Memory keeps volumes stored in hidden vaults, just waiting for something to jar its door and all the contents resuscitated.
It’s pretty entertaining hearing your grown children, gathered around the table, telling their favorite childhood memories. I’ve forgotten a lot of things that they remember, and boy, they sure remember it all. It seems as though they can recall every emotional response, phone call or meal I’ve ever made and when it happened! Our children’s lives are completely molded by our every word and how we live even when we think they’re not looking. Every day of their life they unintentionally record memories.
I don’t think I remember as much as they do about my childhood; many memories are packed away. The funny thing is, it only takes a smell, sight, sound or a conversation that will jar the door open, and memories come to life. Forty years have passed, and once in a while my memory will be jarred when I see the clock hit 10:00 P.M. I’ll instantly recall that for a couple of years in my childhood my mom went to her bedroom from 10-11:00 P.M. and prayed for us kids.
If how we live at home is recorded in our children’s memory, how will we be remembered?
It is worth our time to reengineer our days to make sure that everything we do is worthy of the memory it is creating. I don’t have the physical or mental ability to make my every action worthy of being memorized, however, when I surrender my every day wholeheartedly to Jesus, He leads me to do what I couldn’t when left to my own abilities.
My first priority on my to-do list every day is to ask Him to guide my thoughts, my conversation and my actions.
Second on the list is to diligently pray for our children. I have to set aside a certain time of the day to pray for them. I remember reading that when James Dobson’s kids were little he fasted and prayed for them one day a week. He prayed every day for them but set aside one day to fast for them. That is a commitment that will not return void. I have done that at special seasons of our children’s lives and found God faithful.
When these two things are at the top of my list I’m able to do more than I would ever be able to do on my own.
If Billy Graham, John Wesley and George Washington all said they owed their life success to the memory of their mother’s prayers, it raises the bar high and compels us to set our standard to do the same.
Last night I read about a Russian officer in Richard Wormbrand’s book, Tortured for Christ whose memory of what her grandmother did saved her soul.
Richard saw the Russian officer on the street and said, “ ‘I wish to speak to you about Christ.’ She asked me, ‘Do you love Christ?’ I said, ‘Yes! With all of my heart.” She fell into my arms and kissed me again and again. It was a very embarrassing situation for a pastor, so I kissed her back, hoping people would think we were relatives. She exclaimed to me, “I love Christ, too!” I took her to our home and discovered to my amazement that she knew nothing about Christ-absolutely nothing-except the name. And yet she loved Him. She did not know that He is the Savior, nor what salvation means. She did not know where and how He lived and died. She did not know His teachings, His life or ministry. She was for me a psychological curiosity: how can you love someone if you know only his name?
When I inquired, she explained, “When I went to high school, I was taught that it was my holy duty to defend the Communist morals. But I did not know what a ‘holy duty’ or a ‘moral’ looked like. . .My grandmother always bowed before this picture, saying that it was the picture of one called Cristo (Christ). And I loved this name by itself. This name became so real to me! Just to say the name gave me such joy.’. . .She joyously found Christ in my home and now the One whose name she loved lived in her heart.
The memory of her grandmother bowing to a picture of Christ stayed with her all those years and opened the door to eternal life with Him.
The grandmother never explained Christ to her, but her actions were recorded in the hidden vaults of the grand-daughters memory. When Richard said the word “Christ,” it jarred the vault open, and the memory resituated and birthed new life for her.
What will our children and our grandchildren remember about us? That we prayed for them? That our life was postured in adoration toward the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, bowing before Him with our countenance, our words and our actions? Seems kind of hard until you remember you’ve got the priority list up above. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will direct our path, and the memories we make for our kids will be ones we want brought to life.