Remember This Day

It popped up on my phone first thing this morning: “Remember this day.”

What? What’s this? It was my photo app telling me the message. I opened it, and an album from July 18th, 2016 covered my screen. Apparently, on this day last year, I had gone on a sunrise hike and captured some photos of an incredible sunrise. You see, my phone was telling me to remember this beautiful day from last year. What a surprising gift that technology gave me today.

I scrolled through the pictures and remembered the morning, brisk and just a little bit damp. The sunrise didn’t look promising at first because it was overcast. The sky was a soft palette of pastels at the first signs of the sun, and it appeared as if that was going to be the end of it. But suddenly, the sun erupted over the top of the hills and everything was ablaze with a fiery, golden hue. Vibrant orange faded into creamsicle clouds, and soft locks of grassy silhouettes became like fresh kindling, red hot in a fire. It was so silent, so peaceful, so wondrous. The cool fresh mountain air was like a sweet healing balm in my lungs, and I felt hidden in the solitude of the land.

Just to remember that experience alone would have been enough of a joy, but as the day went on, that act of remembering struck me on a deeper level. I thought of how Ann Voskamp writes about the church being called to a life of remembering (I promise someday I will get through a blog without talking about Ann 😉). We are meant to continuously be remembering the gifts, remembering the pain, remembering the sacrifice. Remembering the communion and the faithfulness of Love Himself. At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke the words, “Take this cup, take this bread…give thanks…and remember me…”

How many of us missed that? The remembering: truly, deeply, intentionally remembering daily. The act of remembering increases our faith and trust, increases our heart of love and worship for God, and, with gratitude, brings us into the peace of His presence.

Remembering is powerful. But how do we remember to remember? We actually even need His help to remember. Maybe that’s why Jesus left us with communion – not for His sake, but for ours: to help us to remember.

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Just a few hours ago, as the sun started to settle into the horizon and this day of remembering came to a close, God again brought to my mind that there’s even more inside this word for us to learn. I thought of how Ann took the remembering further when she broke open our ways of tearing apart and dismembering one another, to reveal the kingdom call of “re-membering” each other.

So often, Christians bite and accuse, separate and draw lines, declare wars and take sides on every issue – from differences in beliefs or denomination, to politics and personal convictions, to the shortcomings, immoralities, or just the differences in others. I’d like to believe that it’s the extremists and the loud-mouths without a real understanding of God who are the only ones who do this – the ones who, unfortunately, so often wrongly brand the name of God and the people who really know Him. The truth is, however, it will always be a part of our fallen flesh nature to dis-member. But, at the same time, that’s not who we are anymore.

A new person lives in us that was made to re-member; made to put back together the broken, to walk across lines that have been drawn and break down walls that have been erected. We were meant to love the shattered things back into wholeness, and to promote peace amongst people and wage war against the true enemy instead. Why is it that it’s so common to believe that if someone is not for us or for what we believe, that they are against us? That kind of mentality is a tragedy and a trap to pit humanity against itself. It grieves my heart that we live this way; we are all on common ground in our humanness. If we could only be humble enough to see it – to forgive and give grace, to give help, give hands, give ourselves.

But we can

With God, we can! With work and sacrifice and intentionality. With prayer and His Word and His grace, we can remember and re-member. We can become like Jesus and love real enough to change a dismembered life into a re-membered life. God fused my brokenness into beauty with His great love, often poured out through His very own children. What an honor it is that He would choose to move through us, to move through our stained hands and bitter lips and hardened hearts. But that’s the miracle. When He chose to make a home inside our very beings, we became His holy temple, clothed in righteousness and cleansed to absolute purity – and overflowing with all the power to change the world in the midst of all our smallness and imperfection and sin.

So…remember this day. Remember, this day. And re-member today. And every day.

You will come alive because of it.

 

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Inhale, exhale.

In less than a month and a half, I’ll be in France. What??? That’s so exciting! Sometimes I can’t believe the moment. How is it that I’m already a college graduate? I feel old, yet at the same time I know just how young I still am. And each day, though my physiological clock ticks away another 24 hours, my soul does not. The person inside me, she only grows younger and more vibrant; wiser but all the more childlike; stronger and all the more secure.

I have this great gift stretched out before me. The chance to go and reshape my life. Wipe away every way in which I’ve defined myself by what once was.  Paint a new scene across this new page. Let the strokes of this new life sear beauty into the ugliness, seep moisture into the dryness, contrast the darkness in radiance. It’s hard to really put to words what this trip means to me or how important it is.

Leaving all that is familiar behind gives you the chance to reinvent. That’s what I seek. Not start over, not bury the past in denial, but reform the way in which I live, love, and interact. Three months of daily intentionality. Three months of learning the Word that never dies. Three months of peeling off the rest of this dead skin and laying bare my true heart. Soaking up everything He has for me and taking the risk of being known. I’ve been made a promise about this journey, and I know it won’t be broken.

I can see the future for the first time and it looks like love. Freedom is painted across the dawn and I’m willing to do all the hard work of looking at the truth and accepting what I’ve turned away from.

As much of a blessing this is going to be, it will also be a sacrifice. But it’s the sacrifice that makes everything possible. It’s the sacrifice that is going to allow me to take it all in so that I can wholly pour out. When we lay down, we find life. And when we find life and become alive, we give life in return. That’s the dream. That’s what I was born for.

God gave us these beautiful things called mirror neurons. When we look at someone who is smiling, for example, these neurons mirror that smile, and our brain lights up as if we ourselves were smiling. How cool is that? That’s probably why we love being around happy people so much. In a way then, we’re all contagious. What will the world catch from me?

The life that has been given to me, the joy, the love…lungs revived and flooded with sweet air, dead heart jolted awake…I have to testify.  I have to be a vessel carrying this living water, a vessel through which other people come to taste the same thick, golden truth that is honey on the lips.

So on the surface, it looks like three months in, three months out. But really it’s me, diving completely in, for a lifetime of this, of inhale and exhale. Glory to glory. Inhale life, exhale life. Love in, love out. Breathe Jesus in, breathe Jesus out. He is worthy of it all.