"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."
Well that's just not true. That's one of the biggest lies we've ever been told. Words have power. Words are like a hammer. They can be used to build something beautiful, or they can be used for destruction - to tear something down.
Lately, stones have had a symbolic place in my life. As I have unpacked different feelings/emotions and been able to process certain events and journeys in my recent life, I have come to realize I allowed my heart to become a heart of stone. I caught a glimpse of bitterness and my hard heart. It was an ugly sight to see in myself.
It took coming to a breaking point - a point of utter exhaustion and despair to finally look inward and see these things in myself. I couldn't understand why, in this moment, I didn't have the joy I always had in every other difficult circumstance.
"I'm so tired," I would say.
When I had typhoid, I took it head on with a smile on my face and the joy of the Lord in my heart. I didn't let it get me down. I didn't feel defeated. Every time I broke a bone, tore a tendon, was in the hospital or had to have surgery, the Lord gave me peace and joy and strength.
But this time was different. This time felt heavy. This time I'm tired. I'm so exhausted. I had come to a breaking point and finally looked deep within and saw the ugliness of my heart of stone. A heart of bitterness. A heart that needed to forgive and let go of past hurt.
The symbolic heart of stone really did some wear and tear on my body. I've been sick. I've been in so much pain. Finally, the doctors informed me - I have kidney stones. How ironic it's a stone. A stone that will cause much pain before my body feels better - but it's because I must face it, and wash the stone away before I can be refreshed and new again.
It's been a good season, though. Encouragement is never far away when you have the good mentors that I do. I find strength and encouragement in Psalm 71. I find encouragement in knowing that David - a man after God's own heart - struggled at times and had such deep pain and dark moments, even considered walking away at times, but never did; and the Lord commends him and considered David a man after His own heart.
And I find ultimate joy and encouragement today in this:
"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."
Ezekiel 36:26 ESV