Memories and Physical Locations

Have you noticed how memories are often linked to physical locations? Memories can sneak up on you when you least expect them. For instance, until two weeks ago, I lived in the house I grew up in as a child. It was chock-a-block full of memories.

Right now I am busily tackling 25 years of history as I examine every piece of paper, greeting card, and knickknack before the house goes to market.

Just walking into a space can prompt a memory. My childhood bedroom lovingly deposited a memory of the time I ate a whole sleeve of Thin Mints while studying on the floor under the window. Suddenly, there were no more Thin Mints and I was still hungry. Good thing there’s a second sleeve, am I right?!

Cairn – A Visual Reminder

Sometimes, when I take walks out in nature with Jesus and He speaks clearly to me, I build a memorial in the form of a rock cairn. In case you haven’t seen one before, it is a tall tower of rocks stacked precariously from largest to smallest.

Once I make one, I snap a photo so that I have a visual reminder of that moment. For me, it’s a way to create a tangible structure that memorializes a lesson or sweet truth Jesus shared with me in that space.

If I walk that same path again, I’ll see the reminder. But mostly, I love to leave cairns in places I know I won’t be back any time soon. I think of them like special treasures I’ve hidden just for Jesus and me all over the globe.

In the same way, I started collecting a stone or pebble from special moments when I surrendered something to Jesus on the altar of my heart. My dresser, counters, and car are all places where you might see a boring looking pebble, but I see a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness to me at one specific moment in time.

Ohio Shaped rock cairn

Memorial Stones in the Bible

There are many instances of God’s people setting up memorials as reminders of God’s deliverance, power, and faithfulness.

In Genesis 28:10-22, Jacob uses a rock as a pillow one night and encounters God in a dream. In order to mark the place, Jacob “…set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel…”

My favorite example of using stones as a memorial is in Joshua 4:4-9. Twelve stones are set up, one for each tribe of Israel, to mark the passage of the Israelites through the waters of the Jordan.

The Lord miraculously stopped the waters so that the Israelites could cross into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. For generations to come, this memorial would remind the people of God’s faithfulness and fulfilled promises.

Memorialize God’s Faithfulness to You

Have you ever set up a memorial to God for His faithfulness in your life? Do you think it’s time? Maybe this week you could find an out-of-the-way space on a path or in your own yard where you can take a moment and remember all of the ways God has fulfilled His promises to you. Then take a pebble or leave a cairn.

The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I see consistent evidence of His faithfulness. God fulfills His promises. Not in my time, but His. The Israelites learned that lesson. I am beginning to learn it as well.

Rich History of Remembering

What is so reassuring to me is that we have thousands of years of history of other followers who have walked before us. They left evidence and remembrances everywhere (the Bible, books, stories, music, art) to tell us how God came through again and again. When it feels like our path through the wilderness is taking far too long, we can look to these stories for hope.

Let’s prayerfully recall all the ways God has been mighty to save in our lives. And then with His faithfulness at the front of our mind, let’s recall the promises we have yet to see Him fulfill.

Let God’s past faithfulness build hope for His future answers.

He is Good. Scripture says He’s not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). What He has promised, He will fulfill. So hold on to hope for the unanswered prayers. He’s working. He will show Himself faithful. Let today be one of many memorials you build to His goodness.

One more thing. If you do make a cairn or take a memorial stone, will you snap a pic and share it on your social feed? Tag me @leannahamptonauthor on facebook or instagram, so that I can rejoice with you in God’s faithfulness.