Stones of Remembrance and the Reason I Write

Sometimes I’ll say that I’m having “a bad hair day.” This is more like an explanation than a complaint: I’m having a bad hair day; that’s why I’m wearing a hat.

In addition to having bad hair days, I also have bad handwriting days. I know. It sounds silly, right?

The letters flow into calligraphic penmanship one day, but then spill into illegible scrawl the next.

When I was expecting my first child, I searched mega malls and specialty shops for the most charming baby book I could find. After hours and hours of searching, I finally found the perfect baby book.

Once my first child was born, I set out to fill every page of my treasured keepsake. However, if on a particular day I didn’t like my penmanship, I would quit writing and wait to try another day.

Then one day rolled into the next. Then another. And another.

Reluctant to ruin the elegance of the pages, my perfectionism paralyzed my plans.

Needless to say, I never wrote much in her baby book. (It’s now probably buried somewhere in the depths of that mysterious unknown called my garage.)

I resigned to rely upon my memory.

When I had my second child, I possessed the “wisdom of experience.” Knowing that I never finished the first baby book, I didn’t bother buying a second one. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair to have a baby book for one child and not the other. Or so I reasoned.

A few months after the birth of my second child, my husband happened to be sifting through a cedar chest that used to belong to his mom. Inside, he discovered his old baby book.

His mom had passed away a decade earlier, so the memories she penned were priceless. We soaked up every word jotted down and lamented every space left blank.

This experience was powerful in different ways. For me, I quickly got over my need to have everything look perfect. I drove to Babies-R-Us and bought two baby books and hurriedly filled out every page I could.

Thankfully, I could recall the big stuff. And even though there were a few places where I couldn’t remember some minute details—such as which days certain teeth came in—it was comforting to know that an account of those special moments were recorded.

The importance of remembering former things is evident throughout the world and throughout history. Most households document momentous occasions with baby books, scrapbooks, photo albums, and journals; however, most societies recognize significant events through dedicated memorials and national monuments.

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land, God instructed Joshua to build such a memorial. So Joshua took twelve large stones from the dry riverbed and set them up at Gilgal. There, Joshua declared:

“These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever . . . . so that all the people of the earth might know the mighty hand of God.”
(Joshua 4:7b, 24a)

In our lives today . . .

God continues to part treacherous waters.
God continues to deliver his people.
God continues to provide daily manna.

“Remember the former things, those of long ago.”
(Isaiah 46:9)

Some recollections inevitably fade with time, yet others remain etched in our memories forever. In obedience, I want to “remember the former things,” the many ways God has spoken through His Word, and the many ways God has redeemed my brokenness.

For this reason, I am committed to writing—not just in a baby book—but in other ways as well.

I will write on napkins.
I will write on notepads.
I will write in cards.
I will write in blogs.

And then I will write some more because my written words serve as my own stones of remembrance.

In what ways do you keep a record of God’s faithfulness in your life?
What are your “stones of remembrance”?

32 thoughts on “Stones of Remembrance and the Reason I Write

  1. I can relate to this post more than you know! With my oldest daughter, I began a journal for her in which I wrote all throughout my pregnancy. Then I began one with my son and I got a few months worth. My third got a dedication page on the inside cover…and thats all! The fourth and fifth child don’t have journals. Thanks to this post that will change! Why can’t I start today?
    My husband and I have written blessing letters to our children pointing out their strengths and how we see God working in their lives. I would like to frame it in the future for them. Scrap booking has also been a great way to record memories as well as blogging. Thanks for the wonderful post. May God continue to use you.

    • Oh, I love the idea of a “blessing letter.” I have a letter to each one of my kids tucked into their baby book. Like you, it’s a letter pointing to the strengths that were evident in their lives from the time they were born.

      Thank you for your encouraging words. 🙂

  2. Denise, I love this. I used to be into scrapbooking when my kids were younger. Even got published in a magazine – my scrapbook claim to fame! I am so glad I did books for them because they still love looking at them. I am eradict with journalling, not very consistent. But I do love to read previous journals to remember seasons and cute things my kids said when they were little. Stones of remembrance – you have reminded me how important they are. Thank you!

    • Shelly, that sounds wonderful. I have only “dabbled” in scrapbooking. I’m honestly afraid to take on another hobby! 🙂 I do love re-reading the cute things my kids said when they were little. So fun.

  3. It’s so true, isn’t it – – perfectionism can paralyze. I wrote baby books for both my boys (although only the oldest got a scrapbook, because after the torture of creating that first one, I knew I couldn’t do it again!). Now I write lots of stories about my kids on my blog — someday I hope they will consider those treasured memories. (now they are still young enough to enjoy being featured on the blog…I suspect that may change as they creep toward the pre-teen years!).

