Last summer our family took an amazing vacation to the Pacific Northwest.
I’d never spent a significant amount of time up there, I’d been through Seattle’s airport but never north of there – OH MY WORD. It’s like everything amazing all rolled into one place ~ ocean, farms, towns, mountains, lakes. And I think everybody up there just tells us it rains all the time because they don’t want everyone to move there, because it was beautiful every single day. No rain, just amazingness. I never wanted to leave.
The other morning I asked my kids what they remembered most about our trip, and they went crazy with stories, everyone talking over one another, about all they’d remembered.
One of my favorite memories was an evening we had in a small town on the Puget Sound. It was right as the sun was going down and we’d ran (literally) down to a pier so we could take in a front row seat to watch the sunset. We sat on the dock of this bay, and just took it in.
What do you think about when you remember some of your vacations or great adventures? If we were to sit across from one another at a coffee shop, what would you tell me about? What life events have brought you immense joy? Wedding days, births, adventures…what would you tell me? Chances are your face would light up as you would recount the details, the beauty, the laughter and the deep emotion you felt inside by just being in that moment.
We are in the middle of our November JOY Series, and God has been stirring so much in me this month, and He brought home an incredible truth for me this past weekend.
Our family is in the middle of a huge transition, as my husband gets ready to be the Campus Pastor at one of our church’s new sites. As the Women’s Director, I spend a lot of time thinking about how this new endeavor will impact our ladies, but Friday night I was in full mama-mode, and the mama bear in me began to come out and have a meltdown. Why? Because I love my church. I love the pastors, I love the children’s ministry, I love the student ministry and what in the world are we thinking pulling our kids up out of that steady environment and dropping them into an arena that’s unknown, unsure and actually not the most ideal spot to do church. What if nobody comes, or nobody cares, or what if my kids don’t like it or even worse, what if my kids don’t care?
What if it all doesn’t go right?!
I went to sleep that night and woke up the next morning, filled with questions and worry. I opened my eyes and saw my Bible next to my bed, and I reached for it almost like a life preserver and asked Jesus, “what do you have to say about all of this?”.
Oh, Jesus took me to church. He brought me to Mark 8. In Mark 8, we see the story of Jesus as He feeds the 4,000. He has so much compassion on the masses that He performs a miracle of multiplication, over and over again, with the few available bread and fish. Everybody – every single person – was fed until they were full, with baskets of leftovers. Later that day Jesus and His disciples go out on a boat, and it says a discussion arose about some of them getting hungry but nobody had remembered to bring any bread, and what were they going to do. Here’s the story, starting in verse 16:
They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? Having eyes, do you not see? and having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said* to Him, “Seven.” And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
Picture the scene. The disciples in the boat, with Jesus standing right there, talking about being hungry. I imagine Jesus letting the conversation go on for a little bit until He just had to step in and bring some divine clarity to it all. And then He starts asking questions. Really great questions, like why are you even discussing this? Do you not see what’s happening here? DO YOU NOT REMEMBER WHAT I JUST DID?
Then He gives them a rhetorical quiz, asking them to recount how many baskets of food they’d picked up from both of the massive miracles He’d performed. And finally, He bottom lines it for them all, “Do you not yet understand?”
As I sat there in the quietness of the early morning, I felt as if Jesus was asking me some really great questions. Not with condemnation. Not at all. But with very direct intentionality.
“My girl, do you not yet understand? I am the One who multiplies. I will bring and save and redeem those that need to be at this church. I see you. I see your children. Do I not know the people and the friends your children will need as they enter into this next season of their lives? Do you not trust that I will bring them exactly who and what they need to be the men and women of God I’ve created them to be? Do you not remember all I have done in the past for you and your family? And will I not be with you, even now? Do you not yet understand?”
As I closed my Bible, and as I began to think through all these questions, all my humbled heart could say was, “oh, Lord, I remember.”
I remember when You brought me that new life.
I remember when You brought me through that loss.
I remember when You established us in a new city.
I remember when You brought salvation to my family.
I remember when You poured out your amazing love and forgiveness.
I remember when You provided for that need. And that one. And that one.
As I sat there, I was flooded with all the times in my life when the Lord has shown Himself to me, and loved me, and provided for me, time and time again.
Over and over again, I remembered. And my heart was filled with incredible joy.
When we look back on His goodness, and we remember His workings in our lives, we cannot help but be filled with JOY.
What do you remember?
So often, we forget, don’t we? We forget what God has done and we become short-sighted. We grow disillusioned. We become cynical. We wonder if He’s there at all.
When we remember, however, we see how the Lord has been there and provided. Again and again. Our whole countenance changes as we recount the details, the beauty, the laughter and the deep emotion we felt inside by just being in that moment.
Remembering ushers in JOY.
Take some time today to remember. Remember how the Lord has been there for you, for your family. Remember how He has performed miracles. How He has been there in the loud crazy moments of your past, and in the quiet times of solitude.
Remembering ushers in His JOY.
I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. Psalm 77:11-12
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