When Dave and I had decided that marriage to each other was our future, we began to think about our wedding rings and what we wanted them to represent. We reasoned that a wedding ring could also be used to tell a story - to tell the most important story about us: God's Story. God's story isn't really about us, though, it is about Him. It is the story of reconciliation: "To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself..." (2 Corinthians 5:18) And we knew this was the goal of our marriage: to tell the story of redemption as well as two sinners could do so.
We chose two rings that together would have 12 stones. Mine had seven, Dave's 5. We chose twelve stones because of the history of Joshua and the Children of Israel coming through the Jordan on dry land. "...that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, what do these stones mean? Then you shall answer them, that the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones hall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever." (Joshua 4:6,7)
Ours is a long story, and the details are unimportant for this blog. Suffice it to say, "crossing the Jordan" has been a feat not undertaken without pain, betrayal, heartbreak and loss. But there was "a sweetness" of our togetherness that somehow survived. And we didn't just survive, we have made a life that has been rewarding, if difficult at times, (like everyone else), and the sweetness remains. The "waters of Jordan" did not overtake us - and we are grateful that we have made it over to the best part.
So, Just when we thought our lives would slow down a bit as our only son had graduated and begun a full time position working for Dave, we were handed a gift: Foster children.
What began as an opportunity to do some good in this world, has turned into a life change that we could never have predicted.
Fast forward eight years and we are in process to give those darling little ones new names. Our name. They have become our story - and we have become theirs.
These children ask "What are these stones?" as I stack them on the beaches at St. Augustine. I tell them of God's goodness to us in what seemed insurmountable odds. It is enough for them. They are small rocks - coquina, actually, from years and years of pressure to pack them solid.
They are irresistible to me - like everything at the beach.
I brought them home. I stacked them. My Mom saw them and remarked that they are going to keep falling over. I said, yeah, and we will just have to restack them.
We have done that before.
Our rings didn't hold up, but by God's grace, the marriage continues. The covenant stands - even when when the stones fall over.