Monday, August 11, 2008

my heart rock story...(or, how it all began!)...

I love the way God uses simple things in life to touch our hearts—to speak a message specific to the need of an individual heart! He does this so well because He knows us so intimately--our individual pains & sorrows, our joys & delights; what makes our hearts come alive; what makes them sing. He understands how to tell us something only our heart can understand. He shows us He loves us by using objects or experiences in our lives in ways which could only come from Him. What it requires from us is a heart of receptivity—opening our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to understand. This was the beginning of my heart rock story.

Several years ago, during a devastatingly difficult period in my life, I was feeling very alone and overwhelmed with pain, sorrow, and darkness. I desperately needed God's presence, so I took a few days away and drove up the California central coast to a little town on the beach, called Cambria. When I got there, I prayed that God would speak to my aching heart and remind me of His love for me.

In boldness, or perhaps just desperation, I asked Him to give me something tangible to serve as a token I could hold onto to remember this time away with Him. I realize it may seem rather greedy for me to ask for a 'specific gift,' but thankfully, He understands the very depths of our spirits. He knows how far-reaching are the needs of our hearts, and at those times when we’re most desperately in need of Him, He is there to show us, sometimes quite creatively, that He understands and cares. Gratefully, He doesn’t condemn us for our impoverished hearts but reaches out with compassion and asks what it is that we are seeking.

Being a person who loves to collect rocks and other beach treasures, I told Him I wanted a rock--a rock in the shape of a heart. Now, to be honest, I don’t know that I really believed He would give me one, (oh me of little faith!) but I thought I’d at least give Him a chance. So, that first night, bundled up against the cold February ocean breeze, I went out for a walk on the beach to receive my gift.
I had only walked a few yards when I looked down, and right next to my feet was a small rock that seemed to be in the shape of a heart! I picked it up and thought to myself, “well, maybe it’s not really a heart; maybe I’m stretching it because I want it to be one.” Still, I put the rock in my pocket and carried it with me as I walked on. Not too long after, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, looked down and just had to laugh out loud! It was as if God were saying to me, “Alright, Sharilyn! Is this one obvious enough for you?!” There at my feet was another rock that was definitely, without question, a heart-shaped rock, and this one was about three or four inches wide. He had to be sure I didn’t question it this time, so He made it a really BIG one! (I must admit I greatly appreciate our Father’s delightful sense of humor!)

The next morning when I arose to face the day, I made yet another request of the Lord. I told Him I really wanted to find a heart rock each day I was there with Him. After all, He is God, and it’s only three days, so I guess it really wasn’t asking too much, was it?

Over the weekend, God was most gracious to me in so many ways. I spent hours sitting on the beach, watching the waves, looking at the rocks, letting him soothe my aching heart with the beautiful sights and sounds of His creation. And, even more, I was deeply moved by how God granted the request of an aching heart. Not only did I find one heart rock each day I was there but a total of TWENTY heart-shaped rocks over the weekend! And the truly amazing thing about finding those rocks is that I never did search for any of them; they were always “just there” where and when I would see them. It was such a demonstration of the depth of love the Father has for each one of us, the willingness for the Lover of our souls to speak in such a way as to reach to the very depths of our hearts. He heard the cry of my heart and knew how to not only answer the cry but to answer it with the abundance which speaks of the great intensity and fullness of His love.

I am so thankful for that weekend, for the love the Lord showed to me by answering the cry of my heart. He reminded me of how much He loves me and how intimately He is involved in the very smallest details of our lives. He knew that the many long months to come were going to prove to be even more difficult for me and that they were going to be far more painful than anything I had yet experienced in my life. He was preparing my heart not only by assuring me He knew what I was going through but also by giving me a reminder that He would be with me on every step of the hard road ahead. And by the gift of the heart rocks, He was giving me a tangible reminder of His presence and His love.

Sadly, I admit there were many times over the ensuing months and years where the circumstances of my life were such a mess and my heart ached so badly that I questioned the Father’s love for me, where I questioned His involvement in my life. Yet, deep down inside there was always the reminder that He knows our hearts…He knows MY heart. I had heart rocks to look at and to hold in my hand as a tangible reminder that He knows and He truly cares!

One of the most wonderful things about the heart rocks is that they did not stop coming after the weekend was over. Throughout the following months and years, God has continued to give me heart rocks of all shapes and sizes. And it isn’t just rocks anymore… it’s sea glass, and fruit, and flowers, and leaves, and shadows on the ground. Once while on a walk, I even found a heart-shaped rubberband in the dirt on the side of the road! He continually reminds me how much He loves me… He tells me in His Word but also by the things He has created and opened my eyes to see!

I know not everyone would be so thrilled by the gift of a heart-shaped rock, and probably very few by a rubberband in the dirt!, but God knows each one of our hearts completely. He knows what rocks your heart! He knows its language, and He delights in creatively telling each of us how much He loves us. He asks only that we would open our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to understand. We will hear Him speak to us when we listen and believe that He knows the language of our hearts.
(my 20 heart rocks of that weekend!)


  1. What a beautiful story and powerful message! God does speak to us tenderly and individually, in ways that only we can grasp. Thank you for sharing with such honesty, the intimacy you share with you God. (Great hearts, too!)

  2. Thanks, Kimberly! I do so appreciate your words of encouragement. Sometimes it is hard to share the difficult things in life, but I believe it is the way that others will see God at work here on earth. If my trials/joys can point others toward the Cross, I am glad to be able to share them. To Him be all glory and honor! (and now I'll share more of my heart photos!) :)

  3. Sniff... I'm so very touched...

    I'm most awed by the hand of God, how He reaches out to us. I'm reminded of the many things He has done for me though they may not be tangible stuff, but they are precious memories and reminders of God's love to me. Surreal, but real to me! What a wonderful Father in heaven we're having!!

    And with Him around, I know that things can be overcomed. Be still and know, God is all powerful and there's no heartache that He can't heal.

  4. what a beautiful story. thanks for the photo too :) you're the one on the right?? cos i was thinking the oldest guy looks like the lady on the left with the glasses...hmm...

  5. hey, jocelyn... yup, i'm the one on the right... my sister is on the left and those are my nephews and niece (who live in the country of Georgia)... :)

  6. God I love too Sharilyn.


I'm so glad you've stopped by! I love hearing from you and can't wait to read your comments! Let me know what's on your mind and your heart today...