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Do You Remember?

Fun fact: I keep almost every handwritten note or card I’ve ever received. 


I also keep at least one voicemail from a few people in my life that I love. 


And, I still have printed copies of digital words that leapt off the screens I originally read them on, burrowing themselves into my heart.


It’s not that I’m a hoarder, or that I’m too lazy to take a trip to the trash or can't find the “delete” button. It’s more the fact that I’m afraid that if I don’t keep them, I won’t have access to them someday when I may need them most.


As a writer, words have always meant the world to me. At their greatest, they have the power to comfort, encourage, galvanize, and empower. And, when they come from the people you love most, they hold meaning far beyond their surface sound.


One day, I’ll stop receiving voicemails from my mom containing no crucial information other than copious details of the exact moment she occupies. 


One day, I’ll stop opening my mailbox to find handwritten cards from my grandma every holiday (Yes, every holiday - including St. Patrick’s Day). 


One day, my dad won’t be here to send me an encouraging text about my writing - a lifeline when I’m unsure if this gift God gave me has any impact at all.


One day will come, and there will be an aching void in my heart where seemingly insignificant words once filled such significant space. 


I don’t want to forget the love and grace in my mom’s voice.

I don’t want to forget the thoughtfulness of my grandma.

I don’t want to forget my dad’s invaluable encouragement.


They all mean too much to me.


And so I’ve been thinking:

What if I treated the words God speaks in the same manner?


The other morning, in a little Vancouver cafe, I was moving along in my study of the Gospel of Luke.

The assigned reading for that day was a tough one. I was moving through the Crucifixion, and let me tell you something - it never gets easier to read the details about Jesus’ gruesome death.


And that day, God showed me something I had never really seen before.


I opened my Bible to the spot where my highlighted notes tapered off last and found myself in Luke 24. At this point, (Warning: spoiler alert ahead…) Jesus is already dead. This is the part of the story where the women are going to take the spices they prepared to His tomb. 


Fun fact: The intention of bringing these spices was to cover the smell of a decomposing body. I include this detail because so often I glossed it over without realizing its significance. Second spoiler here…there was no decomposing body in that tomb. There was no body, period. 


There’s even more to this story where the women also waited another day to go to the tomb because they were observing the Sabbath, which pushed their timing to arrive AFTER Jesus was resurrected. That’s a real surface-level, Spark Notes version, but seriously, it’s SO COOL to really study the Bible because it helped me see the intentionality in God's timing.


Because of this divine "delay", the women show up on the third day to find no body. When they started to wonder what the heck was going on, these 2 angelic men (Lord, if you did it for them…) showed up and told them what happened:


 

“‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’’ Then they remembered his words.

- Luke 24:5-8 -
 

There was one part of the angels’ response that particularly stood out to me:

“Remember how he told you...”


The women prepared spices because they expected a dead body. And when they didn’t find one, they were confused because they forgot what Jesus had said. 


If they had remembered, they wouldn’t have wondered. 

If they had remembered, they wouldn’t have seen an empty tomb.
They would’ve seen a fulfilled promise.

Once their interaction with the angels concludes, the women must’ve remembered because they head back to tell the apostles all about it. But, the apostles don’t believe them. They call it “nonsense” (No lie, check out Luke 24:11). 


So I had to wonder: Why didn’t the apostles remember, especially after the women told them? And you know those women didn’t leave out any details…


What if the apostles didn’t remember because they didn’t realize the importance of Jesus’ words at the time He spoke them? I mean, often, they were confused by what He was saying.


What if their confusion caused them to dismiss His words completely instead of silently storing them away for future revelation?

I’m not saying I would’ve done any better than these guys in the situation they were in, but it's easy to wonder because I’m not in their situation. I’m on the other side of the story, which caused new reflection questions to flood my mind.


Or, rather, punch me in the gut:


  • How often do I dismiss a word from God that I would later need to help me see the miracle of His glory?

