“There, where God had spoken to him, Jacob set up a memorial stone
and consecrated it by pouring wine and olive oil on it."
“Go into the Jordan ahead of the Covenant Box of the Lord your God. Each one of you take a stone on your shoulder . . . These stones will remind the people of what the Lord has done.”
“Come as living stones, and let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple, where you will serve as holy priests to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.”
(1 Peter 2:5)
The Bible speaks often of both literal and figurative “stone pillars”—spiritual turning points—in our lives. As Christians, we are encouraged to share these experiences with others so that they, in turn, can find and increase their faith.
So, I decided to begin a list of spiritual markers in my life. This list is vastly incomplete, but I can add to it as I remember more and more “incidents” of life-changing God moments. Often, my markers seemed casual on the surface at the time, but I have come to realize they carried incredible weight. Other events, that the world attributes with great significance, merely affected a day, not a lifetime, and I don’t count them as markers.
Here is my incomplete list of “stone pillars”:
- My mom and dad involved our family in the Lutheran Church in Mt. Union through choir, Sunday school, Bible school, and youth.
- Confirmation strengthened my relationship with and commitment to the church.
- Folk mass introduced and linked my life with ministry within the church.
- Marrying Dick forever linked our hearts in every aspect—physically, emotionally, and especially spiritually.
- Dick’s decision to take the Lay Speakers course brought me into direct ministry within the church.
- Paul Kaufman made me question my eternal destination.Meeting Bill and Peggy Williams pinpointed the spiritual hunger in my life.
- Asking Jesus into my home brought Jesus from Someone OUT THERE directly into my life.
- Watching Christian TV programs educated me about the ways of God.
- Ithaca’s Christian radio stationed introduced me to contemporary Christian music groups.
- Being healed increased my faith.
- Getting “all wet” for Jesus at the Baptist Church in Mansfield was a physical testimony of an inward change.
- Jesus ’78 introduced me to the wider Christian community and to scripture songs.
- Dick not being healed taught me God doesn’t always answer prayer the way we want Him to.
- The Pleasant Grove young adult retreat at Fred Appleby’s cabin taught me the importance of fellowship.
- Going to the Wesleyan Church and then returning the Methodist Church taught me God’s call can’t be sidestepped.
- Seth’s sledding accident taught me about God’s providence.
- First UMC Mechanicsburg taught me about working as a team in ministry.
- Everett UMC showed me what it means to be part of a caring Christian community.
- Challenges in my adult children’s lives revealed that God loves them even more than I do.
- The gift of grandchildren opened my heart to love on a whole new level.
- Interacting closely and frequently with a small group of Christian writers demonstrated how “iron sharpens iron.”
- God continues to use blogging as a means of encouragement to stay the course.
- Following Proverbs 31 Ministries showed me how telling our stories challenges and benefits others.
- Finding SacredSpace.org drew me to a whole new level of awareness of God’s presence.
- Through my cancer God taught me that He will carry us through--even when we go kicking and screaming into the battle.
What are the stone pillars in your faith life? I challenge you to begin a list of spiritual markers. Like the hymn “Count Your Blessings” proclaims, it will surprise you what the Lord has done.