"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
April 10, 2019
The older I've become, the more I've realized that things seldom have sentimental value until you become an adult. Perhaps it's because when you are a child you only see what's happening at the time, take things for granted, and you don't have the maturity to understand that there will come a day when life will change; and really, as a child, that's how it should be. A child should live in the moment and have fun enjoying what each day brings.
I have an uncle who was a story-teller, and his stories were based on things that had really happened to him, but he would embellish them each time he told them to make them more interesting. And they were! They were funny every time we heard them. I heard them so many times as a kid that I thought I'd never forget them; but now I can only remember bits and pieces of those stories. I wish they had been written down.
My mom's oldest brother and I both had July 1st as our birthday. He used to call me most years to wish me a happy birthday. His wife made beaded necklaces and gave a couple to me as gifts. I do remember that one was red, white, and blue beads; and the other was clear beads with a greenish tint to them. When I was a kid, they didn't really mean that much to me; but now I wish I had kept them. I'm sure I wore them and played with them until the string that held them together broke; which really, they were given to me to be used, not to be kept safely tucked away as a keepsake.
I used to write down thoughts and various things when I was young. I wish I had kept all of those papers so that I could look back and see what all I had written; but at the time I didn't realize that there would come a time when I would want to see what was in my heart as a child.
But there are many things that I have held onto throughout the years that I cherish. I have a quilt that my Grandma Horton made me when I was a baby; a book from my childhood; a yellow baby dress that an uncle and aunt bought me; my baby shoes; a silhouette drawing my 1st grade teacher did of me; a cedar chest handmade for mama when she was sick; cards sent to me over the years -- as well as notes and cards that I gave to my parents; a doll Mama made me one Christmas; as well as other items.
Jon, also, has a few items from his childhood. He has his baby book; a plate with his handprints from when he was age 4; plaster of his handprints from when he was a little boy; baby shoes; his sister made him a cloth "square bear" and wrote a story that went along with it for Jon when he was a baby; a baby quilt made by his Grandma Gray when his dad was a born; a book of machines that his dad created and built throughout the years of owning his business; and various other things.
There are also things that Jon and I have collected throughout the years from trips that we've taken together that mean something to us when we look at them. We can look at them and remember the trip and the memories that we made together in various places.
Although we have tangible things that we can hold onto as treasures from our past, we also have intangible things in the from of memories that can only be shared through stories and conversations and in our thoughts. Through sharing those stories, we remember the heritage of our family; and we also give future generations a glimpse into their family roots.
In Joshua chapter 3 we read the account of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River to finally enter into Canaan after forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
In the following chapter, the Lord spoke to Joshua and said, "Choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, 'Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.'" The twelve stones were a representative of each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
When Joshua gave those twelve chosen men the instructions, he told them, "In the future your children will ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' Then you can tell them, 'They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord's Covenant went across.' These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever."
After Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River, he said to the Israelites, "In the future your children will ask, 'What do these stones mean? Then you can tell them, 'This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground. For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and He kept it dry until you were all across, just as He did at the Red Sea when He dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord's hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever."
The Israelites had a memorial that they could go back to, look at, and remember what God had done for them. They could show their children and tell them the story of why they were there and what they represented. They had something tangible that they could see and touch as they remembered.
But as time went by, the land was divided into territories for each tribe to go settle in. They didn't all stay nearby the Jordan River where the memorial was built, so many people couldn't go back and take their children to look at the memorial and remember what God had done for them.
Those people had to rely on telling their children the stories of what God had done, so that they could pass the stories on down to future generations.
Sadly, many of the people forgot and began interacting with the enemies who were yet to be conquered and driven from the land, as well as worshipping their idols and intermarrying with them; which went against everything God had commanded them. Their children and grandchildren didn't grow up being reminded of where they had come from, therefore, they fell away from their faith in God, and idol worship and sinful behavior became their lifestyle.
