As I sit under my crazy quilt, corners worn, pattern irregular, colors dancing, it’s like I can taste mashed potatoes and hugs after a hard day.  Only mom-made quilts seem to wrap me up like that.
At home in my comfies, things seem quiet, a valley after a weekend of mountaintop movement.  One of the gals I met noted on Facebook, “That wasn’t a retreat.  That was an advance.”
And an advance it was.  A group of women, each with crazy God-sized dreams came together in a weekend that this say-it-like-it-is farm girl, would dare to call life changing.  But even as I key those big words, I’m afraid the mountain’s gonna fade.  My slippery mind sneaks and scoots on back to the status quo no matter how much I will it otherwise.  I’m scared I’ll forget the people, forget the stories, forget the stirring of God in my heart and the courage that got smashed together to bolster me up for the first tiny steps of my God-sized dream.  I want to set up a Google calendar reminder for the rest of my life that will whack me upside the head saying, “remember!”
After a month or so, the “reminders” I set for myself always seem to fade.  The font reads grayer somehow.  The quote that I just had to remember sits lifeless as I skim past it in my Moleskine notebook.  The special cross on my desk fades into the background as I reach for my to do list each day.
The thing is. . . I can’t irrevocably alter myself–only God can do that.  
I’m not the first Christian with a forgetfulness streak.  In Joshua 4 when the Israelites finally cross the Jordan, God instructs the people set up their own version of a Google reminder, an altar. 

Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm.  You shall carry them over with you.  When your children ask in time to come, saying, “What do these stones mean to you?” . . . these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.

My heart is so full after this weekend.  Like the Israelites, I’m taking in the Promised Land, if even for a moment.  My face is glowing on the mountain descent like I’ve got glory stuck all over me.  And I want to sit back, relax, party, and soak it in.  
But that’s not how it went for the Israelites.
The Promised Land meant lots of blessings, but it also meant battle in this new place where they learned to trust . . . and God is never in a hurry.  He’s not finished with us yet.   He’s more interested in our being than in our doing, and he loves us enough to realize we need altars to remind us of the alterations that he’s been working in our hearts.  
What’s an “altar” you can set up to remind yourself of God’s movement in your life?

1 thought on “altArations”

  1. The area on my desk in front of my desk lamp sort of functions this way. Items: a small rock from Santa Fe; a seashell from a classmate in a writing workshop in Massachusetts; a bottle cap from a left-handed soul sister in Sewanee, Tenn.; a pin of the back of a girl's head from a soul sister in Memphis; a stern fortune cookie fortune; the word \”salt\” from a magnetic poetry set; a handwritten scrap with some memorable words from an editor; a pink eraser; and now, a clear glass stone from a Nebraska communion basket.


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