During her final speaking session, Lauren talked about Joshua 4, where God commands the Israelites to create a memorial of stones after they crossed the Jordan River. Lauren encouraged us to similarly remember what God is doing in our lives. And, I was reminded of something I'd written almost three years ago:
Last night we sat on a back patio having dinner with new friends. A friendship the Lord brought together in real life via two girls writing two blogs. Sarah and I could have crossed paths in many other ways and other times. But the Lord chose to use now and our writing to cause our families's lives to collide.
And we get the joy of experiencing the Lord, as He pulls back the veil just a bit so that we can see the way He weaves our lives and days with the journeys of others around us. And in those moments there is just no denying that He places us where we are. That He is Sovereign over our moments, our comings and goings. That He alone orchestrates where we are and who are we with. That He hems us in behind and before.
In Joshua 4, the Israelites finally crossed into Israel, under Joshua's leadership. The Lord told Joshua to tell twelve men to each take a stone from the Jordan River. The men were to carry them across the Jordan River, into Israel. The stones were set up as a memorial for the Israelites and their children to remember forever what the Lord had done for them.
We (thus far in life) don't have a river that needs crossing and we haven't been wandering in the desert for 40 years. We have other wanderings, other struggles. But, God shows up in the midst of it all in so many ways. Sometimes it's in providing a new friendship when we weren't expecting it. Such a blessing. And as we interact with people who He has placed in our lives, they are almost like a memorial in themselves. They remind us of the way the Lord orchestrated a friendship. Far more fun than a dozen stones, I might add.
And, recording those moments where the veil is pulled back gives us memorials to look back on, later in life, in times of doubt. It gives us another way to remember. And then for our children to know and remember the ways God was at work in their lives, too. Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, says, "[i]n memory, the shape of God's yesterday-heart emerges and assures of God's now-heart and reassures of his sure beat tomorrow."
Ann's words articulate my heart in blogging and recording our memories. That our family would look back and, in our own history, see God's faithfulness in the biggest details and the smallest. Then, when the next storm comes, we would be able to trust His goodness in the midst of it, even when we can't see clearly what He is doing, because He has always shown up in the past. And that we could live, walking into each of our tomorrows, without anxiety and worry because we know by experience just how Good He is.
When I wrote that blog post, in early summer of 2012, life looked so different than it does now. I had faced betrayal on the deepest level in my marriage, but we were recovering and God was at work. I remember telling Chris and Sarah over dinner that I was just barely pregnant with Morrow. (Seriously, I could never keep it a secret for the whole first trimester). And, I was on the verge of stepping into an honesty and vulnerability in my life that would forever change my friendships and my relationship with Jesus.
Since then, Morrow Isaiah has joined our family. My kids have grown about a million feet and a hundred clothes sizes. Jameson talks now, all the time. God is choosing to redeem my heartache in a different way than I would have chosen. The next storm, has indeed come my way. We've gone through a divorce. My kids are facing heartache and suffering that I never would have chosen for them. The pain has been real and deep.
Yet, in it all, God has shown up. Over and over. Binding up our broken hearts. Already giving me glimpses of the ashes being turned into beauty. Already giving me gladness instead of mourning and a reason to praise instead of a spirit of despair. He has been the comfort in my grieving. He has shown up in His people who have surrounded my kids and me with their love and presence.
So, I need to:
(1) go back and read the things I have written;
and (2) write and record more.
When I went back to re-read that three year old blog post I found myself in tears and laughing. Laughing because three years later, I find myself starting to re-record the same dang lessons. My blog is like a continual repeat of the same song. And, I was crying because God knew I needed to re-read that. He knew I needed this words: "[i]n memory, the shape of God's yesterday-heart emerges and assures of God's now-heart and reassures of his sure beat tomorrow." He is saying to me what those lyrics to Oceans say: I haven't failed you yet and I won't start now. Going back and re-visiting those memorials just gives me the assurance that this promise is true!
I need to continue building memorials to the things that He is doing because they are breathtaking. God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites and within three days they were freaking out about what they didn't have. I am such a freaking Israelite. God has parted the Red Sea for me in more ways than I can even begin to keep track of in my forgetful mind. Yet, I get anxious and freaked out and doubt that this time He will come through.
So for the millionth time, I'm re-starting to write. Is that allowed? Can I re-start for the millionth time? Well, I hope so. Because I am.