Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Please Remember. . .


"When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past. . . "

-William Shakespeare
A maize sun settled straight above. Surrounded by white, downy clouds, it gave warmth. Not sultry heat. Just balmy comfort. It was a salve. An ointment of peace to bathe, with its soothing smoothness, all around. It was complete, eclipsed all bars, purged each object in its path with purity for its honest lustre and perfect poise.

Silky sands had soaked in its rays. Using my fingers as a sieve, I moved the fine white grains. Remembered God's promise to His friend. "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore" (Genesis 22:17). Amazed, I felt the strength of one tiny crumb of the sugar white. Poured through my hands the pieces whose shade likened to Easter lilies or cow's milk.

My children ran with their father. Enlivened by the cold, splashy waves of the gulf, my then young family danced. Leapt in the tides. Rejoiced in the freedom of a blessed moment of simple presence.

I can still picture my eight year old Chris and his surprise at the force of waves and their foamy diffusion over his body, in his sky blue eyes, up his nose, in his ears, and across his fair face. His brother Steven, two years his senior, barely noticed. Caught up in the power of the breakers and the majestic, unfurling waters, Steven with his olive skin and deep brown eyes, simply desired to make haste with the chance for fun and sun. My dear husband stood near, too immersed in frosty salt waves. As I noticed him notice and saw his smile, I found an impressed image, one that would never pass.

Our little visit to the sea became a snug memory keenly etched and stored in a tidy corner of our minds, there to abide among other family albums. These are brought in and browsed through on special occasions. Like tapered vanilla candles and an ivory damask cloth, dear moments so fixed in motion give beauty, light, and scent to our family table.

When alone, I have feasted from their manna. In my quiet, I remember. At times, my dear husband and I bring out these treasures and feed upon their goodness, relish in their own meaning with thirty-two perspective years. When sitting by the fire, drifting off to sleep, or driving down a reaching road, they are often our companions, giving joy, muse, thanks, sweet seasons.

Created once. Recreated. Again. Again. Again. Returned to shelf. Taken. Reread. Relived. Again and again. Always with heartened animation.

Our memories are alive with wings and settle within our nests, lighting with love upon our fleshly tables. They glow. Are bright to share, to wonder, to teach, to grieve, to change, to feel, to impart, to rest, to joy, to handle, to know again, to pass to others, to regift as though new.

Such passing, this regifting, I have now begun to experience with my own sons and grandchildren. Just the way my dear grandparents and parents did for me, I am finding it ever tempting to tell, to ask.

"Would you like to hear about Mimi when she was a little girl?"

"Whes, whes!" A little head shaking so encourages the telling.

Exquisite. Wondrous. Miraculous. Like the loaves and fishes, memories multiply. Like the widow's cruse of oil, they remain. Like Joseph's store, they bless in famine. Remembering. Sharing. Telling. Giving. Blessing. . . . And compelling.

"And don't you remember?" was Christ's compelling to his disciples. The question was not expected. His words pierced. Cut. Made them think. Gave them fear. Caused them wonder.

Why would He ask about the past at a time like this? They were tired, hungry. Flustered, floundering, with failed memories; they had foraged through the boat and realized they had only one loaf of bread.

Jesus' words pressed their hearts. Stirred instability. Charged ignorance. Challenged faith. Yet, empty stomachs stopped the ears of deep hearing. That real hearing that listens with heart and soul, not ears alone.

Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" "Twelve," they replied. "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" They answered, Seven." He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"
Can you hear it? The desperation in our Savior's voice? The longing in His heart, propelling Him to compel, to plead, to extract belief from His disciples? Can you feel the sting in Jesus' heart as with passion He cries, "Do you still not understand?"

Christ had turned water into wine, healed the sick, restored sight, raised the dead, delivered from demons, revealed His deity, delivered the Truth, walked on water, taught them trust, shown them faith, spoken to a storm, given hope, fed five thousand, fed four thousand.

And still they struggled. They struggled with belief in Him. They struggled with remembering His works. The disciples were still leaning on their fleshly hearts, their practical minds that limited God's response to personal needs.

Eyes had seen. Ears had heard. Still, they did not get it. The worker of these works they had witnessed was "The Anointed One." Jesus Christ was their Messiah, the Son of the Living God, Who can and will do more than imaginable.

Christ's response to their faint hearts was "After all you have seen, after all you have heard, after spending time in My presence, after walking with Me, talking with Me, seeing Me in the flesh, face to face, knowing My name, watching My faith, noting My love, finding My peace, marking My steps, eyeing My hand extended, do you not really know Who I Am?"

