Monday, August 1, 2011
The other day, I decided to clean the top of my cupboards in my kitchen. These shelves had been neglected for awhile and had gathered quite a bit of dust. I had mixing bowls displayed with hand puppets brought back with us from India. teapots and cookbooks.
I sprayed a dustcloth with cleaner and began to wipe. There was so much dust that little fluffs formed around the teapots and doll clothes as I wiped. This job required climbing on top of a kitchen chair to the kitchen counter to balance over the refrigerator to reach and grab each item and then redisplay.
After I finished dusting and sneezing and retrieving items and fending off small children that wanted to stand on kitchen counters too because "wow, how cool, that is!", I stepped back and admired my work. It looked clean but I knew it could be organized better. I began to ponder how to fix the ambiance of the kitchen. I had lots of interesting cookbooks with great photos but they couldn't be reached above the refrigerator. So I decided to display them better and in a more accessible place. I then removed some items that didn't really need to be displayed and took the puppets down for the kids to inspect and bring to life.
When I was done, I grabbed anyone that walked near the kitchen to show them my hard work. I wanted them to admire my arrangements and the new feel to our kitchen. "it feels like a cafe! right?!" I asked eagerly. looking for shared enthusiasm at my creativity.
With my new found arranging talents I decided that I had to make the counter top match. so I slowly cleaned the counter with a lavender scented cleaner and made sure that every appliance was purposefully sitting there. no loitering. when I had worked my way around to the end of the kitchen counter feeling confident that the counter top space equated the above shelving space, I was ready to rest and boil some water for fresh tea. But then I looked over by the phone. There was a large bowl of an assortment of rocks. "Why on earth do we have a large bowl of rocks sitting there?!" These had been gathered over a fifteen year period by my eldest daughter. and there they sat. Do we really need to keep these still?, I thought to myself. would anyone notice if I just scattered them to the backyard? probably.
so I left them sitting there.
The next day, we attended church. The sermon was about how Moses led the Israelites to safety out of Egypt to the promised land. These people saw miracle after miracle performed by God and yet once they were in the desert and thirsty, they began to complain and question if God was still with them. God parted an ocean for them to safely pass through, but they were now thirsty. God obviously didn't care about them anymore, or so they thought.
God did provide water and food and safety and some new rules and then finally allowed them to cross into their promised land. After traveling through the desert for forty years! All they had to do now was cross the River Jordan and they could relax and live and thrive and eat and multiply!
As they crossed through the River Jordan, God told Joshua, (whom was now leading Moses' people) to have twelve men to gather twelve stones from the River.
"Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, What do these stones mean? 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
God reminded me through that large bowl of stones to not forget all that he has done for us. That bowl has been carried with us through several moves and now been passed down from our teenager to younger ones all the way down to our one year old. Our very children are testimonies as to what God has done for us. Our oldest was an only child for eleven years.
It's easy to get caught up in all of the dust or not having all of our needs met. But we must be able to step back in those times and look at the big picture. when I stopped dusting and stepped back, I suddenly noticed a large bowl of rocks that I had previously not seen. It has been sitting there for years now, but I dust around it. God used that bowl to remind me all that he has and will continue to do for our family.
I now want to sit down as a family with a sharpie marker and put keywords on each rock to trigger memories of different things that God has done for us. Then when we forget, we will easily be reminded that God was there, is there, and will be there. Even when we are thirsty or covered in dust.