In the past, I was afraid that my mistakes would define me, but instead, God gave ME the opportunity to define my mistakes. Here’s where the difference is: I could look back and have regrets and shame, hang my head and try to leave it all in the dark, or I can choose to see it for what it is: the place where God rescued me from- depression, drug addiction, self-loathing- and then I get to define those memories by using them as a tool for good. They become the starting points of miracles I have seen come to pass. Addictions broken. Shame released. Darkness foiled by His light of grace. By recalling the miracles and promises I have already seen fulfilled, the life I have lived completely redeemed, I created a track record of confidence in God. So no matter what I do or did, I can’t turn His love away. No matter how much I think I have messed up, God will bring good. Each rememberie, (yep, I totally made up that word), that I draw on points me back to His goodness and propels me deeper into faith and further into His love which strengthens me for those unexpected times. These rememberies are the bread crumb trail of hope when I am lost in the darkness.
The idea of remembering is the foundation of the Jewish holiday of Passover. From food to drink- everything was to commemorate what God had done for them and serve as a reminder of the freedom they received from slavery in Egypt. Descendants of the Israelites that didn’t wouldn’t physically experience captivity couldn’t know the oppression of slavery first hand and therefore might miss the significance of what God had done, unless the tradition of remembering lived on.
King David suffered many times during his life, but even in his darkest days he chose to remember the goodness and call upon the faithfulness of God that he had known throughout his life to get Him through.
Jesus sat with His disciples, broke bread, drank wine, all so that when they did the same in the future they would remember Him and His sacrifice and that memory would fuel them to carry on their ministries.
Even though the past maybe painful, if we don’t use it to talk about what God has led us out of, we may fall victim to repeat the same fate or live in insecurity, fear and hopelessness.
This world will throw the worst at you. We will see ugliness, we will watch loved ones die, we ourselves will face innumerable hardships throughout our lives- but, if we keep in mind the places we have seen God show up and encourage others with our stories, then as hard as it may be, we can endure adversities with full confidence that God will see us through, no matter what that looks like.
Honesty moment: My thoughts can have the tendency of slipping in and out of my mind without notice, so it seems, therefore, if I am not intentional, if I don’t make it a habit to create a track record of faith, keep it fresh, and adding to it often, my resolve can begin to waiver. My challenge to you: start today. Think of a way you have seen God show up in your life. It can be as simple as getting a phone call or text from a friend exactly when needed. It can be stumbling onto a support group you didn’t even know existed but now you’ve found community. It may be a sunbeam, cutting through the clouds when you’ve lost all hope. Or the first time you see your new baby smile. If you don’t know where to look, or how to recognize when its truly Him, here’s a hint: if it’s good, it’s God.
Then, remember often.
Psalm 77:11-12 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.