Remind the kids to remember.
Write it down. Keep a record. Fill a journal. Etch memories into their hearts. “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”
I am coming to realize that remembering is integral to giving thanks. Remembering is the precursor to trust and faith. Without remembering how Christ has performed the miraculous in the past, then how are we supposed to fully rely on Him to work the supernatural in the present? In the future?
In past years, I have posted a room-length message in my classroom, proclaiming that “History is the story of mankind, and God’s interactions with us.” My hope is grounded in God’s past interactions with me. Salvation from sins. Healing from loneliness and depression. Empowerment by the Holy Spirit. My hope is also grounded on the desperate stories belonging to the great cloud of witnesses gathered around me, as Hebrews 12 says.
Even now, as I wait on Him to give life to my body, I remember. I remember how He used me in Russia as a 13-year-old to preach the Good News. I was afraid, but He was strong. I remember how He worked through me and around me in the border towns between Texas and Mexico. No amount of poverty is too great for His love. I remember His Reflection in the faces of homeless children in Moldova. Like the bright yellow sunflowers, heavy with unroasted seeds, that covered the countryscape, there was so much untapped potential, untapped glory. I remember how He revealed Himself along the drunken streets of Aberdeen, Scotland. His Truth stood in stark contrast to the dead religion of that land. I remember the train stations and coffee shops of Berlin, Germany. Tears streaming down the face of one young women in a park, as she acknowledged – for maybe the first time – the existence of a God.
Testimony is the food of faith. Remembering is the source of trust.
Help your students craft their God-history. What do they fear on Day 3 of your trip? How do they need God’s supernatural intervention? Why are they in Dakar, Senegal, away from all the creature-comforts that they are accustomed to expect?
Remind your students to remember.
While you are at it, don’t forget how much I love you. As you slipped your wedding band off and gave it into my safe keeping Saturday morning, replacing it with a simple silver one on your finger, I was struck by how often we provide ourselves with symbols of memory. You don’t need the golden ring to know that I love you. Yet, it is a silent witness to our love, to our vows. When I’m angry or you are frustrated, our rings are one of many “testimonies” that we fall back on to help us carry on, work through our miscommunications, give selflessly.
A simple chain around my neck carries your ring while you labor in Africa. As its hard surface bounces against my chest, rubbing against my sweaters, I remember you. As I wake up to an empty bed, I remember you. As I find more and more hidden love notes around the house, I remember you. As I make the long drive to school without you, I remember.
To remember is to savor beauty, savor life, savor goodness.
I’m savoring you right now, savoring the beauty of our relationship, savoring God’s goodness in bringing us together. I love you so much, man of my dreams.
Your Crazy Girl,