by Kathy Howard
Every family has those stories. The ones that begin with “remember when…” A couple of our family’s stories begin like this: “Remember when Sarah got stuck in a turnstile?” “Remember when we lost Sarah at Disney World?” Yes, many of our memorable family events feature our second daughter Sarah in a tight spot.
But we also have family stories that feature God’s activity in our lives. My favorite happened during the time we lived in Alberta, Canada. God began bringing adults to our church who had never attended a church and knew nothing about the Bible. With God’s leading, my husband and I started a Bible study for spiritual seekers. God used that group to bring dozens of adults to faith in Christ. Eventually, the ministry involved our whole church. For instance, members invited their neighbors who had spiritual questions, then joined them in the Bible study class.
As a permanent reminder of God’s work, we bought a print depicting Jesus as the Good Shepherd who sought and found the one lost sheep. Our children know this God story well. And every time someone else asks about the picture, we happily tell it again.
That picture of Jesus is an example of a spiritual marker. Spiritual markers commemorate a great activity of God. Not only do they help those who experienced it personally remember it, but they also provide a way for their descendants to participate in these mighty works of God through the story.
God Himself established this principle of spiritual markers. For instance, when His people crossed the Jordan River on dry ground at flood stage, God directed them to set up memorial stones as a way to preserve and pass down this event of God’s glorious intervention. These solid, physical reminders also prompted questions from future generations who did not witness the miracle.
“When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over…”[ Joshua 4:21-23a ESV
You can do the same in your family. Memorialize a mighty work of God by connecting the story to a unique physical object. Then use this “spiritual marker” as an opportunity to tell the story over and over to your family and friends.
Sadly, memories can be so short. Spiritual markers not only strengthen memory, they provide a great opportunity to pass down the family God stories to the next generation. If you don’t tell your children what God has done in your life, who will?
This post is adapted from “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith,” Kathy Howard’s new, unique devotional that combines stories of faith with practical tips for spiritual legacy and helps for genealogy research.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate and richest coffee. She searches for cherished stories of faith that still impact hearts. And she digs deep into God’s Word, mining His eternal truths for herself and to share with others. With more than 30 years of experience, Kathy has taught in dozens of states, internationally, and in a wide range of venues including multi-church conferences and large online events.
Kathy has a Masters of Christian Education from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and is the author of 10 books, including the “Deep Rooted” devotional series and “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” (October 2021). Kathy and her husband live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area near family. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and two accidental dogs. Kathy provides free discipleship resources and blogs regularly at www.KathyHoward.org.
Join the conversation: What God stories does your family have?