A few years ago, I was in a wonderful Bible study group called Bible Study Fellowship. (Side note: I highly recommend it!) That year, we studied the 40-year-long journey of the Israelites into the Promised Land. One thing that has stuck with me from that study was the very last thing we learned. It comes from this passage from Joshua chapter 4:
4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before 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, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
This really impacted me. I thought about what these men had done. They set stones there at the the crossing of the river as a reminder to themselves to tell their children what God has done for them. Hmmm…..that got me to thinking. What stones have we set up in our family? At that point, we got serious about what I like to refer to as “stones of legacy”-simple reminders to yourself to prompt you to tell your children about how God has been great in your life.
Over the years, we have tried to establish some “stones of legacy” and I wanted to share with you today a few of these that work for our family.
If you’ve ever read one of my Goals posts, you’ve probably noticed that I have a “Legacy Goal” each week. It’s my desire to leave something behind for my children to see my deepest thoughts and ponderings about God. I want to leave a trail of my journey walking with God. So that’s what the Legacy Goal is all about. It’s one reason that I have started blogging again. This is just one way that I can leave documentation of my walk with God-all the beautiful mountaintops and all the messy valleys-for my children. I hope that one day, my kids will read through the pages of this blog and gain new insight about our family and our walk with God. Most of all, I want them to see that their mother loved God with her whole heart, and that she spent most of her days meditating on His goodness and character. This is one way that I choose to leave a stone.
Another stone for our family is birthday journals. I have a blank journal for each of my kids. Once a year, on their birthday, I will take some time and write about their year. I like to focus on how I’ve seen God at work in their life that year, and I also tell them all about their interests and any high (or even low) points of the year. I always, always, always include how we saw the Hand of God at work in their life. This past year, I was able to make a very special entry in Isaac’s journal. Another “birthday” of sorts. It was the day he was baptized. What a beautiful day, and what a wonderful entry that was for this mother to write! I’ve also begun a journal for our newest addition to our family….our precious adopted child who we don’t know yet. I want this child to know that long before we knew him, God knew and had a plan. And another stone is laid.
Finally, every year in our family on Valentine’s Day, we have a little tradition. The kids and I spend the day decorating the dining room and cooking. For dinner, we all work together making the very first meal that Tim made for me on our first Valentine’s Day together: grilled chicken, rice, gravy, corn and a roll. We sit together at our construction paper-heart-smothered dinner table and Tim and I force our kids to listen to the story of how God put us together and many of the stories of our early marriage. Different years we tell them different stories, but we always try to center them around how God has been real and faithful to our family. More stones….
There are lots of other ways to lay stones in your family. My family does not by any means have the patent on it! I have a friend who writes the blessings of the year on slips of paper and puts them in a jar. Then, at the end of the year, she and her husband open the jar and read them together and think about how God has worked in their lives the past year.
The practice of laying stones has been such a blessing to our family. Consistently telling the stories of God’s provision, providence, and faithfulness through the good and the bad times is a healthy and necessary practice for the Christian family. So today, I’m encouraging you…tell your story to your kids.
I’d love to hear from you. How does your family lay stones?