Altars of Remembrance are things, places, quotes and moments that mark our lives. Over the next four weeks, I will be sharing four of my life’s markers. This was the topic I spoke on at a recent women’s retreat and the theme as you will see was given to me at the conclusion of the retreat the year before. I hope you will be encouraged and stay tuned for the remaining three posts.
I have a tradition…every year for the last 10 years following our Blossom Ministries fall ladies retreat I have closed the door to cabin #611 and I have spoken a word of farewell. Often it is part prayer, part thanksgiving, and part see you next-year-old friend. (This cabin is my friend, “she” is an altar of remembrance.)
In 2016 as I shut the door I paused just a moment longer, placed my hand on the door and I heard God whisper: “Rinse and Repeat, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. What? That is weird! And then I knew…God was telling me to do it again! Keep going…be faithful…don’t stop. God was saying “See you again next year!”
Often I find it hard to believe that anything I do has much value. Do you ever feel that way? That you keep struggling on but does anybody care? Is anyone encouraged?
“If I want to truly give it forward today, if I want to be the gift, don’t I have to believe there’s enough in me that’s a gift to give forward?…it is strange to believe He could find any value in my…brokenness…[but] Didn’t He believe it was worth redeeming, renewing, resurrecting, to make it all into more than enough?…Christ believed in us…” ~ Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way
Rinse, Repeat…Redeem, Renew, Resurrect
“A constant scriptural refrain is to remember. Our faith is rooted in memory, so much so that one of the key works of the Holy Spirit is the ministry of reminding.” Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God (John 14:26)
Rinse and Repeat is used to indicate the continual repetition of an action or sequence of events, typically in a way regarded as tiresomely predictable.
Be intentional, Remember, Do it again!
These are four Markers or Altars of Remembrance that I know God has asked me to live by, again and again. This post will focus on #1.*
Marker #1 Push people toward God
“In so much as anyone pushes you nearer to God she is your truest friend.”
This quote is my life’s motto! It is also something that without being extremely intentional I often fail miserably at.
Who am I pushing nearer to God?
Who am I allowing to push me?
Or am I simply frustrated and turned around shouting “Stop shoving me!”
I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord ~ Philippians 3:8
I truly believe the verse above, and yet some days I am hopelessly distracted. One such day occurred at a football game this fall. My son is a senior this year and I have been tucking memories away. Knowing he will not play in the NFL every catch, touchdown, tackle is etched on my heart. At a home game, a young man sat down next to me and “interrupted” my memory making. He was struggling to know God had forgiven him for something. I assured him of God’s forgiveness, besides what he was worried about wasn’t really something I deemed necessary of forgiveness. But inside the Holy Spirit was putting up red flags “Pay Attention Melisa” this young man needs your attention.
I shared with him from memory the following verse:
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!” ~ Lamentations 3:22-24
Then he shared with me that he was going to be speaking on God’s grace in the near future. I think this may have been the basis for his struggle in feeling forgiven. We like to be an authority on things before we teach others, don’t we?
So, that night I pushed him nearer to God and he most certainly pushed me!
Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it. ~ Hebrews 4:16
May I ask you who you are pushing nearer to God?
Anybody shoving you to your knees in prayer?
*Look for Rinse and Repeat (Part 2 of 4) on December 14, 2017.
This post originally was published in the Blossom Ministries Newsletter, Issue 3 of 2017.