I’ll bet many of you have experienced this before. You snap to and suddenly discover it’s XX/YY, 2019. What happened? How did we get here? Where did all the time go? Case in point – my own experience!
I started thinking the other day about how I might create some meaningful memories for my kids. I thought they might enjoy having a string of memories from their individual journeys as kids and teens and young adults told with pictures from their times and short anecdotes from my fatherly perspective.
Don’t let time get away from you!
Then WHAM, it hit me. My oldest son is now 39; the youngest from my first marriage is now 30. Here’s the thing: I don’t have a journal to go back and draw from, a journal capturing key moments, funny and significant things they said and did, the laughter we shared, etc. I didn’t take any notes during their early years, notes that could be a rich source of fun and affection and useful to keep our bonds tight.
I’m paying a heavy price for that.
So what is the answer to this situation? How can I remedy my situation? Simple: Write it down!
Write it down. Capture those moments in a single place where you can find this stuff when you need it. Take some pictures, print them at your local photo processor, and stick them in that journal. I call this “My Stones of Remembrance” (now!), and it’s helping me.
But what’s a better way? What can you proactively do to get ahead of the memory loss curve and reward yourself with rich treasure to mine and enjoy later on in life?
Dream with the Father
By now you’re getting used to a central message of mine, so this will come as no surprise: Hatch a dream with the Father. Write it down. Then go, and do it – now. Plan to make memories in advance. Don’t let time get away from you! Time is your servant, and not the other way around:
Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Cor. 3:21-23 NKJV)
Time is included in the “all things” that are ours. Here’s another great verse about our “positional” mastery over time:
For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those (that’s us!) who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:17 NKJV)
Grace that has yet to be received
But why, you may ask, do I say “positional”? It’s because this “reigning in life through Christ” is an uncashed check, drawn on the bank of Papa God’s infinitely deep pockets, and waiting for us to start cashing. It’s grace that has to be received.
This is so cool, that all the promises of our Heavenly Father are yes and Amen in Jesus:
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2 Cor. 1:20 NKJV)
– But as rich and limitless and destiny-fulfilling as they are (and man are they ever!), they can only be activated, the check can only be cashed, by both faith and action. We have to put our feet and hands in motion if we want to see our prayers and petitions answered. Remember these always-chilling, always-challenging words of the Apostle James, the brother of Jesus:
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? (James 2:17-21 NKJV)
And while we’re at it, why don’t we let the wisest man ever (before Jesus) weigh in on the subject at hand?:
The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. (Prov. 16:9 NASB)
Stones of Remembrance
Do you see the sequence here? First we plan our way, and then and only then can the Lord direct our steps. One thing follows the other. Think about this: steps imply motion, activity, and movement. If we’re not moving, if we’re not going, if we’re not forging ahead with a plan, Papa cannot direct our steps. Can you see that?
So then: how do we build our remembrance stones? Glad you asked! By making (writing!) a plan to do so. Here’s a specific thing you can do to start laying the foundation for a life with a detailed “look back” capability:
- Get out your spiral-bound college notepad and create a section for “Key Relationships”
- Devote a page per Key Relationship, putting that person’s name at the top
- Write a very short description of how you’re connected to them, and the role(s) you play in the relationship (this could be past, present, and / or future, by the way)
- Write out a few ideas for some memories you’d like to make with and for them, memories you want to record for “replay” later on. Don’t make them too difficult or complicated (for now!) – you need to be able to schedule the event
- Pick out the top 3-5 actions from all of your Key Relationships, ones you know you can schedule with the person (or group of people, depending)
- Get with that person and schedule the event
- Use whatever you can to record the event, in addition to writing it down
- Following the event get it all down on paper, and into any appropriate storage places, too (for pics, vids, sound recordings, ticket stubs, playbills, etc.)
I hope this helps! I’d really love to hear how you’re doing with all this. Please write and tell at [email protected].