Monday Musing: Raising My Ebenezer

This is not the blog post I intended to write this week, but yesterday’s message at church challenged me to think about my journey over the past few years. Our pastor taught from Joshua 4 – the miraculous crossing of the Jordan river, and the building of the altar – the stone of remembrance. Ebenezer. He reminded us that each and every believer has a stone to place in the altar – a reason to remember what God has done. A reason to thank Him, praise Him, point others to Him.

Every year I face my own personal Jordan, and every year I have a choice of whether I will be held captive by memories or actively remember what God has done. Honestly, I think every year I make the inactive choice.

August, especially the 2nd half, is a very emotional month for me. It contains a lot of “was”s and “should have been”s; “could have”s and “if only”s. Over the last 6 years it has brought me some painful moments of anxiety and depression. There’s a darkness in these hot, sunny days. Days that used to remind me of love, joy, and hope for the future now bring to mind broken promises and damaged trust.

Sometime after Labor Day those feelings start to lift and the days take on their normal level of brilliance. This shift happens regardless of how I faced the previous days. Whether I allow myself to be overtaken by those feelings, by the sadness, by the darkness – or I choose to fill my schedule and my mind and refuse to mark the days as anything special on the calendar – the darkness is there, hanging about my shoulders, just at the edge of my vision. And then it lifts and everything becomes normal. Right around today. Every year.

These days in this “season” of the year remind me of things I would rather forget. Of the imperfections in my own soul and the angry words I’ve spoken. They remind me of the dreams that I still mourn. They remind me of the scars I still carry in my mind and soul, the messages about my lack of worth that threaten to silence me as I try to speak the truth.

These dark days are the reason I need to choose to remember what God has done in me, and what He wants to do through me. They are my ebenezer.

That isn’t easy to write.

This isn’t the testimony I would have chosen for myself. But every year I come back around to this pile of days and have a choice – will I be reminded, or will I remember?

Will I be reminded of the harsh words and stinging silence? Will I be reminded of the gash that opened in my heart the day I was told I wasn’t enough? Will I be reminded of my failures that led to those dashed dreams?

Or will I remember the acceptance and love of the Lord when I felt most alone? Will I remember the way He sheltered me and offered me the opportunity to make things right with Him, regardless of how my life situation turned out? Will I remember that He only asked me to trust Him each step along the way?

Will I recognize that with each step I’ve trusted Him, He’s led me away from the frightened, broken woman on the road to bitterness? Will I recognize that He is leading me toward a new future, new dreams – things beyond what I would have imagined just a few years ago?

Falling victim to reminders leads to regrets; remembrance allows me to recognize God’s power and presence in my life.

Friends, we all have a Jordan – something impossible that we didn’t think we would get through. We all have a life-before-Jordan. And we have a life-after-Jordan. Thank God for that. Because once you’ve made it through the impossible with God, you can start to look forward to what He will do next.

The Best Is Yet To Come.

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