way to live and survive was to adjust, survive and then…open throttle. I lived full speed ahead. I lived life at a million miles an hour in every direction. Life was not gonna take away my happiness. No one would. I would have my slice of pie. Better still I would have the whole damn pie if I wanted it. I became a fighter. I would have my prize. Many. Literally, I was on the highway to hell.

That was who I was. 

I wrote the journey then, and I write the journey now. If I ever start to believe I am a perfect person along the way, there are a whole lot of words that sit in my closet that reveal what Paul spoke about in this passage:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3

My words now reveal and reflect a soul transformed. Or more accurately, a soul “Under Re-Construction” ; a soul undergoing… a transformation. We all have a soul, but not all souls are being transformed by the Creator. Those that Paul writes about when he speaks of “those who are disobedient” are those who are being conformed to this world, and it’s ruler. I was being conformed to it. I knew it well. I clung to it. This disciple did not go willingly. I trusted no-one. Not a distant God and His rotten creatures.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13

I am a girl on a journey. A soul who has come near to Her God. A voice of one crying out, “He is near, and loves to the uttermost.” I am one who has been adopted, taken into the flock by the One True Shepherd of Souls. I am of the new “circumcision” , a daughter of the Most High.

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:11-12

And, I have a new ruler, The Prince of Peace, the One True Living God. 

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 2:17:18

I collect stones. I wander the beach and gather them, photograph them, admire them. I’m drawn to them more than shells. I notice them everywhere, not just at the beach. At some point along the journey, I began noticing and gathering. First as mementos of time spent with the Chief Cornerstone, then one day I walked the beach amazed at the number of stones and the various shapes, colors and sizes, it was as if God spoke to me and said:

“These stones are like my people. Each one is uniquely shaped, colored and sized by my hand, in my time. I love each one of them as if they were the only one. “

People ask why I am so drawn to stones. They remind me of God’s presence and power in my own life. But, even more so, they remind me of His desire to reveal Himself and His love to each one. He longs to meet each one right where they are, as they are, whether smooth or rough, small, large, white, black or speckled.

Friends, I want to ask you something. You know some people who are like rough rocks with jagged edges. You have no idea where they have been in life…what they have experienced or been exposed to. God does. You, who know God? You, who believe you are  smooth stones. God loves the sharp-edged, jagged rocks just as well. He longs for you to love them just as they are. He longs for you to embrace them, not pass them by or “tolerate” them. Can you do that for Him? Can you look at the jagged, imperfect stones and see them as He does? Can you meet them where they are and yield to His all-consuming passion to love to the uttermost?

I only used to pick up and save the smooth white stones…now I see things differently. I enjoy and love them all. Each one is a reminder of His love.

Linking with: Jennifer for #TellHisStory ; Tracy for Winsome Wednesday; new to Hazel for Tell Me a Story and Naomi for Monday’s Musings; Juana for Wednesday Prayer Girls; Miss Kathy for All Things Bright and Beautiful (and whose own post on stones surely inspired me and made my heart happy: Memorial Stones: Trustworthy Rocks) Check that out!

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. I Carried a Watermelon
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 11:29:38

    What a beautiful, heart-baring post, my friend. I did not endure the trauma you did, but there are other things in life that break the heart, chafe the soul and set us adrift on the world’s path. Even as believers we must stay on guard.

    Several years ago I went through what was probably the most painful period of my life. I had been betrayed by those at church I considered my CHOSEN family, the very people I trusted as fellow believers to never act as they did, so the pain was all the greater. The enemy really stripped me down in those days. I lost my church family, my ministry, my marriage was on the rocks, and our finances were in ruins.

    I slowly crawled back to life, but I wasn’t forgiving. I clung to my pain and indignation. How dare they! I didn’t go to any church and had no desire to expose myself to anything that would put me in a position where I could be hurt that badly again.

    Then, when I thought maybe I could move on, my son met a girl. A girl who decided I hated her within 5 minutes of our meeting….and proceeded to hate me back. I didn’t hate her. Honest. I didn’t know her and she wouldn’t allow me to know her. She came from a harsh background and was damaged herself, but the biggest problem was with my son not being honest with us about his relationship with her and what she was/meant in his life and not being up front with her about us.

    I tried. Oh, how I tried. We ALL tried to know her and love her and welcome her into the family. She would have none of it and it as you would expect, drove a wedge between us and our son. She hated all of my family.

