Remember Your Stepping Stones?

What you were doing last month at this time?  How about last week?  Yesterday???

I don’t know about you, but my head sometimes feels like it’s going to explode.  There’s just too much stuff buzzing around in there.  I definitely know that if I don’t write down everything I’m going to forget, and often whatever it was I needed to remember will end up in la-la-land.  Because usually the thoughts go in one ear, then right back out again.

Of course it makes it worse when I have my cell phone attached to my hip.  Because I hear the “ding.”  Who is it?  What do they want?  I should really stop what I’m doing to take a peek at who’s trying to reach me.  After all, it could be important.

But usually it’s nothing that couldn’t have waited until I finished doing whatever I was doing before I got distracted.

Now where was I anyway?

This confused, rushing world is where we live.  Go-go-go.  Ring-ding-ping.  Constant chaos at times, right?

We need help.  We need to cry out like the psalmist in Psalm 119:176Grab ahold of me, Lord!  I have wandered away like a lost sheep – come and find me!

jordan-whitt-sobXgw6KfiQ-unsplashBecause isn’t that the key?  Usually when I get to the point where my mind is in boggle-mode, it means I’m focusing on all sorts of stuff that I really shouldn’t be focusing on.  And, typically it means I’ve taken my mind off the most important thing:  Jesus.  I’ve temporarily forgotten all the wonderful awesome things my Lord has done in and through my life.  I’ve forgotten all the times He’s stepped in and taken care of things I was stressing about.

Bottom line?  I’m focusing on me, instead of Him.

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Back in June 1997 – right before our precious special needs son Jeffrey turned 5 years-old – I decided to start writing a journal.  I really had no idea how to do this, but I’d heard many Bible teachers state the importance of doing such a thing.  I really needed to be writing down how God answered my prayers; how He had moved in circumstances where there seemed to be no hope.

But the journal examples I’d seen others keep didn’t make sense to me.  They kind of freaked me out.  I just couldn’t do it the way they did.  They were too hard for me to grasp.  Most of them were extremely organized; and many had neat columns filled with various sorts of data.

That’s not me…  I tend to live a little haphazardly sometimes.  My desk often looks like a storm just blew through, but it makes sense to me.

So, I decided just to start writing.  To start writing whatever seemed important on that particular day.  I kept it as God-focused as I could, because that’s what I needed it to be about.  That’s where I needed to stay centered.  Whatever I was going to write, I had to somehow bring Him into it.

I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now.  Not every day, but often.

And, I discovered something through the years as I’ve gone back and reviewed old entries.  I discovered I’d forgotten numerous times when my Father brought faith-filled milestones into my life.  Stepping stones, you might say.  Periods of time when something major happened which ended up increasing my faith substantially.

Some of the stones were giant-sized, such as when the Lord provided major miracles for our son to move away to college, despite him not being able to care for himself because of his disabilities.  Those were times when there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that it only could’ve happened by God’s hand.  Nothing else even came close to making sense.

But some were smaller; little reminders of the love and faithfulness of my Father.

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Remembrance is such a key point in our walks with the Lord, isn’t it?  Looking at how God has delivered us in the past helps us in our day-to-day living.  Looking back at times when God heard our cries and guided us helps us shape our prayers and praise to God today.

Shed tears for Jesus lately_But there’s something else we shouldn’t forget about these stepping stones.  We shouldn’t forget they didn’t happen just for us; they also happened to help others – to increase and boost their faith!  How often have you read something or heard a testimony and you suddenly found yourself praying, “Do that in me, Lord, do that in me!”

Often we will have no clue until later as to how our personal stepping stones have encouraged others in their individual walks with Jesus.

I have a friend who recently shared her testimony about when she was 8-months pregnant years ago.  She was a new Christian then, and was in the choir at her church.

As the praise and worship was finishing up, my friend was intensely focused on Jesus’ love for her.  She was standing with her eyes closed and hands raised – just worshiping the greatness of her Father.  She felt such a closeness; such a love.  All else was tuned out of her mind.  It was just her and Jesus.

Suddenly she opened her eyes and realized she was now standing alone on the stage.  All the other choir members had left – but she had been so connected with her Savior that she hadn’t even noticed!

Yes, she was extremely embarrassed.  She turned her bulky pregnant body and began walking off the stage wishing she could temporarily disappear.

But remember this, friends.  The Lord Jesus delights in abandoned worship and praise to His Name, and desires to bless us who have blessed others.

My friend was a hairdresser back then, and months after that event she was cutting the hair of one of her clients.  Suddenly the lady testified of a day in the past that had given her faith an extreme boost.  She told of a young very-pregnant woman in her church’s choir who was one day so intently worshiping Jesus, that she had failed to leave the stage after the worship had finished.  The lady told my friend that she wanted that – she wanted to have that same abandoned love for Him as that young pregnant lady had.

My friend was blown away.  She asked her client:  Didn’t you realize that was me?

No, her client hadn’t.  All she remembered was the uninhibited love and happiness that was present on my friend’s face as she had worshiped.  That event had made such an impact in her client’s life.

And that wasn’t the only time my friend heard that same testimony.  She shared that she still finds it so incredible that God would use her during that time – as a baby Christian – to woo people to the Lord!

That’s what Jesus does.  It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been a believer; it matters how much we love Him and how devoted we are to Him.  It says in 1 Samuel 16:7 that God looks at the heart, not our outward appearance.  Our Father saw in my friend an intense love – a love that was pure and true.

This day became a major stepping stone in my friend’s faith walk.  A stepping stone that reminds her when things seem to not be going as they should, that her Father has her in His arms, and will continue to use what’s going on in her life to draw people closer to Him.

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Add a headingNot long ago I read a short biographical story on Harriet Tubman.  She was an escaped African-American slave back in the 1800’s who risked her life repeatedly to free other slaves using a network known as the Underground Railroad.  She also served as a Union spy during the Civil War, and after the war helped set up schools for freed slaves.

However many people don’t realize that Harriet was also a Christian.  Many called her the “Moses” of her people.  I read that at times she would be laying on the cold wet ground just praying:  “Oh, dear Lord, … I haint got no friend but you.  Come to my help, Lord, for I’m in trouble!”

She further testified:  “‘Twant me, ’twas the Lord.  I always told Him, ‘I trust You.  I don’t know where to go or what to do, but I expect You to lead me,’ and He always did.”

Here we are nearing the year 2020, and her testimony – her stepping stone of how she relied on the Lord through the deepest darkest times of her life – is still reaching so many people.  Reminding us that it doesn’t matter where we live, what race we are, or how much money we have, the Lord wants to use us to spread His love and glory wherever He’s placed us.  I know for me, her testimony of the fear and uncertainty that she faced on a daily basis makes the stresses I typically go through seem like a piece of cake!

Eyes on You, Lord, that’s my prayer.  Because when I remember all He’s done, and continue to share with others what He’s brought me through, I must believe that even after I’ve left my residence on this earth, His miracles in my life will become stepping stones in the lives of others.

Psalm 42:1 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.”  Yes, Lord, do that in me!  Continue to show me Your glory (Exodus 33:18)!  May I never forget all the wonderful things You’ve brought me through in my life; and may I never hesitate to share these miracles with others.

Friends take some time and look back at spiritual stepping stones in your life.  Write them down!  They will be such a blessing both to you – and to others.  Our Father is alive, and desires to use what You’ve gone through to help others experience Him in a personal life-changing way.

 


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