Posts tagged #Spiritual Things

Stones of Remembrance

Preface: This was a post I wrote for another website a few months ago and it originally was posted HERE. I have edited it and added to it for the purpose of this blog and wanted to share it with you today!

We humans are forgetful people. I used to think it was just me, maybe it’s my baby brain or maybe I just have bad genetics (at least that’s what I tell my husband when looking for my phone or keys for the 120th time that day), but as I read about the Israelites, I noticed how God would do huge miracles and then command his people to not forget. All through Deuteronomy He warned His people to take care, lest you forget (Deut. 4:9-12, 6:12, 8:11-20).

But the Israelites didn’t remember did they? 

When I read those big stories about God moving, I wonder how in the world the Israelites could forget His faithfulness! How could they forget how God brought them out of Egypt? How could they forget how His daily provision of manna or how He made the walls of Jericho fall at their cry? And yet over and over again the Israelites would turn away from YAWEH and did what was right in their own eyes. 

And while I’m side-eyeing the Israelites for their doubt, a twinge of recognition sets in.  

I’m not so unlike them, (and not because I can’t find my keys… ever).

If I’m honest, their story looks a lot like my own. I’ve seen God part the Red Sea in my own life. I’ve seen Him knock down walls, and restore places in my life that should still be broken. And yet I, too, am prone to forget that I serve a God who ordains every step, even the difficult ones. I grumble and complain, looking back to my own Egypt longing for better days. I forget that it was His hand that provided along the way and as my steps become easier, I stop relying on God and start doing things my way (again).  

But the great thing about our stories is that it’s not about us and our ability to remember; It’s about God’s unfailing love even when we’re prone to forget. 

In Joshua 4, God had just brought the Israelites across the Jordan River by parting the sea. When they safely arrived at the other side, He commanded them to take 12 stones from the sea and carry them amidst the people as a sign of remembrance so that when their children asked in years to come “What do these stones mean?” they could tell their story of redemption. And this is the part that I love! God wanted them to be able to remember and retell their story “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, [and] that you may fear the Lord your God forever” (vs.24).  

You see, our stories of redemption weren’t made to be kept hidden.

They aren’t one-time miracles that only service the present moment; rather they were designed to bless our present circumstance while impacting our future faith! God miraculously provided a way for the Israelites to cross over the Jordan River, but in that same moment He provided a way to remind them of who He was and what He intended to do in the future. He had them place stones of remembrance so that that in years to come their faith would be strengthened by remembering what God had brought them from and was bringing them to. He had them create a space to remember so that their future faith and their children's faith would be blessed by the discipline of retelling redemptive stories. 

And not only that, see verse 24?

...that the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is mighty...

Y'all, our stories are evangelistic! They are intended to be told over and over again to not only to keep us from forgetting but to declare to a broken world that the Lord is mighty to save. Our stories aren't about us. They point to a God who is mighty to save, a God who is in the business of fixing broken things, a God who loves us fiercely and remembers us even when we're prone to forget. 

That is our story.

And these stones are for us and for others. 

So my question for you today is this, Where in your life do you need to lay down a stone of remembrance to remind you of His faithfulness? What story of redemption in your life needs to be recalled and retold for your good and His glory?

That scar that you like to keep hidden? That old wound that you’re ashamed of? Share it. Share your battle wound and story of redemption. Lay that stone of remembrance down and when your friends or family ask about it say boldy, “Look at what the Lord has done for me!” For our boldness isn’t in what we’ve overcome, rather it’s in what He’s done and will do for us! 

Much love, 

Posted on June 22, 2016 and filed under Spiritual Journey, Story, Suffering.

When your legacy isn't one you're proud of...

I saw a beautiful post on a friend’s facebook page this past Easter weekend. It had a large, smiling, beautiful family in a very green backyard. Children giggling, parents wrangling babies and toddlers, and siblings with arms around each other. All of this beauty was surrounding a very stunning patriarch and matriarch. 

Hashtag Legacy.

