“Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress.” – Psalm 71:3
“If God doesn’t show up, I am screwed.” Have you been in a situation that has heightened your awareness of your absolute need for God? Waiting for a medical diagnosis, missing a head-on collision by inches, waiting for someone to come home alive, or maybe your last emotionally-stable thread has just snapped? “I need God, and if He doesn’t show up, I’m in big trouble.”
“From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” -Psalm 61:2
These moments are a gift. The comfort in our daily lives can easily be taken for granted; we forget that we don’t actually take care of ourselves and we are dependent on Him for everything.
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” –Colossians 1:17
The blessings are not just in the near misses, either; when we receive a devastating medical diagnosis, when we hit oncoming traffic, when our loved one doesn’t come home, and when we are laying in a puddle of emotional throw up. Anything that turns our affection toward the Lord is a blessing, even in the horrific moments.
“The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” -Deuteronomy 32:4
What did it mean to the Israelites to affectionately refer to God as their Rock?
“For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God? -2 Samuel 22:32
The Palestinians had outdoor living, more than we Americans are used to. After they moved from tents made of animal skins, the poorest of the culture lived in houses made of one room, usually made of rock or mud bricks. In the winter, they even shared half of this living space with their livestock to protect their resources.
Around the towns were walls made of rock, and the houses within were crammed together. Community gatherings would take place in the gateways and streets to allow space for everyone.
‘Because the Palestinians lived out-of-doors so much, the sacred writers were fond of referring to GOD as a “shelter” or as a “refuge,” rather than as a “home.” [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
When it came to food, they used a millstone to crush grain (and manna) to make bread.
“The people would go about and gather it and grind it between two millstones or beat it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make cakes with it; and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil.” – Numbers 11:8
To the Israelites rock was life. Without rock they would not have shelter for their families, a fortress around their cities, a warm place for their animals, or a tool to grind the flour for their bread. Their livelihood depended on the strength in the rock.
In America, our houses are made of 2x4s. Our flour is purchased in the store. Our livestock live in wooden barns in the winter. And our fortress? Maybe an electric security system or deadbolt could apply.
And until those awful moments come in our lives, we can easily forget that our livelihood is dependent on the Rock, just like the Israelites.
“Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves judge this. -Deuteronomy 32:31
Is the Rock your Safe Place, your Provider, your Protector? Do you pray when things happen? Do you ask Him when you’re in need? Are you arming yourself with Scripture to fight your daily emotional and spiritual battles? Do you snuggle into the warmth of His promises in the midst of the world’s hopelessness?
“Those that are at home in God, that live a life of communion with him and confidence in him, that continually resort unto him by faith and prayer, having their eyes ever towards him, may promise themselves a strong habitation in him, such as will never fall of itself nor can ever be broken through by any invading power; and they shall be welcome to resort to him continually upon all occasions, and not be upbraided as coming too often.” –Matthew Henry
Allow the great times, the near misses, and the devastations to become stairs to your affection for the Rock!
“In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed; In Your righteousness deliver me. Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; Be to me a rock of strength, A stronghold to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.” – Psalm 31:1-3
Do you remember Tom Hanks’ line from The Money Pit? “Stairs! We have stairs!” Haha! I completely understand the emotions of his character.
This is what the patio has looked like all summer. When we moved in this was all grass besides a small bed next to the house. After digging into the hill to make the tiered flowered beds on the sides, I dumped most of the dirt here. I leveled it out, removed all the plants from the small garden bed, and created the shape I wanted that spills over into the stairs leading down the hill.
For those of you that have never ordered rock before, it’s really easy. Call around for a good price, tell them what you want, and they will deliver it. I think it was around $300 for 15 tons of this crushed concrete. A bargain compared to the thousands it would cost to pour concrete.
We were hoping they would be able to dump as close to the house as possible. It gets risky when you think of power lines, trees hanging over, not to mention that once they start pouring they can’t stop it. But we were blessed that there weren’t any obstructions this time.
Nate and I started spreading out the rock right away. This is where I had left off with my “stairs”. They’ve just been sitting here. I couldn’t level them without the crushed concrete, so I was excited to get started! All of these large chunks of concrete are from my in-law’s neighbors. Kaye and Ed were so awesome to help us get these to our house (they are heavy).
I had to push wheelbarrows full of rock to get it to the bottom of the stairs. The tools we used for this were a shovel and a metal rake for grading.
This is what people see when they drive past- a huge pile of gravel. One man did slow down and complement us on the work we’ve been doing. That actually made me feel a lot better, I get insecure sometimes about what the neighbors think of our construction zone.
The awesome thing about this product is that it’s easy to move, but once it gets packed down it becomes super firm. This means that the stairs will be secure and the little bits of crushed concrete act like a glue to hold them in place.
This pic was just after I had started on the stairs. It’s starting to take shape!
And you can see my brick steps and mulch are what we’ve been using for stairs. So I had to rake all of the mulch back and remove all of the bricks.
The first set of stairs are finished! Even though it’s concrete, I love the natural look of it, like how stairs would be at a state park. And of course the flowers pouring over the edges give it a whimsical look also.
The leaves make it difficult to see, but the stairs were not level and fairly awkward to walk up.
But by bringing the crushed concrete down the stairs, I was able to stagger the large chunks into a comfortable stepping pattern all the way up. This is what it looks like at the top looking down.
And this is Nate testing them out for me.
We love it! The bricks were really pretty (and I’ll be able to use them for something else), but by using the same landscaping material from the driveway all the way to the front door, it creates cohesive design throughout. This allows for more variation within in the flowers without it looking overwhelming.
We still have a large pile of crushed rock on the patio that we plan to use for other projects, but for now, Nate and I are trying to enjoy our current accomplishments.