The Stone

Kate is concerned that our guest isn’t wearing a wedding ring.

“Is she married or not married?” She asks in a whisper. Well, it’s a whisper for Kate.

Which means that everyone in the room is now paying attention.

Nikki giggles and answers in her thick Australian accent.

“Yes. I am married, but I don’t usually wear my ring. It’s very special, though.” Kate nods like she doesn’t believe her.

She’s five, and when you’re five you play by the rules.

The rules say no ring means the marriage isn’t legit.

I wait until Kate goes to bed and then I ask Nikki about it, because there was something in her voice that made me think there was a story hiding in there somewhere.

“It’s actually a really amazing story.” She starts out. I’m already sold on the story because of the way her voice lilts up at the end like she’s asking me a question. She’s moving around on the keyboard of my computer now and I see her pull up some pictures online.

She spins it around to face me when she finds the page she was looking for and there was absolutely no way I was going to hide my, umm, enthusiasm. I planned to say something along the lines of, “Oh that’s just lovely” and maybe make my voice get higher so she would feel at home with me. But it came out more elegant, like,

“Oh my WORD!!!! That sucker is HUGE!!!”

No lilt. No shame. Just a girl who was face to the screen with a diamond the size of a state.

She giggled. I’m going to go out on a limb and say she’s seen the googly-eyed look before.

“So, my grandfather used to mine stones in Australia. He owned a piece of land there and this particular stone has quite a history.” I lean in to listen and I realize I’m acting creeptastic and staring at her so I back up. Play it cool. It lasts all of four seconds.

She smiles as I unashamedly motion my hands in a forward motion to urge her on.

“He mined this stone, and when my mother was 13 years old, he let her cut a stone with him. It was hard work, you know, because you cut a diamond with another diamond and you just have to keep doing it until it gets all the facets you want it to.”

Actually, I don’t know. But I shake my head because creeperific is back in town and what in the world could be cooler than a girl talking about a mystery diamond. Oh wait, I know. A girl who sounds like Nicole Kidman talking about a mystery diamond.

“And this was the one they cut together. The very first one she ever cut with her father. She wore it for my whole life, until I got married. Then, we had it put in another setting and now it’s mine.” She smiled and looked back at the screen. It was a sweet story and that would have been enough for me to make a few phone calls and see if we could get a Lifetime movie in the works, but she wasn’t finished yet.

“Can I ask a rude question?” I say, and then I realize that whenever you phrase a sentence this way you have already asked a rude question and really there is no going back.

She is so friendly and open that I know she’s going to answer without being offended, so I dig right in and ask how many carats it is. I mean, burning minds want to know. The other guests in the room get quiet and start to listen. They’ve wondered themselves, I’m sure. And the door was open. Come on crew, let’s walk on in.

“I actually have no idea. That’s kind of part of the mystery of the stone. I actually don’t even know for sure that it’s a diamond.” She keeps talking about some other cool stone it might be but I’ve already skipped ahead in my mind to this great jeweler who we know in Nashville. I’m making mental notes about setting her up with a little appraisal because I think it’s going to be an “oh-happy-day” kind of experience, but I’m jarred by the end of her thought.

“…and I made a promise that I would never find out.”

Forget Lifetime. We’re going HBO on this one, baby.

I look at her with my mouth hanging open and I’m tongue-tied about where to go from here because who in the world has a wedding ring that their mother has worn for her entire life, and is sitting at her house RIGHT THIS SECOND and she can’t find out what it is?

I’ll tell you who.

Nikki the Australian girl.

She knows I won’t be able to form sentences because this is too good to be true. I stir my drink around so the ice hits the side because I’m well aware that we have now proceeded from creepy-creeptalicious into “I would rather not be a body in your trunk” territory and there’s nothing that says I’m cool like clinking ice cubes. Yes?

“So here’s the story.”

Thank you Jesus.

