I snapped a picture of this stone wall driving through Connecticut a few weeks ago. I’ve always been fascinated by these walls that seem to pop up out of nowhere, in the middle of the woods! So I had to do a bit of investigating. Let me share with you some of what I discovered!
During colonial times, these stone walls were used to separate fields of animals and crops, or fields from neighboring forest. They were built from stones cleared from the fields, and were quite plentiful due to the ground being churned up by glaciers “way back when.” Farmers would clear their fields and basically just dump piles of stones around the outer edges, out of the way. Survival was the top priority!
Later on, during the Revolutionary period, farmers began to take more pride in how things looked. This was when the rock lines were refashioned into more wall-like structures, but still had the purpose of dividing fields.
In the early 1800’s, many farms were left behind as families moved from their farms into cities to work in factories. A volcanic eruption in Indonesia in 1815 caused a very poor growing season in 1816 due to the amount of ash in the atmosphere all over the world, and many farms failed.
When the fields were no longer cultivated for crops or grazed by horses and cattle, nature took over again. If you have a chance to drive through New England and see the stone walls in the middle of the woods, imagine fields on either side instead of trees! It makes for quite a different landscape, for sure.
Our lives can mimic those fields. We can work hard to clear land in one area, removing rocks and boulders, trees and bushes, and planting good fruit. We stop going places or being with people that cause us to stumble. We remove things in our lives that pull us away from God. We focus on our spiritual growth by reading the Bible, praying, spending time with other Christians, and showing God’s love. We try to apply what we learn, and we move on to a new focus.
But as we move on, are we continuing to cultivate the fields we’ve already cleared? It can be easy to forget what we’ve worked so hard to achieve when we’re focused on something new. Yes, we need to continually “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), but we also need to make sure weeds aren’t popping up in the areas we’ve conquered before! After the weeds come the bushes, then the trees, until the clearing becomes as difficult as it was at first.
Ask God to walk with you through the fields of your heart. Ask Him to show you any areas where you thought you were finished, but perhaps may be needing a bit of clearing again. We are always in need of His love and mercy, and He is always willing to extend it!
Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. ~ Philippians 2:12-13