The Year of the Rock Tumbler

 You have probably seen them, a rock tumbler, the kind you add sand and water to, and of course, a rough, jagged rock that needs smoothing out. You tumble that “lucky” rock for a long time, and when the tumbling stops, voila, the stone that was once jagged and rough is as the saying goes, as smooth as a baby’s bottom! When asked to give a 5 min talk at a Bible study that I attended this summer, I entitled my short discourse the Year of the Rock Tumbler. 

That has been my year!  To be more accurate- my several years- tumbling around in a rock tumbler.  I have walked with friends and family through some rough things and some good- all of which produce a kind of stress.  And I have had some significant challenges of my own as well.  My health- well, more or less- my structural health -like needing a new knee and repairing a torn rotator cuff -all effects of having lived a full life.  But the icing on the proverbial “cake of life” came when the day after Christmas I broke my big toe. UGH! Do you know how important a big toe is to moving and feeling well?  

I am heading into a busy time of ministry.  I am getting ready to teach women’s Bible study over the coming five months.  So, I should not be surprised that I am receiving a whole lot of incoming flack; that sand in the tumbler kind of flack.  But even though I shouldn’t be surprised, I have found myself on some days much like a deer in the headlights- totally dismayed by the arrows being shot in my direction.   Some I have successfully dodged. But some have hit their intended target- me and my peace of mind.

I am the first to admit I haven’t done the best job holding up that shield of faith that Paul describes in Ephesians 6.  From time to time, I have succumbed to the discouragement that comes when being tumbled a few too many times.  

But my great hope is that this regrettable state of affairs is about to change.  My desire is the tumbling will have produced its intended result, smoothing out my rough edges.

A few nights ago, I was contemplating all my struggles and aches and pains, lamenting to the Lord, why me, when the Lord gave me a message. Not a verbal message, but in my heart of hearts, deep down in the very center of my soul – and what he said surprised me a bit.  

“It is time to put on your big girl pants. It is time to remember whose you are!

Did you know God was from the south?

One thing I have learned over my many years of walking with the Lord is that he rarely minces words when talking to his children who are in need of discipline, or need to hear a word from him.  He doesn’t usually keep us wondering what we need to be doing when we willingly ask, how Lord do I move forward?  

And so it is with my year of the rock tumbler.  God has spoken, and I think am finally listening.  How do I move forward, Lord?  By remembering my position in Christ and by putting up my shield of faith and walking on.  Not a new lesson but one I have worked on many times over the years.  And yet, I need to hear it again.  In Ephesians 6, Paul could have easily said, put on your big girl (or boy) pants and walk on.  In other words, it is time to get serious, pull on that armor, and grow into the person I made you to be!  It is time to put up that shield of faith and move! Remember, dear one, who(se) you are!

Maybe you have had a year like mine.  Maybe you, too, need to hear these words that Eugene Peterson put so clearly and forthrightly as he wrote the Message.

Ephesians 6:10-18 The Message

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

So friend, let’s put up our shield of faith (our big girl pants) and walk on as a child of the King!

Drawn by my talented daughter, Jen! Taken from Psalm 116:7- “Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

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