Be sure to enter for your chance to win a Sacred Ordinary Days planner at the bottom of this post!
A new year is right around the corner. The lists of top songs, book, movies, and any other thing we could possibly categorize in a list are being released. But, for most of us, the end of the year means we are looking forward to the year ahead.
We start making plans for what we want the next year to look like. We set goals based on our diet. We want to volunteer more, to climb the next rung in our careers, to make a difference with our lives. But perhaps, the secret to moving ahead is stopping and taking this time to look back.
What if at the end of the year, we commemorated all that God has done for us. What if we built altars to glorify His name?
One of the grave sins the Israelites repeatedly committed was failing to pass down and forgetting to do what the Lord had done for them.
“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.”
-Deuteronomy 8:11-16, ESV
God has done mighty things on our behalf. But when life is good, when we are planning ahead, it is easy to forget what He has done. It’s easy to plan in our own power but when we remember that God has carried us through each and everything in the past, it gives us the courage to move forward in His strengthen.
It might look like setting up a picture or a printed verse that reminds us of what God did. It might be similar to the rock altars created by the Israelites; I saw someone who wrote in marker a one-word reminder of what God did and collected the rocks in a jar. Each year, she went through at the beginning of the New Year and reminded herself.
But one of my favorite altars is the written word. I, despite being a writer, struggle to journal. There is only one year in my life I successfully collected in writing. But last year, I realized that my planner was a sort of a yearly altar of remembrance. In it, I had collected each and every event. Doctors appointments that caused pain and coffee dates with friends that breathed life back into me.
I’ve written before about my love for Sacred Ordinary Days and their mission to bring holiness back into our daily life. Remembering God’s work for His Church and His faithfulness in the grand scheme of creation helps me to remember that, in my day to day life, God is faithful to me.
It is a beautiful way to easily record all that God has done. To jot down simple notes of faithfulness is a brief, concise way to remember. A planner is a year-long record of what God has done in your life.
I was listening to a favorite podcast, the Steadfast podcast by Sandra McCracken, a few weeks ago. She happened to be interviewing a favorite author of mine, James K.A. Smith, and his wife. They shared about a favorite practice of theirs, Wine Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, they gather with friends and share a glass of wine and good conversation. As delightful as that alone sounds, what they said next drew me in.
On Wine Wednesdays, one person records in a journal a brief recording of what they discussed (and the bottle of wine they enjoyed!). Every once in a while, they went back and read through past entries to remind each other of how far they had come together and to praise God for all He had done in their lives.
Our altars must be community-oriented. Ultimately, we keep ourselves from forgetting by sharing with those around us how we’ve seen God’s faithfulness and reminding them of how He’s demonstrated it in their lives.
May we all keep remembering the faithfulness of God as we move forward with a new year with new opportunities and goals. Let’s us press into whatever challenges and joys He brings our way by remembering His faithfulness in the past and recording what He is doing today.
To help with that recording, I’m partnering with Sacred Ordinary Days to give away one of their liturgical planners. Their brand new 2018 liturgical year planners are such a treasure. It is beautifully bound and created to center your heart around the presence of God in every area of your daily life.
Be sure to enter below for your chance to win today.