(This is an edited transcript of “Don’t Forget to Remember” Episode 4 of The Carpool Line Podcast. This podcast from Family Christian gives moms a few minutes to connect with God so they can better connect with their families. Here’s how to listen.)
I don’t know what it’s like around your house, but I feel like as a mom I say DON’T FORGET to my kids almost as often as I say I love you.
Don’t forget to brush your teeth. Don’t forget to put your clothes away. Don’t forget you’re riding the bus home today. Don’t forget to put your dirty dishes in the sink. Don’t forget to let the dog out…or in. Don’t forget to text me when you get there.
And I’ve learned that even though I say: DON’T FORGET…sometimes they forget. So I remind them not to forget by prompting: Did you REMEMBER to let the dog in? Did you REMEMBER to brush your teeth? Did you REMEMBER to put your clothes away?
I like to think that when I remind my children not to forget that I am actually parenting them like God the Father parents us.
Throughout the Bible, God is constantly telling His children to remember. To remember who He is. To remember what He has done. To remember what He can do. To remember how much He loves us. To remember we are His children all that goes along with that. To remember He won’t ever leave us.
Deuteronomy 11:18-20 even tells us to write it all down and talk about it with our children to help us remember…Deuteronomy reads: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates…”
This is God as our Father saying: Don’t forget.
How Remembering Keeps Us Close to the Father
The simple act of remembering keeps us close to our Father. Remembering helps us stop living from a place of stress and striving and thinking we have to depend on our own strength to get things done. Remembering keeps our eyes focused on Him and our feet planted on steady ground even when our lives and the world at large seem anything BUT steady.
God reminded me of this truth back in 2020. And while most of us wish for an obvious sign like Moses’ burning bush or Jonah’s big fish, we forget that God uses what is around us to get our attention. That IS what He did with Moses and Jonah by the way. Moses saw the burning bush while he was at work tending to sheep. Moses was going about his everyday life.
So was I. And instead of a burning bush God used a broken Bible to get my attention.
A Broken Bible and the Act of Remembering
This story is uniquely mine but I know it isn’t unique. In 2020 everything was breaking and breaking down that year. Including me. And maybe you, too. I don’t remember the exact day my bible broke but I know on that day I was done. Over it. And I wanted the pandemic to end so everything could go back to normal.
On that day, I felt so broken. So tired. So barely holding on and keeping it together. The pandemic. The racial and political divides. Working long hours remotely in full-time ministry. Helping our teenagers with online school not to mention being cut off from friends. Sharing an office space with my husband who likes to sing when he works. I do not. On that day, I felt frustrated. I felt angry. I felt helpless. I felt confused. I felt alone. I felt done. I was so very very exhausted in my spirit and felt like I had nothing left to give although my family needed me, my colleagues needed me, and the people I ministered to each Sunday needed me to keep showing up with love and patience and grace and compassion.
But I felt like I had none left to give.
So I grabbed my Bible in desperation and went to my hiding spot in the house, which every mom has. And honestly it’s not even a hiding spot because our kids somehow always find us anyway. Right? But there I was in my closet and I opened up my Bible expecting some sort of soothing scripture to help. But instead my Bible in that moment literally came apart at the seams. Whole sections came out and the spine seemed to disintegrate.
I didn’t think I could sink any lower.
Me and that Bible had been together for 17 years and now when I needed words of comfort most it fell apart at the seams. I had been praying that I needed a break, but I didn’t expect God to answer my prayer this way. I meant a break from living in the unknown. A break from keeping it all together. A break from all the divides and fears and questions. A break from suffering. A break from anxiety and fear.
Instead the Lord chose to break my Bible as a way to get my attention. Breaking apart my Bible forced me to REMEMBER.
When the He broke my Bible, He broke open our shared memories. Verse after verse, margin scribble after margin scribble the story of God listening and responding and rescuing and healing were all there in this Bible. Prayers and revealed wisdom about moving, about our finances, our jobs, our marriage, parenting. There was the verse I prayed for healing for my dad when he had open heart surgery and there was the Psalm I used to praise God when He healed him. There were the numerous verses I prayed over my sister and brother in law as he battled cancer. And there was the verse I turned to when God chose to heal him in heaven.
As I started to put my Bible back together, God started putting me back together.
Because I remembered.
He reminded me of how He had shown up and delivered me each and every time, Not always the way I had expected or wanted but always in the way that was best…even if it took me years to see.
Remembering God’s Faithfulness
Lots of things broke in 2020. We all carry our own pieces from that fractured year. But honestly, lots of things break all of the time before and after 2020. We live in a broken world, but the Lord offers us rest and peace from the brokenness.
Both can be found when you remember:
*When you remember how He rescued you in the past, you can rest with assurance that He will make a way again.
*When you remember how He provided for you in the past, you can rest with confidence that He will continue to take care of your needs.
*When you remember how He carried you through grief and suffering, you can rest in peace knowing that His arms are always open for you.
*When you remember that He created the flowers to follow the winter, you can rest with expectant hope that He has not abandoned you to your current season (no matter how stark and barren it may seem).
*When you remember how He sacrificed His Son, you can rest with conviction that Jesus’ death offers eternal atonement for your sins.
*When you remember His Resurrection, you can rest with joy knowing that in the end LIFE and LIGHT and LOVE can not be defeated and the Peace and Joy you experience by remembering His Resurrection isn’t reserved for Easter Sunday. It’s meant for your everyday living.
When. You. Remember
But. here’s the key. You must make the choice to remember. The world would have you forget. Your flesh tries to keep your focus on your present circumstances and not on God’s big picture of RESCUE and REDEMPTION and eternal REST with and in Him.
2 Practical Tips to Help You Remember God’s Faithfulness
God the Father reminds us not to forget. The verse we read earlier gives two practical ways to remember:
Write it down. (I use my Bible to make note of my relationship with God. That’s what works for me. Other people use journals. The Notes feature on their phones. Or even notecards stashed away in a box. The key is to write it down.)
And the second way to remember is to share these stories with your children. Talk about how God responded to a prayer or guided your steps or helped you deal with stress. Those stories are part of their spiritual heritage.
When we write down and look back to remember, we leave a legacy of spiritual breadcrumbs for ourselves and our family.
I am going to leave you with a question and a prayer: How are you remembering?
A Prayer for Remembering
Father, thank you for reminding us not to forget. God we admit that we sometimes forget. We admit that we get caught up in the day-to-day rhythms of family life and forget all the ways you rescue us, listen to us, respond to us, and love us. God we ask for your help to live out these words from Psalm 77:11: “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”