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Our most recent Stack Story

  • Jennifer Gerelds

    I guess I was having a mid-life crisis moment. Really, I've felt the "moment" coming on for a while, perhaps in anticipation of my 40th birthday, now past. It's not the age that was bothering me. It was life in general. Looking back, I could see a good marriage and 4 daughters, each with a unique and powerful personality. But they are all now (finally) school age, and I--a stay-at-home mom--began questioning what it was that I was supposed to do with my life now that the season of swaddling babies and setting up pack n' plays is over. How have I spent these years God has given me? What do I have to show for it? What will I do with whatever time I have left in this life? When I considered some of the missionary biographies I had recently read, or the stories from the Martyr's Voice magazine I subscribe to, I felt like my tame-by-comparison life paled in significance. Even some of the best-selling books out there right now by some of my favorite authors like Francis Chan and David Platt can add to my misery. Is my life dynamically purpose-filled or am I letting life pass me by? The accusing thoughts had formed a crescendo in my mind as I sat across from my mom as we shared lunch, our Thursday usual. Fighting to keep my composure, I lamented just a little over how different reality had turned out compared to my dreams. We weren't missionaries in some foreign field winning souls for God. We hadn't even left the bounds of Birmingham. Instead of becoming the psychologist I had envisioned, I was counselor primarily to my kids at home. In fact, I had chosen to stay home as a mom in order to train our girls in God's ways, and had sought every opportunity I could find--day in, day out--to do just that. And yet, at this point in their lives, the fruit of my labor seemed still in the seed. "What kind of radical shift do I need to make to get this show on the road?" I queried my mom. "What's that "big thing" out there that I am supposed to be doing that will make it all worthwhile?" She encouraged me that I was a missionary, and my home was the mission field. I've even had to learn the "foreign" language my kids speak as they talk about computer or phone apps that are out of my league. But as I left, the nagging question remained. "God, Is it enough? Am I supposed to be doing more? Can such small offerings ever be enough?" On the way home, I stopped at my mailbox. Surprisingly, there was a letter addressed to me--a personal letter. It was from my pastor. He has never written me before--ever. But he said, "The Lord has put you on my mind lately and I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your faithful behind-the-scenes service to the ladies and children in our fellowship." He even went on to say that my age qualified me as an advisor of sorts to so many younger women who comprise the bulk of our congregation. It didn't even take me a second to recognize it--God's intensely, personal touch. He knew what had been weighing on my mind before I had even grown cognizant of it. He put the thoughts, the words, into my pastor's mind, who mailed the words of encouragement I needed to hear from my Father a day before I would have that conversation with my mom, arriving right on time in my mailbox. Nothing is small in his hands. How could I forget what He can do with 5 loaves and 2 fish? Who am I to say that having a private conversation about God with my 7-year-old is less important than preaching the gospel to a stadium full of people--even in Africa? God's economy is just different. He leaves the 99 to go after the 1. And that day, through a letter in my mailbox, He came after me. Jennifer Gerelds
  • Linda Dewberry. . . A Stack in the Culdesac

