Forget Not

I’m posting a little early on our Yes to God Bible study. Tomorrow will be a busy day. What with music lessons for the boys and our church’s Shrove Tuesday Pancake dinner…I didn’t want to be left out!

I’ve always thought it easier to look ahead than back over my shoulder. The possibilities of the future are much more inviting than the mistakes of the past. In chapter eight of our online Bible study of Jennifer Rothschild’s book Self Talk Soul Talk, Jennifer tells us, Forget Not His Benefits, O My Soul.

I find this chapter especially poignant as we prepare to enter into the season of Lent.

This time of year always brings me to my knees. As I reflect on my human failings, and meditate on the great price that was paid for my soul, I am filled with repentance and gratitude.

As a young girl, I took a quilt bought at a flea market, folded it carefully, and placed it at the foot of my bed. I told my friends that my grandmother made it for me. This was a lie; I never really knew either one of my grandmothers.

I so wanted a heritage of tender stories. The truth was, my stories were not happy ones. My stories left me empty inside. I wanted to run into the future and leave those painful memories far behind.

Looking back can be difficult for some. There may be hurtful things in our pasts, things we are ashamed of, or things we don’t understand. We want people to see us as we are now, not as we were then. We are tempted to hide our truths from others. But it is in sharing our stories that we become one people. We learn from the experiences of others, and we also grow closer when we reveal our weaknesses.

And God wants us to remember.

After cutting off the flow of the Jordan River so the Israelites could pass, He commanded Joshua to have the people set up twelve stones. The Lord said to Joshua: “…In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:6-7)

Yes, God wants us to remember the good times and the difficult times. And what’s more, He wants us to share these stories so that they will not be forgotten. So that future generations will learn and understand what came before them. We cannot be afraid to look back.

But we must not fear looking forward either. The Lord did not tell his people to stay at the Jordan’s edge and gaze at the stones forever. If they had done so, they never would have made it to their promised land! Looking back is only beneficial when it strengthens us to move forward. As Jennifer says, “Remember what is profitable, whether good or bad…Ask God’s Spirit to guide you to profitable memories. Ask Him to help you wisely assign meaning to your milestones.”

We will not fear the uncertainty of the future when we remember the unfailing faithfulness God has shown us in the past.

Let’s build our futures on the goodness of the Lord. Let us share our stories with one another. Let us tell our children about His faithfulness in our lives. He is faithful. We must never forget that. Because we have a promised land to get to.

Comments

  1. says

    Laura,

    I loved this chapter and look forward to posting on it tomorrow sometime. God has so used my memories for a purpose; still in the midst of some of that, but He is faithful. I am looking forward to what He has ahead.

    So…I went to my page and looked for your little “following” photo to come over here and check out what you were up to…and your little picture was gone. 🙁

    Have a lovely week.
    Looking forward-

  2. says

    “I so wanted a heritage of tender stories.” Oh my how I wish that…I have no memories of childhood…good ones that is…I keep praying that God will help me remember…He healed the pains but otherwise all is a blank. I hear others talk about childhood and I feel so hollow…then I remind myself that I met Jesus because of it all.

  3. says

    Laura, your references to our children always touch a soft spot with me of late, and I love how you write –

    “Let’s build our futures on the goodness of the Lord. Let us share our stories with one another. Let us tell our children about His faithfulness in our lives. He is faithful. We must never forget that. Because we have a promised land to get to.”

    I haven’t quite finished reading the chapter but what I read today at lunch gave me a new appreciation for my past, especially what I consider the bad parts of it. God is faithful and one thing I was reminded of today was that I am now where I am because of His grace.

    Thank you once again, and enjoy Shrove Tuesday. xo

  4. says

    Hey Laura, thought I’d check out your study since you commented about it on my blog. Is this author by chance blind? If so, I have heard amazing things about her testimony…maybe I should check out the book…

    I find so much in common with Lot’s wife…can’t move forward to a better place for looking backwards…ugh! I just live and relive the horrors seeing only the faults. I am finally able to make peace with the fact that God can and will use it all for His good.

