God, help me to be mindful to set up memorials in my heart that I would always remember the many blessings You have poured out on me. Amen.
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11). Joshua 4:6-7 tells us of the stones of rememberance that are to remind us of God’s delieverance and the supernatural crossing of the Jordan into the promised land.
These are my memorial stones:
MLK- the first time I truly trusted my heart to God was in the office of my zoned middle school waiting on a return call from my mom, waiting on my fate: would I continue at my middle school or would I attend the magnet school. I felt God tugging at my heart during my first period class after I had turned down the offer. Fear that I had made the wrong decision cascaded me and my heart ached for what I feared I had lost. After first period I called my mom to see if it was too late. Waiting on the call, I resigned myself to God’s plan and trusted Him completely to make the decision for me. I would go where He wanted or stay and be content if the opportunity was gone. Fear vacated my heart and there was only trust there. I went to MLK. It was where I was supposed to be and I knew it every one of the 6 years at that school.
wedding ring- what a rememberance stone! and one i wear all the time. we are definately no longer newly weds. but there is something more, deeper. we are best friends, partners, parents… we are committed to each other through good and bad. we are metaphors for God’s love for us. I thank God for my husband!
Bread crumbs- at a retreat we were asked to take a piece of bread and assign a burden of our lives to it, so during communion we could eat it. I took two. There was the ever present depression I so desperately wished to get rid of and the conflict with a minister of ours at the time that was just as pressing on my soul. We were then instructed to put it back in the basket, another person would take it and eat it, bearing each others burdens. Though I know it was just symbolic, I couldnt shake the feeling that I would have to choose which one was gone, or if I couldnt pick, neither would be. But then an amazing thing happened. The spiritual leaders ate the left overs (apparently I wasnt the only one with two). These spiritual leaders then shook the bread crumbs into a pile and ate them too! I realized that is a job of a spiritual leader (that I had been missing from my own minister and that I was supposed to be for the youth since my husband and I have been youth ministers in many capacities for years). I knew then, that symbolic or not, God had freed me from the bitterness of depression and from the guilt and anger at the minister.
Last Journal page- for years my Grandaddy was sick with a terrible heart condition. We grieved for him, fearing death many times. But God allowed several wonderful extra years with him. Throughout the years, as I battled depression too, I wished I knew when it would happen. It was an exhausting rollercoaster being scared he would die all the time. We would finally become complacent and let go of our worry only for some new trajedy to hit. If I could just know…I thought…I would be at ease. When the end was surely close we still thought we had a few more months. We set up the house for him to come home and die. But I had this feeling I couldnt shake that when I got to the end of writing in this particular journal that it would be the end of his life. So I tried not to write, but the words of my heart kept coming; and i kept feeling like i was getting closer to the “monster at the end of this book”. In a leap of faith, aided by my husband, I crossed out the rest of the pages (5 or so left). But by then I already knew when it would happen. My husband was supposed to go on this trip with the youth but ironically there was not one seat left on the bus. I told him he had to go, it was important, but maybe there was a reason he had to have his own car. Sure enough, there was. I had to call him in Sat night. He didnt make it before Grandaddy died, but he was there for me. I made it to the hospital to be with my mom, granny,and uncle. We said goodbye and stood by while he went into the hands of God. That last week we had talked a lot about heaven and I trust where my Granaddy is, in fact, heaven seems much more real now. He was content with where he was going. And I teased him a lot about “why are you worried, you are going to be wiht God. we are the ones who will have to live without you”. And now we do. But still, I trust God because in the end, He prepared my heart with the last journal page.
Micah- is our first child, he was our first foster child after following God’s call. (FYI, we had not tried to have kids of our own at this point)
Anna- was placed in our home because she was Micah’s sister. she has been our fragrant offering. She’s a little handful, but she’s our little girl.
Gabe- genetically ours, Gabe represents for me a very exctiting pregnancy (that I had dreamed about for years) and a very traumatic birth experience where I almost died. My husband had a strong sense from God that he needed to be born at the hospital despite my thoughts on a water birth or birthing facility. Only a very specific promise from God (which I can’t quite explain) gives us peace from this time when the drs told my husband that they didnt think they would be able to stop the bleeding. I trust God completely, though Im still processing this one.