    "Now unto Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work with us. "  Ephesians 3:20 I was so very blessed with a beautiful baby girl and a new home all in the same year.  I felt alone in this new neighborhood and was adjusting to leaving a busy life of teaching to be a stay-at-home mom. The house across the street was on the market for a year.  I would look outside each day at the "For Sale" sign and pray that the Lord would bring me a friend.  I prayed that this would not only be a friend, but  a strong believer whom I could share life with.  I never shared this prayer with anyone, but it was a deep longing in my heart.  The new family finally moved in across the street and it only took a few months  for me to realize that this family was the answer to my prayers.  This woman was a Godly, beautiful mother who was a prayer warrior.  Little did I know at the time, how much I would need her prayers one day. The years passed and I enjoyed watching our children grow as playmates in our cul-de-sac.  I learned things from watching her give herself selflessly to her friends and her friends children.  I watched her trust God to provide finances for what they believed God was calling them to do.  I watched her trust Him in the midst of her husband's unemployment.  I watched her discipline her children with patience and love. I needed mentoring because I was a nervous wreck.  I was always worrying about finances and my children's future.  When my husband's company lost their business... we believed I was supposed to go back to teaching. She encouraged me to trust.    My biggest nightmare had happened.  We believed there was no other option but for me to return to work.  She encouraged me to apply to the Christian school that her children attended.  I laughed at her!  I was a public school teacher at heart.  I sent in an application on a whim, and God began unfolding one of the most beautiful stories I could have ever imagined.   Her prayers and encouragement got me through this time.  This Gospel-centered school amazed me, and I felt God's love and protection over myself and my family more deeply. I fell in love with teaching again.  I dearly missed my 2 year old, but my 5 year old was able to go to the school with me.  This wasn't the nightmare I expected.  The people I worked with helped me to love Jesus even more and helped get me through rocky times to come.  My parents left their home 600 miles away and came to live in our basement to care for my 2 year old and within months my mother was diagnosed with cancer and began chemo.  They came to help us, but ended up needing more help than they could offer.  I was a mom of two young children, a first year teacher, and a daughter of a sick mother living in my home.  His grace was sufficient.  Some days I was unsure what to pray, but I always knew my neighbor prayer warrior was lifting me up.  Each day of chaos was filled with an assurance of His presence in my life.  I felt calm in the middle of the storm. For the first time in my life, I had to trust Him one day at a time.  At the end of the first school year, my mother was almost done with chemotherapy and she fell and broke her hip right before they were headed back home.  I became a constant caregiver for my mother who was unable to walk for many months.   My neighbor continued to pray and offer help.  I felt her prayers and support and knew that my prayer many years ago, was answered.  Due to financial reasons, we moved from this precious neighborhood,  and I dearly miss my neighbor and her family.   Our previous home is a stone of remembrance.  I wouldn't have the job that I love, my children wouldn't be at the schools they attend, and I wouldn't have made it through those trying years if the Lord hadn't answered my prayers and sent me a prayer angel- in my neighbor.   I thank God for her, and for her years of prayer through many more trials that I have shared in this one story.   To God be the Glory!  Great things He has done.  - Linda Dewberry
  • Ruth Baldwin. . .Mom- A Miracle on March 19, 2011


  • Sandi York. . . God of Details

    Necklaces, keys and shoes......God cares about the details.

    Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

    Many years ago when my oldest daughter was 6, her grandmother gave her her first cross necklace as an Easter gift prior to Easter. A day or so before Easter Sunday, we realized the pretty necklace was missing. We searched everywhere. Then the spirit spoke......God sees this necklace right now and knows where it is, ask Him where it is! So I prayed, and I thought, "Lord, increase my daughter's faith in this as well". So, I told her, "God"sees this necklace, and he is able to point us to where it is." A little while later, He showed us! It was down behind her bed in the crevice between where the wall and the carpet meet. From that point on, in our house, when we loose something, we say "God knows where it is." He has been faithful with the craziest of hundreds of lost things! I have since encouraged others in this remembrance of God's bigger view. I told a friend in Nashville to pray over a camera that she lost on a trip (could have been in a store or restaurant or hotel, or stolen). She knew His eyes were on it and acknowledged Him first. She located it, with His guidance. In this "stack", this seems like pebbles, but it is not really about the "items" as much as it is about the loving Father that cares about the details of our lives that increase our faith. For my 6-year-old at the time, the Lord used it as just one simple way to teach her little heart about His powerful eye upon her as she grows and matures in her faith.

  • Sandi York. . . jehovah Jireh

    Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

    When we first got married, my husband and I decided to "wait few years before having children." We decided also when that time came, I would leave work to be a stay-at-home mom. However, at the time, my job paid double over his new (dream) job at the church. Our plans were not the Lord's plans. Three months after saying "I do", we discovered that our family would expand as I was pregnant! We still knew in our hearts, staying home was the right thing for me to do, and I was willing to sacrifice in order to be with my baby. My husband also made a job change where his new job did not pay him on time as they should. However, God was faithful. There are so many details, but during the entire first year of our sweet Sarah's life, the only thing we had to purchase for her was a changing table, diapers, and formula. Everything was given to us for her......the crib, bedding, clothes, 3 stages of car seats, booster seats, strollers, etc. etc. The Lord's provision was overwhelming. We had 4 baby showers! I will never forget that year of stones HE stacked.

  • SaNdi York. . . I am not scared anymore

    When you are in the elevator......I am with you.....

