Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stones of Remembrance

For my Bible Study, we have been looking at the book of Joshua, which describes how God lead the Israelites through the Jordan (on dry ground) on their way into Canaan. God instructed the people to get 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan and set them up on the other side as a memorial to what God had done for them. When their children asked about the stones, they were to tell the children the testimonies of what God did for them. So, we are supposed to be thinking back on our life and remembering the things that God has done in our lives. As I have been looking back, it is fun to remember some of my stories. The teacher of this study, Beth Moore, also encouraged her students to write down these types of stories for their children and grandchildren. I thought, “Wow ! How cool would it be to have my parent’s stories written out to read?” So, I am thinking that I will start trying to write them down as I remember them so that my children can learn from them. Here are a few examples of stories I remember:
  • When I was about 8, we had a family movie night and we were going to watch Star Wars. I was excited about the popcorn and soda - that pretty much made movie night! I was a little scared about Darth Vader, though. I wanted to sit with my Dad, but it was SO HOT and humid that he told me to sit on the floor with my brother and sister. (In his defense, he had no idea I was scared. *smile*) During one part of the movie, I was nervous, but felt comforted by the feeling of arms around me. It was then that I thought, “Wait, Dad said I couldn’t sit with him.” I looked down and I was sitting on the floor, no physical arms around me. It was one of the first times I remember feeling that God was real.
  • When I was 16, I felt really ashamed about some things I had done. I couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt and shame. I prayed and prayed, but could not stop thinking about what I had done. We had a “One Year Bible” that I picked up one day, and I read the verse from Luke, “Daughter, your faith has healed you, go in peace.” That was the first time I ever felt like a verse from the Bible spoke directly to my situation. I was overwhelmed by the idea that God could use a verse to speak to my situation. From that moment on, without trying, I didn’t think again about what I had done. It was like my guilt was gone.
  • The last example is from my 20th birthday. The night before my birthday, I was a little depressed. I was going to have a very uneventful day for my birthday. The previous few years, I had really good birthdays, but this year I had to work in the morning, and had worship practice at church that night (I was going to a church an hour away, so I would not have a lot of time in between.) I was complaining to God about my coming day because it was going to come and go with no celebration. During my prayer time, I felt like I was supposed to pray and ask God to give me a teddy bear for my birthday. I had never really dated much, and I had never received a stuffed animal for my birthday, though all my friend’s boyfriends had done things like that for them. I did NOT want to pray for that, I thought it was ridiculous. I told God that. However, I was really uncomfortable and felt like I was being pushed to pray for a teddy bear. I finally decided I would never sleep if I didn’t just ask for it. So, I prayed, “Fine! God, I want you to give me a teddy bear for my birthday!” After I prayed that, I was peaceful and was able to go to sleep. I worked at a hotel, and when I got there in the morning, some of the construction workers that would stay with us every week had left me a birthday card, it was a nice surprise. (I love good surprises on my birthday!) When I got to the church that night, it was pretty empty. I looked around trying to figure out where everyone was, and my friend Joy came out of one of the smaller rooms to invite me in. She had planned a surprise party for me. Worship practice had been cancelled, but she made sure I did not find out. Guess what two of the girls from the youth group got me for my birthday? A teddy bear. I named him Chester, on the spot; which I thought was a strange choice. Later, I read what the name meant and found that the “suggested character quality” was, “Strong Defender.” The verse associated with it was, Psalm 31:3, “For Thou art my rock and my fortress: for Thy name’s sake lead me and guide me.” I really needed God to be that and do that for me in the few years that followed.
In our society of needing “proof” to believe in anything, I know these stories may seem to be “coincidence” or some could have been in my “imagination.” However, I lived through them. There are so many other stories that have happened that prove to me that there could not be that many coincidences without someone to guide them.

This past Sunday, we sang a song that included these lines:

“All of my life, in every season, You are still God.
I have a reason to sing.
I have a reason to worship.”

As I had already started writing this, I found it interesting that we sang a song about God being in every season of our lives. Another coincidence? Maybe. Maybe the worship leader knew what we were covering in our women’s Bible study. No matter how it came about, it made me think about my life even more. Even the times when I have been at my lowest, I can point to people or circumstances that God used to comfort me in those situations. I had a reason to worship, and even sing, during those times. In the good times, I have clearly seen the faithfulness of God and they also gave me a reason to rejoice, sing and worship.

What about you? Do you have any “God stories”? Times that you have seen God active in your life? If you have children, have they heard these stories? Have you written them down for their future encouragement? If you have stories, and they are not yet written down, I encourage you to think about doing that. It has been such a good thing for me to remember these testimonies of my own life and I think they will be fun for my kids to read later on in life. I don’t know everything my future holds, but there are some things that I know for certain are going to happen that I can’t wait for and others that I dread ever coming. Knowing that God has been there in the good and bad times of the past gives me comfort and hope that I will not have to walk into anything in my future on my own.

1 comment:

  1. Janelle, I love your blog!
    I had a tough time making the transition from my small junior high school to my small but larger high school. It was at that time that I learned that no matter what is going on around me, I know that God is with me. I prayed walking those halls, between classes, and He comforted me and kept me company, and once I was close with him, I became close to many others too.
    I also got my first kidney stone in high school. I had several more over the years, and then one time I knew one was coming. I prayed the hardest I have ever prayed. I begged the Lord to let me pass the stone without pain. I told him I couldn't go through it again. Would you believe that I passed that stone without pain? And I've had several more stones since then, but have passed every single one with out pain? God is Great. I have a friend who thinks this is total coincidence, but I know better :) I pray that the Lord will give him faith! :)
    Thanks for letting me share with you :) I totally should write these down for the kids.


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