Do you have a summer vacation planned this year? Where will you go and what will you do? When you go, will you bring home a souvenir? When I was younger, I didn’t care what I brought home from vacation, I just knew I wanted a souvenir, something to trigger a memory of my trip. Most of the time I ended up with some cheesy t-shirt with the name of the destination on it, which I would promptly out grow from one year to the next so it would get sent to Good Will.
The summer before my senior year I went to Frontier Ranch out in Colorado with Young Life. It was an amazing trip and one of the highlights was climbing to the top of a mountain with everyone to find a huge cross at the peak. Behind it were snowcapped mountains as far as the eye could see. I was overwhelmed with the big-ness of God and wanted to remember that moment forever. There wasn’t a souvenir store on the mountain top, so I bent down and picked up a rock to take home with me. I still have that rock and it was the beginning of a new habit. Whenever I travel and have a moment seared in my mind by God as a marker for me, I pick up a rock to help me remember. I have a handful of rocks and I can tell you the story behind each one of them. I also have pictures from mission trips in my home to serve as reminders of the amazing things God has done in my life and through me in Africa. We get busy in our day to day lives and it helps to have reminders of God’s impact in our lives and how He has used our lives to impact others.
In 1 Samuel 7:12 we see Samuel taking a stone and setting it up between Mizpah and Shen as a reminder of God helping the Israelites thus far. It was a physical reminder of a spiritual truth. It served to remind the Israelites of the faithfulness of God. Throughout Scripture God called the Israelites to take stones and build altars with them to serve as reminders of His faithfulness or other lessons learned. He did this when they crossed the Jordan in Deuteronomy 27:2 and again in Joshua 4:8. God knew the Israelites would move on with life and could easily forget if they didn’t have reminders around them.
We all bring souvenirs home from trips we’ve made, but do you have reminders in your home of God’s faithfulness? It could be a picture of your miracle baby or a parent who made it home from the war safely. It could really be anything, even a rock. The object itself is irrelevant. It is simply something to take you back to a time when you had an Ah Ha moment with God. I like to call them spiritual souvenirs. If you have them, I’d love for you to comment and let me know what they are. If you don’t, it’s never too late to start collecting spiritual souvenirs.
I see my stories as my “spiritual souvenirs.” As I write them, I see myself building a written legacy that I will pass on to the next generation.