Several years ago, during a difficult time in my spiritual walk, I attended an outreach event at our church. It included an outdoor barbeque, miniature golf, horse and hay rake rides, big blow up rides for the kids, and a mud volleyball game for the youth group. I was determined that I was going to have fun. I needed to have fun. If I could only have fun, maybe I could shake the depression that seemed to be hovering over my life. Nothing was really wrong, but nothing was really right. Somehow I had lost the joy I once had.
I signed up for the mud volley ball game. I was the only adult participating and I’m not a volleyball player. But the youth group always seemed to be having a good time and this was exactly what I needed.
If you’ve never played mud volleyball, it’s very difficult to truck through the mud and make a move. But my chance came. The ball was lobbed directly towards me. I made my stance, cupped my hands and hit the ball. It sailed over the net. My heart soared. It was fun!!! As I watched the ball ascend over the net, I lost my balance and landed on my backside with both hands deep in the mud. I laughed out loud and it felt good.
When I regained my composure and stood, I was completely covered with mud. My arms and legs looked like I had frosted myself with chocolate frosting. But there was something missing. I had lost something on my way up. My wedding ring!
I couldn’t move. I yelled and the group stopped playing for a few minutes to help me look for my ring but to no avail. I was devastated. I trudged out of the mud and left the game. So much for having fun to change my heart.
I had to tell my husband that I lost the ring he bought me for our 15th wedding anniversary. The beautiful one to celebrate our life together. The gold band that symbolized the ups and downs of marriage, children and our life together. The one to replace the “little one” I got when we first got married. Lord give me strength!!! I couldn’t lose my wedding ring. I could replace it, but it would never be the same. Of course, he took my disappointing news with understanding and affection.
I didn’t. I beat myself up emotionally and the following day I borrowed a metal detector and searched through the mud. I waded into the two foot deep mud that no longer represented the fun I wanted to have but disappointments of my life.
But I persevered. I searched for weeks. Every free minute I had was spent in the mud waiting for the metal detector to alarm. Each time it beeped, I searched for the metal it was detecting. I found nails, flattened deteriorated pop cans, more nails, and things I didn’t recognize. Discouragement set in.
Each week, the mud got colder and thicker and I knew that if I didn’t find it soon, the mud would dry and freeze and my precious wedding ring would be buried in the parking lot of the church. I prayed again . Lord, please let me find my ring!!!
It was Saturday again. My life had been put on hold to search for my ring and this was the last weekend before winter set in. When I arrived at the pit, a dear friend had been shoveling the mud into sections believing my ring would have settled to the bottom and turning the mud would bring it to the top.
I used the metal detector to search the sections of mud. It had been eight weeks since that volleyball game. My hands were chapped and my clothes stained. My finger tips were raw and my nails ruined. I was tired of looking.
The mud was no longer soupy but a thick clay. The detector beeped, I looked and found more metal but not my ring. And then, it beeped again and felt through the cold clay and found a small round object. Could it be? I wiped away the mud. Was it? Yes, I found it. My wedding ring! My hope restored, I started to clear away the mud, but as I looked closer, I saw that I had found only the band with the small diamonds and not the big diamond. How could I come this close and not get my prize? My friend had to leave.
I called my husband at work and shared my semi good news. He told me, keep looking sweetie, you’re so close. Your ring broke because it was hit with a shovel. Your diamond is there, keep looking.
So I did. I kept searching. I didn’t give up and in another hour I saw a tiny flash of gold in all that mud. I found the diamond. I sat back down in the mud and I cried. Thank you Lord!
I took my ring to the Jewelry Store to have it repaired and a few days later I got a call from the jeweler with some sad news. The setting holding my diamond was damaged and had to be replaced. Unfortunately, that setting was no longer available and they would have to use a different one.
In spite of all my blessing, I felt sad. After all my efforts and determination, my wedding ring would never be the same. I wouldn’t like it because it would look different.
But then, something amazing happened. When I picked up my ring it was different. It was shinny, and the new setting exposed more of the diamond. It looked new and I liked it better!
I placed the ring on my finger. My ring was not only restored but better than it was before and then it occurred to me that is what the Lord did for me. He took me out of the miry clay and not only made me new but made me better than I was before. I was reminded of everything that the Lord had done for me. I had forgotten how blessed I was. My faith and joy were restored to me.
I tell the story from time to time because I think it symbolizes being lost in this world, to be found and to be restored to the Lord.
It is the desire of the inspirational writer to inspire not judge, to encourage and to tell the world that God loves them. Our stories are faith in action. Our stories are testimonies of hope. Our stories are sometimes our own.
Thanks for letting me share,