** And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.** Joshua 4:20-22
** What mean ye these stones? **
I wonder if you are like me and want to protect your children from your past. I think it is natural to want our children to think of their parents in a positive light. We might be concerned that they will not respect us, or that our advice or principles might have less weight if they knew all the gory details.
I am not saying that we should share those details with our small children, or our innocent-hearted grandchildren. But, I think that as our children grow, that it might help them to know where we failed as young people, or not so young people, in order to let them know that we are human too and that what they struggle with, we have all struggled with. It might take the pressure off of them.
My Mom is 91 years old. It is easier for her to remember her life as a child and as a young woman than it is to remember what she had for breakfast today. So, during my visits to see her, she has revealed some things about her past that I never knew. Some are positive things, like she was a singer for USO shows during the Korean War. But other things are not so positive, they are things that she regrets. Things that haunt her even.
Listening to her, I have come to know my Mom as a woman and not just a figurehead of authority or the one who fed and clothed me as a child. I have learned compassion for her. It has brought us closer because she is willing to confide in me and trusts me with some of her tougher memories. When she passes, I will not only miss her as my Mom, but as a friend.
I wonder if that is one of the reasons why the children of Israel were told to build a memorial the day they crossed the Jordan. The 12 stones that represented each of the tribes. And they were also told to eat unleavened bread to remember the day that the Lord delivered them from Israel. And Moses sang a song that reminded them of all that the Lord did when they crossed the Red Sea and were saved from the Egyptian army.
Each of Israel’s big moments with God had a significant token. Something visual. Tangible. Something that reminded them of all the great things that God had done for them. Stones, songs, offerings, manna…again and again God used something concrete to help the children of Israel remember what He had done for them and to make it easier for them to tell their children about it.
What concrete things do we have that will help our children know and remember who God is in our lives?
Have we shared our stories, our miracles? Are they written in a journal? Are they written in a song? Have we made a collage of pictures that signify those great moments? Have we built a tower of stones? Can our children clearly explain what the Lord has done for our families? Do they know OUR testimony?
I wonder if it would help them through their tough days. I wonder if it would help them get back up after the enemy knocks them down and off course. I wonder if being real with our kids would take some pressure off of them. I wonder if it would strengthen their faith.
I continue to slowly plod through the Old Testament looking for treasures and listening to the heart of God. And I think the one consistent thing He is teaching me is to remember. Remember the victories, the miracles, the provision, the comfort, the encouragement, and the blessings. And then share them with my family and friends and be real about it. Share the doubts and fears and confusion. And share the strength, courage and clarity that God gave to get me through those moments.
Do you remember? Have you told others about it? Have you written them in stone for the next generation? Today is the perfect day to do it.