Stacking Rocks of Remembrance


Seminary feels like a blur looking back. As I traveled up to the North Shore and hiked a few weeks ago, while feeling the joy of relief, I found myself trying to process the school journey. Somehow stacking rocks became a way to do that.

Wednesday afternoon I found myself making a rock tower. Shortly after lunch at Naniboujou, we walked out to the Lake Superior shore, and I saw all these flat large rocks laying on the beach. So, I started picking a few up and placing them on top of the other.

As I built my little rock tower, the second verse from my favorite hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, came to mind.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’m come.
And I hope by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.

I never understood what this line meant until I came to seminary (Special thanks to Dr. Ferris for pointing out this line when I was in Hebrew class at the start of seminary!). I just glossed over the raising of my Ebenezer as I sang it. Ebenezer is a transliteration (converting the Hebrew word into English phonetics) of the Hebrew for “stone of help.” Samuel raises one after God delivers the Israelites from the Philistines yet again (1 Sam. 7). It’s a tangible reminder of God’s faithfulness. It’s also a reminder to be grateful.  Israel is safe because God rescued them.  God brought them to this place. God helped them thus far (1 Sam. 7:12). They didn’t save themselves.

@Cutface Creek

Likewise, God brought me to this place.  The past three years have had hills and dark spaces. Six months of failed fertility treatments my first year of seminary.  Two surgeries.  The ectopic pregnancy.  Trying to figure out life without my full-time income. The loss of my grandma McGrew.  All this in the midst of full time school, homework, internships and volunteer gigs. I lived the bulk of the last three years in three hour time blocks.

Yet, J and I made it through.  We grew.  God walked with us.  Jesus challenged us.  The Spirit carried us.  God surprised us with resources and help from myriad of places; we have some pretty bizarre stories of providence from the past three years.  A community of friends and family huddled around us.  We came through to this point of semi-completion.  A chapter closed.

@Temperance River State Park

So up North as I had space and opportunity, I continued to stack  rocks and photograph them.

And I reflected.  I’m here now. Seminary is finished. Papers are all submitted.  All the courses are complete.  I finished well. I survived this hike. I had this adventure. God has been faithful. God will continue to be faithful. I didn’t do this on my own.

I feel grateful — grateful for the grace poured out on us and for the occasion to mark my remembrance of what God has done.  All this gratitude and reflection leads to hope.  I have confidence that the same God, who led me through the last three years, will continue faithfully leading.  The same God, who brought me to and through seminary, will do the same in the next adventure. Even (maybe especially) if I’m not 100 percent sure what the next big adventure will be.  

So, how about you?  What are the practices that help you remember to take stock, see and acknowledge God’s faithfulness?

@Split Rock State Park
@Temperance River State Park

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