It was a cheap $32 ring.
Not my wedding band, or my grandmother’s diamond, or some sparkling honker of a gem from Tiffany’s. It wasn’t anything worth anything to anyone. Except to me.
It was just a ring. That’s what I tried to tell myself.
Except that it was more.
To me, the ring was an engraved promise, and it was worship, and grace, and breath of God, and new life, and the deep, deep love of Christ for me, His beloved.
It was Spirit, and it was Yahweh, and it was surviving what didn’t seem survivable when the steel of my own van came crashing in around me.
It was my miracle, in etched silver.
It was God, in an unbroken circle.
It was Him and me, in this thing together — through thick and thin, for life and then some more after that.
To me, this ring stood for forever.
And then it was gone.
I had already planned that one of my girls would get that ring when I died. One girl could have the wedding band, and one could have the Yahweh ring etched with the Hebrew letters: YHVH.
To me, both rings carried equal worth, despite the wide price difference.
It was just a ring, a $32 ring. But it had this amazing back-story about how God changed a bunch of stuff.
I didn’t know it was gone until I stood at the bathroom sink to wash my hands. I found a naked finger.
My sister was here, and I called her to the bathroom. I just shook my head and showed her my empty finger. She knew why I hurt. She knew.
“Do you want me to look for it? We could dig through the dirt?” And I know she would have, if I’d asked her to. That’s what sisters do.
I shook my head again. No. It’s gone, the YHVH ring. It’s just … gone.
And you know what? God whispered it to me right there at the sink — the way He sometimes does — Spirit to spirit. “Your ring is gone, but I’m not gone. I will never, ever, ever leave you nor forsake you. Never.”
I wrote those words (up there) about that YHVH ring back in 2011, right here on this blog.
More than three years have passed. It took me months to get used to the way my finger felt, unwrapped. I knew it was just a ring, but it was a trigger. A symbol. And the good Lord knows we need triggers and symbols.
We know that God isn’t the ring. But the symbol is the trigger to remember the very present nature of our God.
God knows we need everyday reminders and symbols to keep our scatter-brained selves Christ-focused. We only need to attend church on a Sunday morning to see that it works:
We see a cross; we think of Christ.
We smell grape juice or wine; we remember how sweet the gift of forgiveness.
Water = new life.
The smell of wax, a sanctuary.
A rainbow, God’s promise.
A dove, His Holy Spirit.
Nails, a Savior’s sacrifice.
They are all markers.
And without them? We feel the ache.
I felt a serious. ache.
But then this happened…. (I’m guessing you know what happens next, because I’m super-horrible at the suspenseful set-up, so let’s just cut to the chase):
Yesterday, I pulled old boxes from the storage room to toss old stuff that was taking up valuable space.
I pawed through a box of old VBS supplies, and suddenly … a silver glint on the carpet.
The ring. THE. RING!!!
I knew it right away, when I saw the shine. I picked it up, and saw the Hebrew letters. It must have fallen into the VBS box back in 2011, not in the dirt!
Yeah. I may have cried a little. And my daughters may have given me a bit of the side-eye, wondering what all the emotional fuss was about.
I didn’t even care. I flat-out bawled.
You know what I’ve been thinking? I’ve been the ring. I’ve felt a little lost from time to time, not sure where I fit. Not sure if I’ve been missed. Not sure if anyone cares that I am hanging out at the proverbial bottom of the box in some storeroom.
But here’s the thing: Even if I’d stayed at the bottom, and no one else had ever found me? God’s promise is still good. Let me say it again and put it in big letters —
His promise is still good. Yahweh is still unreasonably good. And He never, ever leaves us.
He sees us at the bottom of the box.
And He always pulls us out of it. Always.
So, what’s your Story?
A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God.
You’re invited to tell that story right here, in community with us.
Share your narratives, your poems, your Instagrams tagged with #TellHisStory, … your beautiful hearts. You are the chroniclers, the people who help others make sense of the world with your words and your art.
Story is how we know that, no matter what happens, we can get back up again.
Visit someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment. Then, Tweet about your posts, and the posts you visit, with the #TellHisStory hashtag. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.
A final note: This is a safe place to tell your stories. You don’t have to be a professional writer to join us. Story is built into every single one of us. Your story matters, because it’s part of God’s story down through history, not because you punctuated everything correctly. Deal?
For more details on the #TellHisStory linkup, click here. Share the love of story by visiting someone else in the community!
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