God has told us many times to remember all we’ve
seen Him do and to tell our children and grandchildren (Deuteronomy 4:9), and
“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
(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)
Memoirists have a great honor, a high privilege: We get to “Remember
His marvelous works which He has done (Psalm 105:5).
Memoirists have the joy of putting into words what we’ve seen
God do. I’m not talking about supernatural events that would get tweeted around
the world—though such noteworthy things happen sometimes. No, mostly we write
about everyday events because most of us are ordinary people living ordinary
lives—yet God is in the midst of our everyday lives, working out His best for
us, blessing us, working out His ultimate purposes.
You are a very present help in trouble.
Today, I want to remember all the times
You have helped me in trouble.
I am quick to cry out to You for help,
but I am slow to remember the countless times
You intervened to meet my deepest needs.
Especially I remember _______ and _______.
Thank You, Lord.”
(Lloyd John Ogilvie, Quiet Moments with God;
Remembering takes time. Remembering requires commitment. Be
intentional.Carve out times and quiet places that will give you opportunities
to remember, and be sure to have pencil and paper with you.
Remembering, rediscovering, what God has done—and connecting the dots—will knock your socks off. You’ll be more blessed than you can
Have you ever held in your hands a chunk of God's love? Silly question, I know. You and I can't hold in our hands a chunk of God's love. We can't take a photo of Him or His promises, but when we live each day by faith, God gives us evidence of who He is and evidence that He's involved in our lives. He gives us tangible evidence of His love, His power to help, His creation, His protection, guidance, forgiveness, and answers to prayer.
"God has blessed his people—just look at the evidence!" (2 Chronicles 31:10b, The Message). Shouldn't you be writing your stories about all this?
“ … But he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you
rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts” (Acts 14:17 NLT).
end to what has happened in you—it's beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly
verified in your lives” (1 Corinthians 1:4, The Message).
The poor and homeless are desperate for water,
their tongues parched and no water to be found.
But I'm there to be found, I'm there for them,
and I, God of Israel, will not leave them thirsty.
I'll open up rivers for them on the barren hills,
spout fountains in the valleys.
I'll turn the baked-clay badlands into a cool pond,
the waterless waste into splashing creeks.
I'll plant the red cedar in that treeless wasteland,
also acacia, myrtle, and olive.
I'll place the cypress in the desert,
with plenty of oaks and pines.
Everyone will see this. No one can miss it—
unavoidable, indisputable evidence
That I, God, personally did this.
It's created and signed by The Holy of Israel (Isaiah 41:17-20, The Message).
What “unavoidable, indisputable evidence” do you have that
God has acted on your behalf?
Perhaps He provided for you in a time of financial crisis.
Maybe He caused someone to notice you were in danger and
call for help.
Maybe someone prayed for you and sat with you when you were
desperately ill, or brokenhearted—as if God Himself had sat beside you with His
arm around you. Perhaps there was a time you were "desperate for water, ... tongues parched and no water to be found," maybe literally, maybe figuratively, and yet you experienced God's assurance, "But I'm there to be found, I'm there for them, and I, God of Israel, will not leave them thirsty" (Isaiah 41:17-20, The Message). What do those verses symbolize in your life? In what specific ways were your "hills barren" and what "rivers" did God open up for you? What were your "baked-clay badlands" and what was the "cool pond" God created for you? What caused your "treeless wasteland" and what were the "cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive trees" God planted in it? When did you find yourself in the "desert" but God provided "cypress, oaks, and pines"? You have all this evidence confirmed by your own eyes and ears. Shouldn't you be talking about it...? (Isaiah 48:6, The Message). Write your stories of the "unavoidable, indisputable evidence that...God personally did this." Writing your stories of God's involvement in your life will strengthen your faith—for today and for the future, whatever it holds.
Writing your stories will also strengthen your readers' faith.
What do you and your memoir
have to do with Joseph? You remember Joseph—the guy with the coat of many
He was sold by his brothers,
relocated in Egypt,
elevated to a position of exceptional
power and influence,
falsely accused of rape by
imprisoned, an innocent man,
in a dungeon,
reconciled with his family,
and resettled in Goshen.
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner observes:
“The characters in the tale
are so consumed with trying to manipulate their own fortunes that they all
(like most of us) fail to notice what is really happening not only around them
but—and here is the key idea—through them and despite them. Nobody gets it.
Nobody but Joseph.
“… He realizes that something
else has been going on all along.… ‘It was not you,’ he tells them, ‘who sent
me here but God!’”
Memoirists need to be like
Joseph. We need to step back and take a long look—a deep, wide, high look.
Memoirists must shun shallow
living and superficial thinking.
Memoirists look over their
lives and say, “Something else has been going on all along!”
“God is … quietly, invisibly,
secretly planning our steps; feeding us our lines; moving us into position;
unifying everything we do,” writes Kushner.
“…What we thought was an
accident was, in truth, the hand of God. Most of the time we are simply
unaware. Awareness takes too much effort.… But every now and then we understand,
just for a moment, that God has all along been involved in everything. As Rabbi
Zaddok HaKohen taught, ‘The first premise of faith is to believe with perfect
faith that there is no such thing as happenstance.… Every detail, small or
great, they are all from the Holy One.’” (Eyes Remade for Wonder; emphasis mine)
What are you discovering as
you write your memoir?
Be a Joseph! What was God
“quietly, invisibly, secretly” to bring you to today?