Monday, March 23, 2015

never forget

The hubs and I went on a drive the other day. And wow. Sometimes it's nice to just BE. Be together. Be alone. And by "alone" I mean there was still an infant child asleep behind us in his carseat [of course]. But it still counts as alone in our world. :) Sometimes the busy days and meetings and long hours and to do lists keep us from just being. It was a chance to breath together and sync our hearts once again and remember why and what and WHO these days are really all about. 

We were listening to some worship music and before we knew it, Tomlin's "God of Angel Armies" was on. There are a lot of times I hear that song and it doesn't prick my heart. I don't go THERE. But yesterday was not one of those. Sometimes they're just words we sing. Other times, they're words that cut straight thru to our very hearts.

Have you ever noticed how quickly we forget what God has done for us? That’s something I’ve been learning on this journey of ours. It’s one of the things that I take with me and try to hold close. I see us, you know, each day... praying less, reading less, relying on Him less. Forgetting that we can walk side by side with God in the normal-est of days, with the same closeness and reliance as we did in the most desperate of times. He's HERE you guys. Even in the every day. We just need to take a good look around. Think about the Israelites. I never used to understand how fickle and self absorbed they could be. How could they forget the parting of the red sea? The manna from heaven??? Now I get it. I’m no different. I think that’s why God’s people made altars. You'll find altars all over in the Bible. Mostly right after God did something big in the lives of His people. Sometimes He commanded them to do it. He knew they would need to remember. But I wonder if sometimes they did it on their own as well. Built an altar and NAMED it. 

We never stopped and stacked stones the many times God came thru big for us last year. We made a photo book and wrote posts on our caring bridge and blog. Never forget. I think that's what we'd name our altar. The words that line the binding of the coffee table book we made documenting last year. 

There are lyrics and verses and photos and words that are written on our souls now. And there are days we unknowingly stumble across them and we're taken back and we REMEMBER. Just like the Israelites. What God did. Who God was to us in that time. WHO HE STILL IS. Who He wants to be for us in the every day, [even.still]. These altars take us to a real place. To the cross of our lives. Where we meet our Savior and are changed again. And again. And again. And we retell pieces of this story and God is glorified. And we are brought to our knees. And somehow this life makes sense again. That IS an altar, isn't it? 

What it takes to build an altar are really just broken things. Rocks maybe. Or maybe it's the tree you planted when your grandma died. Or the song that reminds one of my best friends of the dear sweet brother she lost all those years ago. You can take the hard and broken things and arrange them before the Lord and use it as a place to grow and reflect and stand in awe of Him and how He brought you thru. Or you can drag the rocks around and allow yourself to be burdened by them.  

So yesterday it was a song. These words.

whom shall I fear...nothing formed against me shall hold the whole world in your hands...the God of angel armies is by my side...the one who reigns forever, He is a friend of MINE...I know who goes before me...I know who stands behind

We held hands. Not just strolling thru the parking lot or sitting in the car mindlessly holding hands either. It's like our souls were holding hands on that drive. We held back the tears and sang (or I did...eeek) and talked about what we were doing at this time last year. How we had just learned about his heart condition... how he had just got out of the hospital (for the second time)... how he had started IV antibiotics and felt trapped and like he would never taste life again... how one time we stopped by the Rupp's and he had to hang his the IV bag from their ceiling fan so he could get his meds on time. {Funny now...but at the time, not so much}. How he sat in that chair...for weeks. And the kids would fight over who would carry him the tray of food because he could barely walk... and how he had constant aching and night sweats and day sweats and would have to change clothes every half hour for months. How he was almost brought to tears every time he passed by a mirror and could see what his body had become. 

But eventually, we peeked our heads out. We continued to try to play our hand in life. The body starting healing. The rest came in time. And yes, those scary curtains eventually came down too {we settled in to our new house veeeery slowly last year. hence the flowery drapes...} :)

We had a baby shower...

We had a BABY. 

We made funny faces and tried to act like it wasn't a big deal to be in a hospital again. And we tried our best to be "normal". At least time it was me who was the patient.

We had a birthday party for Rig. Probably a week after the baby came...and a week or two before Derek's big surgery. Crazy. But necessary. We chose to keep living. Even though most of the time we were ready to crawl back in bed and hide under the covers.

We watched people play with our kids. And eventually we started playing too. We went to t-ball games. Derek was winded and dizzy, but we did our best to get out there. 

We sent the kids outside with Papa Dan and let him drive them thru the yard and woods on the top of his old truck. We let them be kids.

I think for us, this remembering...has to include the hard AND the good. It's all part of what God did in us. So yes, it's good sometimes to stop by the altar of remembrance and stand in awe of this God of ours. To wipe the smudges off our perspectives and SEE Him again. 

I'm thankful that we've moved forward and don't have these conversations too too often. We don't live in the past, I promise. But when we pass by the altar and God invites us back to where He's taken us...we slow down for a few hours and take it ALL in. And we get a good look at this God of ours. 

I was reading Psalm 77 this morning. The writer is crying out for distress. But then in verse 10..."To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your deeds." 


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