My husband was recently home on a twenty day break in the middle of his twelve month Army deployment.
It was a bittersweet time.
We desperately wanted to enjoy each other’s company, but the black cloud of his impending return to Kuwait was never fully out of sight. It was a feat of sheer willpower for us to focus on our time together instead of the long, dreary days of separation ahead.
We were determined to enjoy every one of the 28,800 minutes he was home.
And we did.
He and I splurged on an adults-only overnight get-away. The whole family took several hikes along our favorite trails. We played games, face-timed far away family, worshipped together, ate special meals, and took lots of pictures.
But by far, the most memorable thing we did was take the boys on a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX. What a blast! We swished down the water slides, splashed in the pools, and relaxed in the hot tubs – together. My kids will probably never forget my terrified screams as our 4-person raft careened into the torture device known as the Tornado.
We add these fun times to our family memory bank. Like bricks stacked upon one another, they build our inside story.
When the time came to say goodbye, it still wasn’t easy on any of us. But we were able to muster a smile as we thought back to all the fun we had together. Those memories will help to sustain us through the next six months of separation.
Remembering what God has done for His people in the past has the same effect on our tough seasons here on earth.
Remembering His past faithfulness, gives us courage to believe His future promises even when our circumstances seem bleak.
Remembering His immense displays of power to save His people from Pharaoh, fills us with courage to rely on His might in the face of adversity.
Remembering that He loved us enough to send His only Son to save us, inspires us to trust Him when we feel unlovable.
In Joshua 4, God commands His people to erect two sets of stones (one on the river bed and one on the far bank), so that they will always be reminded of how He brought His people across the Jordan River on dry ground. These memorials would stand for the whole Nation of Israel to see. When the children would ask what they stood for, parents could pass that story on to the next generation. When times got tough, they could look back to the stones and be reminded of how God brought them out of their desert wandering and into the Promised Land.
Building an inside story with God sustains us through the trials and temptations of this world.
Some of the stones praise Him for returning my husband home safely from previous deployments. Others rejoice over the day God joined us in marriage, the birth of our children, promotions, healing from disease, and how He protected my son during a nasty fall while I was hiking with him in an infant carrier. There is even one stone for each family member family, quoting our specific life verse.
Whenever doubt, fear, or sadness creep in, I find encouragement, strength, and joy in these reminders of what God has already done for me.
Share one of your own God-memories in the comments below so we can all encourage each other.
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Word of God Speak, Testimony Tuesday.