Sometimes God uses the physical things of this world to teach us spiritual truths.  In this story, He used the rocks on the shore of Lake Superior to teach me about His heart.  Recently, while camping on the North Shore, we met our friends on the beach for a worship service.  Surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation, I was amazed by ALL the rocks: big rocks, little rocks, round rocks, flat ones, smooth and rough, gray and tan.  Such a rich variety of rocks, yet no two exactly alike.  While observing them, I was reminded of God’s promise to “make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore”.  To me at that moment, ALL those rocks represented Abraham’s offspring; they represented God’s creation, His people – US!  I leafed through my Bible looking for a particular verse, but instead a verse from Ps. 149 jumped out at me, “The Lord takes pleasure in His people.”  What sweet joy to be able to believe this today, because it wasn’t always so…..

I went through some times in my life struggling with poor self-esteem and a lot of pain because of sins done by me and against me.  It was a confusing time where I couldn’t forgive myself, and felt like I had to judge and punish myself. I did this in part by rejecting God’s mercy and forgiveness, as if I knew better than God what can and cannot be forgiven.  I felt condemned by Satan who didn’t want me to experience God’s forgiveness. That combined with hurtful betrayals left me wallowing around in worthlessness — for a long time………

But during that long time, God hadn’t forgotten me. His Goodness and Mercy were following me, and He had plans for my healing which included the love of my husband, faithful friends, regular church services, this prayer ministry, Bible Study and Psalm 139, which one of our sons had to memorize for Sunday School.  This Psalm has become our family’s Birthday Psalm.  On our birthday we read it aloud to the others, “I praise you, O Lord, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Speaking God’s truth to others and to myself (this verse became my mantra) began to change my thoughts and heal me….. UNTIL….. a mentally ill family member began to take out their fears, frustrations and anger on me – blaming me for everything.  The years of verbal abuse caused me to sink down again into poor self-esteem.  At times I almost believed the lies: maybe I was to blame – I wasn’t perfect; maybe I was the meanest person in the world; and maybe I was constantly surrounded by demons.

I sought professional help and was encouraged to read the book “Telling Yourself the Truth”.  I did that – beginning again to agree with and tell myself God’s truth: I’m important, loved, and valuable because God says so.  Jesus died on the cross for me and to refuse His forgiveness and despise myself is an insult to Him.

I soaked in these verses:

God is the potter and I’m the clay, the work of His hand. All things were created through Him and For Him.  He has called me by name and I am His.  I, being formed and made by Him, was created for His Glory! He created all things and by His will I exist and was created.

How can the Lord not take pleasure in His people?!  Like all those many, unique, beautiful rocks on the beach, so are we.  Each one of us created in His image, yet so uniquely different.  We were created through Him and FOR Him; we belong to Him; by His will we exist; we were created for His Glory.  The Lord takes pleasure in His people – in me, in you.  Imagine God’s smiling face looking down on each one of us right now with love and pleasure in His eyes. Basking in His presence and pleasure, we are made whole again. May God place this truth deep into our hearts and give us the freedom to accept and be all that He has created us to be.

Amen