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Don't Forget to Remember

IMG 2656"Hello," came this deep voice across the line.

"Uh... Bill? Will?" I was stammering because for the first time ever I couldn't tell my thirteen year old son's voice from my husband's.

"Yeah, it's Will, mom."

"OK, first of all," I flatly stated, " 'Yeah', is not a word."

"Yes ma'am," was his response (I could hear a smile in his voice).

"Second of all, when did another man move into my house?"

He laughed, but I was serious.

In a moment's time I realized that a shift had happened. Subtle, like when you shift your weight from one foot to the other, my oldest son had shifted slightly, leaving childhood largely in his past and staring forward towards manhood.

I noticed it again on New Year's Eve. "The shift" was evident as we stood with dear friends, circled around a table of food, hand in hand to pray. "Hey Will", said our host, "why don't you pray for us."

Will began to pray. He thanked God for all the goodness of 2011, he asked God to be with those who did not have food before them that night, and he prayed that God would allow us to lead our lives in a way that kept Him at the center of all that we are.

His prayer was beautiful and awkward, and perfect. It was beautiful because it was from the heart. It was awkward because the two families that held hands around that table had endured one of the harder years of their lives. Thank you for all the goodness in 2011? Really? How about GOODBYE 2011 and HELLO to a New Year... new hope, new beginnings, new dreams.

But, Will's prayer was perfect, because if we run ahead into new things without "remembering", without being "thankful", without "seeing God" in every moment, in all things that passed through our lives, then we will be running aimlessly.

That's the temptation right? Run away from hardship and towards comfort. Run away from Egypt and towards the Promised Land. But God knew better. He knew that His people - that we his people - need to remember. So he instructed the Hebrew people, when they were leaving one thing behind (Egypt) and moving towards new hope (the Promised Land), to carry with them... stones. God literally instructed His people to carry some of their heavy burdens with them on the path to new beginnings.

And along the trek through the desert, God would show up. He would be in all things that passed through their lives. And when God showed his faithfulness, His people would build an altar, so they would not, could not forget God's faithfulness and presence with them. God's people would pile up some of their stones into a crude alter. Eventually, as the people of God moved across the desert towards the promised land, they could look back and see crude piles of their past, altars to God, and say, "God met me there... and God met me there...and God met me there." It is only in looking back in amazement at how God sustained us in the past, and met us in the past, that we will summon the strength to believe that God will be enough for us in whatever the future holds.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

May we remember God's faithfulness to us in the simple, in the ordinary, and in the extraordinary moments of 2011... may we remember. And in remembering, may we not run aimlessly into 2012, but believe that our loving Father will meet us in every moment, just as He promised.

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