Monday, November 14, 2011

"All I Got Was A Rock"

Do you remember the quote ... "All I got was a rock"  from the children's movie  It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown ?

Maybe I’ve got rocks in my head. 

Maybe my heart is hard as a rock. 

Maybe I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.
All I know for sure is... there I was, wandering on the banks of the Frio River with my camera, when everyone else had chosen to go in a different direction and hike to the beautiful heights of the canyon ridge. 
Actually, I was in the Frio River… in my the bottom of the canyon, in Texas of all places.  On my usual quest to capture the perfect monarch photograph, I was quite content to be by myself.  And I found a rock.  A clean, heart-shaped rock.  Initially, I took its picture... thinking of it as a beautiful, odd- God-distraction of sorts. 
After all, I knew I had been in an odd place.  A hard place.  A place of healing from grief and stress that had taken its toll, regardless of how strong I thought I was.  Still, I felt robbed ... and emptied.  Both beloved parents, brother, and sister... buried.  In the course of three years.  And just for good measure,  brain surgery for my precious husband to remove a benign (praise God) tumor in the midst of it all.  Old age, devastating illnesses, death,  surgery, recovery and prayer.  A lot of prayer.  Seemingly unanswered at times, in the affirmative sense on this earth, but answered ... in the spiritual sense. 
Having found great comfort in the process of writing, I found myself coming up for air... in Texas ... at a writers retreat at Laity Lodge... with people I didn't know.  He planned it that way, of course.
Pride had caught me thinking I was in a place of wholeness, maturity, seasoned grace and wisdom ... strength (a nice way of saying I was getting older.)  Really, I was in a place of weakness that I thought I could out-maneuver, out-wrestle, out-wit, out-run.
When I picked up the rock to put it in my pocket as a heart-warming souvenir ... I noticed its back side.  The side that hadn't been showing.  The side I don't show to the world.  This side  was covered in dirt.  It was marred and scarred.  And I noticed an odd little, white patch at the top that didn't seem to belong at all.  I thought about heaving that rock into the river. I didn't want to be reminded of my brokenness.  But,  no... ever the contemplative... I see things.   
I found, as I looked into the mirror of this rock... a place of hardness.  I think perhaps it was really a palace of hardness... a palace where I reign as Queen.
Oh, how I have tried to reign over my own heart.  I have attempted to treat, repair and patch my own brokenness.  My patches do not work... or belong.  Through my own sin, mistakes and pride, I have attempted to know better than God what is best for my heart.  I have done this before.  Once again, I ask Him for forgiveness and abdicate my throne... for my one true Love.  I recuse myself from my own  case of self defense and let him rescue me ... again.  I stood there, staring at the rock in my hand, feeling kind of, well ... silly.  

But I saw something else in that rock ... dare I tell you? ... a faint outline of another, smaller heart trying to emerge... pushing its way out...  do you see it?  I traced the edges of it with my finger...  God's heart, always with me... no, ...  in me.  I think it was so kind of him to gently show me a tangible object lesson, rather than throwing rocks of condemnation at me, the sinner.  I get it.  I have not allowed him to transform all of my heart.  Pushed him down, covered him up, hidden him away inside... thinking I would be in charge of protecting myself.  Oh God,  forgive me  ... "Lord, I do believe.  Help my unbelief."
"Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one." Be Thou My Vision, Mary E. Byrne

Christ in me, the hope of glory.  Colossians 1:27

Yeah ... "All I got was a rock" from my trip to the canyon.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  A reminder rock that now sits in front of me on my desk.  An abiding reminder.  A reminder that my way doesn't work so well.  He is my solid rock, my foundation in whom I am still learning to trust.  I've learned this more times than I care to admit.  
Joel 2:12-13
“Even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.

Sharing today with The Wellspring and Seedlings In Stone


  1. Oh Pat, that He would relent from sending calamity more often. I hurt for you in your loss. I rejoice that He still has your heart. I'm confused that the Texas Police let you leave with a piece of our state! ;) I am glad to be here with you.

