Tag Archives: reminders

Olympic chatter, rocks, and God’s faithfulness

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The Olympics pretty much rock. I’m not athletic and I don’t follow many of events, but when I do see them, it is awesome. A couple of nights ago I caught just a few minutes of the halfpipe event, and was excited that Shaun White (the only name this non-athlete recognized) hadn’t gone yet. I tuned in just in time. It was hard to watch though, as he crashed the first time, and then didn’t score high enough for a medal. Bummer. (All of this is really unrelated to this blog post, I just wanted to look like I was cool for a second 🙂

Another Olympian I heard about yesterday was a free-skier named David Wise. But the story wasn’t about his event, which may or may not have happened yet – not sure. It was a simple story about how anytime he goes away somewhere, whether a trip, a hike, fishing, or a skiing event, he finds a heart-shaped rock to bring back to his sweet wife to let her know she was thought of. This is a picture from his Instagram of the one he is bringing back to her from Sochi.

David Wise

Sweet, right? It is good to have reminders. His wife collects these rocks, and when she sees them, she can remember all the times she has been thought of and missed while he was away from her.

I was reading in my Bible not that long ago about some other stones that were used as reminders. In Joshua chapter 3, Joshua was following God’s direction and leading the Israelites across the Jordan River. God explained with detailed instruction that He would divide the water in the river, allowing the Israelites to cross right through it.  God wanted to give them the confidence they would need for the situations they would soon face. On a side note, I LOVE that God did this. Chapter 3 verse 10 says, “This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.” He knew what they would need to trust Him, and cared enough to make sure they would be ready.

So moving along, in Chapter 4, they had finished crossing the river, with things happening just like God said they would. He told Joshua to set up 12 stones that had been in the middle of the river bed, one stone for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. In verse 6 and 7, he explained why. “… In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

Then at least four other times, rocks were used as reminders for other things that had happened.

I think I need some rocks. There have been so many times God has answered prayers for me. A few days ago God brought a few of those to mind. It is so easy to forget the goodness and faithfulness of God. Sometimes we focus on the times God answered our prayers differently than how we wanted, and we start doubting the power of prayer. But we must remember however it is answered, it is always for His glory. And there are other times prayers are answered exactly like we asked, and in a way that is only possible through God, and soon after we just go on about our daily lives, and those times get put way in the back of our minds.

It is crazy that we could forget something so awesome as the God of everything listening to one simple human being among the other 7 billion humans living and breathing right now…and not just listening, but caring and working things out because we are asking.

Maybe piles of rocks all over my house wouldn’t be the best plan, but something more doable in terms of space, like a prayer journal, would be a way to do that. A place that I can remember when I fasted a weekly meal and prayed for weeks for specific friends to get closer to Jesus, and they did. A way I can remember that I prayed for God’s presence to be felt in Noah’s school, and a Bible study was started there at lunchtime by a pastor I don’t know. A place I can remember when many people prayed for my sweet niece to be born healthy, while tests were showing she wouldn’t be, yet she was. A reminder of when a kid in Noah’s class kept getting in trouble and having problems with school work, we prayed for him daily, and by the end of the year Noah said that kid was doing so much better in class.

All we do is ask God; He answers. He loves and cares that much. The least I can do is remember, and to share those stories with my child, and with anyone else who will listen.

What kinds of things could you set up some rocks for?

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

   for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; 

   great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

 

2/13/2014

 

Sticky notes and tassels

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Noah wanted an iPod for his 9th birthday. While I was worried about two things – 1. He will be disappointed to receive such a physically small present as his only present, and 2. Is he prepared to be responsible for such a pricy gift? – We did it and he loved it. He did a great job taking care of it. In fact, the only scratch even on it was from something I did.

But as electronics go, he eventually wanted the newer version – the iPod Touch. We bought it for another holiday when he was 11. Unfortunately, on a Friday evening, he and his dad got home late and Noah changed into his pajamas half-asleep. The next morning, my husband did a load of laundry and Noah’s iPod touch was in the pocket of his jeans.

