I’ll build an altar to praise Him….

Today I came across something I’d written years previous: “God is asking me to go back and get the pieces of myself that I abandoned as a young girl. They are pieces of my heart that were left behind because it was just too painful to bring them with me. But now as an adult God is asking me to bring them to the forefront again, to remember them, to bring them to Him, because now as an adult I need them to become the beauty that God created me to be from the beginning…. I need them because God wants to turn my ashes into beauty and He can only do that when I bring them to Him.”

As I look back on the path behind me, in my minds eye it’s as if I can see places along the way marked with an altar of stones…those places where I picked up the pieces of my heart that were lost, stolen or broken or simply never uncovered…and as I picked up each one, sometimes with deep pain and endless tears, other times with intense anger but always with an expectation and a hope, would I lay them at the feet of Jesus.

Small altars along the path of my life built with rough rocks and stones symbolizing memories, brokenness and pain that I needed to surrender, to lay down…those deep places of the heart and spirit that needed His healing touch…. these altars along the path marked my journey with the Lord.

Canadian musician and songwriter Steve Bell, whom I’ve had the privilege of seeing in concert, sings a song called: Here by the Water

Soft field of clover
Moon shining over the valley
Joining the song of the river
To the great giver of the great good

As it enfolds me
Somehow it holds me together
I realize I’ve been singing
Still it comes ringing
Clearer than clear

And here by the water
I’ll build an altar to praise Him
Out of the stones that I’ve found here
I’ll set them down here
Rough as they are
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy

I think how a yearning

Has kept on returning to move me
Down roads I’d never have chosen
Half the time frozen
Too numb to feel

I know it was stormy

I hope it was for me learning
Blood on the road wasn’t mine though
Someone that I know
Has walked here before

I came to the place in my life where no longer could I hide the stones that I’d been given: stones of abuse and rape, stones of abandonment and rejection. They were getting too heavy to carry so I would drop them but no longer could I step over them either.

The stones were not smooth but were jagged and rough, causing me to stumble along the path sometimes cutting my feet. As I looked back I also saw places along the trail stained with blood marking the path.

At the time, although I wasn’t sure how God could make my stones holy, deep down I knew He could, that He would.

How would He bring good out of evil, how could I sing, how could I praise Him….how could He, how would He heal me…and yet, I knew…that somehow, the God of all creation, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End…would bring healing…I had a flicker of hope ignite deep in my spirit and I knew…I believed, and I hung onto HOPE!!

And I began to sing…as God took my bloodied and battered heart and begin to heal it, to mold it, to soften it…. I sang, and hand in hand together God and I walked this rough and uneven path.

This was certainly not the road I would have chosen as a young girl…but I am here today, alive, healing and still singing!! Why can I sing…because I know that I do not walk this road alone.

There were times along the path of healing that the stones were so sharp I felt like my heart was being ripped to shreds.

The trail is stained with my hurt, tears and grief.

But the blood on the path….the blood is not mine…it was shed for me, definitely, but is is mine, no….and the tears…well, they’re not all mine either…..

 And here by the water
I’ll build an altar to praise Him
Out of the stones that I’ve found here
I’ll set them down here
Rough as they are
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy
Knowing You can make them holy

All the stones….rejection, abandonment, anger, fear, abuse, rape, self-pity, approval, addictions, striving…..today they are all holy….because I chose to lay them at the feet of Jesus and build an altar to praise Him, rough as they were….. so that He could take them from me, use them and make them holy.

And He has……



3 thoughts on “I’ll build an altar to praise Him….

  1. His blood shed for us
    to make us holy
    in all our brokeness
    sorrow and pain
    He mixed His tears with ours
    a healing elixer
    come drink and sing
    worship Him for Who He Is

    I love your heart, reformed by His hand Connie, your bravery and your love, reflecting His glory!


  2. I absolutely love the song you wrote about! I too have rough stones I am trying to lay down. It is a process that won’t be complete until I reach Heaven. But singing definitely helps me keep the focus on Jesus, not on myself.


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