The picture was beautiful. The tribute describing faith, persevering love, and commitment to family was touching. And although I don’t know the eldest patriarch and matriarch, I was so proud of them and their beautiful legacy that they’ve given their kids and grandkids. It is truly amazing. What a gift?!

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy lately. Partly because it’s a buzz word, and partly because my eyes have been opened to many stories who don’t have pages like the one described above.

I sat rocking our newborn last night, looking at his toes, kissing little fingers, running my hands through his amazing hair. And I thought about the day he would ask me about the beginning of his story. I was praying and dreaming about how we would tell him that on his first day of life both joy and grief were so very present.

How loved he was, by two moms.

How sometimes our stories aren’t always picture perfect, no matter how much we want them to be.

How our history, where we come from matters and how details lost can become hurts.

But mostly I prayed that he would know that these wounds, although they will shape him greatly, they don't dictate who he becomes. I prayed that the hard things he would face one day would push him to know and understand how loved he was by his earthly family and heavenly father. I prayed that we would value and give importance to his biological legacy, while at the same time acknowledging that adoption changes it. Sometimes he might love that, other times he might hate that, but that process of understanding identity will be one that we wrestle with as a family for years to come.

And if you’re a believer, the same can be said of you.

What if your story doesn’t have a safe beginning?

What if your story doesn’t have a set of parents who still love each other? Or beautiful kids or a spouse to surround you and fill the photo?

What if chronic sin plagues your family history?

What if your legacy was birthed in ruins?

I have good news for you friend! We have a good Father who has taken our biological legacy and given us an adopted legacy, His legacy.  We don’t ignore or deny our earthly legacies, but we cling to a greater one given to us by a good Father.

Your picture, although maybe not quite as put together as the one discussed above, is just as beautiful. Your story, the one with all the cracks and the bumps and bruises, is a story that points to His healing hand. Your pages, with all the hurt and pain, are pages that displays His goodness. Your identity, the one that shows your weakness, is an identity that shouts His greatness.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! FATHER!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…” Romans 8: 14-17a

For those of you who spent Easter weekend saddened by what was or wasn’t in your Easter photos or your legacy, know that the grave is empty and you’ve been adopted. And whatever is plaguing your past or future legacy has already been overcome. 

Much love,

 

 

Posted on March 30, 2016 and filed under Story, Spiritual Journey, Suffering, Adoption.

The Week After Easter

AfterEaster.jpg

It’s the week after Easter. All the chocolate has been eaten, empty eggs scattered across our home. Our children’s tokens from their baskets have been played with, swooned over, and then gone into the pile with their other toys. The coordinated outfits are in the laundry, hair is undone, and we’re back to “normal.” 

It's just another Tuesday. Lent is over. We awaited the celebration of the risen Lord, and then Sunday came. We worshipped, we ate, we communed with one another, and we remembered. It was a beautiful weekend.

But it’s Tuesday and now what?

On Good Friday, one of our pastors encouraged our church community to make much of the cross, to make much of Jesus.  And although it’s tempting to leave the making much of the cross to it’s dedicated season, today and every day between now and our next resurrection season, our hope and battle cry must be in the empty tomb.

The empty tomb, where death was defeated and all hope was birthed.

The empty tomb, where all that was promised for centuries came true.

The empty tomb, where the Messiah righted all wrongs.

They empty tomb, where all hurt, disappointment, struggles, death, and tears were given a purpose.

The empty tomb, where we find life giving joy amidst heartache, hope for tomorrow, the motivation to live as a CHANGED people, strength to forgive, and ultimate purpose.

The empty tomb, our a daily reminder of who our God is and what He is capable of.

You see the cross and empty tomb aren’t just for Easter. They are for our every day Tuesdays. For the days when our dirty clothes piles are large, and the dark places in our lives are even larger. They're for the days when our bellies hurt from laughing and joy fills our homes, and for when dark clouds come and make our hearts ache. Every day, may we make much of Jesus and that empty tomb. Because that empty tomb changes everything.

May the work done on the cross, those three days, and then the empty tomb be ever on our hearts and lips. Celebrate daily. Live Freely. And love deeply. 

Much love,