Join me to remember

I remember things that seem to have zero importance. Like the smell of the small stairway that led to the attic-level Children’s Ministry classroom in my childhood church.

I remember the smell. I remember the stairway being narrow. I remember the small window from which I could look down and see the church sanctuary. And I faintly remember dark cabinetry and a flannel board.

But when my son is obsessed with his appearance and I fear that I didn’t do enough to instill God’s word and the hope of the gospel in his life, I seem to have total amnesia to the eternal, historical and experiential truths of God and Christ. I forget what God has done. I forget what he’s promised. I forget how he redeemed and is still redeeming me. 

When I am scheduled to teach kids at church on a Sunday, or speak to a group of people on a specific subject, I’ll do the work needed to prepare myself. So I decided to give myself an assignment: a blog series on remembering God. My goal: to write on one eternal, historical or experiential truth of God in an effort to deliberately remember. 

Maybe like me, you’re a married mom of kids in the launch-out phase of development, working full time and involved in your local church, trying to balance work, rest and play. Or maybe you’re in a completely different demographic. Whatever your lot, if you’re a Christian, intentionally remembering what God has done and promised has got to be good for you, and me.

I did a little bit of google research on remembering and ran across this 2019 article in Nature magazine titled: The forgotten part of memory by Lauren Gravitz. The article proposes that our brains deliberately forget things in order to make room for new memories and to help us adapt and change with life’s often traumatic circumstances. Forgetting is a survival-of-the-species mechanism. 

To prevent this intentional forgetting our brains do, we have to intentionally remember. According to the researchers, The more often a memory is recalled, the stronger its neural network becomes. Over time, and through consistent recall, the memory becomes encoded in both the hippocampus and the cortex. Eventually, it exists independently in the cortex, where it is put away for long-term storage.

God knows this about our brains. (Surprise!) And throughout scripture, he tells his people to intentionally remember what he’s done and said. This is one of the functions of the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:25:26 ESV)

So, if you find yourself struggling with the day to day of life, or the crisis that has hit you, join me here every weekend to remember some of the eternal, historical and experiential truths of God.

Whatever is lovely- 5 for your weekend

fullsizeoutput_14b3Depression, in my family, is inherited along with steely blue eyes, long limbs and a weak chin. It’s something I write about not infrequently.  But I’m not always depressed. With the help of medication and intentional acts of setting my mind on things good, true and lovely, as God’s word so wisely instructs, I have lots of good days.

Today was one of those.  I received the 3 books I had ordered- Faith among the Faithless: Learning from Esther how to live in a world gone mad by Mike Cosper, Fierce Convictions: The extraordinary life of Hannah Moore by Karen Swallow Prior, and Show Them Jesus: Teaching the gospel to kids by Jack Klumpenhower.  I got to spend a couple hours chewing on Romans 9 with four Christ-loving women on the Valley Life curriculum writing team. I wrote a poem about my longing for shared pleasure in Christ while I sojourn here at 5:15 am on my back patio as lightning, thunder and wind cracked and blew. And I took out the acrylics kit I picked up on sale at Walmart and spent an hour admiring and painting the loveliness that is the sunflower.

I don’t know if you live with depression or some other hard thing in life, but I hope you can find something lovely to think on today.  Here are 5 for you to consider:

#1 The Sunflower

I picked up a bunch at my local grocery store today.  A $3.99 pleasure. I grew a red sunflowers one summer here at our place. They were amazing. I can’t help but feel a pinch of brightness and upliftedness when I look at a sunflower. I’m glad God made them.

2018-07-21 16.00.14

#2 Blueberries

I can avoid donuts and candy for a long time if there’s a bowl of fresh, ripe blueberries around. This time of year they’re on sale at our local grocer. Their deep blue make nostalgic for a my imaginary country home. Their snap of crisp, tangy sweetness satisfy my need for crunch and sweet.  And they’re full of those cancer fighters- antioxidants.


#3 Peaches and Cream- Whole30 Style

My husband and I are 21 days into our Whole30.  We’ve done this before and have always felt better afterwards.  But the last time we did a Whole30 there were no Nut Pods French Vanilla Creamers!  This nut based creamer poured over a freshly cut summer peach is utter delight.  Get some. Try it. You’ll agree its wonderful.


#4  Bullet Journal

I discovered the Bullet Journal about a month ago and it’s hands down the best thing that’s happened to me since switching to a French Press (which is another very lovely thing).

I’m almost always thinking of something I want to write down, or need to get, or a person to call, or an email to respond to, etc. And thus far in my life I’ve managed to get those things done and organized without forgetting.  But enter my smartphone dependence at age 44- I think my brain has atrophied in the remember-things-for-yourself-and-slow-down department.

There’s a whole following for bullet journals (#BuJo) and people make pretty ones that are basically works of art.  Mine’s just your basic bullet journal.  And I love it.  Need to get more Nut Pods- bullet journal.  Remember while your driving that you want to write a letter to your mom on Sunday- use Siri on bluetooth to write a note and put it in your bullet journal when you get home or pull over (don’t write while you drive).

Seriously. If you’re forgetful, do better with lists but keep loosing the little sheets of paper you write on and want to look back and keep current on what’s going on in your life- get a bullet journal!


#5 The Next Right Thing Podcast with Emily P. Freeman

next right things

If you have iTunes you can get it here.  Or you can go to her website and get it here.  But either way, as Emily puts it, if you would call yourself a second-guesser, a chronically hesitant person or one who suffers with decision fatigue, this podcast is a very lovely thing.  Emily’s voice is melodic and relaxing.  She starts with a reading of scripture and a short meditation and then moves on to the content of her podcast which is very practical and reassuring. You should go listen to her latest “Receive” series episode called “Receive Shadows and Light” now.

May your countenance be lifted by these lovely things.  And may you join with other sojourners this weekend to adore the One who makes all things new.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8