    For the past 2 years, our son has had a terrible fear of elevators (mainly due to a scene on a television show, not from any bad experience). When we went to our in-laws beach place last summer (which is only on the 5th floor), he asked us to walk up and down the stairs with him every time. We would even be at the pool and he would go ahead hours beforehand and "reserve" my husband or I for the next trip up: "Who is going to walk up the stairs with me?" We tried to convince him that he would be fine, but he would have no part of our strategic conversations. We decided to "pick our battles" and walk the stairs with him every time (beach gear and all). His sisters would take a turn or two. A few months ago (January), he asked if we were going to the beach this year, and I said, "yes". He asked, "will you walk the stairs with me?" So here at spring break time, we were given a sweet opportunity of a few free nights at a friend's condo in Gulf Shores......on the 19th floor! He asks, "Is there an elevator? Will you walk the stairs with me?" In a word, "No." So he is extremely upset to the point of saying, "I don't like the beach." etc. I told him I was going to pray that God would take care of this fear before we leave. So the night before we left, my husband and I were praying over several "big" things, said amen, headed to bed, and the spirit said "give me your son's fear." So I told the Lord, "please remove this fear, remove any motive I have for my ease and comfort on the trip, and make this about encouraging his heart with what YOU can do inside of HIM. Let him see your power in his heart." The next morning, he came downstairs and said, "I am not scared anymore of elevators." Praise the Lord. Every time we all stepped into that elevator, all we could do was say, "hallelujah" when we looked at him.

  • Sandi York. . . His Eye is on the Sparrow

    The Sparrow

    "Sometimes I am strong, and others I am weak. It's a struggle to become what I really need to be. I worry about tomorrow until I hear the sparrow, And I'm reminded of the promise He'll take care of me." Lyric from Charles Billingsley's song "The Sparrow"

    During the season of my husband's unemployment, there were so many stones of God's faithfulness to stack! All of them were special, yet the ones that came on the days of weariness and hopelessness were the Father clearly saying, "I see you." At that time of uncertainty, going to the grocery store or Walmart would be real faith builders as I would be gripped with fear and sadness for a multitude of reasons (dwindling severance, no savings, no emergency funds, etc.), and I would grip Jesus' arm tightly as I walked the store aisles recounting His faithfulness in the numerous stacks of stones HE already piled up in our life. One morning, dread came over me as I realized we were out of some items, and I needed to go to the grocery. (Nobody at this point knew I felt this way) I walk out to my car, open up the door which was unlocked, and there on the seat was a Publix gift card! The Father saw me.....He knew.......He provides.

  • Sandi York. . . My thoughts are not His thoughts

    God wants to Build the House.......HE can sell it too!

    When I hear women stress over getting a house ready to sell, I love to recall His faithfulness to us in 2006 in that process. When the Lord was ready to move us out of our first home, I began to "paint the picture" in my mind that seemed real chaotic and stressful regarding selling and showing a house. Having 3 children under 7 at the time, I was tired just thinking about getting it ready and then showing it, etc. So, I told the Lord, "YOU are going to have to do this". The Lord had already led us to our new home, yet we did not put a contract on it at that point. So we were feeling some urgency. The sign goes up mid-week. First showing is Saturday at 2pm. My in-laws agree to take the children first thing in the morning on Saturday so that my husband and I can clean, plant flowers, straighten closets, etc. I drop the kids and head to Walmart for all of my cleaning supplies. As I am heading back home around 10:45, my husband calls and says, "Well, they've come and gone." What?? He said while he was planting the flowers, the the first showing showed up at 10 instead of 2! He let them inside anyway. Let me tell you what they saw: Breakfast dishes in the sink, on the counter and on the kitchen table; A high chair that had not been cleaned; unswept and unmopped kitchen floor; a laundry basket in the hallway overflowing, unmade beds, full trash cans,.......there had been no vacuuming, no dusting, no scrubbing, no shining, and no cookies baked in the oven to give a delightful and warm fragrance! Oh, and outside the few flowers that my hubby had planted.......with uncut grass!! YET, this first couple that looked were the ones that bought the house! Amazing. I never had to clean the house for showings after that nor did I have to escape with the children for showings. God showed it in all of its glory and sold it just that way. I had nothing to do with it. My thoughts are not His thoughts.

  • Stephanie Lloyd. . . I am His and He is Mine

    The stone of my testimony.

