How to Remember Our Stories

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The stories behind this story.

Forty years. That’s how long it had been since the Children of Israel had crossed the Red Sea on dry land. People were still talking about it. People who were enemies of the Israelites, that is. These enemies heard about their conquests of other kings as well. That’s why Rahab hid those spies Joshua sent into Jericho.  She knew it was just a matter of time until her city would fall into the hands of the Israelites. Rahab had heard about their God, and she wanted to be spared when they came to take over her city. This woman remembered everything she had heard that had happened years before!

Because of her faith, Rahab and her family were spared when the conquest of Jericho happened. You can read about that here.  You will especially want to read chapters two and six, verses 22-27.

Following the conquest of Jericho, the Israelites finally found rest in the land that had been promised to them 450 years before. Sometimes they thought it would never happen, but it did. Hadn’t God said it would?!

They digressed in their faith and repented, over and over again. God continued to be with them and to bless them even though they failed Him over and over.

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Forgotten Stories

Eventually, Joshua, their leader died. Scripture says that after Joshua and his generation died, the people did not remember or know about the mighty works God had done.

How did this happen?  How could they not have known?!

Was it so familiar to them that they failed to realize the significance and power of their God? Was it so familiar to them that they no longer stood in awe?

Was it just a part of their history and not a part of their personal experience?

Who didn’t tell them? Who failed to recount the stories of the miracles God had performed?

  • Forty years of wearing clothing and shoes that never wore out.
  • Forty years of daily food in the form of manna.
  • Forty years of water provided abundantly, whether through streams in the desert or water gushing from a rock.
  • Forty years of wandering in the wilderness because of the sin of unbelief.
  • Forty years of following a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
  • Forty years of wilderness travel with a tabernacle set up for worship each time the cloud stopped.

It’s easy to think, “Shame, shame!” on those people who had raised their children in that wilderness. It’s easy to think they should have remembered.

Have we been guilty of the same? Have we failed to pass on the stories of our faith journeys?

There’s only one way to pass on a story to those younger than us and those not yet born.

There is only one way to remember: tell the stories again and again and again.

Somebody failed to tell those stories. Somebody failed to pass it on. Somebody failed to set up memorials so that when his children asked, “What does this mean?” he could say, “Let me tell you what God did for us.”

Silence stills the stories.

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We need to tell the stories

  • to help us remember and continue to praise God.
  • to remind us of His power and His presence in our past.
  • to help us face the Giants and Red Seas of our todays.
  • to give us the courage to face conquests of tomorrow

Telling the stories:

  • is like marching around Jericho.
  • gives us hope for our tomorrows.
  • is a way to pass on the stories to our children, our grandchildren, and those not yet born.
  • keeps us from forgetting
  • guarantees that generations will grow up knowing the stories and believing in their truth.

Ways to tell your stories

What stories do you have that you have not shared?

What stories are you passing on to your children and grandchildren?

What stories have you not yet told?

How do you tell your stories?  How do you remember – or do you forget to remember?

What symbols do you use to help you remember what God has done? 

Use the gifts God has given you. Use your gifts so that your descendants can one day ask you, “What does this mean?” and you can tell them the stories behind the story of God’s faithfulness.

When God parts the waters of your Red Sea, when He shuts the mouths of lions, when He fire-proofs your furnace, when He uses one stone to slay a giant, when He causes the walls of a city to fall flat, we need to remember. When He heals and restores, when He provides a way in our wilderness, we need to remember. We need to remember so that our future generations won’t forget what God has done.

Joshua used twelve stones from the Jordan River for a memorial.

Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”  [Joshua 4:4-7]

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What You Could Use

  • If you are a seamstress or a quilter, use old fabric to help you remember a person or an event. Make a wall-hanging or a quilt. Each piece of fabric can tell its own story.
  • If you love to do clay, pottery, or decoupage, create a design with a specific symbol that will help you remember.
  • If you are an artist or a photographer, create a photo or collage that will have your kids asking what it means. Use that opportunity to retell the story of God’s faithfulness.
  • If you enjoy words, use poetry or a written story, perhaps using online sources such as Snapfish or Shutterfly.
  • If you delight in music, write a song and use it as a wall hanging so that others will see it and ask you about the song. Sing the song to your kids and grandkids “so that you do not forget.”

Tell your children and your children’s children. Don’t let your stories be silenced and forgotten.

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Here are some other options for telling your stories. Check them out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Lost My Car, Not My Keys

lostEvery one of us has lost our cell phone, our car keys, or our house keys – and sometimes it seems we’ve lost our minds. Usually, we blame it on misplacing them.  Some days they’ve been right where we’ve put them, but we just couldn’t find them because we forgot where we put them. When we found them, they’d been there all along.

There was the day a few years back, however, when I lost my car. The really sad thing is that I was the one who parked it there. When I came out of my house to go to my neighbor’s to pick up a cake, the car was missing.  So, apparently, was my brain.

That morning, I’d met my daughter in Riverdale and parked my car in the parking lot of Food Lion. We’d traveled forty-five minutes to attend a benefit auction. Sarah Beth had spent the night with her cousin and a friend at her aunt’s house. We’d discussed meeting her at the house and parking my car there. Later, we’d decided it would be quicker for meeting and returning to have the car in a more central location.

We spent a rainy day at the auction, where I purchased colorful mums for my flower beds this autumn. We came back the same way we’d gone, only I was driving this time.

A friend who had been with us was in the front seat and my daughter had fallen asleep in the back.  When we came through  Riverdale, I kept on driving, never thinking about my car.

A few hours later, I was heading to my neighbor’s house to pick up a cake for a get-together that evening.

When I went to find my car, it wasn’t there, so I took the Jeep. On my way to the neighbor’s, I called Jason.

 

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“Where is my car?” I asked him.

You need to understand that my kids have, at times, “taken” my car without my knowledge. Usually they’ve cleared it with their father, but usually, no one bothers to tell me. I thought this was one of those times.

“Mama, I’m in Danville and I don’t know where your car is,” he said cautiously, probably wondering if I had really lost my marbles this time.

“Oh that ‘s right.’Sorry about that,” I told him.  I know where it is.”

Quickly, I called my sister-in-law. I thought since we were both going to the same place that evening, maybe she could bring the car when they headed in our direction.

“Your car isn’t here,” she told me. I could hear the question in her voice as she explained her recollection that my gal had left her house that morning and was going to meet me in Riverdale. I’m sure she also thought her sister-in-law had lost her marbles.

“Oh, I am so stupid!” I exclaimed.  “Never mind.  I know where it is.”

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The next morning at breakfast I told my gang about the loss of my car – how I’d called two people before I remembered where I had left the car. How did I manage to forget where I had parked my car?

I don’t know.

My friend and I were in a deep discussion on the way home and picking up that extra vehicle was the farthest thing from my mind. I’d stopped to fuel the car I was driving and drove right past Food Lion where my car was parked.

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I guess the next time I can’t remember, it will be time to park my brain as well.

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