The Life Raft of Remembrance

In the muck and mire of the present, I can be woefully negligent in remembering the rescues, good gifts, and providences of the past.

When so much remains unfixed and in process, when heart change {especially my own} is slow, as new issues and dilemmas present themselves in the midst of an already full plate, I don’t always feel buoyed by hope.

But I’ve felt a gentle nudge over the last few days to recall and remember. I’m increasingly convinced that remembrance is one of God’s graces to his children during days of discouragement and fretfulness.

When I’m frustrated because my heart feels stuck, He shows me where I used to be. 

As I grapple with the things of this world and wish I never struggled with something as petty as desiring new furniture, He shows me how far I’ve come.

When the work of relationship is intense and shows no sign of letting up and I want to crawl under the covers, He reminds me of how dark the days used to be and how there is so much light and hope spreading across the future.

Today, with all of its issues and concerns, is not five years ago…

I’m not the same. 

 Loved ones are not the same. 

God is more real and the world is less enticing. 

Security and identity come increasingly from Christ and less from people. 

I’ve been broken but not crushed, knocked down but not defeated.  

Provision has come in wild and unexpected ways, undeserved gifts that showed up in the nick of time to lift a downcast soul or pay the bills or provide a desperately needed date night. 

As a child, I remember listening in self-righteous disbelief to Bible stories about the Israelites and their chronic forgetfulness. God parted the Red Sea for them and dropped food from the sky every day, but they had the nerve to complain and revolt and doubt. How could they ever disregard his faithfulness?

And years later I realized that they are really me, that the human heart has spiritual amnesia and remembrance isn’t a polite thing we do around the table at Thanksgiving. No.

The remembrance that saves me is the on-your-knees, white-knuckled, fighting-for-hope kind. It’s usually amid tears and frustration and desperate petition. Which is as it should be.

He reminded me of that this morning:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. {Philippians 4:6-7, emphasis mine}

In laying bare our needs, we simultaneously remember the ones He’s already met. Practicing remembrance saves me. It’s impossible to drown in discouragement and hopelessness when we remember how He’s parted the sea time and again.

Remembrance is an exercise in trust, an invitation to hope, and a pathway to peace.

I write to remind myself and to celebrate His goodness.


  1. says

    You and Ann V. make a dramatically hand-in-hand duo: remembrance and gratitude.

    Thanks for the reminder of remembering.


  2. says

    Sounds like God is speaking similar things in our lives. I’ve been a stressed out wreck with the house, my parents moving, lack of direction regarding our faith community and school decisions. Then our van broke down yesterday. But somehow God has spoke peace in my heart this morning. And it’s so true that remembering is such a gift. God has not failed us in the past and he surely will not now. Thanks for this.

  3. says

    My heart needed this today for a place in my life that feels hard and exhausting and I just don’t know what to do with it anymore. Thank you for the reminder to remember where God has come through for me and the promise I know I have that He will again.

  4. says

    I always marvel at how the Israelites constantly forgot, and yet I am often no different from them. That forgetting always led them to sin, I don’t want to be like that. I’ve been challenged in this area as well, and feel prompted more than ever to share God’s stories with my kids so they won’t forget either. Remembering does lead to thankfulness, and that’s God’s best for us: to remember and to walk to in gratitude.

  5. momof3boys says

    Once again, you’ve beautifully put into words what lies in the heart of many, including me. I, too, needed this reminder of all that God has done over the last few years. I am NOT where I was (Praise God!). But there are days when this doesn’t seem like enough because though I’m not where I was, I’m not where I want to be either. There are times when looking back and remembering is a way to keep our feet moving forward….and sometimes, it’s all we can do to take that next step. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your words and your heart. You truly have no idea how much your words help a thirsty soul.


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