Brad, my intuitive husband, came in the other day and held his phone up to the kitchen window and stood there looking outside. When I asked what he was doing, he commented that he couldn’t tell how much my flower garden had grown, so he was comparing a photo of the newly planted beds with the view out the window. Then he went on to say how big and filled in everything was getting. And how beautiful the garden had begun.
His comment reminded me of how many things we easily forget. You know, those hard places that we have come through. And not just come through, grown and become stronger for them. Places in life like abuse, being abandoned, job losses, deaths and betrayals. Remember? And also the wonderful, exciting things that we have experienced that have since faded to the background of everyday life. The tender moments with those we love, the summer days that brought time in nature with good friends, the promotions and graduations. Do you see them again? What about the steady seasons of life when there were no tragic days, the bills were paid and good friends joined us at our tables? We laughed together, sometimes until our drinks ran out of our noses or we snorted with laughter! They were exceptional times in regular days.
So how do we keep those times of growth, courage, of gaining strength and wisdom, or pleasure and promise from escaping us? Is there a way to remind ourselves and mark the times that constantly show us we were once seedlings, and now we flourish? Would remembering help us turn the corner from feeling stuck, overwhelmed or incompetent in life?
I think we can.
As I picked up the cold river rock from the basket on the shelf, I was surprised to find writing on the bottom of it. My friend spoke with a smile of how each rock was from a time that she and her husband did not want to forget. They had begun the habit of making those rock markers decades before, when times were hard. She told of how someone had brought them groceries and that reminded them that God was providing. So they followed the Biblical custom of making monuments to remember when good things happened. Some were for when they had overcome an old habit and some were from when they had the best family picnic ever.
Another friend kept a journal full of things that made her happy and proud. It really did not matter if the things she wrote about had meaning to anyone else. They were things that she did not want to have slip away. Some were answers to personal prayers – the day she was able to conquer a bad or sinful habit. Others were of the day that an old friend was in town and they got to catch up for hours. No right or wrong entries, just gratitude on paper in words.
Today is Brad’s birthday. And I will gift him another monument: to the time in 1992 when our entire way of doing business changed forever. We had been to Argentina for a mission trip with Ed Silvoso of Harvest Evangelism and a team from South hills Community Church. We witnessed people being healed before our eyes. We asked God to change the wind, and the wind changed – twice. People who were plagued by demons were set free, collapsing with only the words Jesus, Jesus, Jesus coming from their lips. As Brad & I sat together on the flight home and debriefed, it became apparent that big changes had to be made. Our entire way of doing business was restructured to ensure that we were working with churches that would make a real difference in people’s lives in their communities. A couple of months ago I came across the t-shirt marked with the trip’s slogan. So I have framed it as a reminder of why we do what we do. It will encourage Brad every day.
Have you made monuments or kept markers along the way? You can begin today. As you think of things that are important from your past – no matter when you remember them – make a marker or a note. Each time you take time to remember, excitement will return, courage and creativity will build, and they will spur you on and give you a peaceful and grateful heart. Maybe you have been thinking of events while you’ve been reading this. May I encourage you to write them down now and to make a plan this week of what kind of markers you want to keep? I will be waiting to hear of your ideas and what the markers have meant to you.
Until next time…