When I started this blog I wasn’t really sure what my purpose was. I just knew that I had piles of words all jumbled in my head desperately needing to be organized and sorted out. As I began writing, I found some clarity. But I’ve also struggled with my motives, my purpose, and my desire to write at all.
It was my big-picture thinker and amazingly wise husband who put it in perspective for me. One morning as I was whining about my lack of purpose he listened politely while sipping his coffee. When my lament had died down, he set his mug aside, leaned forward and firmly stated: “You write so that you will remember when the Lord speaks to you. These are your standing stones. And your writing not only blesses you, but the kids and I as well. Because as you build your standing stones, you become filled with joy. Then it spills over onto the rest of us. It’s like having five loaves, and as you share them, you end up feeding thousands.”
If you’re not familiar with the concept of standing stones, allow me to explain. One of the ways the Israelites marked significant events was by using stones. Here are a few examples.
*Genesis, chapters 28 and 35:
On two separate occasions, in the same location, Jacob receives a special word directly from the Lord. Both times he erects a standing stone to mark the momentous event. In these instances the stones commemorate God’s promises of blessing, presence, and protection. Jacob erected these memorials to remember that God had spoken to him, and as a place to worship.
*Joshua, chapter 4:
God had just miraculously stopped the flow of the Jordan River to allow the Israelites to cross into the promised land. God then instructs Joshua to choose twelve men, one from each tribe, to select a large rock from the now-dry riverbed. They were to carry the rocks to their camp and pile them there. Those twelve stones were to serve as a reminder of the miracle God had provided for His people. It was also to be a conversation starter for future generations. When the young people asked, “What’s up with the rocks?” it would open opportunities to testify of God’s power and provision.
*1 Samuel, chapter 7:
The Philistines were on the attack. Again. The Israelites were afraid and asked Samuel to plead with the Lord on their behalf. The Lord intervened, and the Philistines were soundly defeated. Samuel then took a large stone and named it Ebenezer, or ‘stone of help’. This was to remind the Israelites that God is indeed their strength and that He is willing and able to help them.
These stories really resonate with me. I love how these people created physical reminders that resulted in a sharing of faith and in worship. I love that even now, thousands of years later, I am reminded through their stories that: God speaks to his people, He provides, He is stronger than our enemies, He will protect us, and when God gives a promise, He will see it through.
I need these reminders. My husband’s grandmother had sundowner’s syndrome. Anna’s cognitive ability, in particular her memory, would be significantly diminished as the day progressed. By night time, she wouldn’t remember what had occurred earlier in the day. As I have pondered the concept of standing stones, I realize that I am much like dear Anna. My attention span and my memory are embarrassingly short. God can give me insight, comfort, or even a bona-fide miracle in the morning, but by sundown I can easily be wallowing in self-pity. Having forgotten His goodness, I grumble that the Lord isn’t working in my life. Or I’ll complain that He never speaks to me. Rather pathetic, don’t you think?
I have fully embraced this concept of creating tangible reminders of God’s goodness, strength, and provision. It is a tool to help me overcome the spiritual pitfall of faulty recollection. Let’s face it, living on this planet in its fallen state is hard. Marriage, parenting, homeschooling, aging…all present their own unique difficulties.
If I am to live an abundant life filled with the joy of the Lord I must build my standing stones. I must create souvenirs, if you will, to remind me of times my Lord has spoken, given me insight, provided and protected.
If I don’t, I am doomed to forget. Then bitterness and hopelessness can creep in and take root.
Building standing stones takes a conscious effort on my part. But when I am faithful in doing this, I can more easily see the Lord at work. It’s like putting on God-colored glasses, and suddenly I see His hand everywhere. And when I see Him at work in my life personally, I am filled with an inexplicable wonder and my joy overflows.
And so I write with this purpose, to commemorate the ‘God moments’ as they occur so as to cement them in my memory. To share them with you in hopes that, you too will be blessed.
Grace and peace to you.