“My grandfather wanted to teach my mother a valuable lesson about the difference between value and worth. So as they cut this stone together, he made her promise she would never find out what its worldly value was. He told her that it wasn’t the amount of money it could fetch, but rather the fact that it had worth. He had mined it on his own land and they had cut it together. That was what gave it worth-not the dollar amount.”

You could have heard a pin drop. Or, you know, ice.

I needed to come up with something spectacular to say in this moment, because how often do you hear a story THIS good?

“SHUT. UP. “

Classy. That’s all I have to say about that.

“No, seriously. So I have honored that promise and I’ll never take it to a jeweler or anyone to see. Isn’t that neat?” (Insert lilty-Aussie voice which, let’s face it, has moved us right up into motion picture potential).

I did make a fool out of myself asking about four million questions after that, and later that night I kicked myself for not acting more poised and reserved about the whole thing, but she was as sweet as she could be and I don’t really think she minded.

It’s been weeks since I sat with Nikki upstairs in my house while the T.V. blared the latest headlines while I hung on her every word. I don’t remember much about the other things we discussed, but I do remember the spectacular lesson she gave me on the beauty of worth.

So many times in this life, we are convinced that its money, recognition, approval, accolades, or degrees that give us credibility and will make us feel like we’ve made it. And it’s easy to fall into the trap, because let’s face it-the world loves the shine. I get it. I mean, I GET it.

But what if we had something that was so precious that we didn’t even let the world tell us what it was worth?

We would protect it, keep it close, and pray that it would always be ours, wouldn’t we? This is how I want to think of my walk with Christ…like this stone. I can torment myself over the questions I have for Him, the doubts I feel sometimes, the genuine curiosity about my life. But instead of spending my days chasing after answers, I have decided that I have something much more beautiful.

I have the stone.

Given to me as a gift I never could have earned.

Worn proudly by His bride.

Cut at great cost, over and over again until the sun fell down and the curtain was torn in two.

For me.

For you.

Oh, precious One.

May I be a reflection of Your great worth all the days that You give me.

 

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious…1 Peter 2:7 



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  • Megan

    WOW!…… That’s all I got….

  • JustJess

    Beautiful, as always, Angie. Thanks for sharing your beautiful art of word and the wonderful story with us!

  • Anonymous

    love EVERY single word of this post.  truly.  Awesome story.

  • Holly

    {Sigh} I LOVE a good story…Nikki sounds like a neat friend!

  • http://SavingsLifestyle.com Andrea Deckard

    Awesome story. I felt like I was right there with you. I would have totally said “SHUT.UP” too. Classy we are. I love the closer though. It’s so accurate. Great story. Great reminder.

  • http://www.dominicandkristin.blogspot.com kasmith03

    WOW – what can I say? Goosebumps material there my friend!! What an awesome story…hers and yours! And such a great reminder where our focus should be. It is so easy to get caught in the world and feel like we will never “make it”. I have got to remember that I need to stop comparing myself to others and what they have achieved and look to what God has done in me and my husband and our marriage…once broken and now restored. THAT is important. THAT is a gift I should be grateful for every day!! And yet I forget that so easily. Thank you for the reminder that my focus should be with the One who restores!!
    Blessings Friend,
    Kristin

    And I get the whole “rules” thing….my 7 yr old Gabriel is the same way! :)

  • http://joyfulcontentment.wordpress.com/ Elizabeth

    Our first daughters middle names are Aiden Claire. It means fiery, clear and bright…a description of a brilliant diamond…I wanted her to always know she was God’s Jewel…perfectly created, unique, precious and irreplaceable. This story you’ve shared is something I will think of often when I remember why we named her this way! Thank you for this!

  • http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com gitzengirl

    i get to the end and that picture of her hand is right next to my little quote about rocks from God and stepping stones and i have chills like the reminder was meant just for me. because God is good like that.

