Thursday, November 10, 2005

Remembrance

A few weeks ago, I helped plan a women's retreat at the church I attend. One of my responsibilities was developing a Quiet Time guide for Saturday morning. I ended up finding an interesting devotion on Hannah, and how God met her needs. The Quiet Time read in part:

God is willing to meet us just as He met Hannah. Whatever our distress, whatever hard situations we face, He is willing—more than that—he is eager to meet our needs and give us His grace and comfort. No other person—not our husband, not our closest friends, not our parents, not our children—can render relief, support and encouragement that our God has waiting for us.

One way to build confidence in God is to form a habit of remembrance. It’s so easy to forget everything He’s already done by being preoccupied with what you want Him to do right here, right now. But by forgetting His blessings, you form a habit of ingratitude. By frequently thanking God for what He’s done, you build a habit (or an “attitude”) of gratitude, which will also deepen your trust in God’s compassion, mercy, faithfulness and power.


I thought it was a neat concept, so I hurriedly typed it up and printed it out to pass out at the retreat.

Fast forward to the retreat itself, Saturday morning. I sat on the porch, wrapped up in a sweater, reflecting on the guide in my hand as I looked out over the golden leaves. And the more I thought about Hannah's story, the sadder became. Hannah's joy was bittersweet. She received a son, God answered her prayers. But she also gave literally gave up her son. When he was a child, she took him to the temple, and left him there. I think she wept. Some of those tears were tears of joy. But I believe some were because her heart was breaking.

The reason I think this is because my own "remembrance" brings with it intense grief. The thing that I thanked God for that morning was my stepfather, who died nearly four years ago. For the first time since Dennis died, I thanked God for the 19-years that I was able to call him my father. I thanked God for Dennis's hugs, his wisdom, his love, his laughter. But I also wept. Because I miss him. I know that's a recurring theme here on this blog, but it's true. However, for the first time I thanked God for Dennis before I wept. And for the first time, I told God that even if He had placed Dennis in my life for 19 days, I would still thank Him.

And I meant it. Despite the tears and the questions and my railing against God, I meant it.

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