Ok, so last weekend I was at a woman’s retreat and the amazing teacher, Lenya Heitzig…seriously she was such a blessing and you should check her out…was sharing about fear. I always love/hate the fear topic…because I KNOW it’s going to apply to me…but I also know I’m going to be busted! I have fought fear my whole life…the Lord has grown me soooo much…but it’s still a battle whenever I step out, and years ago I told the Lord that if He opened doors I’d walk through them…so lets just say there’s lots of opportunity for fear.
*I need to give some credit for the title of the blog post to one Julia because she told me about seeing “Faith > Fear” on a necklace and I just love it, and I think I’m gonna make me one
So, Lenya was teaching from the first part of Joshua from Moses’ death to the Israelites entering the promise land, including the fall of Jericho and the crossing of the Jordan River…it’s a pretty epic couple of chapters…after Joshua leads the people through the Jordan…the priests are standing in the middle of the river which has dried up so they can cross through…God tells him to take 12 stones from the river and place them on the bank, so that when the generations after them see it they will ask ‘why are there stones piled up there’ and then they will be told the amazing things God did for the people of Israel.
I have always loved this concept…maybe it’s my love of rocks, or my love of story telling, but this has always resonated with me.
In Samuel this idea of leaving a stone of remembrance is called an Ebenezer stone. In my life, my tattoos are my Ebenezer stones. Each one is a stone of remembrance, each one marks a point in my life where things changed…behind my ear is the stone that marks when I surrendered not just my eternity but my today to the Lord, on my foot is the remembrance of God’s provision for me on the mission field and His faithfulness in bringing Ian and I together…each one marks a season of my life the Lord brought me through, each represents an amazing thing He did, each one is a miracle…even the ones I got before I was walking with Him.
And, what’s really amazing to see is that it’s working, I now have a son who wants to hear the stories of my tattoos, he asks me to share with him the history of God’s faithfulness in my life…so incredible!!!
This weekend, as Lenya was teaching, what really stood out to me was not the 12 stones God had them place on the shore for all to see, but the 12 stones they were to place in the middle of the Jordan…stones that would be covered by the rushing waters as soon as the last priest stepped onto the river bank…it was the 12 stones that no one would see. There is something about this symbol that I don’t think I fully understand yet…but I can’t shake that it’s important, that it means something specific for me in my life.
I think it’s maybe it’s the faith of it…because seeing rocks and hearing the story is one thing…believing that those rocks you can’t see are there is another. It’s easy to look at the physical and believe, it’s harder to trust a story, to believe what’s unseen.
Recently I got another tattoo…sorry mom and dad, I know you hate them…it is another Ebenezer stone…another reminder of God’s provision and faithfulness through a season of my life.
The most current season of my life has been difficult…there has been so much grief and so much pain and so much sickness…This season of my life has been beautiful…I’m a wife and a mom, I’ve seen God answer my prayers and show up in absolutely incredible ways…This season of my life has been lonely…I’m a wife and a mom and they must be my priority and I’ve had a very broken child that needed a lot of me…This season of life has been joyful…we went from three people to a family, we’ve traveled and experienced so much together, and I’ve grown SO much in the depth of my love for God…
My Ebenezer stone is a reminder of these things, of what God has done in my life the last couple of years, of His faithfulness, of His provision, of His goodness…in the midst of and in spite of each and every circumstance.
The tattoo is a ship on a choppy sea, cloudy skies, and a bit of sun poking through. All this is contained inside of a rope…but outside that rope is this simple anchor connected by a straight line to the ship.
Life is great, and hard, and joyful, and painful. It is love and grief…laughter and tears…If I look at life as it comes at me, the circumstances that surround me…and I let that determine the course of my life…the waves will overtake me.
Instead, I stare at those rocks I can’t see, at the anchor that is secured outside of this world and outside of my circumstances…and I remember WHO it is my hope is in. When things are great, they are great…but when things are hard, I know the rocks are still there, the anchor still secure, and that eventually the sea will calm and the sun will burst through…because I have seen and will see again the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.