Sue Oldford

Lately I’ve been hearing and talking about Joshua Stones in all kinds of places. The Women’s Thursday Night Bible Study is going through the book of Joshua, and we recently talked about the Stones. Then Pastor Mike preached about them twice ("Rock" the Memorial Pt. 1; "Rock" the Memorial Pt. 2). And last Sunday, at the end of the sermon, he gave people an opportunity to share the stories of their Memorials and Joshua Stones. It was great to hear everyone share. 

Here is the story of one of my Joshua Stones, and how God has used it in my life.

When Nick was in elementary school, we had a fire at our house. It was so bad that we spent a year living elsewhere while the house was fixed.

Our pastor at the time said that we could stay with him and his wife Letha. What I remember most about that first day, is that our pastor and his wife told their neighbors about the fire, and one lady came over and brought us toothbrushes and toothpaste. And someone else, from Covenant Baptist, brought me her bathrobe, and told me I may want to just curl up – because I only had the clothing on my back that I'd worn to work that morning.

The next day, Letha and another friend decided to go with me to the house to see what we could salvage.

When we got up, Letha said, “It’s a new day, the sun is shining, and God’s in Heaven. Always remember that.”

So we went through the house and got what we could get to save - clothing to wash, and some toys, but not much. Everything stunk so bad, it was all wet, and smelled like smoke.

Christmas was always important in my family growing up, and even as adults, so when my mom passed away 3 years before, I got several of her Christmas decorations. One of these decorations was her manger scene. It originally belonged to my grandmother, so it is very precious to me.

The day after the fire, I was so upset, because I knew it started in the basement where all of our Christmas decorations were stored. I wanted to go down and check, but everyone kept telling me not to go down there because it was all burned and wet.

I put on my boots and trudged down, though.

There was about a foot of water on the floor. I can still smell that burnt smell now. One of the beams had burned and fallen down, and was leaning against the wall at an angle. I reached underneath it to see what I could grab.

The first thing I pulled out was the baby Jesus form the manger scene.

Right then I knew God was going to take care of us. Mary was ok. Joseph’s arm was broken off. We salvaged a cow, some sheep, a shepherd, and only 2 of the wise men. The box where we kept it all was burnt around the manger. The manger was burnt, too, but it was intact. 

It was February, so we couldn’t leave things too much outside to dry, but we left what we could, and glued everything back to together.

Every year, when I set up the manger scene, the soot gets all over my hands, and I remember the fire. I remember God's faithfulness. 

People ask me why I only have 2 wise men and why the baby Jesus is all sooty. I get to tell them that it is my Joshua Stone, and it reminds me that God provided for us, because we weren’t in the house the day of the fire. All of us were ok. He’s always provided for us.

The stable is a music box, and even after all these years, all that fire, and all that water, it still plays Silent Night. We are always afraid it won’t play, but every year, it faithfully plays that beautiful tune.

I always get a chance to tell somebody about it, and that is wonderful, because it's great to share about what God has done in our lives.

One of my goals as a mother, and soon-to-be-Grandmother, is to make sure that my family knows how gracious and good God is. I love the line “May those who come behind us find us faithful.”

Last Christmas, I got to share it with Nick’s new wife Lindsay, and someday, Lindsay will get the manger scene, and they will get to tell their kids and other people about how this is one of our family’s Joshua stones.