Friday, January 21, 2011

Life Symbols

IMG_0069I am in the process of reading a great book called Soul Print by Mark Batterson.

Using King David and a few of his life’s defining moments as his Biblical example Batterson walks the reader through the process of self-discovery to discover the uniqueness of our God-shaped lives and how that makes us one-of-a-kind God worshipers.

I just finished reading the chapter titled “Lifesymbols” and wow!! It’s left a lasting impression.

Batterson defines lifesymbols as: “physical objects that remind us of spiritual milestones. They are reminders from the past that give meaning to the present and holy confidence for the future.”

I was reminded of the deep emotional connection I feel when I’m going through a box of my old stuff, or when I hear certain songs from “way back”. How for a minute, the present seems to stand still out of respect for the past. There’s a deep connection with seemingly simple, sometimes ridiculously invaluable memorabilia and souvenirs, and lame songs/sounds. It’s those items and moments that serve as my life-symbols. They are powerful reminders where I’ve come from, who I was, who I’m becoming and lessons I’ve learned along the way. In real-physical form, they represent God’s providential hand of faithfulness in my life.

“I am who I was. It’s my footprints, where I’ve been and what I’ve done, that reveal my soulprint. It’s my unique combination of memories that makes me who I am spiritually, emotionally, relationally and motivationally. It’s also that unique combination of memories that enables me to worship God in a way that no one else can…. our defining moments double as altars to God.”

Altars to God… I love the idea of using things from my past as altars to God’s love and faithfulness in my life, inspiring faith for the present and hope for my future. It’s a creative and effective way of using the joy and pain of my life experiences to bring glory to God. I’m realizing now my need for reminders of God’s hand in my past, without them, I easily forget what He’s done.

“Our defining moments double as altars to God. The stones, like those David used as artillery, turn into stone altars. And while there isn’t any biblical proof to this end, I’m guessing David kept the bloodstained stone that was buried in Goliath’s forehead. Like David, we need holy keepsakes to remind us of where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

I wonder if Abraham ever journeyed back to Mount Moriah, where God provided a sacrificial ram in the thicket to take the place of his son. Maybe he even kept one of it’s horns. Did Jacob ever camp out at Bethel again? Do you think Peter ever rowed out to the spot on the Sea of Galilee where he once walked on water? I bet Zacchaeus let his grandkids climb the sycamore tree where he got his first glimpse of Jesus. How many times did Paul travel the road to Damascus and stop at the mile marker where he got knocked off his high horse? And if you were Lazarus, wouldn’t you have made an annual trek to the tomb where you were buried for four days?”

I got goosebumps the first time I read that paragraph. While we may not all have such largely obvious miracle encounters to symbolize, we each have life changing moments and memories that have taught us spiritual lessons and helped shape us into who God is making us to be. We just need to remember them.

“The primary reason we lose faith is because we forget the “faith-fullness” of God. Maybe that’s why the word remember is repeated almost 250 times in Scripture.”

After looking through Tim and I’s box of “old stuff” I realized, I don’t have much “stuff” that I felt like was important enough to save, except for paper (books, journals, magazine clippings, pictures)!! Come to find out, I’ve always journaled. I have journals going back to when I was 6 and 7 years old!! These serve as excellent life symbols (when I read them). I pulled a few of them out to read and keep on my journal shelf (yeah, I have a shelf for my journals).

For Tim I pulled out the pair of pants that he was wearing the day that his leg got ran over by a 9-ton fork lift (he was 2 1/2 years old). The doctors wanted to amputate his foot, but his dad asked for an extra day, so they could have a prayer meeting. Tim’s foot was healed, and he was able to keep it, but they said he would always walk with a club foot. He doesn’t. God, performed a miracle in Tim’s life as a child. He’s never forgotten it and neither has his family. These were perfect for a lifeysmbol!! I took the pants and framed them, we now have them hanging in our dining room.

I loved doing this, and I’m going to keep on doing it. From now on, you can expect that my eyes will be open for all types of lifesymbols. As life goes on, I hope to fill our home with symbol upon symbol of God’s amazing work!! I thank God for our memories, and having the ability reflect on our life-changing moments.

He is good.

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