A Project for This Pandemic and Beyond: Remembering Stones

Why not consider using some of your time on a project which can prove valuable for yourself and even for your children and grandchildren in years to come.

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By this time in our “sequester” of sorts, we may be getting a bit bored. Things are beginning to open up, but maybe you are still cautious or going slowly out into “the unknown.”

Why not consider using some of your time on a project which can prove valuable for yourself and even for your children and grandchildren in years to come. What I am suggesting is to begin writing about your faith journey.

When I started writing mine, I remember thinking, “Oh how I wish my godly grandmother (“Babci”) and my godly mother had kept a journal or had written of their journey with God through the trials of life.”

But alas, they had not. And it was most likely not possible for them in their situations. But it was possible for me, so I began.

Therefore I am posting what I call my Stones of Remembrance. It is not finished yet, but that’s ok. However, maybe you would like to read my series to get you started on your own. I share my story but also give suggestions on how to get going with your own.

I pray that many of you will take the risk and tell your story. May God bless you in the writing. Your children and grandchildren will thank you.

And you may find that in the writing, you meet God afresh in the midst of your stuff.

Remembering Stones: Reflections on a Life Being Lived

Live while you are alive.  (Patch Adams)

Each of us has a life … the life we were given.  We didn’t choose our life.  But I guess the issue is,  “Are we living while we are alive?” Or, are we waiting till “things settle down,” or, “we lose ____# pounds,” or, “the kids grow up,” or ????,  or ????, or ????.

“Things settling down” was always my trap in my early years of adulthood. But things don’t ever settle down, do they? Not for long anyway. They just change. And then the cycle begins again, and so then we never really embrace the life that is ours. So this is what I eventually realized: I need to …

live the life I have, not the one I wish I had.

Why do we live so much of our lives rejecting our own life? How nuts is that?

We are each on a unique journey. No one else can live our journey for us, and we can’t (and shouldn’t try to) live someone else’s.  So I am determined to live mine while I’m alive. How about you?

And because we are each on a unique journey, each of us has a story to tell. It’s a story fraught with the mundane and sublime and all else in between. Our journey-stories are filled with crisis and adventure, some of which we would rather skip. But many times, it’s not our choice. Those times choose us.

Yet if we know a God who is sovereign over all the affairs of men, a God in heaven who has come to earth, a God who indwells the souls of His children, then everything takes on meaning whether immediately understood or not. Nothing is chosen by fate or is random but meaningful. Because after all is said and done, everything in the physical world is just a picture of a deeper spiritual reality. So that makes our journey one of discovery.

Author Anne Lamott says that some have chosen “to see the world sacramentally, to see everything as an outward and visible sign of inward, invisible grace.” (bird by bird, p. 100-101) Or as the Holy Spirit once said to my heart many years ago, “Everything is a picture (metaphor) of a deeper spiritual reality. You just don’t have eyes to see it all yet.” But little by little, I have been seeing and understanding. There are truths about God and us all over each of our lives. But maybe you haven’t had eyes to see it all yet either … maybe, not until now.

While preparing to teach a new Bible study group last year, I listened to a podcast by an older, well-respected brother in the Lord as he shared his life story in great detail.  I was so inspired to hear this humble servant tell of the Lord’s working in his own life through many years that I decided to do the same.

As I was coming to the first class meeting, the Lord brought to mind another journey-story, that of the children of Israel through the desert. Finally, after forty years of wandering through the desert wilderness, they were getting ready to cross into the Promised Land. It was then that the Lord told them to set up a memorial as they crossed over the Jordan River: twelve stones of remembrance, one for each of the tribes of Israel.

As I reflected on this story, barely remembering the details, the Lord spoke to my heart. “This is your outline for your story, Jan. You have ‘Stones of Remembrance’ too – they were the significant spiritual truths that I taught you about Me and about yourself and our relationship. And all of these were through very mundane as well as critical, physical, and/or relational yet spiritual experiences in your very real, mundane, crisis/adventure, choice-ridden, deeply spiritual life. Share it that way.”

And so as I did, I found that the ladies in my class began to realize throughout the time we were meeting that they had “remembering stones” too. Some of theirs were similar but in a different order than mine; some of theirs were very different because they are unique, their life circumstances totally theirs, and most of all, their God is very personal and creative.

 And the same is true for you, dear reader. So I invite you to take this journey with me.  Maybe you will discover, as a result, the metaphors in your own life and come to understand the meaning of the mysteries you have been living and how your creative, personal God has met you every step of the way in your unique, mundane-but-spiritual life. So thanks for your grace as we spring off of my remembering stones and maybe onto your own as well.

I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least. C.S. Lewis

*For further reflection, read Joshua 3:14-4:7; Psalm 105:5

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These are my entries in the series thus far. There are a few more to come.
Stone #1: The Will of God
Stone #2: The Holy Spirit
Stone #3: The Holy Scriptures
Stone #4: The Gospel of Grace
Stone #5: The Sovereign God
Stone #6: The Dark Night of my Soul
Stone #7: The Smile that Destroyed my Religion
Stone #8: No More “He Loves Me…He Loves Me Not
Stone #9: A branch in the VINE
Stone #10: The Indwelling Christ

 

YOUR TURN

What about you, dear reader? What are your earliest memories? Was there a significant person, place, truth that impacted you in your early years? What were your “stepping stones/remembering stones”? This doesn’t have to be set in concrete. You may likely change around your order and even delete/add as you go along. Just jot down your “now thoughts.”

And jot down even the hard things that happened in your life. You can then process them with the Lord. Watch how He takes those struggles and trials, as time goes on, and “filters” them into the truths about Himself and about your life that you can build upon.

Just start writing or journaling your thoughts — no need to write it up formally. I had started out with “Topics” and descriptions long before I started writing it up formally.

Happy reminiscing, recording, and writing!

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About the Author

Jan Loyd is a child of God, a disciple of Christ, a Jersey girl, a former nun, a teacher, and now a wife of 48 years, mother of two, grandmother of 5 boys and finally a baby girl...these are just some of the hats she wears or has worn. Her hat as teacher has seemed to be one she’s worn her entire adult life, ranging from teaching elementary school, homeschool, adult ESOL and GED language and writing. But along with all of these opportunities has been her favorite above all the rest: teaching women the Word of God in various ways, Precept Upon Precept and Bible Studies she’s developed by the grace and tutelage of God along the way. The heart of the message that she delights to share is that we are in union with the Living God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Currently you may find her on her devotional blog “A Branch in the Vine” where she shares several times a week and in her Bible Study/ devotional book The With-ness of our God: Relationship in Every Dimension.