The iPod was ruined. We tried rice, letting it air dry. Nothing worked. So my husband decided the fair thing to do to teach a lesson in responsibility was to have Noah pay half of the cost of a replacement iPod and he would pay the other half. So that’s what they did. Fast-forward a couple of months, and I did laundry, and when putting the clothes in the dryer, I saw the new iPod in the bottom of the washer. Ruined. We prayed over that iPod and everything. He ended up getting an iPad for Christmas a few months later, rather than the long list of Legos he had originally hoped for. (iPads are much larger than iPods and harder to miss going in the washer).

While my husband and I disagreed about whose responsibility it is to check the pockets before washing – the wearer of the pants or the laundry doers – I had a hard time remembering to check the pockets before dumping clothes into the washer, even after two traumatic laundering experiences. So I put a sticky-note with a big, black check-mark over the detergent hole to remind me of my responsibility before each load. It helped tremendously. I haven’t missed checking a load since.

For my Bible reading, I am in the book of Numbers. I was cruising through lots of rules and regulations and punishments, when in chapter 15, verses 32 through 36, I read about a guy who was gathering wood on the Sabbath day – a violation of the rules God had given them. God commanded Moses that this guy had to die for his blatant disregard for God’s commands.

Back to rules and such in verses 37 through 40, it says, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”

The tassels for the Israelites were a kind of check-mark sticky note for the Israelites. These tassels (I kind of envision a Dolly Parton sort of fringe, though I think I’m way off on that one) were to remind them of the laws to obey, laws designed to guard their hearts, to keep them focused, to train them to control their actions, and especially to give honor and worship to God.

When an Israelite woke up and put on her ensemble for the day, she would see a tassel and remember to have reverence and respect for God and only God – no golden calves, no man-made idols. Her focus would be brought back to Him, perhaps leading her to remember how awesome He is. How He led her and her people out of Egypt, when without Him it would have been impossible. How she was once literal a slave, but now she is free. How He led her and her people by a cloud during the day and fire by night. How He gave her manna to keep her from being hungry.

When this Israelite lady would clean laundry during the day, she would see her tassel on her sleeve and remember God’s command saying she isn’t to covet her neighbor’s house. She would look around and see her own home, her own dishes, her bed, and be thankful for the comfort she has, thankful for a place to rest her head and be with her family.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in big, time-consuming projects I get myself into, or so distracted by regular everyday routines that I could use a tassel. Or a sticky note. Something to remind me of what God wants from me. Something to remind me of what he has already done for me.

Some of these things happen naturally. When Noah makes me laugh, or gets his own ear-to-ear, wide-eyed, genuine smile, I naturally thank God for letting me be his mom, and naturally feel a renewed passion not to screw him up.

When I see a beautiful sunset – the kind with pinks and purples all mixed in – I instantly tell God, “Nice work!”

But in everyday things, how do I remind myself to not grumble when things don’t go my way? How do I remember to be thankful in all things? What about the days I’m feeling down on myself? How do I remind myself not to bring everyone around me down too? On days I’m doubting how God is going to make things work out, how do I remind myself of the many, many times He has been there for me, and the bunches of times He has been there for His people in every situation I read in my Bible?

I really don’t want to go with tassels. That’s kind of ‘80s-country and not my thing. But I need a plan. I’m thinking maybe sticky notes.

Maybe one on my mirror to remind me of how I can trust God, no matter what, like Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Maybe one in my kitchen to remind me to be thankful – 1 Thessalonians 5:18In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

For you, it could be something other than sticky notes. I heard a woman on the radio saying she talked to God about thinking about Him, and knowing He is thinking about her, when she sees a robin. Sounds kind of kooky, I know, and she admitted as much, but she said the experiences she has had with robins because of this have meant so much to her. Whatever works for you, just make a plan to remember.

I will start with my two sticky notes and hopefully add more. More promises, more reminders. Like the Israelites, I hope this plan will remind me of blessings, guard my heart, keep me focused and keep me thankful.

 

 

 

3/15/13