This year’s Thrive Conference is a celebration of God’s audacious love: What it looks like, how it overcomes our greatest fears, and how it inspires us. We’re thrilled to announce that, in conjunction with the conference, we’ll be releasing a NEW devotional! On this 31-day devotional journey, you’ll discover the meaning, power, and purpose of God’s audacious love—and be inspired to share it with the world. Want a sneak peek? Join us from now until the conference as we reveal snippets each week—this week’s article is from Jaclyn Loween, who writes about how God’s audacious love calls us to remember who he is and what he’s done. And don’t forget to join us for the Thrive Conference!
Audacious: (adjective) extremely original; without restriction to prior ideas; highly inventive.
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” …And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’…so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
Joshua 4:1-24 (ESV)
Five years ago, my husband and I moved back after living overseas for seven years. It was a move of sacrifice and obedience. My heart and soul kicked and screamed the whole process through.
We were leaving a country with which I had fallen in love. It was the place where I birthed my teaching career and my babies. In that place, I had experienced vivid moments of God’s audacious love through the people and ministry. I had seen God part waters and move hearts. I didn’t want to leave all of that behind. But we did. We came “home.” However, I felt about at home as a duck might feel in an eagles’ nest. To be honest, some days I still feel like a duck in an eagles’ nest, but through the years it is my growing understanding of God’s audacious, sovereign love over my life that has allowed me to grow again.
You see, if I really believe that God’s love is extremely original, without restriction to prior ideas, and highly inventive, then I also have to believe that he ordains my steps on purpose, based on who he has made me to be. I often act like I believe that the work of my hands will get me to the place of my calling. But the more I work at believing in God’s all-loving, all-encompassing control over my life, the more in love I am with him and the more I can walk in peace and trust.
But in order to believe in and live out God’s sovereignty in my life, I often have to take time to remember the ways he has used his extreme originality to answer my prayers. I have to pause and work to see my past and present through the lens of his audacious love.
Sometimes I get frustrated with my inability to remember things. I forget my grocery list at home. I forget to make dentist appointments. Sometimes I even forget to put on deodorant. This forgetfulness also finds its way into my life of faith. I get particularly frustrated when I forget to remember who God is, who I am, and how his audacious love transforms and redeems all the moments of all my days.
Why is it so easy to forget and seemingly so hard to remember? Why do I forget that I serve a God who is so extremely original that he provides me with a purpose and calling 100 percent unique to me?
This obstacle of forgetfulness is not a new struggle for humanity. I love Joshua 4 for this reason: it shows us that God knows that his people have a hard time remembering his love and provision for them. It also shows that the stories of his love and provision are to be passed from generation to generation, and that we are to build up “stones of remembrance” for ourselves and those who will come after us to remind us of the times God has been highly inventive in changing our circumstances or our hearts. Because he knows we will forget, he commands that we set up physical reminders.
What might those look like in this current generation? I don’t know that 12 stones stacked in a pile is the answer. But it might be for those of you who are into landscaping. For me, the first step is taking the time to force myself to remember and reflect. I am a runner and a mom of four, so the best place for me to do this is either out on the road or with a cup of coffee prior to my kids waking in the morning. Being silent before the Lord lets him take my thoughts and soul on little mini journeys down memory lane. The second step is setting aside time periodically to write down a few of the thousands of thoughts that have gone through my head during my minutes of running and morning stillness.
What I have discovered is that when I create this rhythm of remembrance, reflection, and recording in my life, I see God more clearly. I see his love more frequently, and I settle in more peacefully to whom he has made me and the calling he has for me right now.
God’s love is extremely original, without restriction to prior ideas, and highly inventive. But it is so easy to forget that. Sometimes, we need to return to our own stones of remembrance, those parts of our story that demonstrate who God has been to us in the past. And then, in turn, to have the faith to believe he will meet us again in the current waters we are passing through.
Reflect and Respond:
What aspect of God’s audacious love do you most need help in remembering and believing to be true?
What habits or rhythms can you begin to work into your life that will help you set up “stones of remembrance” through reflection, remembrance, and recording?
Jaclyn Loween is a wife, mother, and teacher who is passionate about community living, learning, writing, running, and inviting people to her table. It is her hope that her words of remembrance and reflection record a story of God’s faithfulness that will be passed to future generations.