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Chapter 10 – Where the Heart Is

I’m really not big into jewelry. I have no good explanation for that. I have a handful of very special pieces (which Jim bought me) that I wear on special occasions. I still wear my engagement and wedding rings every day, but otherwise, I’m minimally adorned by choice.
The fact that I still wear my engagement and wedding rings has proven to be confusing for some people. Either they assume I’ve remarried, or they find it very odd that I would continue to wear them as a widow. When they ask me about it, I tell them that the rings still symbolize the love that Jim and I had for each other, but now they have an additional meaning: they represent the commitment I have made to Jesus, and the unending love He has for me. Some people are satisfied with that answer. Some people get teary-eyed and say, “Oh, that’s sooo beautiful…” Others just walk away perplexed, scratching their heads.

Another piece of jewelry that I wear every day is my cross necklace, and that has a story of its own. If you’ve read A Tempered Faith, you may recall the chapter titled “The Rose and the Lenox Vase”, in which I described myself as a single, red rose and Jim as an expensive vase. A flower, by itself, is beautiful. A vase, displayed by itself, is a work of art. Alone, Jim and I were lovely; together, we made each other shine. But one day, the vase came crashing to the ground and left the rose all by herself. She was alone – devastated, lost, thirsty, and dying.

As the rose, I had a choice: either shrivel up and become a stick of thorns or look for water so I would live and never thirst again. Jesus offered me living water (John 4:14). I immersed myself and found new life in Him.

After my best friend Amy read the manuscript for Tempered, she was deeply touched by that chapter and gave me a gift – a unique and sentimental Treasure – the most beautiful silver cross necklace I’ve ever seen. This simplistic description will do it no justice: there is a silver rosebud in the center of the cross and its stems and leaves extend out to form the beams. And Amy’s words to me were the best part of the gift: “Now the rose isn’t dying by itself anymore. Now the rose is alive, with the cross.”

She summed up my whole testimony with one profound statement. And since the same people who ask about my wedding ring usually ask about my necklace, too, I get to share this story with them. The cross necklace is not just material treasure made of sterling silver, it’s also spiritual treasure because it’s a great witnessing tool for the love of Christ. Jesus, who wore a crown of thorns for me, went to Calvary so that I could one day be an eternal rose with Him. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us” (Eph 1:7). That is a treasure. That is treasured faith.