I've spent sometime thinking about the days ahead...2 of them in particular - August 30th and September 3rd. Those days are markers, I can tell you exactly what I was doing 5 years ago on the 30th and 22 years ago on the 3rd.
In 2008, we lost a baby to miscarriage and I can remember most moments from that day. In 1991, my grandpa was killed in a skidloader accident and I don't think I'll forget much from that Tuesday of my sophomore year. These days hold memories...ones I never wanted to have and have hoped would fade away. The hurt and pain has changed, but the loss is still there and every year about this time I remember.
But this year, my thoughts about memories have changed a bit. Let me ask you, "What is a memory?" Webster defines it as a recollection from the past and we all have many of them. We tend to focus on the good ones - times that were happy and fun. Memories are often shared when someone passes on, which is good, but that's not their ultimate purpose.
Because if that was the case, wouldn't we just remember the positive times and people? I don't know about you, but that's not what happens for me. Often times I remember too much and some of the memories are of times that were hard, moments when I was hurt and trials that I endured.
When memories are good it's easy to appreciate them. Like my daughter who often says, "Remember that time when...", I too enjoy a trip down memory lane. But friend, what do we do when the memories are hard and take us back to times that were tough?
Like tomorrow, when I remember waking knowing something was wrong only to go to the Dr. who told me what I already knew. Or on Tuesday, when I remember seeing people cry, who I thought never did, tell me my grandpa was killed. What do I do with them?
May I share my plan? It has to do with a statement my pastor shared a few weeks back as he taught from Philippians 1:3 where Paul says, "I thank my God every time I remember you." As he pulled this verse apart he shared about memories and said, "They are good, but if it's all you have that's not much." Pastor Tim wasn't downplaying the value of memories, but stating the fact that we all yearn for something more.
And that something more is God...the One we should thank for the memories and more importantly in the memories. As believers, I think we understand this when it comes to the memories we enjoy recalling...like the other day when I saw pics from the ReNEWed Life Women's Event. Those pictures took me back and brought to mind a day that was wonderful. A day we praised God for and as I remembered I thanked Him again.
But can I say, I haven't always been so quick to thank Him in the memories that are bad and sad, but He's leading me to do that. Tomorrow when I recall the pain, the loss, the grief, I will thank Him. Not because I'm grateful for the circumstance, but as I remember those feelings, I remember Him. God was there taking care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. He was comforting me and filling me with His peace. He was in the details...my oldest had a goldfish at the time and that night we found Dorthy floating in her bowl. Now I'm not thankful J.D.'s fish died, but I am amazed at the timing. You see that night as my 3 children sat wrapped in my arms weeping over their dead fish, I held them and cried too, grieving the sibling they'd never know til heaven. I am so thankful we could all cry together and I thank God for that.
So friend today what are you remembering? Whether it's good or bad can I encourage you to thank God in the memories! He gives them to us and is present in them...pass your thanks to Him and He'll share His perspective with you!!
On a side note - friend, I want you to know I thank God when I remember you!! Through your comments and personal notes, God uses you to encourage me in a powerful way. I know life is busy, so I want to thank you for spending some time reading what God puts on my heart. And know I'm praying He uses what is shared to touch yours!