Remembering as a Spiritual Practice {The Grove: Remember}

Sam’s second heart attack tossed us into the wild seas of the unknown.

In the early days of recovery, we were given a time away at a sprawling retreat center, and there the hosts asked us to tell the story of our calling when we first knew we would uproot our young family and move to the other side of the planet.

That retelling breathed hope to the embers of our downcast hearts and peace to our unsettled souls.

As we reviewed the sacred moments of our calling, the wonderfully weird coincidences He arranged just to prove His faithfulness, and the love of Christ compelling us, we remembered how much He has done on our behalf because of His wildly extravagant kindness and love.

The Old Testament teaches us that remembering is a spiritual practice of faithfulness that not only shapes our own soul but also generations following.

In the recounting of God’s timely provisions, comfort in loss, contentment in lack, joy in sorrow, strength in weariness, direction in confusion, and beauty in ashes, we remind ourselves and others of how very good and faithful He is.

And it causes generations afterward to seek Him, asking, “Where is this God we’ve heard about, the One who wins justice for the oppressed, rescues the desperate, and causes the impossible to crumble and become reality?”

We see this plot line throughout the stories in the Word. And we experience it in our own lives.

The last years of my mom’s life were marked by the memory loss Alzheimer’s disease produces as plaque and tangles invade the brain and eat away the neural connections needed for remembering.

So many pieces of my mom’s memory were stolen by disease, but she possessed a rootedness of truth in hymns, passages, and prayers familiar to her soul. Those memories were deeply embedded as the most foundational truths of her life, even deeper than connections to lives entwined with hers and the faces of those she birthed. The memory of her Savior rescuing her and adopting her as His own could not be drowned by the crashing storm in her brain.

This love goes beyond remembering because the recalling is not dependent on our ability to remember, but His. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us. He never forgets us.

We might go days without attending to His presence, but not for a moment does He stop thinking about us.

That speaks deeply to my own soul, remembering He preserves our going out and coming in, even when we cross borders and we step into the unknown.

Scripture shares ways to make remembering a spiritual practice

  • Tell our stories and listen to others’ stories
  • Write down evidences of God’s power
  • Press truths into our hearts through meditation on Scripture
  • Tell our children about the days we stood helpless and received His mercy
  • Repeat again and again the acts and truths of God, write them down, post them on our doorposts, talk about them in the midst of everyday life
  • Connect the dots between our needs and His faithful provisions
  • Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness, quenching your thirst and filling your hunger, leading you to His heart

In what moments has remembering who God is and who He has been to you impacted you?

What are some practical expressions of remembering that God has used to strengthen and nourish you?

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We invite you to share in The Grove. You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

Share your images on this week’s theme with #VelvetAshesRemember. You can add yours!

6 Comments

  1. Joan September 8, 2018

    Thank you Patty,
    I read this as I’m launching into a day of gathering with our country team to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the group we’re a part of. We’re remembering. I’m asked, as the newbie to give testimony and highlights of our time with them. You’re right, its important to remember; thanks for reminding us how much.

    I keep a designated journal I call Blessings and Deliverances to write the things He has done then periodically read through them.

  2. Patty S September 8, 2018

    Hey Joan, I like your journal practice. There is something about reading about His goodness in your own handwriting!
    I appreciate your kind words and hope your day with your team stirred up fresh hope and gratitude!

  3. Stacy September 8, 2018

    Patty,

    I always appreciate your writing here on VA. Your words stir and challenge, while also being enmeshed in grace.

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother: “The memory of her Savior rescuing her and adopting her as His own could not be drowned by the crashing storm in her brain.”

    If my own brain breaks down one day, I hope that what remains are well worn connections to Jesus and his word. Thank you for reminding me that the habitual furniture of my mind matters: “In the recounting of God’s timely provisions, comfort in loss, contentment in lack, joy in sorrow, strength in weariness, direction in confusion, and beauty in ashes, we remind ourselves and others of how very good and faithful He is.”

    Lately, I have been discouraged about my family’s in-transition living quarters, and today I realized that unless I am able to cultivate thankfulness, what my teenage children may remember most from this time is not that they had to share bedroom and sleep on mattresses on the floor, but that their mother was miserable and grumbling. Convicted. ^^^

    1. Patty S September 8, 2018

      Thanks for your kind words, Stacy. I’m with you – if my brain quits functioning I want my soul to be able to find its way in the dark because of well worn paths to Jesus!

      I feel for you in your current living situation. I love the way you phrased your desire – “cultivate thankfulness”. Plowing the soil of our soul, planting good seed in our thinking, weeding out what is untrue, watering truth. May your intentionality bring an abundant harvest of the fruit of thankfulness for you and your kiddos.

  4. Cecily September 10, 2018

    Thanks for sharing these ideas about remembering. I know how encouraging it can be to think back on the cool things the Lord has done, and the tender moments when His care and attention were so obvious. I had one of those tender experiences last week which caused me to weep for an hour. I felt His presence so near and saw Him answer a prayer as I was praying it. The weeping was unexplainable — it was like deep calling to deep.
    I did share the details of this encounter with the Lord as I wrote my most recent prayer letter.
    And, that brings me to my idea for how to practice remembering: by rereading the prayer emails that I have sent out during my time on the field. These are filled with great needs and the meeting of these great needs by the hand of my loving God.

    1. Patty S September 10, 2018

      Cecily, thank you for reminding us that we have written “stones of remembrances” in our newsletters! Brilliant!
      And thank you for sharing your tender experience. How beautiful those moments and tears much have been for both you and our Father!

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