Dribbled with coffee, circled, and underlined throughout, Stone Crossings, by L.L. Barkat, shuts in my lap. A little one has been flying a hero in my face and wallowing all over me, and even still, I shut the book having been glued to L.L.’s story, which is also my story, and yours.
The toy zooms past my nose, and the little one questions my tears, “Mama? You sad?” and smiling, I hold my arms way up high: “No. I’m happy. My heart feels really, really big.”
He shrugs as if to know exactly what I mean, he in his beginning years of collecting treasure boxes full of stones, he at the beginning of his own narrative.
Every chapter of Stone Crossings is one ebenezer after another, monuments of God’s help, of L.L.’s increasing understanding from her childhood conversion to her expectations of crossing over into eternity. Barkat takes us, one step at a time – one stone at a time, on a journey that delves deeper into the invisible, exploring the pit and marrow of her own soul as she works out her messy and beautiful salvation, the suffering, the resistance, the doubt, and the sacrifice.
Of responsibility, Barkat encourages us to walk Jesus’ path, the one of deconstruction so that ultimately we rebuild on the Chief Cornerstone, to follow Him as the Sabbath in action. I can’t stop appreciating how she constantly points to Christ, to His mercy and grace, especially in regard to the hard places, in the places of neediness and forgiveness and in the places of learning how to love and how to be loved.
Barkat’s connections between her own story and biblical stories made fresh through her perspective have encouraged me to consider my own testimony, where I’ve found “grace in hard and hidden places.” Our stories aren’t as neat and canned as sometimes we would like for them to be, but Oh, how beautiful Christ is every time in them, when our stories become His – how His grace becomes the Solid Rock of our foundation, no matter the background, no matter our previous shaky standing.
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