God's Heart of Stone
My Baptism in Water
20 years passed since my experience of the Holy Spirit took place (see Pigeon Poo story). The desire to be baptised in water had been in my heart ever since, but alas I was lost going from church to church, not feeling that I belonged anywhere. This caused me to fall away from God, I didn't understand fully what it meant to be a Christian and it seemed ever so hard to follow Jesus. I did try from time to time to come back to attending church, but it just seemed to get harder each time.
It was not until I met my husband that "coming back" seemed easier. My 20 years in the wilderness of not attending church ended. I was now back attending church regularly and for the first time, I felt like I belonged. I was happy.
Finally in June 2006 I was baptised, an event which was 20 years overdue. I wanted a full body immersion baptism (as how Jesus had his). It was an emotional time for me as I realised how God had been with me all the time I was lost, and how He had found me again. I wrote a song for Him and also gave a testimony of how I came to know and love God.
God's gift - A Baptism Stone
As usual, I invited friends and family to witness the occasion. My parents-in-law who live in Norway were thrilled about the news (especially as my father-in-law is a pastor there). Unfortunately for him, he couldn't come as he had already arranged to go to an annual family re-union in North Norway and had already bought his plane ticket. So only my mother-in-law was able to attend.
When the baptismal ceremony (in the UK) started, my father-in-law (in North Norway) thought that he would pray for me (it was the least he could do by not being there), so he excused himself from his family reunion for a while. He took a walk along a pebble beach where he prayed. In his prayer he asked if God could give me something special as a baptism present. The beach was full of beautiful pebble stones – all white, rounded and very polished, so he thought that perhaps he could find a beautiful stone for me.
Upon finishing his prayer, his eyes fell on a rough, grey stone (so unlike the others) situated not far from him. He picked it up because he was drawn to the heart shape on it. At first he thought that it wasn't beautiful enough because it was not white and polished like the others, but then a little voice in his heart persuaded him that it was the one. He looked at it again and the heart shape on it grew on him, he was then suddenly reminded of a passage in:
"...rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands..."
Lost and Found
So, he took the stone for me, put it in his pocket and started to walk back. Whilst walking back, he saw some beautiful purple flowers and couldn't resist taking pictures of them. As he did so, he felt the stone heavy in his pocket, so he took it out and placed it carefully nearby until he had finished taking pictures of the purple flowers. Once finished, he left and walked back. As he approached his family, he realised that he had forgotten to take the stone back with him.
Looking back at the beach before him he thought he would never find it again – there were so many stones, it was like searching for a needle in a haystack. But he thought that if he could only find the purple flowers again, he would find the stone. After some time, he found the purple flowers and there was the stone waiting to be picked up again. He decided to take a video of this moment.
(It was very strange that he should do this, but we later found out that the moment he found the stone by the purple flowers (in North Norway) was the very moment I went under the water of baptism (in the UK). We knew of this timing by comparing the video he took of the stone by the purple flowers with the video my husband took of my baptism. God must have wanted us to know of this perfect timing and its significance. What an awesome God!)
Later that same day when he got home, my father-in-law saw a dark grey cross in the middle of the heart on the stone; it leapt up at him. He could barely believe his eyes. He was so inspired by the markings on the stone that he made a sermon of the stone, and preached it in several churches in Norway. All that have heard and seen the stone were amazed, never had they seen such a stone!
Love Heart and The Cross of Jesus
My father-in-law wrote to me his interpretation of the stone, as follows:
First of all, the heart shows God’s love for you, and the cross tells us that his love is so great that He was willing to die for you in order to save you (see John 3:14-16).
Secondly, the heart also shows your love for Jesus, and the cross points to your baptism, marking that you have already surrendered to Him and started a new life in Him (see Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Thirdly, as God through nature might have used generations in order to shape this stone ready for your special day of baptism, so He will use all the time He needs to shape and impart to you His gift – the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22).
Fourthly, even though at times, life can seem dull and not much to be admired, such as an ordinary grey stone might symbolise; God can shape something beautiful and meaningful from any of life`s experiences, just as the heart has been shaped as a part of the ordinary grey stone (see Romans 8:31-39).
Lastly, all these points were confirmed in your baptism and became visible for everyone on that day.
A Baby (sole) Footprint
The stone stayed in the possession of my parents-in-law until such time as they were able to visit me in England to give me the stone. During that time, whilst having lunch with some friends, my parents-in-law spoke about the stone and showed it to their lunch guests. One of them looked at the back of the stone and proceeded to say casually that she thought she could see a baby footprint. Up until this time, everyone had been so engrossed with the markings at the front of the stone that no one bothered to look at the back.
Indeed, there lies a baby footprint. The baby footprint is amazing because the back of the stone is completely flat, yet the baby footprint is raised (embossed). It’s a perfect footprint of a right foot and it is located on the right-hand side of the stone. It is the footprint of a baby because its heel is pointy, unlike the heel of an adult.
Silhouette of a Lady holding a Baby
Another amazing thing was also discovered that day - when the foot print is turned upside down, you could make out the silhouette a lady holding a child in her arms.
We didn't know it then, not until much later, but my husband and I have been told that we cannot have children. There is practically 0 % of that ever happening. The baby footprint on the stone confirmed to us that God knows our problems and that everything is in His hands for only He can make all things possible. This has been my strength and my refuge during tough times of being childless.
Psalm 62: 6-7: He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Pigeon Poo Marking
In awe of such a beautiful, personalised gift from God, I was even more amazed when my mother-in-law pointed out to me yet another significant marking on the stone. It was a lump with a white deposit on it very much like that of the pigeon dropping I once knew. Gasp! I thought, this was indeed a very personal stone from God to me because only God knew about our pigeon dropping event. This was a stone of LOVE, not only because of the HEART & the CROSS, but now also because of the pigeon dropping marking (see the Pigeon Poo story).
I now have the stone. I have never had anything so beautiful, so meaningful, so personalised and tangible from God. The Heart & Cross on my baptism stone have been seen by many as solid evidence of God's love for mankind. Just as the Ten Commandments were written on tablets of stone, now we have God's love heart & Jesus's cross inscribed also on a stone (I believe also by the finger of God) for all to see. It has thus inspired me to share this story and this stone with you.
For me personally, in addition to the interpretations made by my father-in-law above:
God must have started shaping the stone at least 20 years ago when I experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The stone was temporarily lost, just as I was also lost for 20 years, but it was found again just as I have also been found again.
Thus He has loved me all that time, and actually even before that. The Bible tells me of how He has loved me from before I was even formed in my mother’s womb (Psalms 139:13-16)
In the center of His HEART is His love for me - the CROSS of Jesus Christ.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
© Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.
© Photos by Robert & Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.