Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gathering up your memories

Amy Carmichael died sixty years ago but, because she made time to write, her words still touch many of us.

Her words sound old fashioned, but they contain wisdom we can apply to our memoirs:

Psalm 106:12–13 They believed His words;
                         They sang His praises.
                         They soon forgot His works.  

Have you ever known a weakening in the inward places of your soul because you had let slip the memory of what your God did in the past? You had believed His words, you had sung His praises, for in very truth you had seen His words fulfilled. And then, somehow, the memory faded, blotted out by a disappointment perhaps, and you “forgat His works.”

. . . May the Lord, by His Spirit, quicken our memories, and help us to do our part by gathering up the forces of memory. It is worthwhile to do anything that will help us to do this. “We will remember Thy love” and all the way the Lord our God has led us [references to Song of Solomon 1:4, Deuteronomy 8:2]. (Amy Carmichael, Edges of His Ways; emphasis mine)

“Many churches have forgotten the premium that the historic Judeo-Christian tradition placed on remembrance … and recalling the right things. The ‘great sin’ of the Old Testament was forgetfulness (at least it is the most recurrent offense). ‘Remember’ is the most frequent command in the Old Testament.” (Clapham Memo, January 19, 2007, “Back and Forth,” by Mike Metzger; emphasis mine)

God’s heart longs for us to remember the marvelous things He has done (Psalm 105:5) but, like Mike Metzger and Amy Carmichael point out, we tend to forget. What are we to do?

If you’ve kept a journal over the years, you have a treasure. Your journal is an excellent resource for important events and details you might have otherwise forgotten. (To see the difference between journaling and memoir, see memoir definition, below.)

Some of you, or your relatives, have saved old letters and they, too, help you remember.

If you’re like me, you’ve jotted memories in the margins of your Bible and daily devotionals and Bible studies.

Some people print out special e-mails they’ve sent or received.

All these help gather up memories.

Always remember what you’ve seen God do,
and be sure to tell your children and grandchildren!
Deuteronomy 4:9

What important things have you forgotten?
What will you do to reclaim them?

Every time you rediscover a significant occasion you want to include in your memoir, jot down a few sentences, and keep adding events to your list.

Be like Amy Carmichael: Make time to write, and perhaps sixty years from now, others will receive blessing and encouragement from you.

Enjoy the process!



  1. What an inspiring message,Linda to think that the words we write today may touch the generations to follow. For me, just being still allows the memories to seep back. My favorite passage: "Be still and know I am God" Psalm 46:10. Thanks for another beautiful post. Bless you!

  2. Hi, Kathy. Being still is hard to do, but oh---how good it is! I guess that's why God told us to be still and know He is God. How wonderful that your memories flow freely. Some of us struggle to remember certain things. I wish I had kept a prayer journal because I've forgotten so much. Then again, sometimes I haven't even recognized that God was doing anything in a given situation or era until I have been still enough to look back and finally discover what He had up His sleeve. :) Thanks for stopping by, Kathy.


  3. I just opened a box of my old journals that had been in storage since our last move. I thumbed through a couple of pages and found myself instantly transported back in time. I'm glad I captured those moments of God's faithfulness... yet I know I missed so many more! Your blog inspires me to improve in this area so that a testimony of faith can be left for my children's children.


  4. Hi, De, what a treasure you have in your old journals! You must be having fun going through them all, and I suspect some of those materials will serve as writing prompts for your memoir. How exciting!