  • http://www.mattandjesskelley.blogspot.com/ Jessica Miller Kelley

    I was actually wondering if it WAS Nicole Kidman, given the name, accent, and your Nashville music connections!

    The story reminds me of one told by Lisa Beamer (widow of the Flight 93 “Let’s Roll” guy). They had returned from Italy on Sept. 10, and had bought a beautiful antique bracelet there. They were typically cautious and frugal, and worried they were being taken for a ride, but bit the bullet and got the bracelet. Since it turned out to be the last gift her husband ever bought her, she says she’ll always cherish it and never have it appraised.

  • Jean Marie

    I love it that I’m not the only one who goes back and forth between trying to be poised and being completely shocked and giddy the next moment. ;) Thanks for being real. and HILARIOUS. with us, Angie. :)  

    Love…..

  • Krista Wilbur

    It’s like you were in my mind and knew what I needed to hear/read today, Angie. Thank you so much.

  • Caroline

    Just so so beautiful … 

     ” Cut at great cost, over and over again until the sun fell down and the curtain was torn in two.For me.For you.” 

  • http://twitter.com/marylenaburg Mary Lenaburg

    So beautiful…so true…worth is given by the cutter of the stone…thank you for the reminder…thank you…

  • http://holycamp09.wordpress.com/ Deborah Boutwell

    What a beautiful story and lesson…value and worth.  When my mother died, I asked my father if I could wear her rings, he said yes.  I’ve been wearing her wedding ring and another ring that she always wore for these past 7 months.  I know that they are real diamonds and very costly, but I can’t come to get them appraised (for insurance purposes) because I’m afraid that their cost will make me scared of wearing them, because their worth to me is so great, since they symbolized not what my father could afford to purchase for my mother…but their love for each other.  Every time I look at my hands….I see her’s.  That means more to me than the rings themselves.

    • Careydunlop

      My mom passed almost 2 months ago now and i asked my dad for the same privilege.  I too look at my hands and see hers.  Sometimes I feel crazy for thinking so.  It was such a blessing for me today to know that I’m not as crazy as I think some days, that someone else out there is doing the same thing.   

      • Beckie

        My sister wears our grandmother’s wedding band as hers. Our grandmother died shortly before my sister’s wedding.  I have wear my grandmother’s ring that she designed and had made for their 50th anniversary (1969). When I had it appraised for insurance purposes, the diamonds were not worth very much. Doesn’t matter to me, it’s where the ring came from and how much my grandmother meant to me.

      • http://holycamp09.wordpress.com/ Deborah Boutwell

        Praying for you in the loss of your mom.  My mom died in Jan and my grandmother in March.  It’s been a difficult year so far.  I never thought losing my mom would hurt this bad.  Reminders of her really help me through the days.  If you would like to connect, contact me at boutwell_d at bellsouth.net

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com Southern Gal

    The story the way you tell it is priceless.  His sacrifice even more so.  Thank you for sharing it.

  • http://thepartythatneverquits.blogspot.com Jen

    One of my favouritest all time scriptures is “you are not your own, you were bought at a price”. Coupled with your post and the lyric “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross”… Well, now I am undone for the day. That He thought my worth to God was worth Jesus’ worth to God… I have no words.

  • http://kimberlys-cup.blogspot.com/ Kimberlyscup

    thank you for sharing this lovely story!  great on so many levels.

  • Awslider

    How true these words are and how special this story really is. Thanks!

  • Lynn Worley

    It is interesting what value people of the world place on things. How much better to store up treasure in Heaven!
    Am here praying for your family!
    John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  • Anonymous

    beautiful. thanks for sharing this angie.

  • http://twitter.com/felicitywhite Felicity White

    Gorgeous ring. Even better story. My blog uses precious stones as a guiding analogy; I love the symbolism. A novel is being drafted on my desktop, too, with similar themes, and this post inspired me to keep going! Thanks.

  • Mwende H

    Beautiful story. It is such a great reminder of what I should put my worth in. Thanks!

