Day 4 | Gathering Stones

day 4

My fourth child, Troy, was off to school for the first time.  I was surprised at what a hard time I had with that.  After all, I had endured the trauma of the first three of my children heading off to school.  You would think that I would be used to it, even a little excited about it, by now.  But I wasn’t.  I kept wondering if I had made the best use of the time that I had had with him before he ended up being with others more hours of the day than with me.  I wanted to know that our sweet relationship was solid enough.  Yes, I expected change, but I hoped that that special bond would not leave.

 

One day, when I picked him up from school, he reached into his backpack and showed me a pecan that he had found lying on the ground under a pecan tree on the playground.  I told him how much I loved pecans.  They remind me of going to my grandparents’ house when I was a little girl.  Their four-acre yard was filled with pecan trees.  And we spent many hours gathering boxes full of pecans.  They even had a special nut-cracker that they allowed us to use.

 

Troy listened patiently and quietly while I reminisced, then continued telling me about his school day.  I figured my words were going in one ear and out the other.  The next day, and the next, and the next, and for many days after, Troy brought me pecans.  Soon, his backpack was so heavy with these treasures that I had to gently encourage him to spend his recess time playing soccer or climbing on the playground equipment.  But secretly, those days of pecan-gathering by my precious son brought joy to my heart.

 

The reason that those pecans were so special to me was because he remembered me.  I know that sounds like an insecure mom, but I know the reality of friends and studies and teachers—he could go a whole day and not think of me.  But when he saw the pecans, he remembered his mom!  That meant so much to me.  And then I thought:  How must our Heavenly Father feel when the busyness of our lives makes us forget Him, who has done so much for us?

 

That is what gathering stones of remembrance is all about.

Joshua gathered the stones from the Jordan River in order to remember.

So we, must gather stones—or pecans—in order to remember the One who never forget you.

 

 

 


Day 3 | Roadblocks

day 3What are the roadblocks in your life?  What causes you to stumble in your faith?  What trips you up just as you are beginning to run well the race of life?

For the Israelites, the Jordan River was a roadblock.  It stopped the progression of the promise.  After all the years of wandering, they were so close they could feel it!  They could smell it!  They were finally at the borders of the promise, but they weren’t there yet.  There was one more river to cross, but it was a doozey!  At that time of year the Jordan River was at flood stage.  Maybe a few of the strongest could forge the river, but Joshua had the holy assignment of getting all of the people across the flooded waters of the Jordan River, 40,000 men, not counting women, children and animals.

They spent three more days of consecrating themselves to God, and then it was time.  They were ready to cross, ready for God to make the way.  They had heard of what He had done in the past, parting the Red Sea.  Was it possible He could do it again?

At first nothing happened.  But then they took that step of faith.  They stepped into the flooded Jordan River.  And when they stepped out in faith, the waters of the river peeled back.  Were they afraid that the water would fall back on them?  Did they run across in fear or walk quickly across in amazement?  Regardless of their emotions at the time, they took that step of faith and kept going.

After all were safely across, God gave another assignment.  He told Joshua to go back to the middle of the Jordan River and gather 12 stones.  These were to be stones of remembrance.

The Lord wanted them to take the stones from the Jordan because he knew they were a forgetful people.  They were forgetful about who He was, what He could do and what He required.  And, I am forgetful, too.  That is what this Lenten season is all about…it is about remembering.

And as we remember who He is and what He has done and what He will do, He will begin to do extraordinary things.  Why?  So that all will know that God is powerful and wonderful and kind and merciful and loving.  When they see us, and what God does despite our ordinary-ness, God alone will be glorified.


Day 1 | Why 40?

day 1Hi, friends!  Happy Lent!  I am excited about the next 40 days as we seek God together.

Why 40?  If you have read my book, Stones from the River Jordan, you know why.  But here is an excerpt from that book for those who have not read it:

Holy Numbers

Now let me stop for a moment and explain something that I think is really cool about reading the Scriptures.  There are many references in the Bible to certain key numbers.  I call them “holy numbers”.  Some of the most common are three, seven, 12, and 40.  The number three can be classified as holy perfection like the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The number seven indicates completion and perfection—like the seven days of creation. The number 12 often encompasses the family of God,  representing all God’s people, and reminds us of the covenant or unending promise of relationship between God and his people—like the 12 tribes of Israel or the 12 disciples. The number 40 is often a number of cleansing and preparation for the extraordinary—like the flood in the days of Noah which lasted 40 days and 40 nights, or when Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness before He began His ministry.

 

So the answer to “Why 40?” is that we choose to remember for 40 days in order to be cleansed

In order to be transformed

In order to invite the preparation of the Holy Spirit to make our hearts and minds ready for God to do something extraordinary in our ordinary lives.

 

In our society today, 40 is a big, scary number.

We laugh, sometimes cry, dress in black, and endure endless jokes when we turn 40.  If you haven’t reached that historic point in your history, let me relieve you.  It is not that bad.  I am 46 years old (ummm, now I am 51!) as I write this blog post.

Unless God has another plan, I am right in the middle of my life.  The dreaded “middle age” term applies quite nicely.  I am good with it.  I, so far, have avoided a mid-life crisis.

 

While growing up, I was the middle child.  Often we find ourselves in the middle of a problem, in the middle of one of life’s storms, in the middle of grief.

In the middle doesn’t feel like a great place to be.

It is like you’ve settled in, not expecting too much.

But this is not God’s plan for us.  He doesn’t want us stuck in the middle of mediocrity.

He wants to use that middle place for cleansing and preparation for the extraordinary things to come.

Trust Him.  Wait and see.  Be still and know that He is God.  He is with you. He is for you.  He wants to show you how lovingly He can transform you and take you to the high places, to the extraordinary places.