Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lest We Forget

For years, we've created and methodically stored boxes of pictures, have taken great care in preserving papers and programs of our children's accomplishments, and have accrued far too many trophies and ribbons representing participation in the activity of the season.  Why the hours and meticulous care in documenting our lives?  We don't want to forget.

Last year was a year of transition for our family.  Within a year, we had experienced an almost move to Nashville followed by a real-life move within Charlotte, my husband's transition into a new job after his year at home, and the upcoming marriage of our daughter (just to name a few).  We had spent the prior year assuring our children that God knew what was best for our family, and our job was to believe and follow.  The old hymn "Trust and Obey" became the mantra in the heart of our home.

I love it when whatever we're learning through study collides with what whatever we're experiencing in life.  I imagine that if we slowed down the pace of life, created margin in our days, filled our minds with truth, and waited expectantly, we would experience such a phenomenon with much more frequency.  We were studying the life of Joshua with a local Bible Study (this is the part where I put in a plug for Community Bible Study in Charlotte). The story had reached a pivotal point.  The children of Israel had spent the last 40 years wandering in the wilderness due to their own disobedience.  Finally, the time came for them to cross the Jordan River.  The Lord caused the waters to separate in order for them to cross over and enter the land of their inheritance.  After all they had experienced - the hardship, the disappointment, the heartache, and the longing, the moment had come. It would be a day that they would never forget.  God's forgiveness.  God's provision.  God's faithfulness.  God's abundance.  Or would they...

The perfect Father knew the fickle nature of his children.  So He commanded them to gather stones from the center of the river to set up a memorial to remind them, and their children, of His faithfulness.  I love the picture of...

~God's desire to give us good gifts

     ~Our foolish choices that get in the way

          ~His provision in spite of our unworthiness

               ~Our fickle appetites and short memories

~And ultimately, His wise, kind heart that wants us to remember - for our own good and for His glory.

We've talked a great deal about God's provision for our family in the past few years.  We've gathered at meal and bedtimes to ask for guidance and peace. The loss of (and acquisition of) David's job, the sale of our house, and our move to a new one have all prompted discussions with others about His faithfulness in the midst of an uncertain chapter in our family's story.  For many months, it remained front and center in our thoughts and conversations.  But just like the Israelites, we have short memories.  What seems unthinkable to forget today can all too easily become a faint memory tomorrow.

So, just like the Israelites, we decided to memorialize this amazing season in our family's history.  I don't want to forget.  I don't want my children to forget.  I want them to tell their children.  Of God's faithfulness.  Of His provision.  Of His abundance.  Regardless of circumstance.

One of my favorite features of our new home is the peaceful koi pond tucked away in our backyard.  It seemed fitting that our stones, which will mark for generations God's goodness, come from that pond.

My favorite nook in our new home.

 The children selected their stones, we discussed the purpose, and they commenced their artwork.

Sam's stone - "Because I'm happy"

Will's stone - Our new house.
 The back - "God helped my Dad get a job
 and helped us find a good house
 to live in.  We have been very blessed."  

Caroline's stone - Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus.
At first, I thought that she didn't understand what we were trying to do.
 And then I realized that she may have understood better than any of us.

We never made it to math that day.  Or spelling.  Or handwriting. But the lessons that we learned have been deeply engraved  upon our hearts.


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