  • Mama of 5 in SC

    I have pondered this idea of “worth” sooooo much the past few years.  I cut back to working part time when I started having children, then actually quit when I had my fourth child. I now stay home with all five (yep we had one more-he’s 7 months and the “finale”) and sometimes it’s easier to say “Daycare would be my whole paycheck with FIVE!” (which is a lie-my career paid very well) than to say “I feel it’s worth more for me to be home with my kids.”  Trust me, I have said both and the daycare comment gets nods and “mmmm, hmmm” remarks while the “I thinks it’s worth more” comment gets looks of disgust.

    The idea of “worth” is a complex one indeed and because I am not dressed in the latest fashions and we don’t take lavish vacations, I sometimes feel people don’t connect much “worth” with my choices.  I make my husband’s salary sustain us, and I sometimes work a little side work to help pay for big events like back to school clothes. We get no assistance but we make it work.  After 2 yrs of totally being ”home,” I picked up my “moiddle-middle” child from pre-k.  They’d had “career day” and someone from my profession spoke so I asked who?  When I asked, she looked confused as to why I’d care.  I explained that I was a ______ and maybe I might know the person who spoke as a former colleague.  Do you know she actually gasped and called out to her assistant teacher “Did you know Z’s mama is a ________?!?!”  I laughed and said “Yep, when I drop her off and the baby is chewing my shirt covered in spit up at and my toddler’s running wild, I guess I don’t look the part, huh?”  ;)  (PS. I’m not secreet service or a rocket scientist either, and am not being ambiguous not saying what my career is…it’s just not important-much like the stone in the ring…)

    Anyway, Great story.  I have felt the fatigue of a long summer and the “back to school hype” and have needed to feel closer to Jesus these last few days. This did it for me, so thank you!

  • Coby

    Seriously???  There isn’t a cooler story than that!   So cool, that I have no other word for it than “cool.”

    And I absolutely love the lesson to be learned about Christ.  “Cut at great cost, over and over again…”  Oh, the price He paid for me so that I could be His bride!!!

  • Barb

    Beautiful lesson. :)

  • Jocelyn

    Thank you for this lesson.  I have been fighting with myself about my worth in the world, finding a career I love, worrying about how others view what I can bring to the table.  But really, the eternal view is what is most important.  Thank you for the reminder :)   Your words never fail to bring perspective and peace.  

  • Shayne

    The coolest response I can come up with is wow and thank you.  Stupefied goofballs unite!

  • Nadine

    that is so awesome – especially with our precious stone – Jesus – and how many times do I hide Him?

  • Julie Sacramento

    Well, I laughed out loud multiple times. And my heart is touched beyond the witty writing with a message deep in my soul. His gift is priceless. Oh can’t wait for your book. You just keep getting better and better….. In so glad to have been a part of this for almost four years. Much love.

  • Jessica Berry

    Wow 

  • Beckie

    Recently, our daughter commented that my diamond wasn’t really big enough for the wider band that I had it set on after a hand accident. I looked down at my ring and jokingly told my hubby that Andrea said that I needed a bigger diamond. I received rolled eyes from hubby. After 39 yrs of marriage, I don’t need a bigger diamond. The diamond represents times of sickness & health, sad & happy times, years of lean & plenty, times of conflict & resolution. It represents 39 yrs of love.
    Beckie

  • Tobhischild

    Ohh..sigh.  Lovely in every way.  Thank you.

  • Lynn Worley

    Know that you’re always in my thoughts and prayers!
    Isaiah 53:4-6 ¶Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  • Connie L Amato-Mahle

    Angie,
     
    Love your Kate!!  I read your heart-felt post, “Katie Cat,” at (In)Courage.  She sounds a bit (actually a LOT) like my older daughter:  determined and feisty, yet loveable to the moon and back.   
     
    We as mothers never want our children to be teased, singled out or abandoned.  We would step in to wage their battles at any moment.  But rather, we place our faith in knowing those battles are the times in which they gain their character and strength.
     
    My daughter is very friendly and outgoing.  She loves meeting and making new friends.  She would make friends with every little boy and girl who cross her path.  To her, everyone to whom she speaks is regarded as a ‘friend.’ 

    There are times these little boys and girls do not share the same warm and friendly enthusiasm.  Sometimes, they can be just plain mean.  It’s hard for me to watch.   Thankfully, at this point, she just continues to go about her way.  I worry about her being ‘the different kid.’ 

    I am glad to be reassured that I am not alone in this as a mother.
     
    And just for the record, you gather the finest teachable moments!  You’d make a terrific teacher!!
     
    Prayers for you and Miss Kate!
     
    *Much Love & Friendship*

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  • Rachel Elder

    love the poignant way she explained worth and value and your comparison to our great Jesus! & on a completely random note…what is the tattoo of on her hand?  i’m SO curious! ;)

  • http://sufficientgrace-kelly.blogspot.com Kelly_SufficientGrace

    Beautiful…the lesson and the stone.

  • Courtney

    Angie,
    I recently came across your story while in the Doctor’s office with my son. I can’t wait to “start from the beginning”.  I only know that if your other post touch me as much as this one, I will be greatly blessed by the widom you share.  Thank you for being so open and honest about your struggles.

  • Salena McKay

    I heard you speak earlier today at Women of Faith in Atlanta, and I just wanted to say how much your story touched me. I have a sweet 18 month old little boy who is healthy and rambunctious, and I have three babies in heaven. Although my story is completely different from yours (I miscarried fairly early each time), I feel like I have a common bond with you in a certain way. I just want to commend you for being brave enough to stand up in front of thousands of women and tell your story. Not many women would have the courage to do that. Your story has potential to touch millions, and like you said today, your story shows and teaches others about the love of Christ.  Please keep doing what you are doing!

  • Kskorb

    What an amazing story.  It touched my heart.  I just got home from WoF in Atlanta….and have to say….you really are an amazing woman of faith.  My first bible study was also Beth Moore’s Breaking Free.

  • http://juliesunne.com Julie Sunne

    Such a powerful post! I also read “I Will Carry You” (or at least tried to through the tears). What an amazing testimony about you and your husband’s faith. I lost 5 babies to miscarriage and am raising three amazing boys and a beautiful daughter with significant disabilities. Through the doubts and and, yes, fears, I pray I can encourage others to walk by faith, not by circumstance, as you have so eloquently done.

  • http://juliesunne.com Julie Sunne

    Such a powerful post! I also read “I Will Carry You” (or at least tried to through the tears). What an amazing testimony about you and your husband’s faith. I lost 5 babies to miscarriage and am raising three amazing boys and a beautiful daughter with significant disabilities. Through the doubts and and, yes, fears, I pray I can encourage others to walk by faith, not by circumstance, as you have so eloquently done.

  • Jami Kastner

    hmmmmmmm. You wrote this blog almost a month ago, but I read it at JUST the right time. Thank you for this lesson about worth. I really NEEDED to hear it!

  • http://powerlessoverit.blogspot.com Wife Goes On

    Wow – this is an absolutely amazing story and metaphor.  Thank you for sharing, and thank you Nikki for sharing with us all!

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/poppyhousepottery Poppyhousepottery

    God Bless You, Precious for sharing this incredible story!
    My heart is full!
    I was reminded of My Grandfather, as I read….and his solid even step as he walked with His Lord….without many pennies in his pocket. His presence in my life and his steadfast love never ceasing to to reflect His Father’s Love…poured through him…over us.

  • Nicole Glover

    Just lovely!

  • http://www.glenrayjewellers.co.uk/jewellery/necklaces?material=850&adjclear=all Ruby Pendants

    Wow,awesome ring.I like this post.Keep it update.