As a child, I escape into the creek bed. No one can touch me here. It is a haven where I curl my bare, sun-browned toes into wet clay. I am hidden…
So begins L.L. Barkat’s story in her book Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places.
We follow this willowy child; skip from stone to stone with her along her faith journey–hop along beside as she stretches and is stretched…growing in grace along the way.
These are a few of the stepping stones that Barkat uses to navigate us through her story.
But this is no ordinary run-of-the-mill memoir.
This story of healing weaves in and out of a Higher One, reveals to each one of us how our stories are thread offerings—intertwining within the Greatest Story Ever Told.
I read Stone Crossings with Bible in hand—challenged to see anew well-worn scripture-stories, and dig deeper into the heart of these Words.
Jonah–given to us as a dove (his name means dove, which was a sin offering)—allows his fear of death to rule him; the tabernacle is painted as God’s heart; Moses’ forfeiture of entrance to the Promised Land is…freedom?
These and other tellings reveal the true depth of God’s Word; give my heart a new yearning as I see the familiar with different eyes.
L.L., who was deeply wounded as a child, discusses her difficulty believing in love as a young woman. Yet now, she is able to speak freely of God the Lover from Song of Songs:
“Whereas some people wait for the day they can climb into the lap of God the Father, and others ache to lean on his strong shepherd-shoulders, I anticipate the day when God the lover will hold me forever in a passionate and safe embrace.”
Is anyone else swooning?
Perhaps the part of the book that spoke to me most in this season of my life was the chapters on Sacrifice and Responsibility. L.L. speaks of sacrificing her desires for that of her family, and how God spoke to her through this:
“Tending sheep is a mundane job. It is a lot of same old, same old—the way we feed kids breakfast, lunch and dinner, or drive to the office and deal with the same people day after day. It is repetitive, like building a stone wall rock by rock across the landscape. So it’s easy for us to over look the power of small acts that are folded again and again into the meandering swish of common love.”
Along this vein, L.L. goes on to wonder, “…would I be a good king or a bad king if I had the choice?”
This pondering leads her to conclude:
“We are each like little kings privileged with a patch of ground, even if it’s less than a quarter-acre, like mine, and more likely to grow dandelions than a vineyard. We each hold a scepter of influence…in relationship to someone, or a group of people, or even God, who all spy eagerly to see what our face and voice will reveal. We are each, to put it simply, responsible in our blessedness…”
These words inspire me to tend my vineyard well. I know I shouldn’t need one, but these words serve as a reminder that I should do all for Him; that my family is a most sacred gift from Him and I am privileged to be one of its stewards.
In her own words, L.L. describes Stone Crossings: “Grace. That’s the centerpiece of Stone Crossings, shared through the hard and hidden places of my life and the Bible.
In sun-dappled creekbeds and strawberry fields, in the dark belly of a whale and on parched desert plains, grace makes surprising appearances. Along the way, it calls, “Where have you been, where are you now, where do you want to be?” Then it gives strength to answer, to hope and to heal.”
If you would like a chance to win a copy of this beautifully written book, leave me a comment. I’ll draw the names of three lucky winners on Wednesday. L.L. has graciously offered a writing project inspired by my previous post. If you would like to try your hand at poetry, and receive some encouragement and instruction along the way, visit L.L. here.