    An amazing thought. . . I am here because He thought of me. He planned my life and intricately knit me together in my mother’s womb. Each and every part of me was carefully crafted by our Creator and He has given me an irreplaceable part to play in His big story. He is my Father and I am His forever child created to bring glory and honor to His great name.

    I had the blessing and rich heritage of being a daughter of believing parents. My parent’s greatest desire was that my brother and I would know the love of the God they serve. I walked through several years of rebellion yet in my early 20’s surrendered my life to the Lordship of Christ.

    This began the incredible journey of my Christian walk. My greatest desire since I became a believer has been to know God and intimately walk with Him. I am very much like the character Much Afraid in the classic allegory Hinds Feet on High Places. I desperately want to go to the mountain top or High Places but I am too weak and afraid to make the journey alone. I need the Father, my Good Shepherd to lead and guide me there.

    I envisioned a life of mountain peak views with a story script of comfort, ease, and abundance. My naïve heart wanted the mountain peak views without the cost of the climb upward. I wanted the ski-lift approach. . . to get to the top and to experience the view without the effort or cost of the climb. But God wants our independence. God wants to stretch and grow my faith so that I can develop spiritual muscles. . . so that I can know the power of the Resurrection. . . so that I can know the depth of His character. There is no way to the mountain top except by way of steep climbs, deep valleys, and seemingly never-ending wildernesses.

    God’s Word says in 2 Corinthians 4:7, But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

    When I was in college, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and I have struggled with it ever since. I have gone through periods of intense darkness and fight through the fog often. Thus far, God has not healed me of this chemical imbalance. Instead, He has strengthened me and enabled me to endure the climb to the mountaintop while carrying this extra weight. He has provided enough light to make the journey and I am grateful and thankful for the days of the brightest light. My Abba Father is the lifter of my head and He has revealed to me the brightness of His glory. He shines His perfect into my darkness .

    I had planned out my story and my script flowed smoothly with no periods of waiting, silence, or uncertainty. I had it mapped out and I knew how many miles it would be before each turn and which direction to turn when it was time. My map through my twenties failed me because the road through singleness was much farther than I had anticipated. God waited several years before He brought my dear Mark. God, in His wisdom, used those years in the wilderness of singleness to bless me with deep intimacy with Him and rich fellowship with believers. It was during those years that He gave me the gift of life-long friendships, friends that are still my best friends today. His plans are good and His timing is perfect.

    After marriage, I was ready for the turn up the mountain to parenting but my Good Shepherd lead me the opposite way to the valley of the shadow of death and sorrow. I lost three babies through miscarriage and went through three and a half years of infertiflity treatments. These were some of the most painful and lonely years for us and especially for me. I had to die to the dream of having my own child when the infertility specialist told me that he had exhausted all treatments and that we should pursue adoption. I was a drug representative at the time and I would walk in hospitals and see pregnant women all around. I would think, God, this is an easy thing for you to do. . . why won’t you hear my cry? I had to die to the dream of having my own child. Mark and I decided after much prayer that our way out of the valley of barrenness would be adoption. We began the process and finished our home-study and at the point that we were waiting to be matched with a birth mother, we discovered a miracle. I was pregnant. God gave us FOUR children in FOUR years. Gods’ word says in Ephesians 3:20, Now unto Him who is able to do far more than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. We are still amazed and thankful for His immeasurable gifts.

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"Stacking Stones" is a divine concept created by a loving God who desires that His children have tangible, visible reminders of His faithfulness. These rocks of remembrance remind us of the Father's heart to connect to His people. In the Old Testament, God led the Israelites to safety and freedom through the towering walls of a divided Red Sea. He used the miracle path of a dusty dry sea floor to reveal His great power and deep, deep love for His covenant people. Before moving from the shore of deliverance, the Israelites gathered stones and stacked them to build an altar to celebrate and honor God's faithfulness to rescue them from death. This monument would be a place where parents could point back to and remind their children and future generations of God's mighty power and His provision for His people. The heap of stones would tell a story, a story of a loving Father to carry and protect His own.

Like the Israelites, we have our own stories of His protection, provision, deliverance, and continuous pursuits. I pray that we will pause and stack stones or words of remembrance as a tribute to our Living God. He is worthy of all honor and glory. Let us remember and tell of His goodness. Let us spread the fragrance of gratitude to the One deserving our praise.

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