Last weekend I attended the IF:Gathering, a Christian conference for women. During the closing session each woman was given a smooth stone just large enough to fit nicely into the palm of one’s hand. We were instructed to use the stone in the same vein which God had instructed Joshua and the leaders of Israel to use stones after they had crossed the Jordan River.
After the prophet Moses had died, the Lord came to Joshua, who had served as Moses’ aide, and the Lord told Joshua it was time to lead God’s chosen people into the Promise Land. After all the years of wandering and sending out spies and listening to reports–it was finally time. The children of Israel were going to cross the Jordan and enter into the land where they would find rest.
Sometimes when we’ve heard something a multitude of times, it looses its luster and we overlook the miracle that happened. Crossing the Jordan was a miracle.
“Now Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away.” Joshua 3:15-16
Once on the other side of the river, God instructed the leaders of each tribe to gather a stone and place it where they would sleep. The stones were to serve as a reminder for the goodness of the Lord when the people had crossed the Jordan. They were being called to “Mark the Moment” for future generations.
The leaders of the IF:Gathering were calling those in attendance, to prayerfully seek the things God had been showing us through the weekend, to reflect on the way He had revealed Himself and to “Mark the Moment” with a stone.
Black Sharpies were placed on the farm tables where we sat. We could inscribe the truths God had revealed to us with a word or a phrase. Eager and not wanting to wait for a Sharpie, I took my ball point pen and began to write on my rock. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to write. I only heard the first word: “Being…”
Looking at the stone in my hand, I realized I was quite comfortable holding a stone. The truth is, I had been carrying around a stone for quite some time. With the grip I’ve had on the stone I’ve been carrying, I’m surprised the smooth surface of the stone hadn’t infused itself to the inside of my hand.
While I hadn’t thought about why I was carrying the stone. I was acutely aware of what I had not been doing with the stone.
- I hadn’t been carrying my stone in an attempt to remember the faithfulness of God.
- I hadn’t been setting my stone at the foot of my bed as a reminder to the marriage He is saving.
- I hadn’t hauled my stone from California to Arizona so future generations would remember how faithful God had been in meeting our needs when we were most vulnerable.
- I hadn’t even used my stone as a paperweight on my desk, a place where God has faithfully met me to document the wonders He continually displays in spite of my weaknesses.
Sure, as I would write on the blog, I would put my stone down. After all, it’s much easier to type with two hands. At the keyboard, I allow myself to experience a fullness that comes from the Spirit of God. But when I finish writing, I never fail to pick up my stone. I haven’t been living in the fullness that I know is available, because it’s hard to live in fullness when your carrying a rock.
The truth is, I have kept my stone nearby so I would be ready to throw it at The Woman Caught in Adultery.
While many have come alongside to remind me that no one has a right to act as my accuser, their words couldn’t bring distance between myself and my accuser because I was my own accuser. For quite some time, it has been irrelevant whether there were or were not accusers wanting to stone me for my sins–I was stoning myself everyday.
The warnings against judgement stand, even when it is ourselves we are judging. When we hold ourselves in contempt for past forgiven sins, we are questioning the Law of Freedom and the work done on the cross by Jesus Christ.
“Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law you are not keeping it but sitting in judgement on it.” James 4:11
The first laws of God, the 10 Commandments, were in the Ark of the Covenant–and they crossed the Jordan with the Children of Israel, but we are under a new law. James 2:12 tells us to “speak and act as those who will be judged by the law that gives freedom”–this is the law of Grace, and it was set in place by God.
It was not a man who created the way for us to be spared of the stoning that comes from breaking the original laws. It was set into motion by God and sealed by the blood of His son. I have been judging myself, and every day I have spent judging myself for mistakes from the past–I have been judging God’s law.
I looked at the stone in my hand, and I realized that I can only use the stone for one activity. I can use it to torture the guilty or I can use it to serve as a reminder to the faithfulness of God. A wave of strength washed across me as I realized the difference between how I had been living and how God has called me to live.
There is a radical difference between living as someone who is partially recovered and living as someone who is fully restored.
I watched other ladies dropping their stones onto the pile, and I felt it again. I was still judging myself. When I am not writing about restoration, I have only been allowing myself to come near to God with the belief that I am still “Being transformed” rather than recognizing that I AM TRANSFORMED. Unintentionally, I have been distancing myself from full confidence in who God is calling me to be and what He is calling me to do by constantly telling myself that I am still “Being Restored”.
God is not calling me to live timidly as one who is “Being Restored”. Through the work done by the son of God, and through the sacrifices He was willing to make God is calling me to live as one who IS RESTORED.
I rubbed the stone back in forth in between my palms and prayed for God to give me a complete vision of how He sees me on this day. Not eleven months ago. Not two years ago. Not two decades ago–but, today.
I rubbed my thumb across the word, “Being” and used my own spit to partially erase the formative word.
The work was done a long time ago. Not by me, but by the one who truly does restore.
I picked up the black Sharpie and marked the moment on the stone. As I outlined, underlined and dotted the word, I slowly and deliberately spoke the words of the One who had gone before,
“It is finished.”
Because of the work that Jesus did on the cross, I am more confident than ever that it is time to live as a woman who is fully restored.