by Susan Stillwell
I collect souvenir coffee cups. Each represents a trip or an event I’ve shared with someone special, and my collection fills two shelves of a kitchen cabinet. If you were to pull one out, I can tell you where it’s from and who I shared the experience with.
My husband would like to get rid of them and has threatened it on several occasions, but it’s a battle I’m willing to fight. Every morning I smile because those cups remind me of a special time.
It’s good to remember special events, especially the times when God blesses us in a significant way. It’s a biblical concept, actually. Several times God instructed someone to build something as a reminder of His faithfulness. One of my favorite accounts is found in Joshua.
Joshua prepared the Israelites to cross the Jordan River and enter into the Promised Land. As the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant into the swollen waters, God miraculously stopped the flow of the river. Over two million Israelites crossed over on dry land.
After all the people reached the western bank of the river, Joshua chose a man from each of the 12 tribes to gather a stone from the center of the riverbed. They constructed a memorial to serve as a sign to them.
“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. 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.” So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them (Joshua 4:6b-7a NIV).
“These stones are to be a memorial …”
Anytime the Israelites looked at the stones, they would remember God’s guidance and provision. For generations parents would tell the story to their children.
I think it’s a good idea for us to set up our own memorial stones: tangible items we see on a regular basis that remind us of God’s faithfulness to us in a specific circumstance. I have several I consider “faith souvenirs.”
I’m writing this article from a Jericho hotel in the West Bank. I love visiting the Holy Land and one of my favorite souvenirs is my Jerusalem Cross pendant. It’s a unique piece that women often comment about, which opens the door for me to start a conversation about my faith.
First Peter 3:15 tells us to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have, and my cross necklace gives me that opportunity. My friend Teresa has a jingle bell on her purse. Another friend wears a unique ring.
A gentle, respectful comment about our relationship with Christ may provide an opportunity for a deeper conversation. Or it may get them thinking about their own faith. In any case, it allows the Holy Spirit to move in their hearts and bring them closer to the Father.
Susan Stilwell makes her home in the Virginia mountains and is a member of Word Weavers Online. This Hokie majored in Computer Science and spends too much time on her devices. Family and friends make her life full, and that spills out into her community.
Besides wandering in the mountains, she teaches, speaks, writes, and dreams about her next trip to Israel.
Connect with Susan on Twitter, Facebook, or SusanStilwell.com
What an inspiring article, Susan; thank you! For quite a while I’ve wanted to start a stone tradition with my daughter because of this account of the Israelites. Now you’ve moved me to make that a reality.
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