  2. Oh, yeah - I know that palace way too well. So glad you had some time alone with camera - and rock! - to find that the palace was in ruins and to just let the dang thing fall down. And so, so glad you came to Texas.

  3. Okay, this is the second post I've read this morning that has taken me back to the Frio, and I haven't even finished my first cup of coffee yet. I think it's fitting that you found a rock--a literal touchstone--to take home with you (sorry Carolyn!). I've been thinking lately about how often God had the people of Israel build an altar of remembrance to bear witness to something important he'd done. I like that idea of having little altars when I am so prone to forgetfulness.

  4. Visiting your beautiful blog for the first time. (I found my way here via The Wellspring.) Your photos and words are beautiful. I'm so sorry for your pain and so glad for your hope in Christ Jesus. I love your rock, the eyes that saw secrets in it, and the Heavenly Father who made the rock and the eyes and brought them together.

  5. This is beautiful. Oh Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. One of my favorites. We have to be in relationship with him to get to the point of saying that. Not the stuff for the immature Christian, my friend. That isn't baby formula, but meat and potatoes. So glad you are eating well, so to speak.

  6. I love how often He gently guides. I love how He speaks not with condemnation, but a gentle unfolding of that which He chooses to extract so that He can fill the whole with something so much more Him.

  7. I love this, thank you for sharing.

  8. Pat, so sorry for your loss and pain. From one broken soul to another, I find beauty in this post. It is gorgeous.

  9. What a wonderful story...I enjoyed reading this...Thanks!!

  10. (Where do I collect my penny?)

    I'm beginning to believe part of the mystery of the Frio is the way he works there to expose what we had theretofore (is that a word?) failed to see. But in such a way that one doesn't feel beat up with it but very tenderly loved and held.

    Glad you have the rock to remind. In Joshua 4, they piled up those stones right there by the Jordan (they were too far from the Frio) in anticipation of the question, "What do these stones mean." And of course, they mean the world.

  11. When we open ourselves up through our writing it invariably blesses and encourages so many others. You have done that with this beautiful post. I think this giving our hearts completely to Him is a long process. Whenever I think I've done it, He shows me something else I need to work on.
    I'm so glad you shared this and that you found such a precious treasure.

  12. This is just a wonderfully beautiful and heartfelt (no pun intended!) post -- so grateful you linked up to the Hear It, Use It community. I collect heart rocks -- it's amazing how many you can find. Actually, I can't take credit for most of them -- my son Noah has a keen eye...and he really sees (and helps me see, too).

  13. Oh, Pat. I had no idea you were in such a place when we met along the banks of the Frio. I am so sorry for these losses. Covering you in love. So grateful for the way God works on a heart. Yours is so beautiful.

  14. I, too, ache for your losses, Pat. You wear such a beautiful smile, that it was hard to see the hurt underneath. Love you, friend ...

  15. Hi Pat. I found your blog through the Hear It, Use It community and appreciate your honesty in these thoughts. I'm sure your family, too, will take comfort in your photos, poems and this electronic way of sharing your memories and working through grief.

  16. He exchanges our heart of stone for a heart of flesh ... what a precious reminder of that promise from the one true Rock.

  17. This is very lovely...I'm glad God gave you a rock...

  18. Oh how I needed this and the Scripture. A great meditation full of humility and insight. I guess it's ok to learn the same lesson over and over again. I'll go meditate on that Scripture and see what part of my heart I can let God rend.


  19. Love the way God spoke to you from a rock and how you shared it so tender and eloquent here. God speaks to hearts that are ready to hear Him.Apparently you were tuned in!! Really enjoyed your post.

  20. Hi! I'm back won the Soli Deo Gloria belated birthday giveaway!!

    Will you please email me which flavor you would like: Pumpkin Brûlée, Amish Quilt, Bodine Brew, or Apple Jack and your address so I can get it in the mail to you ASAP??

    My email is

  21. This is just beautiful mom. Love it and love you

  22. I love you too Rach =) bushels and pecks...


A penny for your thoughts ...