“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy.” – Psalms 77:11-13
For the last several years I’ve dreamt of hosting an event where a group of friends come over with the sole purpose of sharing unbelievable stories of when—only God—could’ve been behind an incredible life experience. I’d call it the Ebenezer Night, after the pile of stones Samuel placed as a tangible reminder of God’s power and protection over the Israelites, where God’s promise to bless His repentant people had been honored.
Ebenezer: the stone of help.
I’ve sensed in myself and from others the need to hear epic stories as well as common, meaningful stories which have brought us joy. Moments like how the two of them fell in love, when we’ve experienced holiness, when we were able to spend our time on what we are passionate about, where we set our stones down. Having time and space quiet enough to ponder these things can be tough to do when there is so much in front of us that we’ve already committed to prioritizing.
Easter is an especially contemplative day for me, ever since I heard an inimitable sermon on that Sunday in 2005.
The pastor shared an Ebenezer moment in his life, where a miracle took place. Having heard sermons at least once a week for most of my life, I hadn’t expected to walk into church that day and have my life impacted so powerfully. But when you are convinced that God is real, He’s in control, and He loves this world, what else can you do but draw nearer to Him?
Easter has become my spiritual “New Year’s”, where I evaluate how I’m doing spiritually, emotionally, and I take inventory on which seams in my life need mending, which edges need smoothing, which thoughts needs examining. This year, with two young children and homework assignments from accelerated courses whizzing by me, connecting with God looks and feels very different than that slow-paced and sacred day in 2005 when I had all the margin in the world.
As a young girl, I was given ample warnings about how busy life would be as an adult, as a wife, if I was ever a mother. But I am quite positive I hadn’t been sufficiently prepared that I’d need to set many of my passions and cherished ways of connecting with God on a backburner while I focus on helping my children to develop who they are.
I remember reading that CS Lewis would often be disturbed while writing, and he could stand up and walk away mid-sentence, only to come back hours later and continue writing exactly where he’d left off. I love that image; and if true, I hope it will be true for me and the writing projects I began years ago. I can already imagine the peace-filled, thankful smile on my face as I sit down to write and feel the words spark within me:
I absolutely love the things which disturb me from my writing, and I know I will have more memories behind that smile, more wrinkles around it as I sit and uncap my pen. I’ll be the same person deep down as I was when I began writing years ago, and I will be a different person as well. I look forward to the two meeting.
Often people can hear the words “Begin again” and think of regaining strength or finding the courage or ability to forge ahead, reawaken after a loss; it can mean a brand new life, a reestablished connection, or the deepening of a relationship. Everything in life that is worthy of effort, by the nature of being significant, will ask of us at times: Begin again.
For me in this season of my life, beginning again often feels like embracing the calm after the storm. When marriage makes me realize my brokenness, or a professor has impossible demands, or I say an awkward thing in a group setting, or life circumstances become stressful for whatever reason—there is always a time shortly after when I can choose to remember:
I’ll get through this. I’ll get to the other side of it. Begin again.
There is hope found within memories of the times when I have made it over a similar hurdle, and I can be reminded that, by the grace of God, I can do it! And I praise Him for the hope we have and for making us strong and resilient—especially when we are not going it alone. Because no matter how desperate you feel or how unrecognizable you’ve become, God knows exactly your circumstance and who you are, and He loves you.
Busyness happens, and it is good to have work and life in front of you to tend to.
Having stories, memories, and days throughout the year which allow for meaningful reflection can help usher you towards remembering your Ebenezers.
Keep them close to your thoughts; you never know when someone might invite you to an “Ebenezer Night”.
We begin again, because we remember miracles happen. We begin again because we have hope.
Audrie Wright lives in Portland, OR with her husband and two children. While passionate about the healing work of knowing and being known by Jesus, she is pursuing how to physically heal others by studying to become a nurse. Audrie is the author of A Rare Copy, a philosophical-fiction novel about knowing and being known, and is currently enjoying the blessing of being at home each day with her kids.
You can contact Audrie at ARareCopy@gmail.com, and find A Rare Copy on Amazon.