” So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:4-7
I encourage you to read all of Joshua 4 in your Bible or here to really get the full context of this passage.
Table-Discipleship Principal “ Developing a sense of history and roots helps cultivate a sense of living our part in God’s megastory.”
In my own life, I’ve seen how important remembering can be for relationships. If I don’t spend time thinking about the good things in a relationship it makes it easier for negative emotions and conflicts to grow. I think marriage is a prime example, when I spend time remembering all of the wonderful things my husband does for me it makes my love grow even stronger. Those minor disagreements and conflicts, that will occur in any human relationship, are much easier to keep in perspective when I practice remembering all of the good things that he has done for our family. It also allows me to trust his decisions even when I don’t always understand them because I can look back and remember all the ways that he has taken care of our family. While our relationship with God is obviously different and God certainly does not make mistakes, the same concept applies to our relationship with God. As we remember his goodness, it is easier to trust his plans even when we are walking through difficult times.
“The Bible uses various forms of the word remember more than 170 times, and very often the idea of remembering is tied to thanking God.” (pg. 186)
I love the idea that remembering is tied to thanking God. It is so easy with God and people to forget to be thankful. We may remember in the short term, but then something else happens or a little time goes by and we quickly forget to be grateful. Sometimes we stop being grateful because things are going well and we start relying on ourselves and forgetting our dependence on God and his goodness. Sometimes, it is during the difficult times when we are struggling and do not feel close to God or start to question his provision. Remembering all he has done and being thankful for all he has done can help us to keep a proper perspective and to continue to trust him through the hard times. Our remembering and thanking Him can serve to change the way we live. “God reminded His people so many times to remember his works because he knew that remembering shapes the way we live. Remembering naturally leads to thankfulness.” (pg. 187) When we cultivate a family culture of remembering and thanking God first and foremost, but also our family members we can shape how we live and how we relate to one another. This simple act can have a profound effect on our lives.
Sometimes, remembering is hard. Some of you lost a loved one this year, or you are struggling with a job loss, a strained family relationship, or some other personal crisis this year. Remembering the good times and being thankful may not change your difficult situations but it can help change your perspective. When we remember the times we had with a loved one, we still grieve their loss. When we think about how God has provided financially in the past, we may still feel the stress and fear of a job loss. However, in remembering and being thankful for what God has done in our lives we can also find joy and encouragement. As Sally says on page 188, “No, the sorrow in our lives is real, but so is the joy. So we remember in order to hold onto our faith that sorrow will not have the last word, that a current season of darkness will not have the last word.” We know that “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NIV)
“The voices of our culture try to overwrite their family stories, leaving them lost and isolated. If our children are to survive the cacophonous onslaught, they must be able to hear a strong, beautiful, harmonious voice singing the song of who they really are, who they belong to, and what story they are telling. … In moments of weariness, temptation, and decision, they can remember the joyful story they are a part of and move forward in faith” (pg. 188)
While my children are young, I function as a greenhouse, protecting them from many negative influences. However, as they grow my job is to prepare them and guide them in being a light in the darkness of the world. My husband and I work together to help our children have a strong sense of identity first in God and then in our family. I want them to hear to ‘still small’ voice of God and the words we have spoken to them ringing in their heads when they are faced with tough times and tough decisions. When they are encouraged by the world to make poor choices, I want them to have the strength go against the flow. When they are criticized or insulted, I want them to get their self-worth from their identity as a child of God and as a beloved member of our family.
I love the concept of not only doing this day in and day out around our tables, but also setting aside a day each year to specifically remember and be thankful for all God has done and enjoying the day together as a family. I love how Sally describes it in relation to Joshua 4, “In our journey through the year, we wanted to place a marker, our own version of a stack of stones, where we could stop and remember how God had moved, worked, and provided in our lives.” (pg 185) Life can get so busy that we forget to be thankful; we forget to take the time to remember. By having a day set aside to intentionally remember and be thankful we give our children one more anchor in their minds, one more thing to hold onto during the difficult days. I don’t know yet exactly what our day will look like yet but I plan to have our first family day in January. While we have different recipes and favorites, I’m sure that just as it did for the Clarkson family ours will involve lots of yummy family recipes. Food seems to bring us together in ways that go much deeper than simple physical nourishment. I plan to spend some time first talking to my husband about this concept and then talking to our children so that we can work together to create a day that is fun and meaningful for our family.
I encourage you to apply the principles of this chapter to your family. Start simply by having a table conversation about how God is working in your lives. Then consider having your own family day. This will look different for each family, but setting aside a time to remember and be thankful for what God has done and enjoying your time together will benefit every family.
Also check our free resource library for two new Christmas freebies, Christmas Traditions and a Christmas Bucket List. We also have two freebies to encourage children in their giving this season.
When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.
If you have not yet purchased this book, want to add the study guide, or are just wanting to get your next book as we finish the last few chapters of this one, Amazon has a great coupon right now. BOOKGIFT17 gets you $5 off a $15 or more book purchase. Click the link, pick out your books (sold and shipped by Amazon not 3rd parties) and use the code at check out. Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. (PT) December 14, 201
This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.