My heart has been in an interesting season. A season of closure. Closure in some relationships, situations, jobs, etc. Through the closure I’m faced with the temptation to forget…to close out memories. We so often take the whole “the past is the past” mentality and use it as a way to simply walk away and forget. Bury the bad…but with it forget the good.
My husband and I have a theme this year…Remember.
It seems to apply to so much of our life and it ties into our passion for individuals’ stories and the greater story we are living in. I promise I will go back and share in more detail my own story through my college years, but today I’m going to take a broader look and just share where my heart rests in this moment.
I’ve been through a lot of highs and lows in my life. Times of pure joy and celebration and times of laying on the floor in the dark wondering if I will ever be able to make the choice to move forward and trust God. I catch myself wanting to forget those moments. The dark moments. The times in High School and College when I didn’t understand why I was facing such earth shattering situations, such impossible moments…the times when Matt and I didn’t know if we would make it through the next few hours…they aren’t times I want to go back to. Yet, it’s those times that when remembered and looked back upon that we find God’s hand and faithfulness in our life, in our story. It’s in remembering that we are reminded of His unfaltering, violent, faithful love for us. It’s in remembering where we were and where we are now that we gain the motivation to face the next trial, the next hill, the next battle.
I have had the opportunity to reconnect with some friends and reminisce about the seasons we walked together, laughed over our awkward days and while there is some pain in bringing up those past stories I’m able to remember the joy that had somehow been tucked away with the pain….buried. forgotten.
Remembering the brokenness and pain in college isn’t something I want to do…but in doing so it leads me to remembering the provision and peace in the midst of it. The provision of text books, finances, ministry opportunities, growth, challenge in my faith…peace. I’m learning that you don’t need to dwell on the past and the pain, but remember it…in order to lead you into remembering the next steps of those journeys.
Everytime Matt and I are faced with another obstacle our first human reaction is discouragement, worry, stress, panic…and we are learning to sit down in those moments and remember. Remember the last time we felt that, remember the past situations…remember peace we felt…remember where we seem to get attacked. Remember how we stood together and pulled through, remember how we fight better together and not against each other. Remember that we made it through. We are here. We have the ability to remember our story. A story that has value. A story that is unique. Just as every individual has a story, has moments to remember, has the ability to look back and see where they have come from and where they have been….all things that have lead to where they are right now in this moment. Even my best friend Jenna and I are learning to remember. Remember that we’ve made it through seasons apart before. Remember that we have survived tension and misunderstanding. Remember that we have grown stronger through trials together.
I love words. I love studying the definitions of words. And as I looked into the difference between “to Dwell on” something and “to Remember” something this is what I found in the simple dictionary definitions:
- live in or at a specified place.“groups of gypsies still dwell in these caves”synonyms: reside, stay
- think, speak, or write at length about (a particular subject, esp. one that is a source of unhappiness, anxiety, or dissatisfaction).synonyms: to brood, mull over, over think, to not move onRememberre·mem·berverbverb:
- have in or be able to bring to one’s mind an awareness of (someone or something that one has seen, known, or experienced in the past).
- Synonyms: pay tribute to, bring to mind, recall, think of, be aware, mindful of.
We are not called to Dwell in the past but to Remember. To be aware. To bring to mind. To think of. To pay tribute to…..
We are a people who quickly forgets to remember. Just as the Israelites forgot what God had rescued them from as soon as they faced the next obstacle….they were dwelling on the bad, negative and buried the redemption from slavery. They needed to remember the pain, they needed to remember the brokenness so they could also remember the redemption and rescue. We are in the same boat. We must remember the pain and the brokenness, the struggle and challenge, so we can remember the triumph and the beauty, the rescue and redemption.