    Your ability to look forward and go there with ease must be one reason I love coming here so much.

    I love your words. you bless me.

  5. says

    Sister Laura,

    What encouragement as we walk out our past as a testimony to share of our glorious future as well as God’s faithfulness in THE NOW.

    There is a reason, and generally that reason is simply to bring honor and glory to God.

    Love YOU,
    Yolanda

  6. says

    Amen!

    I truly believe some people can only be helped from someone who has experienced difficult times in their lives. Somehow they can share about God’s faithfulness like others can’t. In the video of the first session of Beth Moore’s study of Esther she said “You cannot amputate your history from your destiny.” I thought that was so good.
    Every time I think of your past I think of where you are right now, Laura and your story blesses me so much. Your life is a testimony.
    I thank God for you and your willingness to share.
    Love,
    Val
    P.S. Your picture is not on my followers either. I saw that I lost one and hadn’t had a chance to figure out who it was until I read the comment from Liz.
    Hummmm…..

  7. says

    I lost you too!!!! Please come back!

    You are leaving such a beautiful heritage to your children, Laura! You are such a beautiful, tender mom………the Lord has gifted you with such grace.

    What a heritage you are paving for those who follow you…….”goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…….”

    Look behind you, girl, you are leaving a beautiful trail of His goodness and His mercy!

    Love you,
    Cheri

  8. says

    Hi Laura. Thank you for reflecting and posting on this chapter Laura. What wonderful insights, especially references to children. I’m cheering all of you women on. Thanks for doing my study.
    Jennifer Rothschild

  9. says

    I am so touched by your quilt story. Saddened by what it stood for, yet grateful for the telling. You’re right. Our “stuff” has a way of making us one as a people. My grandmother made me a quilt right before she died. I was eight. I still have it and curl up under it on occasion. It’s seen me through many a tearful night, and when Hurricane Floyd ripped through our town, leaving my home and “stuff” in peril of being submerged in flooded ambush, I had my husband grab a few photos and grandma’s quilt and secure them in the highest part of our attic before being boated away from our front lawn.

    All survived, thank God.

    Thanks for sharing this story with me. I love that it’s a part of your story.

    peace~elaine

  10. says

    Hey Sweetie! You are back! I am so used to using those cute little photos to visit my favorite blogs, that I missed it right away! I have no idea what happened, but if I get yanked off as a follower…I will call you!

  11. says

    We will not fear the uncertainty of the future when we remember the unfailing faithfulness God has shown us in the past.

    Laura, I love reading your blog! Such wise words. I appreciate the admonition to share our stories. Mine is in the making but I pray daily for the day when all the pain and heartache are but a memory, a powerful memory that can be retold with all of God’s workings to bring hope to the hopeless. God Bless
    Tina

  12. says

    Hi Laura,
    Feel like I’ve been missing out these last few weeks, but it’s great to be back. Thanks for all your insight on the chapter and sharing bits of your story – encouragement I needed today! Love this, “Let’s build our futures on the goodness of the Lord. Let us share our stories with one another. Let us tell our children about His faithfulness in our lives. He is faithful. We must never forget that. Because we have a promised land to get to.”
    Well let’s go!!!

  13. says

    Laura…

    I haven’t read the study you’re doing, but I wanted to say that your story of the folded quilt really touched me. I had similar feelings as a child and I can very much identify with wanting a “heritage of tender stories”. I love the way you write!

  14. says

    Laura,

    It brought tears to my eyes when you shared about the quilt. Another window into your heart. You are so right it’s so important that we take our stories and see where God has brought us or how He’s used that time in our life to bring us to the person He’s molding us to be.

    I’ve missed reading the blogs this week, and missed writing as well to all my dear friends. You are a blessing to me.

    Much love,
    Carol

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