  • How many times have I missed what He’s trying to show me, distracted by my own naive, limited understanding?

  • How often have I missed the joy of His fulfilling promises in my life because I didn’t remember the words He once whispered to me?


God is always speaking. And while we may be listening for a moment, we rarely listen with the intention of remembrance.


Now, I’ve never heard God’s audible voice, so I’m not saying you’re going to hear some thunderous voice or anything like that when He speaks to you. Likely, the words are these tiny whispers that can be paradoxically completely silent. It sounds crazy, but trust me - you’ll know. 


They are the words that make your spirit stir when you read them in the Bible or audibly hear from people the Holy Spirit uses to speak through. They are the words that feel personal to you, like someone has offered a solution to your deepest problems you never actually voiced. 


And usually, they repeatedly show up in an undeniable, thematic way that is sure to catch your attention. 


Those words? Those are the ones you need to hold on to.

Whether you understand them now or have absolutely no clue as to what significance they hold, you need to store them in your heart, and you need to do whatever you can to remember them



In her sermon, “God Has Given Me Everything I Need For The Season I’m In”, Pastor Holly Furtick said something I’ll never forget:

“God will give you a word for your season, and when He does, you don’t let it go”. 

That sermon is one of my favorites from this year, so do yourself a favor and go check it out.


That piece of wisdom made me feel a whole lot better about the sticky notes of quotes and verses I have all over my room and mirrors. It confirmed my refusal to never throw out any single journal I’ve ever kept. 


It made me feel a whole lot better about becoming a crazy collector of words, and it challenged me to not just reflect and remember God’s past words, but to write down every single present one, too.


What if the women and disciples had done that back then? I know they didn’t have Smartphones or easy access to writing materials (or the knowledge of how to write), but what if they spent time rehearsing the things Jesus said together?


If they knew they would need to access His past words sooner than they thought, would they have paid closer attention? Would they have cherished them more?

And shouldn’t I, too?


In His love, Jesus does eventually help the disciples see the miracle of His resurrection, but I wonder, if they had remembered sooner, would that have spared them some pain? If their perception shifted sooner from the ache of loss to the adoration of love, would they have received comfort instead of confusion and shame?


And then I wondered if I, too, have stayed in a painful situation far too long instead of remembering words that would’ve brought peace. 

I love reading my old journals and discovering God’s faithfulness seeping from nearly every page. Even though the entries were more like sob stories back then, there are moments where I would write down what I was learning in Bible study, or what I thought God was speaking to me, or some of my heart’s unfulfilled desires at the time.


I’ll never forget finding an entry where I wrote that I felt like I was going to move south someday. And in the next sentence, I specifically wrote “North Carolina”. 


That was in 2018 - 3 years before God fulfilled that desire. And I forgot it was that specific. I forgot I ever wanted to move to the very state God was leading me to.


In 2002 (yes, I still have my 2nd grade notebook) I wrote that I wanted to be an author (spelled, “auther”) someday. 20 years later, that dream became a reality. And it was for God’s glory.


No lie on that either. I'll post that entry here for you as proof... :)


There are pages and pages of painful moments that I thought I'd never stop writing about, side by side with scriptures or little God moments that made little to no sense at the time. But I wrote them down, held on to them, and used them to propel me forward in faith.


I post sticky notes of scripture and anointed words in my room, on my mirrors, at my desk, in my car, and anywhere else I may see them frequently to give me ammo for when the enemy tries to divert my focus and discourage me.


I keep these words close & visible so I can remember.

Because every time an attack comes and I choose to remember, two things happen:

  1. I am reminded of how good, wondrous, personal, merciful, and powerful our God is, and

  2. I am revived with hope because He still is, and always will be.


I don’t know what God has personally spoken to you in the past, or what He’s trying to say to you today, but I do know that He wants you to grab it, store it, and remember it.


Because it’s in the remembrance of His truth that we become presently grateful, peacefully hopeful, and powerfully able to move forward.

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