Diamonds in the Rough

by Christina Stolaas
Have you ever seen a raw gemstone? Throughout history jewels have been of great value, particularly to women. Polished pearls, diamonds and semi precious colored stones are passed from generation to generation and valued both for their rarity and durability. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “he/she’s a diamond in the rough” used to describe someone with hidden potential who need a little polishing. It’s true, diamonds are quite ordinary at first glance; the beauty of the jewel is only revealed after the extensive cutting and polishing process. 
It wasn’t until this last week that I had ever held a precious stone in it’s raw form. Over spring break we took our young kids to a unique tourist attraction, a gem mine. The kids sifted through buckets of sand using water and mesh wire system to reveal hidden gemstones. To their delight they each collected little bags of treasures. After we finished we were invited to visit with the assayers who examined each kids collection, explained what each stone was, and noted the pieces that were cutable and those that held significant value. 
I was most surprised by the appearance of both a large ruby and large emerald stone. The natural stones had little (if any) resemblance to the polished expensive jewels in stores. The ruby only had a hint of red in what looked like a plain rock and the emerald had a pale greenish hue. In fact, these two stones were so ordinary that in a pile of rocks they would be unrecognizable unless you knew specifically what characteristics to look for. They didn’t stand out, you couldn’t see clarity, and honestly– the much less valuable rose quartz looked stunning by comparison. 
Here’s what’s interesting though. We shared with our kids that the emerald and the ruby were more valuable then any of the other stones collected. We told them they needed to take special care of these two stones because they were rare and one of a kind. Though several gems in their collections had better natural appearance the kids didn’t hesitate or question us. They guarded their gemstones and for the entire drive home they bantered back and forth about how valuable their treasure was and how lucky they were to find them. During the four hour drive home they each traded several stones, but can you guess which two ones never exchanged hands? 
 My kids didn’t have to see the beauty of the stone to believe it had great value. 
The stones looked remarkably ordinary; but the kids treated them as treasure based solely on our word. They acted on this truth without having persuasive evidence; the stones didn’t look valuable— there was no one willing to buy them— they weren’t set in a piece of shiny jewelry or promised to be cut and polished. 
My sister, your Heavenly Father says you have value, immeasurable value. When you look in the mirror you may not see this value; you may see “ordinary.”  You may even see unacceptable, unwanted or unloved. You may not feel exceptional. It may even seem impossible to believe right now that your life really has a rare, completely unique, purpose.
I hear you. Those lies in our head are sometimes are so loud they are deafening, right?
You and I have a choice though, we can be ruled by our eyesight— judging our value by what we see or feel, or even worse, what others see or feel about us. Or, we can believe what our Heavenly Father says. He says we have inherited value; we are precious and of immeasurable worth just as we are– unpolished and uncut, even in our most natural state. 
Psalms 139:13-14
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Oh if we could just believe that with the unwavering and unquestioning faith of a child. Let’s be real though; it’s sometimes difficult to believe this truth because of the game we women seem to constantly play.  The comparison game robs us of our unique value–  we look around and see more talented, beautiful, smarter, funnier, skinnier, ____________.  We see “better” and we grade ourselves accordingly as not measuring up, or being just “average.”
There’s only one way to win the comparison game though…..that is, to stop playing it. We win when we allow the truth of God’s work to speak into our weary hearts. I’m exhausted with the harsh cut, polish and appraisal process of this world, aren’t you?
Our Father says He has plans for us that are good (extraordinary even!) Jeremiah 29:11
He says our steps are already laid out (Proverbs 16:9)
He says we didn’t choose Him, He choose us (John 15:16)
He says He knew us before we formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5)
He says He will finish the good work He has begun in your life (Philippians 1:6)
Your value isn’t determined by what you see, it’s determined by your Creator.

Christina is an energetic mom to four adorable young kids, wife, a lover of the outdoors and people. In her free time she enjoys writing, training for road races, drinking too much coffee, belly laughs with friends and pursuing a deeper walk with Jesus. She is forever thankful that God’s script for her life needs no editing (Romans 8:28). Christina blogs at www.rubiesinthedesert.com

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