Saturday, December 31, 2011

“A hand pointing in the direction of the past”


A memoirist’s musings for the end of the year

Your job and mine, as memoirists, is to serve as “a hand pointing in the direction of the past.”

But here at SM 101, we do more than that. We do more than tell stories from the past.

Here we dig deep within those stories to discover what God has done for us—stories about His constant companionship each day, each year.

The beauty of memoir is looking back, examining, and discovering significance we might have missed at the time.

So now, at the end of 2011, it’s good for us to reflect on the past twelve months because too often we don’t take time to recognize that, in the words of dear old Samuel, “The Lord has helped us every step of the way” (1 Samuel 7:12, NIRV).

Back in the 1800s, C. H. Spurgeon pondered that same verse in The King James Version: “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”

He wrote:

“The word ‘hitherto’ seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet ‘hitherto hath the Lord helped us!’”

Or, in today’s language, “Whether we’re twenty years old or seventy, ‘the Lord has helped us every step of the way.’”

Spurgeon continues,

“Through poverty,
through wealth,
through sickness,
through health;
at home,
on the land,
on the sea;
in honor,
in dishonor,
in perplexity,
in joy,
in trial,
in triumph,
in prayer,
in temptation,
—‘hitherto hath the Lord helped!’”

If we invest time in looking over Spurgeon’s list in light of our own past twelve months, we’ll see that every day, in each event, even in the worst of times, God has always hovered in our midst, working out His best plans.

For now, jot down a list, make a few notes, and promise yourself—and your family, and God—you’ll write those stories in 2012!

Each story is worthy of being told.

Each child and grandchild needs to know your stories.  

Each story can be a celebration of what God has done.*

Always remember, and never forget,
what you’ve seen God do for you,
and be sure to tell your children and grandchildren!
(Deuteronomy 4:9)

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*Links and related posts:

Your stories: Not because of who you are, but because of who God is,

What’s your memoir’s ultimate purpose?


  1. I enjoy the challenges/encouragements I receive from your posts, Linda. Such good reminders. I was inspired from your previous posts to compile my favorite 2011 writings for Christmas gifts. While not entirely "spiritual memoir" in form, they marked the beginning of a tradition I plan to continue.

    Many blessings to you! and Happy New Year...

  2. De! Good for you! I'd love to know more about your stories. For example, how did you compile them? In a 3-ring binder? Or did you have them printed and bound? Or? Did you include pictures? Etc.

    Those who received your gifts must love them.

    Blessings to you, De, for 2012.


  3. What a great challenge. I have always loved Charles Spurgeon's sermons and writings. What a down-to-earth and practical man.

    This year I am going to start working on my memoirs and not just my mother's and father's stories. You've made me realize that if I don't start on mine - they could be lose.

    Thanks for all your support and encouragement

  4. I love that verse "The Lord has helped us every step of the way". It is so true in my life. I know God has helped me in every area. I just wish I had kept a better record of specifics!

    Thanks for all your tips throughout the year and all the encouragement to write our spiritual memoirs. Have a wonderful and Happy New Year!

  5. Janet and Joyful, wouldn't it be fun to sit down and have a cup of tea together? I'd love to hear your stories. Bless you both as you capture those special ways God has led you every step of the way. Be sure to let me know if I can be of help.


  6. I absolutely love your blog! It is so inspiring and uplifting. I will be back to visit often. God bless you and have a wonderful New Year!

  7. Hi, Anne, and welcome to SM 101!

    I spent a few minutes getting acqainted with your blog--it's beautiful and full of inspiration! I especially appreciate your 12/29 blog post, "My Worn, Precious Bible," because my Bibles are like yours--I've underlined and highlighted and written in the margins; I've tucked special bits of paper between the pages: cards from my mother, notes from my granddaughter, etc. And I also used that same Beth Moore quote in one of my blog posts, but right now I can't remember if it was in this blog, or my other blog, Grandma's Letters from Africa.

    Anyway, Anne, I'm looking forward to getting better acquainted with you, and I pray and trust God's love and presence will be your constant companions throughout 2012.

    Happy writing!


  8. Lovely reminder, Linda. Thanks for this one - and for all the other lovely ones this past year. Happy New Year!!

  9. Thanks, Diana. :) Every one of your blog posts is full of heart, introspection, wisdom, longing, hope -- you and your words truly bless me and so many others.


  10. What a powerful reflection,Linda, on how God is always with us no matter what is happening. It is a wonderful reminder to look back in gratitude so we can move forward with hope. Our God is an awesome God and with Him, anything is possible. I love how your posts hit to the core of what's important. Blessings in the New Year!