I have a number of significant stones in my garden—stones that represent milestones, significant dates, achievements, answers to prayer, the names and birthdates of each of our children and grandchildren. There are stones that reflect ways the LORD has worked a special situation and there are a few larger stones—rocks, really, that represent some of the more difficult times or seasons. So, in addition to all the roses and some smaller flowering plants and bulbs, the garden is a collection of faith markers… stones that we’ve passed over.
The stones tell stories—or at least they represent stories, for each event, each milestone, each child, each blessing is a story in itself. I don’t want to forget any of them and I don’t want our children to forget them. I think that’s one of the significant things I notice about Deuteronomy 6.7-9
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
I want the children to ask me about things and then I want the stones to be a reminder to them of what God has done—and when they see their own name on a stone, I want them to see that they, too, are significant and that their life has tremendous meaning and value: it’s a gift and blessing in my life and is of great worth to me and, more importantly, to the LORD. They are the most significant stones in the garden of my life.
The stone in our gardens allow me to tell the stories and they also bring to light the stories we read in the Word. It adds depth to passages we read to them concerning the telling of what God has done.
Further in Deuteronomy 6, we read:
And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us. (6.20-25)
Some may wonder how I got started writing on all these stones and I’m not so sure when or how it all began, but I simply began writing names with acrylic paint and then paint pens and sort of kept going through the years. Many of the stones need to be rewritten or touched up and I notice from time to time that a stone has walked away from my garden… when the little children here or the grandchildren learn that those particular stones need to stay in the garden, they stop carrying them around the yard. I notice that some stones have become buried over the years… and I hadn’t even noticed that they were missing or lost… and it’s in pulling weeds that I find them.
And… pulling weeds? O, that’s a story for tomorrow.