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The 'Official' Title for this blog - what is it and what does it mean?

For starters, lets talk some history here. (No groans please.) Throughout the six thousand years since Creation, there have been a lot of changes. People groups forming, new languages being created and old ones dying away, empires rising and falling, cultures growing and shaping the world, only to be replaced by new cultures with new ideals and standards and lifestyles, the list could go on for an entire textbook series.

Because of all these changes, popular opinion and sense of value ebbed and flowed in many areas, such as architecture, clothing, beauty, etiquette, government, fashion and trade. But...there is one class of material items that has never lost its value, never had its worth diminished, and never been dismissed or ignored by any people group or culture.

Any guesses yet?

Yep, I'm talking about precious metals and gems. Just think about their title for a second. Precious. For thousands upon thousands of years, the human race has valued these pieces of hardened and condensed chemicals and minerals, considering them worthy enough to adorn the highest royal, go to war over, spend a lifetime in quest of and commit atrocious deeds of crime simply to obtain! Of the most valuable gems in the world, few, (if any) do not have a bloody history behind them. WHY??

Well, let's think about that. The only gold being formed today is in exploding stars in outer space. Diamonds, rubies and many other precious gems are created under high heat and tremendous pressure. Tanzanite originated from tectonic plate movement around Mt. Kilimanjaro. Silver is formed when sulfur compounds within the earth's crust heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Copper is created in volcanic regions. And yet, in spite of all this brutal, indelicate pressure and force, the metals and gems that result are the most highly prized material objects in the world. They are beautiful, breathtaking, full of light-catching and light reflecting angles and substances. They are rare. They are worth it. They are precious. (LOTR fans, please don't freak out :) )

The process of changing ordinary substances into beautiful stones and metals makes them highly valued. We cherish the result; but if these gems could talk, they would tell of the pain and pressure they underwent to become so.

The name of this blog is:

'Strands of Silver'.

Why this name? Well, I am running a jewelry store, remember? :) and I am one of the world's admirers of precious metals and gems.

Who doesn't think they're beautiful? Of the metals, silver tops gold by a lot (at least in my own private opinion).

(Note on the picture: Aren't 'White gems of pure starlight' the prettiest thing you can imagine?!?)

So that explains the name. But why the lengthy explanation above?

Well, my family is going through a hard time of pressure and pain. More than I have ever experienced before. My Daddy is nearing the end of his fight against a rare and aggressive cancer. I feel like I am being crushed at times. My stomach is no stranger to knots of pain and I am becoming accustomed to the pressure of stress. I'm not alone - I see the rest of my family wrestling with these symptoms as well. And yet, even though we're not on the other side of this season of life, I have been noticing the strands of silver forming in the blackness of our situation.

I've seen my family come together as a team, working as one throughout a bunch of crazy and unexpected circumstances. I've listened to my Daddy share the good news of the gospel to many who are in need of the truth. I've been blessed by the prayers, encouragement and support from fellow Christians all over the country. I've read my Mama's journal updates/musings and marveled at her peace and strength in this situation. I've grown closer to my Heavenly Father, learning to trust Him, lean on Him and let Him take control.

For myself, as a Child of God, and for all my brothers and sisters in Christ, we can see similar processes in our own and each other's lives. Sometimes we can see the precious gems that have been formed as a result. Sometimes they're still hidden by the dirt and grime of the nasty 'creating' procedure. And sometimes they're not formed yet, whether because the process isn't far enough along or because the 'gem-in-the-making' is pushing back and hindering the undertaking.

The lesson I feel like I am supposed to be learning right now is about trust. Trusting that God sees and knows the precious pieces of gold, silver and gems that will be created as a result of this time of heat and pressure. Trusting that He knows they will all be worth it, to the praise of His glory.

And honestly, I had no idea I was going to share all this when I sat down to write today. So maybe this is a message that God wanted to remind you about. That He does understand the hard times, and He is allowing them for a reason. He knows the treasure that is being created in you. He sees your potential as a diamond, and He won't let you settle for being boring old carbon. ;)

"And I will bring [them] through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.' "

- Zechariah 13:9

Thanks for reading this far! Since the title for this blog created a post in itself, I am going to leave the subtitle to be revealed in the next post. :)

P.S. My Mama has been posting "musings" on the caring bridge site for Daddy. Basically they are journal entries of her personal questions and struggles and the what God has been teaching her during this time. If you are going through a hard time, I would recommend that you read them. Watching what she lives through on the outside and then finding out what she is pondering/learning on the inside is like seeing a diamond being formed first hand! You can read her entries here:

Just scroll down and look for "Rebecca's Musings" on the top of the posts.

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