Remembering helps me see the sufficiency of my Heavenly Father.
Remembering can bring me joy, encouragement, comfort, grief and pain.
I can remember times that seemed perfect, sadness, regret, being in the pit, being pulled out of the pit.
Part of the benefit of sharing our stories is that it causes us to remember.
Many verses come to mind, showing the importance of remembrance to God our Father, for example:
This do in remembrance of me… Luke 22:19
When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them… Joshua 4:6-7
But the verse that the Lord has brought to my attention several times over the past week is Philippians 4:8, that tells us exactly what things we should think on.
The Lord isn’t telling us to ignore the fact, often the painful fact, of our pasts, but when we look back and remember I think He is telling us to be looking for His Redemption! Where has He provided or protected? Where has He met us with beauty and purity? When I stop to remember with that focus in mind I can see my Father at work in my life in a special and unique way.
June 6th marks the 10-year anniversary of my husband’s accident. My husband was changed forever, our family was changed forever, our marriage was changed forever. And each year as we near the anniversary date I feel the weight of remembering.
Some years have been easier than others, but for some reason, this 10-year mark has been heavy. Sometimes memories sneak up on you, and out of nowhere, it slams into you taking your breath away. I never know what will spark that type of memory, but it can be difficult to navigate.
I try to give myself the time to acknowledge the memory and the correlating grief, but I can’t stay there. Remembering through the lens of what the Lord told us to think on helps me move through the moments of grief. But I have to be intentional about remembering, so I have tried to write out these memories along the way.
One such memory happened about 9 months after my husband’s accident that left him with brain damage in every lobe of the brain and wheelchair bound. He spent three months in the hospital initially, then five more months in outpatient therapy before we were told that was all they could do for Matt at the time.
The recommendation was to continue to have therapists visit Matt at home to work with him there. So that is what we did. At the time we were having a physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist come to the house. They came on their schedules, and I had to fit in doctor’s appointments and my kid’s activities around those appointments.
I was exhausted, but I couldn’t let myself rest because I was the only one taking care of Matt and his many many needs at the time. I had to make sure that the therapists could communicate effectively with Matt. So, I hovered.
The therapists were very patient and caring of Matt and I was thankful for them being there, but it was also very discouraging to see so little progress. But then one day my Heavenly Father tapped one of the therapists to be His gift bearer.
I have always appreciated flowers and growing things. I remember as a child my parents would take us to particular gardens during big flower shows, and I would revel in the opportunity to smell all the roses, literally.
Sadly, I did not get the “keep plants healthy gene”. I was particularly gifted at killing all living plants. Even though, as a young girl, I would help my dad in the garden as he patiently taught me how to care for the plants. I loved seeing the plants grow to maturity and produce the yummy fruit.
When it was my turn to have my own garden I enthusiastically planted flowers and plants. But time after time they perished. Too much water, not enough water, little bugs, brown leaves, you name it ~ it happened. But I still loved the idea of plants and as we would walk around our community I would admire and sometimes covet the beautiful growing things in other people’s yards.
I even learned the names of the plants I liked and what would be the best growing situation for them, but money was tight, and I rarely could justify the expense of purchasing something that would inevitably die.
One of the plants I discovered during this time in my life was Creeping Phlox. It grew well on rock walls and in the crevices. And it bloomed in early spring when I was craving the sight of something other than dirty snow. Several times I almost purchased a few of the plants to place around our rock wall, but my fear of killing it was great and I never took the plunge.
Fast forward about ten years later: the Lord sent me Jemina, an occupational therapist. She was there for my husband but provided even greater therapy for me. Each time she visited she would send me out of the room, assuring me that she could communicate with Matt just fine. Usually, I would head out to sit on the couch where I could still hear what was going on, but also put my head back and relax.
Then one day she brought me a bag full of plants that she had collected from her yard. Apparently, she was an avid gardener and she was sharing her baby plants with me. Her instructions were to get a shovel and start planting. I was a little stunned by her directions, but she was insistent. So, off I went.
I didn’t even know for sure what I was planting and had to go in and ask her a few times where to plant something. There were at least 30 baby plants in the bag, but I was determined to plant every single one. I didn’t mention to Jemina my serious doubts that any would survive but I was certainly thinking about it.
And then I reached into the bag and pulled out Creeping Phlox!
Had you seen my face you would have seen my mouth hanging open and tears pouring down my face. I am not a dramatic person, that is truly what I looked like.
My Heavenly Father, who SEES ME, sent me the one flower that I had always wanted. I had never shared that heart wish with anyone! The most I had ever said was that I liked the plant. But the God who knows my heart and sees the desires of my heart sent me the flowers that I loved!
Now that kind of remembering is FUN! I could focus on the exhaustion of that time, or the discouragement or on all we had lost, but looking through His eyes...
I get to see HIS REDEMPTION!
PS. I planted those Phlox plants and they LIVED!
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~ Meet Kelly Harvie ~
Kelly Harvie has been married to her husband Matt for 28 years. They have five grown children with only one left in college. Kelly spends her time caregiving for her husband, connecting with her children, working at Artios and as much time reading as she can find!