Taking the time to pile up stones

It was getting late.

I was tired, Jarod had to finish grading papers, and every second that bedtime was delayed by forgotten chores, unbrushed teeth, and misplaced pajamas meant less sleep and more stress.

But then I realized I’d forgotten to say anything to the kids about how this day marked exactly four years in the U.S. for our family.

We’d talked about the tragedy of Haiti’s earthquake on January 12th, but I wanted to be sure we didn’t forget to thank God for the events of the 22nd (even if my pillow was calling me).

It’s funny… I’ve written repeatedly about what the Lord did to bring our unadopted kids to the U.S., but as life rushes on in our home, it’s a subject that sometimes gets brushed over.

Knowing it would push bedtime back even further, not to mention start a lively and dramatic discussion, I took a deep breath and plunged in. “Do you guys remember what we were doing four years ago?”

And yep, the cacophony of answers began.

For the next half-hour we relived our journey:

  • Hours sitting on the cement runway in Port-au-Prince, with nothing to do but watch UN planes, play with plastic water bottles, and make repeated trips to the port-a-johns.
  • Complete confusion and panic when we realized we’d spent the day at the wrong airport. (Here Justin reminded me that had I listened to him we could have avoided this. Long story.)
  • Dizzying relief when we were united with our adoption director and were assured we had not missed the plane.
  • Watching Jaden stumble off the jet bridge into the Miami airport, where he was promptly offered his first-ever wheelchair ride.
  • Spending eight hours with 80 kids in Immigration.
  • Sleeping for the first time in 48 hours at The Forum in Pompano Beach, never dreaming that in a couple years, we’d live a few miles from there.
  • Creatively swapping and changing kids’ soiled clothes in the airplane lavatories so everyone was presentable upon arrival.

Yes, the memories were incredible.

I told the kids that as we made the final flight to Wichita, Kansas, I’d opened my Bible to Psalm 66, blown away by its relevance:

Come and see what God has done,
his awesome deeds for mankind!
He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.

Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

Psalm 66:5-6, 8-12


After a little more discussion about how those verses applied to us, we prayed together.

Yes, it was later than it should have been when we were done, but I was thankful God had prompted me to pile up some figurative stones, similar to the stones Joshua asked the Israelites to pile up by the Jordan River.

Our kids have to know what God did for us — for them! How quickly we all forget God’s goodness; how desperately we need to remind ourselves and remind our families. 

When your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord.

Joshua 4:6b-7

So my question for you today is, what has Jesus done for you?

Have you piled up stones and explained them to your kids?

Have you shared your stories with your friends, your church, even your unsaved relatives?

My kids ask me all the time how I know God is real… how I am sure I can trust Jesus. Among my answers, which include biblical, historical and scientific evidence, is the testimony of what Jesus has done for me.

What’s your story? Pile up some stones in a comment below!

10 comments on “Taking the time to pile up stones

  1. Jennifer, my oldest grandson, Andrew, was born with an extremely rare neuromuscular genetic disorder with no documented record of any child surviving past 3 months of age. We were told he would not live 3 days. He is trached and vented, has little movement other than slight head, shoulders and hands. He communicates via eye gaze. He will be 6 years old on February 6th, is included in a regular education kindergarten class and is on level with his peers academically, socially and emotionally. God has blessed Andrew with a great gift of understanding often beyond his years. We pile up our stones daily, praising God for all He has done in our lives! I never thought of it that way before and I love that I can share this story with Andrew tomorrow! Thank you!

    • Hi Mary. Wow… picturing you “piling up stones” with your grandson Andrew is such a blessing to me. Thank you so much for sharing this. I pray God’s richest blessings on your family as you give Him glory and praise in the midst of challenges that most of us can’t comprehend!

  2. Amen! I love the TRUTH in this post. My prayer is that my children will never doubt the real-ness and the presence of God. I want them to know that we live miracles everyday. Those acts from God’s hand, AND my children themselves, are living testimonies of God’s goodness and power. My tendency is to harbor things in my heart and not share publicly, mostly because satan attacks and I am so crushed when other people’s comments dim the glory that I see. The Lord is teaching me openness.

    • Liz, I totally get that! It’s so much “cooler” to minimize stuff, isn’t it?! Well, I for one want to praise Jesus for the incredible things He’s done for you this week! 🙂

  3. This is so powerful! I keep re-reading this & wringing all the truth out so my heart can soak it all up. Thank you.

  4. I’d just finished watching this video (of a recent message closing a youth conference in Hawaii) and thinking about how my faith has gone from a dry seed to a growing, fruitful tree since I began watching this man’s videos. Then, out of the dozens of blog emails I receive daily of which I read maybe two, I decided to read this one. crying in gratitude for the way God uses hardship and weaknesses and trials and desperation to lead us into life in Him.


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