Before we started trying to get pregnant, my husband and I did not see eye to eye on the timing. I was frustrated, to say the least, believing that it was God’s will for us to have a family and seeing all of my friends become pregnant one by one. But he wasn’t ready. He didn’t feel released to start that season of our lives. One night as we engaged in a heated discussion on the topic, he looked at me and said, “I need a clear word from the Lord that it’s time.” “Why,” I responded. . .confused that the Bible’s instruction was not clear enough. “Because when it gets hard,” he gently answered, “I need to be able to look back and know that the Lord said it was time.”
A stone of remembrance. When we were engaged, our pastor at the time and the minister who married us, shared in our pre-marital session about having stones of remembrance. He told of many stories in the Old Testament where God’s people were instructed to set such stones as a reminder of His instruction, His leading or something He had done.
I know it was the Lord because hearing my husband utter those words brought a rush of peace over my otherwise anxious heart. How could I argue with that? So I waited on my husband and I prayed myself for the Lord’s timing. We learned that I might struggle to conceive the very same month we felt the release to begin our journey. The timing didn’t seem to make sense at all, except for the fact that the stone of remembrance became more and more significant as we walked the hard road to establish our family. My husband thought God meant when parenting gets hard. And while that was a legitimate reason to seek God’s timing, more immediately our stone was a reminder of His promise of life. . .of a family.
“So Joshua called together the twelve men. . .and said to them, ‘Go over to the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder. . .to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, what do these stones mean? tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. . .These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. . .The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up. . .He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” Joshua 4:4-24
When my husband first told me that he needed a word from the Lord, a stone of remembrance, I didn’t have any idea what that would mean to us. I look back on it now as I encounter tough days as a mom, knowing He has called me to this. But all throughout our journey to get here – infertility, 3 miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy, countless doctor’s appointments, dozens of ultrasounds, fertility drugs, thousands of dollars, millions of tears and 2 miracle lives – I have been able to look back to the moment He said, “Yes” and on his goodness as we traveled.
These stones of remembrance are now a way we mark God’s goodness in our lives as a family. We have also used these stones to lay a request before the Lord. Writing that thing we are believing for on a stone (which also represents his goodness) is, in a way, like professing our trust and our belief that he is able because he is good. The day we married, I presented my husband with a stone engraved with our wedding date. It sits on a table in our family room as a reminder of God’s goodness in bringing us together. My son’s miracle conception is another “stone” we look back on. His life is a mark of God’s goodness in our family. I have written personal struggles on stones and placed them in a jar at the beginning of the year, believing God’s goodness would help me overcome. There are many ways to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness in our lives. You may choose to be more ceremonial or sentimental or you may choose to keep it simple. Here are a few ideas of modern ways to mark God’s goodness in your family:
1. Keep actual stones of remembrance. These can be large or small enough to fit in a jar. Write a word or verse on each stone that reminds your family of what it represents.
2. Keep a blessings jar. Simply write your reminder of God’s faithfulness on a strip of paper and keep it in a jar. Place the jar in the heart of your home (maybe the kitchen) as a constant reminder to your family to focus their hearts on the good things God has done.
3. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down prayers asked and prayers answered and note dates for each. Read your journal together as a family a few times a year as a reminder of God’s presence in your lives. We don’t know where He will lead us friends, but we can stand upon his goodness. We can stand upon the fact that he is able. I pray that you would gather many stones of remembrance of His faithfulness and goodness in the lives of your family.