Through much of Chad's talk, my head was racing with thoughts of the importance of remembering, setting up memorials of what God has done, and teaching my children to reflect on what God has purposed in our family. Mental association is powerful and as Chad was talking, some of the mental associations I was having with my past took me to deep places of thankfulness for what God has done in my life. Psalm 130 is one of my favorite passages because it talks about God's amazing forgiveness and that He brings full redemption our lives. Some of my memories are pretty terrible because of many choices I made, but because of the amazing work he has done in me, those memories no longer move me to grief, but to an overwhelming, tangible understanding of His love for me. Again, with Jesus is full redemption.
Some of our memories should move us to action. There are people with whom we should reminisce. Some people should be thanked, some to whom we should apologize. To be honest, some memories should just be mulled over with God alone, but again, not so you can punish yourself over and over, but so you can experience His unfailing love for you.
During Chad's talk, I had a wonderful brainstorm. As I was taking notes about what was being taught, I was also frantically writing short reminder phrases of good memories from my childhood. I don't know about many of you, but Christmas and birthday gift ideas for my parents don't come easily. My heart is to give something meaningful or something they really want which most of the time is more than I can afford. I take great pleasure in making meaningful things for my mom whether it's stepping stones with grandkid handprints, worship cds, or even just a silly little framed scripture that seemed perfect for the occasion. However, truth be told, I'm not crafty. At all. It's bad. Really bad.
I had an idea and decided to go for it. She loved it. I'm sharing this with you all because maybe you can adapt it to share some great memories with someone in your life who could use a blessing.
First, choose or make a cute box. I thought about making one, but realized World Market would probably be a better choice for me. Cute, yes? $3.99...even better.
Next, type out as many memories as you can think of or whatever number you decide. I wanted at least 25. Because I'm so artsy (sarcastic, of course) I typed each one in a different font and changed the margins so they would look different. Being even more creative, I printed them on different colored card stock and cut them out with different shaped pinking sheers. They turned out pretty cute.
Finally, lay them in the box so that they look like the treasures that they are. My intention is to continue to send memories in cards and gifts for years to come so that my mom can put them in her memory box.
Memories are powerful. We all have good and bad memories. What we do with those memories is up to us. Do we allow abuse, bad choices, terrible situations to move us to fear, bitterness, alone-ness? Do the hard times overtake our brains so that they choke out the good memories we have? Even in the most difficult circumstances, good memories are part of our lives, but just like so many areas of life, it may take work, mental exercise and discipline to draw them out over the pain. And, one of the beauties of the cross is that Christ's sacrifice allows us to come to Him with those stinky memories and ask Him to work His redemption in us so that those memories no longer move us to tears of anger, grief, or sorrow, but to tears of joy and peace because in those painful places, we can more fully realize the depth of his love for us.