Gifts – Behind the Scenes

I’m linking up with Crystal Stine today for Behind the Scenes.  Snap a picture and tell the story about what you don’t see.   The whole truth about the picture.   It’s fun and heartfelt.   Join us?

There is an outcropping of rocks by the lake.  A jut of used concrete, boulders and twisted rebar.  This mass of cement used to create a retaining wall and a channel for all the happy boaters doing summer on Lake Huron.  

And just here where the Pine River meets one of the Great Lakes is where I found God… again last summer.  

What you see here is the blue of the water, small tufts of white floating like pearls on diamonds.  You can catch a glimpse of the beauty that will be the day.  The hot summer sun casting shadows across the ground. Shadows that beckon you to follow as one lazy day shifts and flows into another.  No time schedules, no rules, no bedtimes, no agenda, just day after day of nothing planned. 

In this picture you see the flat surface of a piece of concrete perched high in the air.  You see the soft blanket I carried down to the river that morning and my journals and pens.  You see a place of reflection and purpose.  You see inspiration.

What you can’t see is the book that is buried under my purple journal.  The one that I almost glanced over in the bookstore because I was on a mission to find something else.  You can’t see the inside of that small colourful journal; a list of gifts that had just been born.

What you can’t see is me.  The one who sat on that perch and whispered fear and doubt out to the waiting water.  You can’t see the first tears that fell as I cracked open the spine of that book.   You can’t see my hands trembling as I tried to make it past the first words, the first chapter.  Word after word was like an arrow shot sure and true by a Master Archer, straight into the waiting heart.

What you can’t see is the ugly gift I offered my King.  My stubborn pride, my cynicism, my fears and doubts, all of that mess I held cupped in my hand and offered it to God.  And on that day when I felt His whisper close to my ear I asked Him to help me start fresh.  To help me find joy in the middle of a time when walking away, giving up seemed to be the path of least resistance.

And with these words by Ann Voskamp blurring in my vision: “When we find ourselves groping along, famished for more, we can choose,”  I listened intently to hear the words that God was whispering soft into my ear…

“Tonya, daughter, beloved… Do you want to be saved?” 

“Yes,” I whispered into the breeze

“Than give it to me”

“What?” I asked

“Your heart,” He said.

“Really, this?  You want me to give you this?”  It was a paltry offering, an ugly gift


What you can’t see in the picture is God taking this cracked heart.  This split right open and ugly heart.  You can’t see His holy breath warm the stony edges.  You can’t hear His soft murmurings as He coaxed a heartbeat out of hardness. 

You can’t see that on that day.  That hot and steamy day last summer – I chose joy and salvation.


  1. It is in counting the gifts that we find grace, love, and peace. I love your story of “the ROCK!” So precious. Hopping over from Crystal’s link party…you’re my blogging neighbor there.

    • Jennifer, Thank you so much for stopping by today and visiting. And thank you for such kind words. You bless! Hope you’re having a great day.

  2. I love this, friend. What beautiful reminders for my heart this morning…thank you for sharing. Have an amazing day!

  3. Stunning post, sister. I love this so much 🙂 Thanks for sharing this story!

  4. That is so powerful, any comment I make isn’t going to do it justice. Beautiful!

  5. Tonya – This is just beautiful. To remember the time (or times) that He meet us right where we were. Meeting us in deepest darkest ugly times. I love seeing now how He has taken the you that was there that day and grown you into such a beatuiful heart who is such an encouragement to me even though we have only met online. Thank you for sharing both your old ugly heart and your new beautiful heart.

    • Amy, You are such an encouragement to me. Thank you so much. And us connecting, together online – it’s a God thing… so glad that you were blessed today.

  6. This is a beautiful post!

  7. So glad you had that moment in the midst of concrete and floating waves, to talk with God and find your heart found. Love you, friend. Rejoicing with you, always.

    • Thank you Alia. I too am so glad. I sometimes wonder where I might be today. Right now in this moment if I hadn’t said “Yes” to God that day…

  8. This gave me chills. He LOVES your beautiful heart. You are His creation, and your words are so powerful in honoring Him. Great post!

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