Those who follow me on social media know that I’ve spent the past seven days at our family’s cabin the San Juan Range of the Rocky Mountains in Southwest Colorado. I’ve been enormously blessed to be able to share this majestic part of the world with eight other women from my tribe of women to whom I have become close since meeting in the Holy Land in 2016. Six of the women had to leave after five days, but two were able to stay a little longer and will return home later today. To say that a piece of my heart goes with each one of them is an understatement.
I learned so much about and from these women in just a few days, and the insights continue as the week goes on…
My husband, two of my daughters, and a friend who is like a daughter to me joined us out here on Monday. Yesterday, the seven of us drove from our cabin near Powderhorn to the small town of Creede. Seeing a moose cross the road in front of us, leap over a fence, and walk into the trees was just one of the highlights of the day.
Our first stop in Creede, after the visitors center, was the Mines and Memories General Store. There, the owner, Ken Wiley, regaled us with stories of searching the abandoned mines for amethyst, agate, lead, and other minerals. He spent a great deal of time explaining to us how these ores were created by fissures in the earth many miles below the surface and were eventually mined. He showed us what treasures can be found inside the blocks of rock and how the fissures created patterns inside the rock. He told us that, in the days of the silver boom, miners would search exclusively for silver, discarding the rest of the ore without thought or care. Today, Colorado amethyst is one of the prized minerals once thought to be of no value.
Taking great pride in his finds, Mr. Wiley showed us how he discovers the amethyst hidden deep inside the rock. After searching through the rubble in the mine, he takes his chosen rocks back to his shop and breaks them open, revealing faint patterns along the interior of the rock. After hours of polishing the rock, a kaleidoscope of colors appears, revealing agate, lead, quartz, and the beautiful purple amethyst, varying in color depending upon the amount of manganese in the rock. No two patterns are the same, and the colors in each layer depend entirely on what minerals seep into that layer before it cools and awaits the next geological heating that causes more fissures to open.
The more time and effort put into the polishing of the cracked-open rock, the more the colors of the ore are revealed, and the prettier the slab becomes.
After five days of long walks, a Bible study, early mornings and late evenings, and many tears punctuated with laughter, I’ve come to have a deep appreciation of the polishing process of the slab of amethyst. When you take five women into the mountains, 10,000 feet above the earth and miles away from their families, many cracks are revealed, and I witnessed how those cracks can become filled with beautiful colors and patterns which make each of us who we are as individuals. Some of us have truly been through the fire and withstood the heat and the fissures that occurred. Some of us are still waiting for the cooling off period when we will be strengthened and solidified. All of us are in need of some heavy polishing.
When the miners entered the mines, they had no idea what they would find. Would it be a bust, or would they take home a bevy of priceless silver? Will modern day miners like Mr. Wiley from the general store find rock filled with nothing but lead or will it reveal a rich kaleidoscope of beautiful white, silver, yellow, and purple hues? The only way to know is to crack open the rock and take the time to polish it until the colors break through. Thus it is with each one of us.
Every person starts as a blank, indistinguishable rock. Over time, we are heated and cooled and crushed or expanded. Through this process, we are constantly being transformed. When we allow ourselves to be polished, by others and especially by God, we become the beautiful creations we were meant to be. Only through heat and strengthening then being cracked open and polished can we be transformed. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).
Be open to change. Allow your life and your heart to be made anew, transformed, and polished. Open yourself to those you trust, those who love you and see your beauty. Let God change your heart from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. Let your purples and yellows and silvers and whites come to the surface and shine. And remember that even when discarded and dismissed as worthless, your true value can be found and cherished. We all just need to learn to dig beneath the surface and see beyond to the potential that comes when polished with love and care.
My next book, The Good Wine, will be available on July 1, 2021 and is available for pre-order! More retailers are being added daily, so keep checking your favorite bookseller to see when you can order your copy. In-person special event launches as well as an online event are being scheduled. Subscribe to my Newsletter to get updates.
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What I was writing about a year ago this week: A Camping We Will Go.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020).