Remembrances and Memorials

Maybe I do this too often. I have this habit of looking back through the years and remember where I have been. I look at the calendar and remember where I was and what I was doing on a certain date and year.

It’s very biblical to remember, to recall where you’ve been. In Deuteronomy God tells the people to remember they were once slaves in Egypt. (5:15) In Joshua, the Hebrew people built a memorial to recall the crossing of the Jordan into the Promise Land. (4:9) Jesus tells his disciples to eat the bread and drink the wine “in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

Well, 2017 is a big one for me to remember. It celebrates ten years of a lot of things. Let me take you down memory lane.

At the end of 2006, I had surgery on my neck. As I recovered during the holidays that year, I wondered what was next for me. I was a few years in my disability ministry. I had friends and colleagues who I kept in contact with, and I was slowly becoming known in those circles. My mentor, Mary Jane, challenged me to go back to school for my bachelors degree. If I were to be taken seriously in ministry, I would need those letters behind my name.

Mary Jane has one version of this story. I have another. She recalls that I resisted her request, that I didn’t want to go back to school. No way, no how. That wasn’t it at all. I craved more education. The problem was that I couldn’t find a program I felt comfortable with. I had tried several schooling options including distance education, meeting with a mentor, a sixteen-week classroom course and other options that just didn’t fit my learning style. I just didn’t want to fail again.

This is the part of the story that truly belongs in the “only the Lord can do this” category.

Sometime in February 2007, I received a mailing from Nazarene Bible College’s newly formed program, The Advantage Program. The program was designed for working adults who had some college credit but needed to complete their bachelor’s degree. Students take one class at a time meeting one night a week for six weeks. Complete twelve classes in two year and I would have my degree.

It was a perfect system for me. I only had to focus on one class for six weeks and move on to the next one. I emailed the school. Turned out that the next class started on March first. If I played my cards right, I could be back in the classroom in just a few weeks. Crazy.

Well, it worked. On March 1, 2007, I found myself in a college classroom taking my first class. Over the next two years, I soaked myself in Theology, Business Principles, Leadership Development, and designed the Church Relations Department for Mephibosheth Ministry. At the end of it all, I received my Bachelors degree in Leadership and Ethics.

2007 will also be memorable for other things too. It brought my last hockey games with my father. The NCAA western regionals in Denver. Arch rivals North Dakota and Minnesota were in the final. North Dakota won of course. I started to play sled hockey that spring and skated at the Pepsi Center that fall. Then there’s the lost of Dad in October. But that deserves its own memorial.
During my Bible study the other day, I came across this quote: “When our spiritual memory is intact, so is our spiritual identity.”  Interesting. When we are able to remember what the Lord has done for us in the past, we can have faith for the future. If He orchestrated my schooling in such a way as to help me succeed, He is surely able to do it in the future.

What is your spiritual memory? Do you recall what the Lord has done in your life?