And surely He asks me too today. "Andrea, do you really know Who I Am? Do you not remember My word? Are you not reminded of My works? Do you not believe My voice? Are you not confident in My care? Will you not remember Me?"

Remember. I must remember. You must remember. We must remember Who Jesus is. And Whom we serve.

My friends, we do not serve a wimpy God. We do not serve a clockmaker who created a world to let it orbit and live on its own. We do not serve a senseless God who could not care less. We do not serve one who forgets us.

No, He has written Your name on the palm of His hand! He is touched with the feelings of your infirmities! Jesus understands all we suffer, for He has been there. All our pain and sorrow are known by Him! And He remembers us and knows the plans He has for us, plans to give us hope and a future!

But, we must choose to remember. The Greek word for "remember" in Mark 8:18 means to exercise memory, to rehearse, to be mindful. A passive act? What? No! A "mindful" one with intention to rehearse, review, remember. . .until we know. Until we trust. Until our faint hearts are full of faith, ready to render all to Jesus.

Life events have lately challenged me to remember. To recall the mighty acts of our God. To relive His past moments of kindness and care for my family. To feed on His faithfulness. To once again place my feeble hand in His, Who will never lead me away from His grace and love. To Remember His hope. To remember His love. To remember His truth. To remember.

My dear husband will have a biopsy next Thursday. This problem I have not before mentioned, but it could be a serious one. Yet, we both have peace. I trust in His name.

After all results are in from the biopsy, Jeff will have a heart cath to rule out all suspicions of a blockage.

He is doing better today, for which I am indescribably thankful. And, oh, how much I appreciate your prayers! Your love and concern and uplifted voices to our heavenly Father are such a precious sacrifice. Thank you, dear friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Scriptures are from NIV Bible
Scripture references include Mark 8:14-21; Isaiah 49:16; Hebrews 4:15; Jeremiah 29:11
Greek Word Study is from e-sword

I want to give a special thank you to Rebecca of A Gathering Place, whom you will find at her beautiful site at http://www.gatheryeroses.com/. Rebecca is a wonderful woman of God, and she is one of the most talented and creative people I have ever met. Rebecca has been a great inspiration to me and a dear friend.

She had a give-away a little while back, and how excited I was when I found out I had won!!! Pictured below is the lovely handmade sachet. It is beautiful and is filled with a heavenly lavender scent. It found a perfect place in my home, where it hangs on my bedroom door.
Thank you, Rebecca, for having the give-away, and for always sharing your heart with others.

23 comments:

  1. Andrea, the Word of God is such a support, isnt it. I'm sure you have so many tender memories of your life together. I am continuing to pray for you and your husband, for strength, for the knowledge of His comfort.
    When my husband was in hospital last year after a stroke I used to read the wonderful words of Psalm 121 to him, they comforted us both so much.

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  2. Dearest Andrea,
    The past few days, you have been on my mind a great deal. Still praying for you and Jeff. It only makes great sense to pray for the two of you as a couple since you are one flesh.

    God's peace and joy be with you.
    May the medical staff have great wisdom as testing and treating your husband.

    ~D~

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  3. Continuing to pray for Jeff.

    This is a great post. It really spoke to me, today. I need to be quiet and listen...something that can be very hard for me.
    Blessings and prayers, andrea

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  4. In our Beth Moore Bible study 'Believing God' she reminds of just this...to remember...remembering our past and how we can see that our Lord was with us every step of the way. Through thick and thin. You are right! He is no wimp!! I am praying that the church will see Him for who He is!! So much more than we can fathom.
    Remember you in prayer and your husband.

    Blessings to you!

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  5. Andrea, I'm experiencing complete awe right now. I read that passage in Mark JUST yesterday before praying for you last night. I also marveled at Jesus' response to the disciples.
    And our memories - so precious, so life giving. I feel like now that I am 50, my memories nourish me more than ever before. What a beautifully written post, dear servant of our mighty God! I will keep holding you and Jeff in my prayers.

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  6. Beautiful post about treasured memories and the power of remembering...

    Always holding up you and your family in prayer and asking for that special touch just when you need it most....

