Sometimes I forget. I come to a rest stop on a long, arduous journey... and I simply cannot remember anything else but the challenges, the failures... the not doing enough or being enough. I forget all that I have learned... how I have grown... the joys and thrills... and I simply feel very small... ill-equipped to continue on this not-for-the-weary journey.
If I stay in this place... consumed by my frailness in the light of the enormous task in front of me... I will not move.
It's a dangerous place. It's a place where for a moment my eyes have fallen off of Jesus and lingered too long on self.
'What did I accomplish this year? Did I do enough? How will I continue?'
It's a place where I forget to remember God's faithfulness.
But thankfully, God in His mercy throws me a line... and pulls me out of the pit. That line is our homeschool yearbook. Sitting down to cull photos and events for our homeschool yearbook is nothing short of spiritual refreshment.
While I come face to face with my own shortcomings, I am wondrously and mercifully reminded of God’s lavish provisions.
We all have them. Milestones along life’s journey... rest stops where we stop and take stock. Moments to pause and reflect... birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other times of celebration, or more obscure moments like the end of your first year on the job, in a new place or role. Whatever our milestone may be, it is an opportunity for us to look backwards, look inwards and look forward.
God is so wise. He knows the importance of remembering. There are countless examples in His word where He called His people to a time of remembrance. He knew that remembering is good for our souls.
And so, as I paused at the end of this school year, I remembered.
I remembered that I am not fit for this task, but God is. Yes, I heard the voices... the should haves and could haves... the wish we had... but as I lingered over each photograph... each memory... I remembered behind my beginning. I remembered why I do what I do... remembered Whose ‘well done’ I’m working for and Who empowers me to keep going. And I saw clearly and thankfully the tangible effects of God’s blessings in our lives... the accomplishments... the joys... the thrills and yes even the blessings of the challenges. I remembered the peace that remains even when days get long and hard, the comfort of knowing that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him and the promise of His power to those of us who are weak.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and for me - one who shies away from pictures - it is worth a thousand reasons to say thanks. I look at the picture of my daughter sitting at the computer completely engrossed in the book she is writing, and I give thanks. I look at the pictures of my son working on a robot he’s building and then subsequently winning third place in a science fair he chose to enter, and I give thanks. I see my children happily working on a puzzle together, or look at the 'house of truth' we finished when we completed our Christian worldview series, and I give thanks. I find so many reasons to give thanks when I remember.
Yes, working on our homeschool yearbook humbles me, brings me face to face with my weaknesses, reminds me of God’s unwavering presence, protection and peace in our lives and fills my heart with gratitude.
So, I don’t stay in that place. That place where I fall painfully short of my expectations and stumble under the weight of my responsibilities.
I climb out of the pit, and I readjust my focus.
I look backward at all God has done, I look inward and remember His Spirit within me and I look forward in anticipation of what He will continue to do as He displays His glory in our lives.
So what about you?
Maybe your rescue line is not a homeschool yearbook. Perhaps it’s creating a scrapbook of your journey thus far, whatever that journey may be, or it may be as simple as peering at some old photographs, or reading some old journal entries, what ever it may be, God wants you to stop and remember.
So go ahead my friend, take some time. Choose to purposefully remember all that God has done for you and His promise never to leave you. It will fill your heart with overflowing gratitude and hope and praise. Try it and you’ll see... it’s really good for the soul.
This post also shared at Amy's blog: Busy Boy's Brigade, a wonderful site for all things homeschool.