By Kathy Thomas
"I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old," (Psalm 77:11 ESV).
She crammed her final "essentials" into the few remaining nooks and crannies. Coffee... check. Snacks... check. Books... check. Shoes... check. More shoes... check.
"If you hit a pothole, you might as well shout 'Happy Birthday!' because that poor little hatchback is going to explode like a piñata." I grinned, as I surveyed my firstborn's prized possessions.
Through the glass, I treasured glimpses of my daughter's heart, revealed by her choices of "essentials" that would accompany her on her 1,200 mile journey to college.
How did I get so old? Where did all the time go? Where did all these shoes come from?
Peeking out from under a pile of blankets, shoes and more shoes, the glittery edges of her beloved scrapbooks sparkled, reminding me that all of my questions had already been answered the night before. As we sorted out which pieces of my daughter's life would continue with her into this new and uncharted territory, we stumbled across an ugly, old, green plastic tub with her name scrawled across the lid. We dumped out the contents, spilling a flood of memories onto our living room floor, revisiting two decades of adventure and joy, sorrow and loss, victories and failures.
Married at 18, a mother by 19, and again by 20 - this novice mom had been overwhelmed by the thought of trying to remember all of the precious details of my children's lives. So as each child arrived, they received a plastic tub, where all of their memories were stashed until "one day when I'd have more time" to paste them into neat little detailed albums.
But then, number three and four came along. Most of those memories never made it out of their boxes, until last night.
Sprawled across our living room floor were testimonies of God's faithfulness and blessings, as well as painful trials and struggles He'd used to shape my daughter's character, building her faith and dependence upon Him. God had taken a little girl with incredibly limited resources and molded her into an incredibly resourceful young lady! Each testimony of His faithfulness in her past served as promise of His continued faithfulness in her future.
Now, every time I pour out one of those ugly, old, green plastic tubs onto our living room floor, I see God. I see His face in every family portrait, His hand in every movie ticket stub, and His heart in every receipt for cotton candy.
I thank Him for the immeasurable blessings He has poured out on our family. I even thank Him for all of the weakness He has allowed in our lives. The difficulty of our struggles and the depths of our pain have seared the beauty of His rescue deep within our hearts. Without those trials, pride could have caused our memory of His faithfulness, provision, and comfort to fade.
God has been our Father, our Provider, and our Friend. He's cried tears of sorrow when we suffered loss. He's made a way for us in the wilderness when there was no way, and He's snickered under the covers with my children in their tents.
My memory fails me more and more with each passing day. Though I may need to cover my life with sticky notes to remind me to buy bread... Though I may need my younger children to teach me "one more time" how to use my cell phone... Though I may forget what on earth I walked into the pantry for... 50 times a day! I pray that I never forget my good and gracious God!
"My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me," (Psalm 63:5-8 ESV).
Copyright © Kathy Thomas, 2010. Used by permission.
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Kathy Thomas is a former model, homeschooling mother of four, and grandmother who enjoys farm life with her family near Ormand Beach, Florida. God constantly uses their personal building, cultivating, and shepherding experiences on their "Funny Farm" to teach them deep, powerful, and yes… sometimes humorous and humbling lessons concerning His kingdom mission. Kathy hopes to encourage others in their journey of faith through sharing hindsight, laughter, and the truth of God's written word.
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