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  7. Sweet Andrea,
    I am always left speechless by the beauty and depth of your words.
    You are both in my prayers and in God's hands.

    xoxo Cori

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  8. Andrea,
    I am so indescribably awed by this message!, I can't tell you how much your thoughts and the Word have ministered to me. Here I am suppose to be encouraging you and you have so lifted my spirit. May the Lord continue to strengthen you and may your feet continue to soar upward toward Him. I think of you everyday and I pray for you both, as well as your dear family.
    Blessings,
    Sue

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  9. It seems as if I'm called to remembrance more and more, especially in these days of mourning the loss of my friend. Life is precious; we are better served by remembering the faithfulness of our God who's brought us "thus far" and through to the other side on so many occasions. He will bring you through this, Andrea.

    Tons of love heading your way this night...

    peace~elaine

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  10. I too, will be praying for you all Andrea. Much love and special thought coming your way!

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  11. Your news was good to hear I am so glad things are looking so positive now for you both. Take care and enjoy each others company. best wishes Julie.C

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  12. Thank you for the update; your family will be in my prayers. Hold on, Andrea; He is so good and faithful.

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  13. I love the picture you posted, and the words of your heart that you once again shared with us. The fragrant sachet is so timely for you, a reminder of the enduring presence of God in your life.

    No dear Andrea, He hasn't forgotten you. He never will.

    Praying for His peace to surround you at this season of your life with Jeff.

    Lifting you and Jeff up in prayer.

    Thanks for your visit to my blog, and leaving such sweet words of encouragement, despite what you yourself must be going through.

    Your friendship is a blessing.

    Love
    Lidj

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  14. Dear Andrea,

    I have been praying for you and Jeff each day and will continue to do so. Your strength and faith are a blessing to all who visit your blog. Your post this morning is so powerful and beautiful. God Bless you both!

    Blessings dear friend in Christ,

    Kim

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  15. With all you are going through at present you still have the time to teach, to share important lessons with us? Thank you! This writing is a blessing to me and I will practise the 'remembering' more now.
    You remain in my prayers, for your giving of your faith as well as for the health of your husband.

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  16. Mrs. Andrea,

    I know that you and your family are going through hard times, ya'll are in my prayers...you have been such an encouragement to me! I can always go to your blog and be refreshed in the Lord! I'm always reminded of what the Lord is doing and what He has done in my life when I visit with you!
    Keep your eyes on the Lord!

    God's been so good,

    Jennifer
    Job 23:10

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  17. Just drop by to say: I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
    Blessings and prayers, andrea

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  18. I think you've really hit on something--throughout the OT, God was always telling the Israelites to remember--I never noticed Jesus doing the same. And like you, I feel the tug at my heart, when He reminds me of what I already should know. Memory--what a wonderful and fickle thing...my prayers are with you and your husband. Cannot imagine your struggle right now, but you are blessed with Godly faith and hope. I cannot imagine how the rest of the world makes it through without them.

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  19. I appreciate your reminder: "...we do not serve a wimpy God."

    Thank you for encouraging us to intentionally remember what God has done for us in the past and for what He's doing now.

    In light of what you and your husband are going through, this post is especially precious.

    I pray for you both.

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  20. Dearest Andrea,
    Thank you for this sweet encouragement!! :)
    It is very timely... our Church is currently
    without a full-time pastor (has been for the last 3years) and the last few days have been extremley hard, thank you for speaking the Truth in such a wonderful way!!
    I will keep your husband in my prayers!!!
    The Lord is faithful to us even in the midst
    of trials! Praise God!!!! Bless you dear sister in the Lord!!

    Love in Him~ Miss Jen

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  21. Andrea,

    This is absolutely beautiful and appreciated. I pray that it falls to the ground and produces much! Lovingly, Yolanda at Higher Grounds

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  22. Andrea,
    You have been much on my heart and in my prayers for the past few days. I have lifted your name before the Lord, asking Him for strength for you and healing for your dear husband.
    Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and encouraged the body of believers there to be aware of the fact that, after going through testing, they would be able to comfort others with the comfort they themselves had received of God. I know that when this time of trial and heartache is past, fresh words will fall from your heart and mind to grace the pages of the blogsite we all love so well.
    Be encouraged, dear friend, you are very much in the forefront of the mind of God. His plan for you may not be easy, but it will be worth it. You are, indeed, in the palm of His hand.
    May He bless you today as only He can.

    In Grace,
    Marie

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  23. Hello,

    What a beautiful reminder of our Lord's goodness and faithfulness! Thank you for your vivid story, and for sharing your burden. We are praying for God's blessing on your family, and healing and comfort for your husband. I am so thankful for the blessing of your words!

    Michele

    If you would like, I would love to have you stop by my place to enter a little giveaway ~ posted on July 5th.

    m

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Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,

Andrea