For the past several weeks I have been working on what I’ve named “The Painted Rock Project”. It has been so uplifting and powerful. And I wanted to share, because I had no idea something so small could mean so much to me. I hope it will lift and inspire you too.

 

Boredom becomes inspiration

 

A few weeks into COVID quarantine it was time for high school graduation. And I saw so many kids celebrating in ways they never expected. I worried about how the next school year would look, and how they would handle it emotionally.

 

Several of my teenage friends shared their frustration and concern about the way the world was going. I did my best to encourage them, but my heart still ached for them. This time has been so unpredictable that nothing I said could truly cover what may come.

 

Then one day I was on Pinterest and saw some beautiful painted rocks. People in my neighborhood often place them along the walking paths, and they are so cheerful! And I felt inspired to start the ‘Painted Rock Project’ in my kitchen. My cousin and I get together weekly to hang out and do crafts, so I went to Lowe’s and got 60 pounds of river rocks and brought them home.

 

The painting begins

 

The kitchen table covered with rocks in various stages of “done”.

I have a ton of acrylic paint and paint brushes, so we were in a good place to start painting. We decided early that we wanted every message to be uplifting and encouraging. Kids are hard enough on themselves without our project giving them more stress.

 

I contacted the local High School and Jr. High and asked the Principals for permission to deliver the rocks when they were done. I was surprised by how positive and excited they were at the prospect.

 

In fact, one of them joked that they would appreciate uplifting messages in their office too. So I started looking for something that could really lift someone working in a hard situation.

 

It also made me realized that even though I had been focusing on the kids, that the teachers would need encouragement too. So I painted some special rocks and set them aside to truly help lift the whole school. Knowing I was going to make a difference motivated me to keep going even when it felt tedious.

 

Six weeks of growth

 

The rocks started to take over the kitchen!

So, for 6 weeks I sat at my kitchen table and painted. Honestly, it was a great chance for me to listen to Audible and catch up on some reading I had wanted to do.

 

The time went so quickly that 6 weeks felt like 6 days. And when we were done, we had an amazing collection of positive rocks. I have felt the power of them just sitting and looking at their messages.

 

I felt the Lord blessing me as I tried to bless others. In a very real and personal way this painting project is something I will never forget. I started choosing better entertainment.

 

The books I listened to were uplifting. The TV shows were positive. I naturally wanted to continue the joyful feelings of growth that the great rock painting project were creating in my heart.

 

Seeing these messages of hope and love every day blessed me.

I felt my soul growing. And my cousin and I had wonderful conversations as we worked together. I felt more patient with my family. And when the rocks began to dwindle in the “to do” pile, I found I wanted to paint more.

 

In fact I am still missing the painting process. It’s funny because something I dreaded (quarantine) became such a blessing. I love how the Lord does that for us when we are willing to serve Him.

 

I’ll miss creating painted rocks

 

I am so eager to deliver these painted rocks and see how the schools display them. I’m honestly not familiar with the campuses, and that’s why I have chosen to let the schools take care of any placement. They will know best where kids gather and where the foot traffic is.

 

To read more of Abby’s articles in her Living in Harmony column, click here.

And we all know that schools are a place where you always want the leadership on your side. Otherwise these rocks could have been tossed when they were found. You never know.

 

This has been such a great project for me. I feel like the Lord blessed me more than I expected. I love painting and the finished products were reward enough for me. But He granted me peace, growth, and happiness as this painted rock project took shape.

 

I love how God works that way in everything He asks us to do. So if you have a chance to serve, do it. The Lord will make it so worth your while that by the end of the experience you will be blessed as much or more than those you are serving.

 

 

About Abby Christianson
Abby is capable and caring. She is learning more about Autism and parenthood every day. Having completed training to be an RBT (Registered Behavior Technician) for ABA therapy she is beginning to understand her son. And even though she is the first to admit she makes a lot of mistakes, she is so grateful to be on this journey. She comes from a family with many autistic members. She invites us to join her, as she shares her adventures. She wishes to emphasize that Autism is a difference not a defect. If you or a family member have autism, Abby wants you to know that the challenges can be overcome, and there are blessings in autism. You or your loved one are not sick or broken. Together we will teach the world this new language.

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