How I Remember
I’ve gotten stuck on remembering lately and it has made me wonder how God remembers.
Moving closer to family recently has tilled the soil of my heart. Images and vignettes have surfaced, and snippets of conversation echo in my mind. I keep thinking, What does it mean to remember? Why are some memories set in the foundation of my being, while others evaporate, like mist? How does memory affect the here and now?
Also. My kids are starting school. Like, traditional school. Like outside of my house and down the road about 20 minutes. After seven years of homeschooling, this feels like I’m sending TWO kindergarteners off at once. I’m sad, delighted, nostalgic, ecstatic, lonely already and so very happy for them. All at the same time. Or is this peri-menopause? Or both? Sheesh, I don’t know.
All I know is that the lump in my throat, right now, is courtesy of—you guessed it—remembering all the times we’ve had together and also, all the things I’ve left undone.
What will they remember of our seven precious years at home? I hope some good memories are set in the foundation of their hearts. Laughter, tears, hard work, and fun—lived together. The comfort of our own company reading together for hours, under blankets on the sofa. The rhythm of a schedule that revolved around one another, hearts and minds united. In military moves and life’s ups and downs, we always had each other. We enjoyed our togetherness so much.
I hope they will always remember what we have learned together, too: that the Lord loves us with an everlasting love, that He pursues us, that He never leaves us, and that His love, in us, creates our love, for Him and for other people. Because of His love, we owe a debt of love—one that we cannot repay (Romans 13:8); it’s a debt we have to make good on, again and again. I hope they remember it’s all about love.
Will they remember the truth of His love? Because I know I haven’t always shown them.
I remember so many mistakes! Me, complaining. Holding grudges. Me, sidelined by pride. Speaking in anger. Me, being discouraged and lacking in faith. Losing hope. Me, wearing an identity that screams Victim and Not Good Enough and Unloved instead of Victorious, Chosen, and Beloved. When I remember my shortcomings as a mother, the lump in my throat dissolves as salt water wells up and spills out.
How God Remembers
When I first fell into this remembering ditch, I started reading about what Scripture says, about the meaning of REMEMBER. Through His Word, God teaches that remembering is all about love—the kind of love that shows up, faithfully. The kind of love that keeps always company and moves toward in compassion. As we see in Psalm 25:
In Psalm 25:6, God remembers His gracious love—A.K.A. His covenant loyalty—His HESED (Strong’s Hebrew 2617). He remembers His mercy and compassion, His RACHAM (Strong’s Hebrew 7356). To remember—ZAKAR (Strong’s Hebrew 2142)—means to call to mind and to recall, but in such a way that the remembrance affects current feeling, thought, or action. His remembered love and compassion compels Him to act, demonstrating more love and compassion for us.
Remembering is not a passive process. It gives rise to action.
Remembering is not only looking back. It also informs the present and future.
Remembering occurs, not only in the mind, but also in the heart.
Throughout history, Our Heavenly Father has remembered His love and promises. His remembrance has always led Him to show more faithfulness and love (which demonstrates His character):
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided (Genesis 8:1, ESV).
Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived (Genesis 19:29, ESV).
Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb (Genesis 30:22, ESV).
Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their house in Ramah And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her (1 Samuel 1:19, ESV).
God Remembers His Covenant
God is a promise-keeper, a covenant-fulfiller. He’s steadfast and unwavering, just like His love, His HESED. The English translation of HESED, in our Bibles, is often “steadfast love.” A literal translation of this word is “deeds of devotion.” God’s steadfast love is [shown via, proven by, felt through, kept with, and equal to] His deeds of devotion. When He remembers His children, He remembers His love/deeds of devotion. Remembering this love perpetuates the covenant He has made with us, His children. His love is remembered [demonstrated] by more deeds of devotion.
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love [HESED] shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion [RACHAM] on you
(Isaiah 54:10, ESV, amplification mine).
When I think of how I remember, I see my failure to reflect His image. Are you like me? Wasting memories on regrets or hurts or fears? Failing to demonstrate deeds of devotion [HESED]? But, thanks be to God! The Lord has promised to transform my mind, which includes my remembering (Romans 12:2). He promised to make me more like Him, so I know He is doing that, even now (2 Corinthians 3:18). He has promised to cause everything to work for my good (Romans 8:28). And God has promised to teach my children, even when I fail (Isaiah 54:13).
Let’s choose to remember the goodness of the Lord, His faithfulness to us, His covenant love. When we remember His infinite love, our love for Him increases and informs our present and future. Are you like me? I’m still learning what that looks like in my life…
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