Stack the stones - 12 Spiritual Markers

The stones will serve as a reminder to you. In days to come, your children will ask you, “What do these stones mean?”
Joshua 4:6

How has the Lord worked in your life this year? Which events stand out as special times of growth? When were you keenly aware of his presence?

Looking back through the year helps us remember great things the Lord has done.

I’m stacking twelve stones today, twelve spiritual markers to remind me of God’s faithfulness in 2011:

1. My baby turns 16
In January, I stand at the door and wave good-bye to my daughter as she drives away in a car. I’m thrown harder onto the Lord for mercy.  Jenna 16A deeper realization of how little control I have reminds me of my pressing need to rely on God’s power and goodness, for whatever is to come, even when her car breaks down.

2. 12 weeks with God in the yard
When I commit to carving out an hour here and there for twelve weeks, just to “waste” time being outside with God, I don’t think my über-efficient self will stand for it. God in the yardBut as winter turns to spring, I learn that God is teaching me more in that down time than any other time of my day. I hope a few of the lessons I learn will follow me into 2012.

3. 4 days with the 4 Corners
I know already the value of spiritual friendships, but I get to live out its benefits spending four days with three of my longest-standing friends. gulf shoresGod’s goodness is all over the trip, and he gives us memories that we’ll treasure for the rest of our lives.

4. Tornadoes of April 27
We Alabamians will not forget this day. Loss of life, loss of property, loss of innocence—occurs over and over too close to home as the winds keep coming all day. Alabama-tornadosAlabama-tornadoI don’t know why some were left and some were taken. But I know to thank God for the lives of my family and friends. And for giving us a simple life again for seven days with no electricity.

5. My oldest graduates from college
Watching her dress in a black cap and gown and walk across a platform in May to receive a diploma marks one job complete. graduationWhile I pray we’ll always be available for our daughters, seeing this one take a huge leap toward independence feels good. I thank the Lord for letting me see her make it this far.

6. Book club with my sisters/nieces
My nieces come up with the idea—let’s start a book club over the summer! So we all buy our book and meet almost weekly throughout the summer as nieces, aunts, daughters, mothers, sisters. book clubWhat a huge blessing to have dedicated time for spiritual conversation with my family of sisters. It is a first for us; I hope it won’t be a last.

7. A trip to El Salvador
God outdoes himself. He takes me way, way, way out of my comfort zone. I’m forced to stretch into new levels of faith or I won’t make it. El SalvadorBut the blessings don’t stop. I can’t put into words what he’s done and continues to do so I simply set down this marker.

8. Morgan and Fuller marry
Three months after watching Morgan graduate, we watch her marry. Seeing how God weaved together Morgan’s life and Fuller’s life has brought me to tears numerous times. morgan and momNow my daughter is a wife and I have a son and I am a mother-in-law. I foresee God helping me stumble through these new relationships for years to come. 

9. A woman’s weekend with Jenna
The weekend after Morgan gets married, Jenna and I attend a Women of Faith event as sisters. The Lord is seriously changing my mothering role from walking ahead of my daughters to instead walking alongside them.  women-of-faithI’m thankful the Lord allows us this spiritual weekend before Jenna goes away to Auburn next fall.

10. Joy Jam with spiritual family
Sometimes I wait for my church to do for me. Then sometimes I remember the Spirit may be waiting for me to do something for/with them instead. joy-jamOn this September afternoon, we invite friends into our home for a special time of sharing songs and sharing markers of how God brings us joy.

11. Reunion with Mississippi family
I used to depend on my parents to explain the extended family tree and represent all of us at the reunions.family reunionBut since losing them both in 2010, I now need to to maintain these relationships myself. I regret I haven’t done better in the past. Jeff and I ride with my brother Lane and Bonnie to Toccopola on November 5 to reconnect with the Coleman/Lauderdale family. Many in my family now will also be my family for eternity; it’s my pleasure to get better acquainted here.

12. Grace in the detailsdepend and delight books
My year of Depend and Delight is drawing to a close. I still have a few books to finish up that I’ve been reading all year on worrying less and depending more, and I still have a few experiences left to live out.

The gifts of grace I’ve seen God place before me strengthens my faith for what God may do next year.

The LORD has done great things for us. And we are filled with joy.
Psalm 126:3

I’m moved as I remember through this year. Difficult times. Exciting times. But in all times, God is faithful.

I’m marking these times.
I’m building my altar.
And I’m worshiping my Rock.
He was, he is, and he will be—a truth worth marking every year.

Abram built an altar there and worshiped the LORD.
Genesis 12:8

There I will build an altar to the God who has always helped me during times of trouble. He has been with me wherever I have gone.
Genesis 35:3 (ERV)

* * *
What is one of your spiritual markers for 2011?

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