Deuteronomy 8 tells us to remember, not forget.
"And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness. . . " (v.2)
"Take care lest you forget the Lord your God. . ." (v.11)
Remember where you came from, remember the LORD who led you out of the wilderness. Remember and do not forget.
Well, today, I remember. I was cleaning and gathering things to donate for our big outdoor sale and decided to gather bibles. I counted up a whopping 13 bibles in my home.
As I looked at the pile more and more, my heart would not let go. I started to remember very specific places I was while reading these bibles, very specific things the LORD had taught me.
Here is my very first bible. The only bible I've ever had with my name engraved. I asked for it for my 20th birthday in college, 2 months after my dad died. I was already hungry for something different, something more in life. Oddly enough, my atheist Grandpa gave this to me.
Needless to say, I was in the struggle of my life during this time. I wanted to pursue God and yet I LOVED to party! I was drunk nearly every day of my life for about 4-5 years. I remembered reading this bible when I'd come home after partying, drunk.
Noticed what I underlined. I can't even read my writing down at the bottom. Needless to say . . . I came undone. I remember.
No verse would better define my life during this time than this: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41) My spirit wanted God so bad, but my flesh wanted drunkeness. Thankful for God's patient and relentless pursuit.
When I got married, I got a new bible with a commentary! It even had red letters. I was stepping it up in my study.
I can specifically remember reading through Genesis at our kitchen table. Santino and I lived in different cities during our engagement, and since he led me to Christ, I was so excited to get married and pursue God together! Until I realized that him being isolated from church & fellow believers led him to a distant place with the LORD. I was growing and following hard after Jesus, and he was, well hard toward Jesus. I tried everything I could to get him back to loving God. I dragged him to church, left sermons in the DVD player, left bibles open, and scriptures on 3x5 cards all over the house.
Friends. Don't do this. He finally told me "I know what you're trying to do." And so did God. That's when the LORD used this NLT version of the bible to show me I was just like Eve.
I was trying to "control" my husband, living out the very curse of sin Eve struggled with too. This led me to deep repentance and prayer. It was here that I learned what 1 Peter 3 meant "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." (v.1-2)
Here that I learned to trust the LORD, here that I learned to pray and intercede. Oh LORD, I remember . . .
This next bible was so precious to me. I read it during my first life group. Then opened it again to read through during our first year of marriage.
It was this bible that the LORD showed me just how precious the women of the bible were. I remember reading Luke 8 and finding this:
Luke made the distinction between "disciples" and "women" that followed Jesus. I wondered why? I started to study the women of the bible. I noticed women like Mary, who once she was redeemed, just faithfully followed Jesus around, wanted to serve Him, be close to Him. I wanted that to be the story of my life. She became an example to me of how to know Christ intimately, follow Him closely, and love Him deeply.
And my most recent. The one where the LORD walked me through books like Romans, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Ephesians, Psalms, and Proverbs. I used this bible during Residency, Academy, online seminary, and still today!
I thought because I do most of my bible study online now, that I'd be able to depart with these bibles. But, nope. These are just too precious to me. The other 9 I will give away. Not these. I can't. These 4 will remain as rocks of remembrance. Places I once stood in deep communion with the LORD. Places of pain, struggle, surrender, growth, sharpening, and faith.
It's good to remember . . . and rejoice.
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14)
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9)
"For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." (John 1:16)