Shaped Through Remembrance by Evelyn Sherwood
The aftermath of the day has settled into silence. Hubby has gone to bed, and the house is quiet, all but the hum of the dishwasher.
With a steaming cup of cocoa in hand, I cozy up to the warmth of the fireplace and wrap myself in a plush blanket. It is time to soak in a moment of stillness and solitude, to reflect on the day's joys and sorrows, and remember where God was in it all.
Ah yes, remembering. A practice that God has used for many years to shape my heart toward His character. The act of intentional remembrance had provided the light of hope in my life when the gray storm clouds were closing in.
The first time I leaned into this practice was as a newlywed. Steve and I had been married for just a few months when he got laid off from his job. Money was tight, but we were optimistic that he would find a job. He was young, full of ideas, and a hard worker. But as days turned into weeks and weeks into months with no job on the horizon, depression crept into Steve's heart.
One evening after spending another day pounding the pavement, I peeked through the front curtain as Steve made his way to the front door. His shoulders were slumped his pace was slow. What had been depression was settling into despair, and I knew it.
His gaze did not meet mine that evening. Instead, he collapsed into bed from exhaustion, while I collapsed onto our living room floor in fear. How could I encourage him? What would it take to turn the tide of despair that was flooding our home? Tears streamed down my face as I cried out to God. "Father, help! Show me how to encourage my husband!" I waited.
God heard my cries that evening. Not by miraculously lifting the heaviness, but by taking me on a journey of remembrance. One by one the Lord brought to mind moments that He had used Steve to speak a word of encouragement to hurting hearts. Faces paraded through my memory of lives touched by his acts of kindness. My tears of sorrow soon turned to tears of joy as memory after memory rose to the surface.
Then, I had an idea. What if I gathered photos of all those faces and lined the hallway outside our bedroom with them? It would be like a "hall of faith."
So as not to wake Steve, I tiptoed to the tiny hall closet, grabbed a shoebox containing important pictures and a roll of tape, then went to work. Outside the sky was black, lit only by specs of starlight. But that little hallway began to glow with the glory of God's grace as I taped each picture to the wall.
Even now, I smile as I recall the impact a "hall of faith" had on my hubby's weary heart. When he woke the next morning, he was greeted by snapshots of God's faithfulness in his life. And with every step down the hallway, his back straightened, and his smile broadened. God used that simple act of intentional remembrance to renew our home with hope.
Remembrance Grows Hope
Throughout scriptures, we see this practice played out. Noah was given a rainbow after the flood to remind him God would never destroy the earth by flood again. The children of Israel were given the Passover to remind them of their freedom from captivity. Moses and the Israelites had the Ark of Covenant (or testimony), which contained a jar of mana, stone tablets, and Aaron's rod, all reminders of God's providence and provision.
God wants us to remember that He is faithful. If we are not intentional about pausing to remember, we are destined to forget. But it is in the remembering that we find hope.
Yet I still dare to hope when
I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Steve and I have weathered many storms in our marriage. But the practice of remembrance has tethered us to the faithfulness of God with each storm surge. And if you were to walk into my office today, you would see a wall decorated with cards and pictures that stand as my daily reminder of Hope.
What steps can you take to remind you of the faithfulness of God during times of crisis?
Maybe it is time to construct the Hall of Faith, a place where we can glance back and remember who our God is, what His promises are, and the grace He offers in our time of trouble.
*Photo Credit Suhyeon Choi from Unsplash
Evelyn Sherwood is a trusted soul-care guide, speaker, and blogger who has served in pastoral ministry for thirty-five years. She has spoken to thousands at ministry events and retreats and has hosted events with such speakers as Jefferson Bethke and Megan Marshman. Sherwood’s popular Stories of Hope events draw a diverse audience of hundreds from her region, and they continue to grow in popularity. Sherwood serves an active and growing audience through her blog, evelynsherwood.com, encouraging her readers through hard times by helping them recall God’s work in their past. On a summer evening you might spot Evelyn and her husband, Steve, driving through Indiana farmlands in a canary yellow ’47 Ford pickup or enjoying an outdoor movie night with their eight grandkids.