    Thanks for linking up at Graceful this week!

  4. I can totally relate! My daughter’s baby book is yet to be finished. (I’m not going to admit how old she is now. lol ) My issue is pictures. I didn’t want to put anything in the book permanently until I had all the pictures I might want and in the perfect layout. It didn’t happen. One day, I might suggest that she help me with it and call it a mother-daughter bonding project! LOL

    • That sounds like a great idea. The conversations you would have as you poured over all the pictures would be beautiful. I also have too many “loose” pictures that need to find their way into some sort of album. 🙂

  5. oh, this was a poignant and beautiful story…pulling your husband’s baby book out of the chest, going through it, and then you driving to the store to buy books to quickly fill out–beautiful, friend. and i have four–i have filled in all their baby books, except the last–she is only lacking a few details from the past months–but maybe that is in part due to the fact that she isn’t talking yet (!)
    i think my writing and blogging has really been a healing journey for me, and helps keep my focus on God–when i write, and others read it, i am accountable for my words, thoughts, and motives. found you at Playdates {i’m #17}–blessings!

  6. Oh how I love this. I’m smiling though, because my baby books have gotten smaller with each child and I don’t even have one for the 4th and she is 2.

    Oh the shame!!!

    Anyway – I love the thought of my words being stones of remembrance. Because I do not want to ever forget what God has done. Ever.

    Thanks for linking up with Write It, Girl!

  7. I’m so sorry to say that my younger girls’ baby books have blank spaces more often than not. Recording family stories is important to me; that is why I have blogged a lot about them. I have a long way to go to record everything!

    It’s my hope that my grands will read my blog someday and learn “the way we were.”

  8. Hi! I keep a prayer journal, I journal and now I blog too. All of those avenues provide a chance to remember. Yes, in remembering it helps us when we are prone to forget…I do that sometimes when life is awry. I have baby books, pictures and self-published photo books from My Publisher…I even keep special cards or letter. I don’t want to forget. Sometimes it is painful to remember too. Love your post! Stopping by from Finding Heaven.

    • I agree, Dionne. Sometimes it is painful to remember, but it is through those painful memories that God brings His healing and restoration.

      I love your idea of a self-published photo book. That’s a great idea!

  9. Every year on my boys’ birthdays we get out the baby books. They never get tired of reading their birth story and the stories of their first days. It’s a precious, precious gift. Journaling my thoughts on scripture has given new life to my story too. Lovely thoughts here. Thank you.

  10. Oh I love this post. I too become paralyzed by my perfectionist tendencies and miss out on so much because of it! This was a good reminder for me…
    Visiting from the Wellspring today 🙂

    • Hi, Emily! I can easily slip into that place of paralysis-by-perfectionism. It;s a familiar road, but hopefully, it’s something I am getting better at with time and with His help. 🙂

  11. Stopping by from Write it, Girl and had to say I loved this post. Thank you for taking us from that memory of neglected baby books to the importance of remembering. I believe we recognize our own mortality when we are willing to commit words to print. We will not be here forever, but God can use our words that way should He see fit. Thank you for the reminder.

  12. I’m here from Write It, Girl as well! Nicely written. Your main idea is both encouraging and challenging, and you do a really good job connecting the God-idea with your story. I love the idea of using our writing as an altar for remembering what God has done. Thank you for this!

  13. Oh, I love this. I also love flipping back through my journals and seeing my penmanship change. Observe how it fits the emotions of what I had penned. amazing.
    I love how you connected that to the stones of remembrance.
    I have a prayer journal. A gifts journal. a personal journal. and now a blog. I intend to use them all for His glory as I build my own stones of remembrance.
    I also have a half-completed baby book for my boy. Note-to-self…
    Blessed by your words as always, Denise. Thank you!

    • Nikki, I love keeping a journal too … especially prayer journals. Going back and reading “where I was at” and realizing where I am today is a blessing beyond words. All because of Him.

  14. Just popped over from Write It, Girl. These are good thoughts. We have several adult children and several still at home and I am saddened I did not record more. Keep recording those memories as it seems the brain memory gets fuzzy the older I get. I just posted today about spiritual journals I have been keeping for 30 years. There are gaps in time (like when all six children were small). But they are an encouragement to God’s faithfulness and our growing relationship.

  15. So true, Denise. I started keeping a spiritual journal in college, and I am amazed when I go back and read one from a few years back — I have forgotten so much, and I find myself reading about a stranger. It’s great to see how far we have come by recording our journey with pen and paper.

    • Oh, I love the way you put that: “I find myself reading about a stranger.” That is such a beautiful testimony of God’s amazing power to change us completely. I am so thankful for the many ways God has changed me over the years.

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