So the race was on after checking my email yesterday and finding a coupon, from shutterfly, for 50% off their photo books. The deal is only good for three more days. I have another gift certificate so this would be the perfect time to get the album I've been working on for Landon ordered. So last night I was sitting by Ryan who was playing video games as I worked on shutterfly. I was uploading pictures for Landon's "Bye bye breathing tube...FINALLY" page, when I saw one with a tiny video camera down in the corner of it. I didn't remember taking a video of him after getting his breathing & feeding tubes out so I clicked on it. Instantly we were transported back to our time in the hospital. Ryan paused his game, we were both captivated. We watched as our baby boy struggled for each breath, each forced squeal would cause his face to wrinkle in aggravation that he couldn't cry and his throat hurt so bad. It wasn't long into the video that the tears started to fall down my face. I can just remember it like it was yesterday, all of the emotions came rushing back. I could hear myself in the video and I knew that I was fighting tears then & trying to be strong.
The video was less then 2 min long, but it seemed like we were sucked back 3 months ago. All the waiting, the fear, the tears... we remembered. We just sat in silence for a min after it was done, both of us staring at the screen that was paused on our baby boys swollen & puffy face. It's easy to forget what it was like when each day we wake up to his beautiful smiley face now. His eyes are so trusting now, but back then they were filled with pain and confusion.
Ryan hugged me and told me that it won't be as bad next time. He will recover faster and not have to have the tube in for so long. I nodded my head in agreement, "it was just so hard Ryan." "I know baby, I know" he replied. He rarely breaks, but I could hear the emotion hanging in his words.
I knew I had to do something to get the moment to pass so I went back to shutterfly and Ryan, seeing that I was ok, went back to playing his game. I couldn't shake the memories though. I laid in bed that night and just told God that it's so hard to remember. He spoke straight to my soul and told me "When it's hard to remember, you remember one thing Natalie. Remember my faithfulness."
I've been pondering that ever since. I know, in the Bible, God talks a lot about remembering. He was constantly telling the Israelites to remember his faithfulness because He would perform a miracle for them, they would praise him, times would eventually get hard again, and their response would be to complain about how He abandoned them. It wasn't just the Israelites who had this tendency to forget though. Did you know that the word "remember" appears 167 times in the Bible? I decided to do a little study and look some of them up.
REMEMBER that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Deut. 5:15
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. REMEMBER the wonders He has done.
1 Chron. 16:11-12
I REMEMBER my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I REMEMBER them, and my soul is downcast within me. YET this I REMEMBER and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your FAITHFULNESS. Lamentations 3:19-23
Wow, that just blew my mind! I have read that verse probably a hundred times, The second part of it has always been one of my favorites, but I missed the first part and you need the first part to really understand the second. God has shown me that we can choose to do two things when we go through hard times.
1. We can try to forget them.
It would be easy for Ryan and I to forget about the long hill we've climbed with Landon. If his next surgery goes as we're hoping he could potentially live a long and normal life. We could pack away the memories in a scrapbook and leave it on a shelf to acquire dust as we continue living our life, but would that be right?
2. We can spend the rest of our days on Earth being bitter and angry at God for allowing things to happen to us. We can get hung up on the pain and let it consume us.
We've all heard of the mom who poisons her child to keep it sick because her child's sickness has become the mothers identity. That's an extreme example, but can't it be so true for us? Unforgiveness kills our spirit, abuse cripples, the death of someone we love can stop our lives as well. I'm a big supporter of grieving losses, but the grief process can't go on forever.
I'm learning, that we're supposed to remember. Memory is a gift God has given us. Isn't it amazing that something as small as a scent, a taste, a song, or a 2 min video can take us into our past. God must allow this to happen for a reason. We all have memories we wish we could forget. What if when we remember them we chose to praise God for His faithfulness? What if when Satan reminds us of our slavery to past strongholds, instead of feeling shame, we chose to remember how God forgave us and was faithful to set us free? What if when we remember how our hearts broke in a moment and our world came crashing down, we chose to remember how God never left our side? How God dried all our tears, how God eventually got us through. Gods faithfulness is the only reason I can think of that can get us through the memories.
There will be many times in the future where Ryan and I will remember. Our souls will become depressed, but in those moments I pray we will choose to remember. I pray we will remember and find hope again. It's because of the Lords love for us that we don't have to be consumed by the pain we encounter in this life. His compassion for us will never fail. In fact, they're new each morning. He's not upset that we can't seem to get over our pain. He just wants our pain to REMIND us of His FAITHFULNESS. (my paraphrase of Lamentations 3:19-23)