Call me weird but I’ve always had a fascination for endings – in books, movies, songs and sometimes even in life! To me, even the toughest endings evoke hope; it’s a prelude to something new. We may not be able to see it right away but it is there.
When something ends, it makes room for a new beginning. It’s the cycle of life and that is fascinating. Whenever something comes to an end, I usually become retrospective, nostalgic, and at times even melancholic. I tend to ruminate on what was.
As we walk into the first few days of 2021, a lot of us are treading carefully – especially after this past year. I hear many cautioning that the worse is yet to come, reminding others of all that we had to fear in 2020 and the result? More fear with a lot of hesitance.
For me, I’m feeling the need to go slow – in everything I do but not for the same reasons. This past year was again filled with so many intimate encounters with God that I want to step forward while contemplating all that happened as 2020 ended. I want to simply remember…with a grateful heart.
I want to make “memorial stones”. Several years ago, I began this practice at the end of every quarter – writing it all down so that I am conscientiously building grateful monuments of God-moments to mark my journey throughout the year. I think 2020 definitely deserved memorial stones.
In the book of Joshua, the Lord tells him to choose 12 men, one from each tribe of the Israelites, and then instruct them to: “Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight” (Joshua 4:3). God wanted these stones to be a memorial for the children of Israel forever.
Later Joshua also “set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant stood” (Joshua 4:9). Joshua was also building a memorial stone to remember the exact place where God caused the waters of the Jordan to stop before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord.
Why? Very simply, to remember God’s goodness that enabled the Israelites to cross the Jordan.
I believe these memorial stones are so crucial to our Christian walk; a memorial stone keeps us in a place of remembrance and gratitude – and each of us have our own unique way of building memorials.
Joshua 4:3 tells me that it is important to set up my memorial stone IN the place where God leads me to – away from where I once were, and at a place where the sins and shame of my past has been “rolled away”.
I see the importance to stop, reflect and build my memorial in that place in my life where He gives me rest. For me, it’s in this season as a wife building a home, dreams and a future with the one I said “I do” to. In this place and in this role, my memorial looks very different than it did a few years ago.
This will be my point of faith – because I have seen and experienced His faithfulness in the past, and I believe for mightier moves of God for my future.
So it is here, at this point in time during the first week of 2021 that I want to build a memorial to remember all His blessings of 2020 – because I saw the face of God in each of them.
I even want to remember all the struggles so I don’t forget that God taught me how to navigate through the tough terrains and overcome them. I want to remember how He led me to where I am now.
I want to remember the hard times so I can feel how God used them to strengthen me. I want to remember but I will let it all go so my eyes are fixed forward and my hands are unclenched, free to be filled again with new blessings, lessons and opportunities.
I want to remember but not stay rooted in my remembrance so that my feet are forging forward, towards a new place and into a new season. I want to remember how far I walked and trace the path when God walked with me – because He did.
I’m sure He did with you too.
If you reflect and remember, you will marvel at that journey you took. In hindsight, even though that road was paved with pebbles and struggles, you will be grateful you walked that road because any journey with Jesus leads to transformation.– suzane christie
So today, I encourage you to do as I did. Pause. Ponder. You will see how much you have already been transformed – in just this last year. Look back and see if you can trace the hand of God in your experiences.
Where is He leading you? What is He saying? Did He coax you to walk another way than the one you intended? Did that change something?
What does your memorial to God look like in this season you are in?
Ponder from a place where God taught you faith in every circumstance before He led you into a place of rest and from the place where you encountered His Presence.