Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen
and called its name Ebenezer; for he said,
“Till now the Lord has helped us.”
1 Samuel 7:12
I just returned from digging in a box in the basement. Not one of those frustrated “where did I put that” digs. It was a treasure hunt of sorts.
I have a Rubbermaid box full of journals from the last 20 years. It chronicles my journey from confused teenager to overwhelmed mother. I found journal entries, prayers, and sermon notes. And my handwriting, y’all! I used to have elegant cursive writing! What happened? (Years of writing in medical charts, that’s what happened!)
May 22, 1997
I got real serious about my Christianity last night. I don’t know how well I have followed up on that today. I have been cramming my head so full of Anatomy. I will be glad when this crazy class is over. I have been so focused this week. And to think, I have to keep that up for another 2 weeks!
(Oh, young me. If only you knew that you were in the middle of simplicity!)
July 28, 2004
I will need your help to not be consumed with house hunting. It could take all of my time and attention. I think the best thing to do is to spend the better part of my time learning to trust you and calm down on the looking process. If this is the direction you want our family to go in, then you will certainly provide. I want to do so much to try to make the situation work. I know that you want me to learn to be still now and learn to listen.
(Some things never change.)
September 10, 2005
This is almost an accidental quiet time. We are in Chattanooga, just 18 hours after Janie died. Life moves fast. Janie died, at what we perceive to be, too early an age. She leaves behind several lost, grieving people. I guess the question we might ask right now is, “What will I leave behind?” Am I “done” each day, happy with the influence I have had on people? I get busy with my to-do list and I leave out others. So what change needs to be made now? Will I walk differently now?
These handwritten Ebenezers are a decade or more old. Reading the words that were so full of emotion all those years ago takes me right back. I remember what it felt like to be an overwhelmed college student. I remember struggling through the years with two littles under my feet. I remember people who were so dear to me if even for just a season.
I process so much of my thinking and my heart on paper. I have volumes of spiritual growth and personal struggles recorded in three-ring binders and spiral notebooks. Remembering the years gone by through written record makes me believe, truly believe, in the faithfulness of God.
I hope that one day, when I am long gone, these journals will also serve as a testimony to my children. They will one day read the story of my life in my own handwriting and know that God is good even when I wasn’t the best me.
Asaph knew the importance of making a record of the past so that future generations could benefit.
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done…
So that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments.
I started journaling to sort out my thoughts. I continue to journal for the same reason. It is an act of worship to go back and read of God’s faithfulness over the last 20 years. I got lost in my own history down in the basement today, gratitude and worship rising from the deepest part of my soul.
These records will also serve to encourage the next generation to trust God. One day my kids can read about how I prayed that their daddy would be mine and how God later taught me to love him when I didn’t want to. They can read of His faithfulness in their little years when I held their hand as God held mine. Hopefully, these journal will help them set their hope in God and keep His commandments.
What can you write down today to help you remember the faithfulness of God?