Setting up Monuments

winterDid you ever read in the Old Testament how so often the people set up some sort of memorial in honor of what the Lord had done for them? 

Joshua 4:20-24 “And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.  21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?  22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.  23For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:  24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.”

When I was younger and we traveled a lot, my mother would do a similar thing, except it wasn’t with rocks.  She kept a notebook and wrote in it all the miracles that we saw happen.  Years later, it was interesting to look back over the times that God had saved us from an accident, kept us out of a snowstorm, or provided money when finances were tight.

As time passed and life got busier, this tradition dropped.  However, I have renewed it for myself personally.  It is easy to focus on the things that I don’t get my way and the things that go wrong- while forgetting the many times that God actually provided little miracles and helped me.  I have a special book that I now write in all my prayer requests or burdens weighing heavily on my heart.  Once a prayer is answered with a “yes”, I put a checkmark beside of it.  Prayers that are still in waiting remain on the list, and prayers that are answered with a “no” can receive an “x”.  What I want to do for the “no” answers is to then write beside them the blessing that I can see from not getting a “yes”.  Ones that I can’t figure out will receive a question mark, because I know that there is a reason whether or not I can see it right now.  There can also be a separate category for hugs from Heaven- times when unexpected blessings are sent my way.  Hopefully when I look back and reminisce (because I love looking back through my old journals and writings) I will see an even clearer picture of how great God actually is.  Years later those question marks may make sense, and I will finally be able to write in the reason beside them.  Some may remain a mystery to me on earth forever, but I can be okay with that because I will also see the times when God surprised me with special blessings and checkmarks.

This is not the only way that you can build monuments to remember special times and blessings.  Frame a leaf from your walk in the woods when you poured your heart out to God and you felt Him wrap you in His arms.  Write down on a bookmark the words of a song that was playing on your radio and spoke of hope when you felt like there was none left.  Take a picture of the sunset that convinced you that there is Someone in control.  Copy an inspiring quote to a magnet and stick it on the fridge.  Write down each blessing, miracle, or “yes” answer on a popsicle stick and store it in a jar.  When the jar is full, have a special date with God (volunteer at a soup kitchen, help with a food drive, donate to a charitable cause, buy a meal for someone who is struggling). 

You don’t have to physically erect a bunch of rocks in your back yard to remember the blessings in your life, but I think it is important to find some kind of creative way to keep track of the good things, because if you are like me it is easier to see the glass as half empty rather than half full!

The Departure

I am one of those sentimental persons.  I can play a c.d. of Tchaikovsky, light a few candles, watch the rain falling outside my window, and start becoming melancholy about anything. 

However, I did not have to do any of that to get this sad, lonely feeling that is abiding inside of me right now. 

That happened all by itself when I started thinking about the loss of a very special friend that will be taking place tomorrow evening. 

Oh, I know she is not dying; and I will hopefully see her in a year or so; but I still can not help feeling a little depressed about the situation.
 

My very dear friend has been called to Grenada for the next two years to teach school.  I couldn’t be more proud of her, but I really am going to miss her.  Isn’t it funny how you take your friends for granted when you can see them every week?  A youth activity, supper together, or a sleepover were just a normal occurence.  I was so used to seeing her- that I didn’t think twice about it. 

Now I really wish I had enjoyed those times together more.  It really makes you stop and appreciate something when you know it will be taken from you.  Why is it so hard to get my brain geared to the simple activity of thanking God daily for all the blessings He puts in my life???  Why is it so easy to forget to tell my friends and family how wonderful they are??? 
 
 So, Amanda, if you happen to read this little post, I want you to know…. that even though I may have never told you this very often, I am so glad that God placed you in my life! 

 And I also wish you all of God’s blessings as you depart from home and enter into an exciting new journey.

“May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.”