We hung two photographs in our living room. An adorable picture of my husband and I from our engagement shoot, full of spontaneity, new-love, excitement, nervousness, yet also filled with hope. The other large photograph is of our son a few days after his birth. A sleepless night followed by a difficult day of heat rash and tears. ‘Twas difficult, but so important for us to document and celebrate his new life! I love both these still-frames and memories so much, for many reasons (beyond just reminding ourselves that we looked good), but mainly to remember where we started from, and why it is important for us to fight for each other and our family each day. Remembering is an act of worship, vital to the Christian faith.
I have journaled since I was a little girl and saved my old journals (AKA diaries) from way back (8 years old or younger). Filled mostly with little kiddo thoughts like “I slept over at Katie’s house and we ate pizza and watched It Takes Two and then her mom made us go to bed early”, but also some deep memories of fights and reconciliation with my siblings, fun experiences like amusement parks (Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm), beautiful memories of my parents loving me, celebratory exclamations of a victory in a sport I played or acing a spelling test, and sad, dark thoughts of feeling frustrated at humans for hurting or rejecting me. Fast-forward to the future, I have a journal from at least every month of every year. These are written remembrances of God and testimonies of His faithfulness in my life that are mysteriously graceful, miraculous, and inspiring. I love re-reading my journals. That is the main reason I write, to remind my future self of God’s hand and loving guidance in my life that is evident as the film rolls on. I don’t always remember enough when times are tough, and that is a new discipline I am working on.
The very act of remembering was one of the commandments to the Israelites in Exodus. In addition to the yearly passover that the Lord instituted as a memorial for the Israelites rescue out of Egypt (Exodus 11:14), they were instructed to built an altar to acknowledge His mighty works (Exodus 20:24), Throughout the Old Testament, building altars unto the Lord was a frequent practice to not only worship God, but commemorate His work and miracles. Abraham built an altar unto the Lord and named it “the Lord will provide” after sparing his Isaac’s life as a sacrifice (Genesis 22). David proclaims that a heart of thanks for God and the remembering of His goodwill are more acceptable than sacrifice itself (Psalm 40:1-6). Isaiah cries out to the Lord to remember His mercy, praying for God to spare Israel for forgetting His hand upon them through the past, and His own forgiveness of their sinful practices (Isaiah 63:7-12). Isaiah remembers on behalf of Israel and praises God, proclaiming, “You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember You in Your ways.” There is something about remembering and declaring what God has done in your life that is transforming, healing, and inspiring to press onward. It ignites and motivates us to continue to pursue holiness and live for God’s continuous glory.
What can you remember that God has done in the past that can encourage you now?