I found a picture of four perfectly stacked rocks. At the time, I didn’t understand why this image resounded so magnificently in my soul. That is, until I later found myself at a coffee shop with a friend. I was surfing facebook and/or every other distraction I could find on the World Wide Web. We stumbled upon the discussion of ‘grace stories’. A grace story is every moment leading up to your decision to accept Christ. But furthermore a grace story goes on without end. Until the good LORD comes to take me home, I will always and ever after need his grace.
The verse I had associated with the stones can be found in Matthew 7:25.
“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rocks.”
It all came together for me in that very moment. My grace story could be explained simply and boldly by this image. He is continually molding, teaching, making me more Christ-like. My quest to pursue righteousness will never end. But, I have assurance that with Him as my foundation I will not fall with a great crash.
So this is simply and wonderfully a story of God laying down the foundation for my life:
I encountered my first living breathing Christian at the ripe age of 19. I could tell this person was different and something inside whispered that I needed to be like him. I wanted some of what he had. So, I studied him. The common denominator was God. So, I tried Jesus on for size, for nothing else but to get a buzz out of it. But with every good buzz follows a hangover. In my despair, God lead me to a place of absolute repentance and disgust with the way I had been living. I fell and I fell hard. It took me hitting a personal rock bottom to realize I could not do this on my own. There was something missing. There had to more than this. This was not an easy transition. I had to deny every part of me. I had to die to myself to embrace what it really meant to live. I was broken. I was lost. I was a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. The first stone was set in place.
After being stripped of my lifestyle, I was immediately given the tools to survive. I had the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and was off to experience life with a redeemer. This was a season in life that I will cherish forever. I had accountability and encouragement fall into my lap. I had friends that invested in my life and my stock shot through the roof. I was part of the body of Christ—serving, learning and growing under wise counsel and surrounded by amazing friends. He equipped me with everything I needed to know Him, serve Him and follow Him… the second stone.
Overtime I became comfortable and dare I say, rebellious? I began acting out and deliberating disobeying God. I threw on some old habits and gave into the dark side. But, this time was different than before. Each night I came up void. My heart was heavy. I was empty and alone. I felt the tug to return home and each time I resisted the pull got stronger and harder to deny. I ended up turning from my disobedience, nothing magical, by any means. I just couldn’t physically go on sinning any longer. I didn’t have the energy to fight anymore.
In this time of darkness I did a lot of searching for answers. I believed in Jesus. I felt Him in my life. But I had never sorted through the tough questions regarding my faith. I painted a picture of the Jesus I wanted to worship. In this time, I came to know the perfect Son sent to die a literal death for my sins. Though, I didn’t have all the answers… I knew exactly where to find them. And I spent many a day seeking, searching and growing in God’s Word. I craved it like I crave junk food. I needed it more than air. I desired it above all else.
With each day I grew closer in love with God. I finally ‘got’ it. I understood what it meant to live a life sold out for Christ and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I became disciplined with my quiet time. I had a healthy prayer life. I gave up tv, radio and reading anything other than the Bible. I trained myself to toss out the worldview regulations I had grown accustomed to over the course of, well, my entire existence, and I adopted a Biblical worldview. I searched for Truth and thirsted after God’s presence and His wisdom for my life. God destroyed my idols and finally made home in the throne of my heart. He sought after me for so long. This was my long overdue surrender, and oh so sweet this surrender.
First He broke me. Then He equipped me, now He was pursuing me.
It sings so sweetly to my soul, this love. In a season where I craved knowledge I had unknowingly missed out on a vital part… the relationship. God has shown me in the last month what it means to be joyful in spirit; something I have come to believe is directly connected with my relationship in Christ. I am loved and romanced to depths I cannot begin to imagine. My value is found in Christ and Him alone, not in a bank account, in a mirror or in the affections from a boy. And with a revelation like this you can bet Satan is itching to get me on the wrong track. He is constantly trying to rob me of my joy. He feeds me these sweet lies, and even uses my loved ones to confirm such nonsense.
I am made new and no longer broken.
I am equipped to glorify Him; understanding that is exactly and precisely what it is all about.
I am called and pursued; nothing can keep Him from me.
I am romanced; filled with joy and free from the bondage of sin and lies.
God has perfectly set these four stones in place, so I would not crumble under pressure. And because each rock gives support to the next, I am able to stand strong in the face of destruction. I cannot and will not fall with a great crash. Instead, I have heard these words, put them into practice and built my house on rock. For what God builds, no one can undo.
In that foundation, is more grace than I will ever know.