But there were those Israelites who did commit to remembering, regardless of where their tribe was sent to live. They remembered their journey, they remembered the miracles that God had done, they stayed firm in their faith in God. They followed the commands of God and taught their children to do the same. They remembered the powerful, miraculous hand of the Lord, and steadfastly kept a holy fear (reverence) of the Lord.
Today, the Jews still have a passover (Seder) celebration each year, which retells the exodus story. Through singing, telling the story, eating certain items with each being a fundamental part of the story, they retell their history from slavery in Egypt to them being freed by Moses. They remember their roots and have never forgotten. Exodus 13:8 says, "On that day tell your son, 'I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.'" That is why they still have the yearly Seder; to remind their children what the Lord did when their people came out of Egypt.
As much as Jon and I enjoy the mementoes we have from our childhood or from our travels together, that is really not what should be the most important to us. What should be our main focus is the legacy that we leave behind. "Stuff" will get lost or tossed out or no one wants our "treasures" after we are gone. Our stories may be forgotten; perhaps largely due to us not having children to pass them down to. But we still have a responsibility to leave behind a godly legacy. We must let people know that there is a God, who is powerful and mighty, and we must steadfastly have a holy reverence for Him. We need to have deep, godly, roots that will be remembered and honored.
When I'm gone, I don't want my nieces and nephews and their children to remember me for what I owned. I want them to remember me for my godliness; for my kindness, love, faith, and joy. I want them to remember that when they needed prayer, they could ask and know that I would pray for them. I want them to remember the stories of what God did in my life and the prayers that He answered. I want them to remember the love that I had for Jesus; and the love that I had for them and their families. I want them to remember my generosity; not necessarily being generous with my money, although that, too, if there was a need, but generous with my time and help.
We all will pass down something when we are gone, whether it be good or bad. We all have a life story that is being written.
The most important thing that we could ever pass down or give to our family is the story of God and His love and what He has done in our lives. Let's make sure that that story is being shared well!
As a kid, I did have a little respect for things that were very old, especially if it was well taken care of and in good condition. And I was taught very well that you should take good care of what you have so it will last many years, and to keep it because you might need it someday. (Part of that comes from my grandparents who had grown up in the Great Depression.)
But I didn't have much use for sentimentality. Having photos so you could show them to others made sense, but keeping them to remind yourself of people or exciting events seemed a little silly. The picture only shows one brief moment, typically of people posing for the picture. But mostly, why not just remember it? After all, you were there, why can't you just remember exactly what happened for the rest of your life?
It wasn't till I was much older that I realized we don't always remember every detail of every event for the rest of our lives. We tend to remember the more traumatic or giant events, but the details of the common, fun, and simply happy times tend to fade over time.
That's just one of those examples of how perspective changes. As we grow; as we mature; the truths in the world don't really change, but our perspective does. In the same way, as we grow in knowing God, who He is doesn't change, but our perspective does.
Triple Fudge Cake
1 large chocolate pudding and pie filling (not instant)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 Devil Food cake mix
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350. In large saucepan, cook pudding as directed on box. Blend dry cake mix thoroughly into hot pudding by mixer for 1-2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle top of batter with chocolate chips and nuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
When Jon was a baby, his sister wrote him a story named "Square Bear" and made him a cloth bear to go along with it. According to their mom, she did this when she was around 7 years old. Jon played with the bear until he got to the point where he thought he was too old, then was ready to get rid of it. His mom was devastated that he would even think of doing such a thing, because she knew the meaning behind the story and bear. She took the story and bear and put it up for safekeeping.
Jon's mom is getting ready move and she recently gifted Jon with Square Bear and the story. Jon's sister had been asked first if she would like to have it, but since she had made it especially for Jon all those years ago, she wanted him to have it.
Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
God didn't put out the fire, He just put Jesus in there with them.
It's not about God "putting out your fires"; it's about Who is in there with you. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon