Sand and Stone

Ten years ago now, on the Epiphany, January 6th (also called “Little Christmas” or the “Twelfth Day of Christmas”), our family's Promised Land “Zion” or “Shangri-la” - the place where no one grows old, became a memory...through tragic and a very difficult series of events.

It was in many ways a sanctuary I loved, the place where I learned to pray, sing and trust my Father, no matter what the circumstances. It was a place of joy, hospitality and many, many times of communion with family and friends over good meals...I learned to love the secrets found in the woods, the wildlife, the trees, the mountain. I learned to discern my Father's voice and saw His deliverance and special care for each of us there...It was where I learned the importance of inter-dependence, of serving others, the value in forgiveness and to endure hardness. They were not easy years, but I feel blessed to have had them.

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof…How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?” ~ Psalm 137:1-2, 4

We will never again see it as it once was. It has been quite a decade of “sand” and “sandpaper” for me and for my family. We have each been moved and changed. I am so grateful for the LORD’s keeping over these last ten years, as He promised,

“The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” ~ Psalm 121:8

The Joy of Motion, 3x4 watercolor, 2018, Collection of the Artist


Sand has many uses and can represent several things in our lives:

Sandpaper is abrasive, and used to smooth wooden objects.

Sandcastles on the beach are made with wet sand but they don't last long, eroded by wind and the tide.

Sand can be used to bury things and carrots grow best in sandy soil.

On the desert, sandstorms blot out the sun and drive tiny particles into every uncovered crevice. Sandstorms can be very dangerous and special preparations must be made to survive them.

One tiny irritant of sand is all it takes for a pearl oyster to make a valuable gem, over time.

A house, or family, should never be built on sand, for it shifts and moves. ~ Matthew 7:26-27

Sand is used in hourglass clocks, to measure the passing of time.

Grains of sand are innumerable and yet, incredibly, our Father says His thoughts toward us are more in number than these grains!:

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O Yah! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” ~ Psalm 139:17-18

Sand is the primary ingredient in the making of glass. The glass will never return to its previous state, as a friend recently shared:

"Change is the very nature of life - welcome it. No glass ever became sand again; No bread ever became wheat; No ripened fruit ever became a flower. Welcome change, and choose what kind of glass you create, what kind of bread you bake, what kind of fruit you harvest."

Sand also symbolizes the faithful promises of our Father:

"Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand [for] the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?" ~ Jeremiah 5:22

High-Five - Two Manatees, 5x7 watercolor given as a gift to a 12-year-old who loves Manatee, August 2018


Sandstone is also abrasive and used for polishing and sharpening axes and blades, knives and swords - items that become far more usable and valuable once coming into contact with the stone. 

It is a good thing to be in the hands of one who is wise and knows the end result of the “pain” required.

I learned at the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in 2009, at the largest exhibit of Japanese armour ever seen outside of Japan, that it takes fifteen men six months to make ONE sword!

Here is a quote from the book, "The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing" which I find fascinating and I liken it to life:

“Sword polishing is a unique Japanese craft…the aim of the polisher goes far beyond merely sharpening or cleaning the sword. The polisher’s goal is to enhance the appearance of the blade and bring out the details of its individuality, so that the owner of the sword can easily see them and the sword’s character. The work involved is extremely detailed and time consuming, there is a reason for every step used in the process, and no shortcuts are possible if the best results are to be obtained. Extreme care is necessary – one error at any stage of the process can lead to a deep scratch or mark on the blade, which will require considerable time and effort to remove. The best polishers work at a surprisingly sophisticated level, constantly striving to coax forth the individual properties of each sword.”

The LORD is the owner of my life and the quote above also reminds me of this scripture:

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” ~ Isaiah 49:1-3

I feel our Father certainly hid me for many years in the wilderness, and He continues to polish my character now in very different environments. I endeavor to carry, by grace, His Son's piercing Kingdom message to the world. Y'shua died so that I might live and I give Him the right to my life. Our Father is the Great Potter, my molder and Maker. Christ is my Redeemer.

He will show me the path of life; in His presence is fullness of joy; and at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

Thank you, all my kind friends and family, who have helped me bear my burdens over these last ten years, as I truly became a pilgrim and a stranger. May your lives be richly blessed by God for generously giving me your time, resources and love!

As I have grown to see tragedy in a different light than I used to, I know that seeing His faithfulness and being very dependent upon God's provision has really been a huge blessing! May the LORD be glorified in all our suffering.

Your Painting Friend,

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. ~ Psalm 119:71

Psalm 119:73-80:
73JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. 74They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. 75I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. 76Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. 77Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. 78Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. 79Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. 80Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

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