    Little by little that bit of freedom and life I had found began to slip away into darkness. Bitterness, anger, and yes….hate, began to take over. Oh, I would never say the awful things I was thinking to her face, but I would write them. Yes, indeed I would. And I did. I blogged as well as kept journals and they bulged with rage filled words spewed from a black, broken, bleeding, dying heart.

    And then one day my son managed to find my anonymous blog and read the words and he knew without doubt who the words were about and he called me on it. I justified it for a long time, but the truth is,it opened my eyes to what I had allowed myself to become and it wasn’t pretty. I began renewing my relationship with Jesus and resolved to write only words that that would cause no harm…words that didn’t have to be anonymous, because I had no shame about them.

    It’s been a long, rocky journey that I think is reflected in my writing and to see what all has changed…..as my walk with the Lord grew closer the relationship with my son and his wife first got worse as they didn’t trust me and the enemy played on that, but then a wonderful thing happened. Little by little as I stayed faithful, they came around and today while the relationship is not as wonderful as I would have once hoped, it is better than I ever thought it would be.

    God is indeed faithful and true to all the stones on his beach….the smooth, pretty, white ones all the way down to the pitted mud-brown ones. And how awesome that he can take those dull, ugly brown ones and turn them into the smooth, white ones that shine.

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Sep 09, 2014 @ 11:39:41

      Oh, yes. We must stay on guard…I am prone to many temptations to sin, flesh does die hard. But as you say and have seen- as we are faithful- only possible by His grace- and learn to walk in obedience and trust- He shows Himself faithful…because He can do no less! We have a Great God! Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy share, Stacy. Thinking of you as the school year starts. 😉 You are a blessing.

      Reply

  2. Kathryn Ross
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 22:40:02

    Such grace and humility to pour yourself out like this, Dawn. Thank you for your candid story. And the stones – like Much Afraid collecting them as she climbed the mountain to seek the Shepherd – your stones will turn to jewels as you remain faithful to NEW life in Him! So blessed by your playfulness – love that you are not allowing your past to define your future.

    Thanks for the shout out at The Writer’s Reverie!
    Joy!
    Kathy

    Reply

  3. Lisa notes...
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 09:52:48

    “I am a girl on a journey. A soul who has come near to Her God.”

    I’m so grateful you use your words to show us that girl, and to walk alongside us on our own journeys to God. Thanks, Dawn, for the way you bare your soul!

    Reply

  4. Ginger
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 10:26:11

    Thank the Lord, we are all under re-construction! Thank you for being real..and what a testimony!

    Reply

  5. poetry joy
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 10:32:45

    Oh, Dawn, your words here find an echo in my soul. Sadly, I can also relate to this, ” When you survive the disgusting horror of being used in a way for someone else to gratify themselves at an early age (or any age, for that matter), you harden a bit to survive.” and the impact it has on a young girl’s life and heart. Much repair work is needed to see life and see ourselves in a new light.
    You and I (and all who suffered likewise) are on a journey toward restoration and healing and we are not how others (or we) used to perceive ourselves as. God sees us as beautiful, smooth white stones even as He tenderly files away our rough and jagged edges.
    Renewal throbs in my heart this season too and I share your desire to come closer to God and allow Him to do His healing work in me. Sending love, ((hugs)) and prayers as you walk the path before you as a woman of grace and beauty. Go girl! 🙂 Xx

    Reply

  6. Heather Mertens @ 40YearWanderer
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 23:37:38

    Such meaningful gorgeous words show the ever relentless pursuit of us by a God who knows us well. Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder… we are His beauty because He beholds us. Keep sharing His renewing of you. It touches souls.

    Reply

  7. lynndiane
    Sep 13, 2014 @ 18:46:03

    Dawn, your life story is a testimony to God’s love and power to transform. You are like a “standing stone”, a marker honoring Him…thanks for sharing, I’m in tears.

    Reply

  8. SaraBorgstede (@SaraBorgstede)
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 09:47:34

    Beautifully written. Thank you for your honest and generous sharing of your heart and words. May God continue to provide healing and grace.

    Reply

  9. Julie Saffrin (@gadhill)
    Sep 17, 2014 @ 14:46:58

    Powerful post, Dawn. Thank you for writing it.

    Reply

  10. Sherry Blue Sky
    Nov 26, 2014 @ 12:39:12

    I so enjoyed reading of your journey, Dawn. A transcendent one, always inspiring to read about. I am drawn to stones too, cant walk a beach without pockets full of them. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    Reply

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