Monday, March 7, 2011

Rocks and Rivers

There's been a lot going on in my heart.
I apologize in advance... this is neither short nor funny... but someone out there needs to hear this and I pray you hear the desperation in my voice as I give you this message. I hope you feel my hands on your shoulders shaking you and making you understand what I am telling you! 
  • This past week, my bible study has been about Joshua.
  • Sunday, I got to church and pulled a stack of papers out of the inside pocket of my Bible cover and found a study I had written years ago on Joshua and the Israelites crossing the Jordan River.
  • Then our pastor stood up and his entire message was about this very same story!
  • Some friends have been going through some potentially scary stuff with Ethiopian adoptions and some unknowns... and the verses that pop into my head to encourage them are "Be strong and VERY courageous!" also from the same story.
So... not being TOO dense...
I figure the Lord wants me to think about this story a little deeper.

Go read Joshua 1-5... then come back and follow along.

Background: Joshua is now leading the Israelites who have been wandering in the desert outside the promised land. The Lord tells Joshua to have the priests carry the Arc of the Covenant ahead of them, walk right into the middle of the Jordan River, and let the entire nation of Israel walk by while they wait - - that HE would dry up the river for them making it possible to cross.

Some important things to know:
  • Spring in the Jordan River = flood stage water. 
  • At its most narrow point, the river in the spring is 200 yards across and 20-40 feet deep.
  • Spring snow melt + spring rain = rapids
Note: God didn't say "walk on over and I'll dry the water up so you can all walk across." He commanded that they take a big giant step into the rapids, into the flood-stage icy cold, very deep water - IN FAITH, before He was going to act! 
So many times we say "Lord, if you would just ___, then I will do ___!" It doesn't always work that way! SO many times, the Lord calls us to demonstrate our FAITH in Him before he is going to show us HIS faithfulness! Here's the funny thing: God is ALWAYS faithful to do what He promises, WE aren't. WE are the ones who can't be trusted. WE are the ones who fail HIM... not the other way around.

So, the priests (after 3 days) walked to the edge of the river... and the two guys in the front, well, they displayed their faith in the God who had provided quail and manna for 40 years... and they took that first GIANT step into the river. 

The Bible records that the entire nation of Israel walked across on DRY land. NOT mushy mud, not gooey silt, not smooshy sand... DRY land. Men, women, children, old, young... all walked across the river bed. Two football fields wide... they walked across by the hundreds-of-thousands! It's estimated that with the number of men known (601,730) you can double that to include women and double that number to include children... and you have between 1.5-2 MILLION people!

Side note - if I had a time machine, this is one of those days I would travel back to see! Can you imagine looking up-river and seeing the mighty hand of God holding the water back so you can cross? Can you just see the guys carrying the Arc closing their eyes, taking a deep breath, whispering a fast prayer of "Lord, we know you are faithful..." and taking that step?? 

The next part of the story... God tells Joshua to have one person from each of the 12 tribes to enter back into the river while the Arc is still waiting on the river bed and has them collect a giant stone from the bottom of the riverbed! 
Now... work with me here. 
You've seen field rocks - bumpy, rough, gray or tan. 
These were BIG, heavy RIVER rocks. Sedimentary rocks, smoothed by years of rushing water... colorful and beautiful! 

The men carried these beautiful rocks out of the river bed and placed them in the field as a memorial to the awesome thing the Lord did that day! AND they made another pile IN the river bed so that once fall and winter arrived, and the water level was lower... or it was a time of drought... the people could look into the river and see the stones sticking out of the water and REMEMBER the amazing thing the Lord had done!

Don't miss the significance of this, friends!
The Lord was giving them a VISUAL reminder (because he knows how easily we forget) of His faithfulness!
He knew the lean times would come. He knew the drought would come. He knew they would have times when they would doubt that He even cared for them anymore. So... knowing these things, knowing how we all are... He had the men pile up these beautiful rocks- - so they would remember.

When have you taken that first step into the seemingly impossible rapids?
When have you said "Ok, Lord... here goes... I know you are faithful..."?
Do you have the smooth rocks to show for it?

When Paul and I decided to adopt we had our doubts just like anyone.
We didn't have the money in the bank.
We didn't know how this process would affect our family.
We didn't know how we would manage more children.
We didn't know if we could afford it in our budget.
We didn't know if we were taking on something more difficult than we could have imagined.
We didn't know if we were hearing the Lord correctly... 
but we decided to just jump on in and, sink or swim, we were going to obey!

Now... don't hear me saying "look how awesome we are!".
We had our doubts along the way. 
Many times we thought Lord was going to forget we were standing in the river bed and the water would wash us away. 
Many times along the way when we were short on money or short on patience... we wondered if we were feeling smooshy mud beneath our feet. 

But we crossed it.
And we collected our smooth rocks along the way.

I can look at my children today and say, "SEE!! See what the Lord did?"

I can look back on the months of waiting, 
the money that wasn't there but then it was... and I can show you my smooth river rocks. 

And now... on those days when I feel discouraged, my river is running a little shallow or I wander out in a field all alone to have a pity party....I see my beautiful, smooth rocks sticking out of the water.

I look up and see the reminders that the Lord placed all over my life, in my family, in my home, in my heart...and I remember that He DOES do what He says He can do!

He IS faithful...and He will not let you drown if he tells you to jump in the river!

To my friends who are fearful of the changes looming in the Ethiopian adoption process... Be STRONG and VERY courageous! Pick up some beautiful rocks along your path so you can look back and remember WHO got you through this time!

To my friends dealing with difficult situations, the daily routine they just don't want to do anymore... the marriage they struggle to maintain, the child they fear they can not love... Be STRONG and VERY courageous! Pray for courage, pray for faith, pray for the Lord to show you the rocks from the riverbeds you already crossed in your life! Be encouraged... you are NEVER alone.

To my friends who have said "If God would just provide ____, then I would _____..." 

Stick that toe in there... fully expecting not to shiver from the cold rushing water!

Jump in wearing your good clothes. 

Jump in with socks and shoes on. 

Jump in with your hair all fixed fancy.

You won't drown. 
You will hit solid ground and won't even get muddy.
I know it's true!
I've been there!

Be strong and courageous my friends!

Step off of the river bank and start a rock collection!


  1. Chrissy, I love this. I really enjoy hearing from you and what is in your heart. This has blessed my day.

  2. Chrissy - did you write this specifically for me? I'm sure you did. And I thank you! I need to be reminded to be VERY courageous.

  3. Tears are pooling in my eyes as I read this. For various reasons, I have been very concerned about our decisions to expand our family, adopt again, adopt older, the timing of it all, all without having the money in our hands to complete this process, all while the ET adoption process has some very big red flags right now. Thanks for reminding me of how we need to keep taking those steps...with faith.

  4. Thank you so much for your blog do not know me, but I truly needed your writing today. I felt as if you were writing it especially for me...our Dossier for our ET adoption is almost complete....but we just were informed of some "yucky" news that may effect our thanks for helping me today....Natalie

  5. Thanks Chrissy,
    After our Guatemalan heartbreak, I'm having a difficult time jumping back in. Your encouragement was perfect timing for many of us, I'm sure.
    I'm jumping... He IS faithful!

  6. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS. I hope you don't mind. I linked your post on my blog at

  7. Chrissy, this is beautiful and so, love, love this post. hope to see you soon.


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