I’ve experienced another one of those God things. You might call it coincidence or karma or luck. I prefer to see it as the work of a wild and mysterious creator who loves me and wants to be involved in my daily life, revealing himself in crazy ways I could never orchestrate. Doesn’t that sound a lot more inviting?
This story has two parts. First, mine.
I’ve been hearing a Steven Curtis Chapman song on Christian radio called “Remember to Remember.” As I anticipate my sixtieth birthday in February, I decided this song should be a theme for the next year as I enter a new decade. I want to look back and remember God’s faithfulness to me in good times and hard times, and I want to remember I can trust him for whatever lies ahead.
While it played one day, I said, “Lord, I wish I had a slide show of my life running before my eyes as I listen to this, because I don’t always have the best memory.” But let’s face it—while we might keep photographs of our mountain-top days, nobody takes pictures when you’re in the valley. When you’re face-down on the carpet sobbing, or you’re in so much physical pain you pray for Jesus to take you home because you don’t know if you can stand it another day; when you’re so angry you want to choke someone. You don’t generally want your photo taken in those moments. But we need to remember God carries us through them just as much as he leads us to the mountaintops.
Well, God hasn’t given me a slide show. He’s done something I never expected. In September, Jon and I attended a reunion at the Christian high school we both attended in South Dakota. The homecoming was for alumni from the entire decade of the seventies, so we saw a lot of old and dear friends, both former students and staff. We reminisced, hugged, laughed, cried, shared, and worshiped God together. I returned home with a full heart. (You can read more about that here.)
The next time my song played was a light bulb moment. I said, “God, you gave me something far better than a slide show. You actually took me into my past, to a place I hadn’t been for years, with people I hadn’t seen in decades. Thank you!”
The next day, I received a call asking if I might come to Amaranth to speak at a women’s event. Amaranth! My childhood! I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been back or seen inside the church I grew up in, the place my grandfather helped build and through which my family came to know Jesus.
I said yes.
The theme of the event was “Time Well Spent” and I shared some things I’m learning about time. We made a craft and enjoyed a foot spa and a lovely meal together. During the wrap-up, I explained how much it meant to be invited and shared Chapman’s song with them. I was flooded with memories as I snooped around the church.
What do you suppose God will add to my “slide show” next?
In her book Defiant Joy, Staci Eldredge says, “…when we forget who God is, what He has done, and who we are in Him and to Him, we put ourselves in great peril. We cannot live well nor arrive at the end of our journey triumphant unless we remember.”
He’s helping me remember his faithfulness in cool ways. But this story gets even better. Shirley, the woman who called to invite me to Amaranth, told her side of the story. Blew me away. But it will have to wait for next week.