As you may know, we have been remodeling (in a fairly loose sense of the word) our master bedroom. What needed doing the most was the floor, which meant everything had to come out. So in the process of putting everything back, I’ve been going through old letters and keepsakes of all kinds, which I’ve shared with you already. But I realized that things I have saved are for one of two reasons.
First are things I have saved because of the sweet memories they evoke. This category includes things like ticket stubs, birthday cards and brochures from places we have visited on our vacations. They make me smile or laugh, and feel some of what I felt back when. And I might show them to my kids or my sweetie, knowing they’ll enjoy the memory as much as I do.
But other things I save for more serious reasons. They are reminders of milestones or important days or lessons in my life. These might be things like a bookmark that was given to me by my small group leader in Bible study, or a small rock I picked up while in the mountains on retreat, or maybe a slip of paper with a quote that is powerful or meaningful to me.
These things are what I would call Ebenezers, or “standing stones” in my life. Chosen reminders of God’s work in me. The terms come from 1 Samuel 7:12 (“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up… and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.'”) and from Joshua 4, after the Israelites had crossed the Jordan River. Joshua instructed each tribe to pick up a stone and place it with the others, “that this may be a sign among you when your children ask, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ … And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
Do you have any of these? They can be very precious. These things I am less likely to share, because their meaning is so personal, but these reminders can not only benefit us, as in Joshua, but also others. Certainly, the lessons I have learned, I endeavor to share with my kids in some way.
But the thing that intrigued me yesterday was the realization that sometimes we deliberately erect the stones, but other times we simply recognize reminders that He has put around us. Like a rainbow. And while any object I have chosen to be an Ebenezer is special to me, the ones that He chooses to remind me, are often surprising and unexpected. They can be more fun that way, but they can also be more powerful.
If you are not in the habit of setting up stones in your life, I encourage you to do so. And even more, I encourage you to look for His reminders in your life. I’ll bet they’re everywhere.
~ “take heed to yourself,
and diligently keep yourself,
lest you forget the things your eyes have seen,
and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.
And teach them to your children and your grandchildren” ~