So, my sister has been spending time cleaning out some of my mom's drawers.
It's rather amazing what she's accumulated in her 83+ years – and also amazing what she's been able to stuff into drawers!!
Once in a while, my sister comes across a real treasure.
A forgotten piece of jewelry.
A childhood token.
But the best treasure of all?
Photos of my mother as a child, me and my siblings as children, and our kids in their childhood.
As I was looking through some photos that my sister put aside for me, I got to thinking.
Isn't it strange how we can't remember anything from our early years? Those memories don't belong to us, but rather to our parents and the people who loved us.
Here's an example…
I remember several years ago taking a day trip with my parents.
I drove us to a beach town where my dad had grown up for a portion of his boyhood. He had so many fond memories there.
We drove around to houses he stayed in, and he told us story after story about people that had lived in the neighborhood – including the man who would shine a huge spotlight into the surf so they could swim until ten o'clock at night!
The general store was still there, and relatively unchanged in 70+ years – the place where he used to buy his candy.
It was a precious time watching his face light up with memories of such good times.
On our way back home, my parents asked me if we could take a quick side trip to the place where they brought me home from the hospital.
We found it, and just as we were parking our car at the curb, the current tenants drove into the driveway.
Mom and I decided we were going to ask them if we could poke our heads inside.
Dad was mortified, and tried (in vain) to get us to change our minds.
(We left him in the car…ahem!)
So, we walked up the small driveway and approached the people as they were getting out of their car.
They looked at us askance, clearly not wanting to be bothered.
But we persisted.
As I told them why we were there, they smiled and invited us in.
Linked arm in arm, my mother and I entered the little house where I spent my first days of life.
Mom sighed, "It hasn't changed at all."
Then she started pointing things out to me…
"That's the window where we'd put your cradle in the afternoon."
"Here's the kitchen where I washed and prepared your bottles."
"See the sidewalk across the street? That's where I would walk you in the stroller."
You know, it was a special moment, but kinda eerie.
It was weird to think that I'd actually been in this place, but had absolutely no recollection of it.
And yet, when I looked into the face of my mother, awash with the glow of HER memories of that time with me, I understood something.
Those first few years of our lives do indeed belong to someone else.
Just as the memories I have of my sons in the very beginnings of their lives will always be held in my heart instead of their minds.
I don't know, I thought it was kinda special.
We profusely thanked the people as we walked out.
But then I turned to my mom and said:
"Mom, isn't this the place where Dad backed into the carport on his first day back at work after I was born?"
"Yes, it is."
We wandered down the driveway, and I got to see the infamous carport that has played such a starring role in one of my favorite stories about me being born.
I love that my father, Mr. Have-It-All-Together, was actually kinda thrown by my arrival!!
My earliest memory is when I was about 3 years old.
It’s kinda sketchy, but I've verified it with my mom, and I do have the basic details accurate. My real memories start at about age 4 or 5 – highlights that must have stuck with me because of their meaning.
It's been fun looking at the photos – and sometimes they spur those early memories.
As I was lying down to sleep last night, I was thinking about those photos, the memories they represent, and the accumulation of moments that a person's life actually is.
Some of it (much of it) is lost to me now.
My memory is pretty good, but even so, it can't contain everything.
But God can – and He does.
I was stilled by that thought.
My entire life – every moment – is firmly implanted in the forefront of His omniscient mind.
He knew all of it before I was born, before the creation of the world.
And He never, ever forgets a thing – never forgets me.
How comforting that thought is to me!
There have been times when I'm watching TV, or attending a huge sporting event, or spending the day at an amusement park – any time I see a crowd of people – and I am overwhelmed by the thought that God knows about every single person's entire life.
Every moment of their history.
All the things that have happened to them.
All the hurts, the joys, the laughter and the tears – their every thought and every feeling.
And He loves each of them.
Just like He loves each of us – as if we were the only person in the whole world.
His love is universal, but also incredibly singular and individually-focused.
I'll never understand it fully.
But I do know this…
He knows me better than I know myself, for He remembers.
The good, the bad, the ugly – my moments are His memories.
I love that the One who created me is the same One who carries me.
From birth to death to eternity – always in His arms.
Never out of His thoughts, ever close to His heart.
And that brings me a comfort and peace that I must always remember…
What's your earliest memory?
Me - First Grade
And yes, I remember this dress!
I loved it!!
"'I am the LORD, and I do not change.'" (Malachi 3:6, NLT)
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:17, ESV)
"…you are always the same; you will live forever." (Psalm 102:27, NLT)
"Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages)." (Hebrews 13:8, AMP)
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
(Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV)
"'I am the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end,' says the Lord God. 'I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come – the Almighty One.'" (Revelation 1:8, NLT)
"…the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he…never slumbers or sleeps. The LORD himself watches over you!…The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever." (From Psalm 121:3-5, 7-8, NLT)
"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!"
(Psalm 139:16-18, NLT)
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…" (Jeremiah 1:5, NASB)
"But whoever loves God is known by God." (1 Corinthians 8:3, NIV)
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
(Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)
"'Can a mother forget [her] baby…and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!'" (Isaiah 49:15, NIV)
"'I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.'" (Isaiah 46:4, NLT)
"'…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5, NIV)
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