Last summer my family met up for a vacation in Thailand. It is a rare opportunity to have all of us in the same country let alone in the same house for an entire week. Most days we just sat around the table or on the couches recalling our favorite Mongolian memories.
Do you remember sledding down Sansar hill into oncoming traffic?
Do you remember when we dug our own outhouse?
Do you remember selling Barbies out the train windows in Russia?
As we sat and talked, the Mongolian memories came flowing back and laughter was inevitable. These are precious and important moments that we share as a family because the opportunity to relive and remember our childhoods are so few and far between. No one shares our memories except the five of us.
Do you remember when we slept in the Berlin train station?
Do you remember the Christmas when all we got was Snickers and a Coke?
Do you remember being chased down the street by that pig?
As a family, we spend more time apart then we do together and this is the way it has been since 1999. A snippet of time spent here and there to re-bind the relationship and remember where we come from. Essentially that is what remembering together does for us. Remembering is the process of re-binding and re-solidifying our relationship so that we walk away with a better sense of who we are and where we fit in this world.
Our memories have this way of defining us.
I don’t know about you, but the longer that I go without connecting with my family and remembering the past, I lose bits of myself. I just forget and I move about life without a solidified identity and I become insecure in who I am.
The same goes for my relationship with God.
As life moves me forward I am prone to forget the past as I am busy processing new experiences. Yet, I think I lose an important piece of my spirituality when all that God has done is forgotten, not only throughout global history, but especially throughout my own personal, relational history with God. I can forget who God is to me. Now, I am not suggesting that I have somehow forgotten the basic facts about who God is. No, I forget the emotional bonds that God and I have forged together.
Not to brag, but as a TCK, I am very good at detaching. I have some serious skills when it comes to walking away from relationships and never looking back. I would love to say that my relationship with God doesn’t mimic my family and friend relationships but then I would be lying. After all, I only know one way of relating.
This is why remembering is so important for me. As my identity, which is murky at best, begins to fade away, memories can bring me back to the truth.
Remember the time we prayed for bread and God brought us fresh bread?
Remember the time I swore at God and asked him to leave me alone and yet he quietly stayed?
Remember when I grieved alone in my room and God met me there throughout the night?
It isn’t through the events alone that my identity is strengthened, it is through reliving the emotional impact that drives my bond deeper with God, family and friends. Remembering can help defog the lenses from which I am perceiving current events and give me a better perspective as I push forward.
And I believe that this is the intention of remembering, to relive those moments in our lives in which God has personally and powerfully shown himself to us so that we can reinforce the bonds of relationship with a deeper level of trust.
So, I encourage you, when life is overwhelming, when marriage is hard, when God is distant…remember.
Remember the awe you felt when God made all the ends meet.
Remember the joy and excitement you felt when you and your spouse were dating.
Remember the gratitude you felt when you realized exactly what kind of grace God gives.
Remember the peace that comes from accepting that your identity is in Christ.
Here are some verses that I have loved that are focused on remembering Christ:
2 Timothy 2:8-10
What memories have defined you the most? How does remembering together with family, friends and God, aid your relational bonds?