scrapbooking and remembrance

I scrapbook. There, I said it. I say it with the trepidation of a first time attendee at an AA meeting; “Hi, I’m Bekah and I’m a scrapbooker.” Most of the world of scrapbooking is dominated by soccer moms who are documenting the lives of their beloved children in minute detail. Go to any local scrapbook store and you will find paper commemorating every first event a child could have and every vacation location conceivable. Not exactly the world in which you would find your typical single, childless, twenty-something woman.

I have taken a liking to scrapbooking as a pictorial journal of my own life. In the last four years I have scrapbooked mission trips, summers at Camp, trips to visit friends on both coasts and events in daily life. I love taking my photos and placing them in a storybook order, all the while wondering who will look and enjoy my story. I wonder if they will “get” what it is I am trying to say without words. But the best part of scrapbooking is sitting down and looking back over that particular time in life. History and nostalgia buffs like me generally love nothing more than spending a day in yesterday, and my scrapbooks allow me to do that in living color.

I’m currently working on my scrapbook of my trip to Afghanistan. I know, I’m a year behind. I never said I scrapbooked consistently. Anyway, as I was working on it last night, I was talking with my friend Rachel and I made the comment that I thought this might be my favorite scrapbook yet. She inquired as to the reason for my attachment to this particular book, and at first I half-jokingly replied it was because I had taken awesome pictures and had then purchased really pretty paper on which to stick my awesome photos. I was only half-joking because I really do love my pictures from that trip and those who know me well know I have a slight addiction to buying pretty scrapbook paper.

But after I thought about it for a moment, I quite seriously shared with her that this book would be my favorite so far because it reminded me of the work the Lord had done in my life in those 10 days. When my plane touched down in New York on June 3, 2007, it landed with a different Bekah Mason than the one who had left a week and a half earlier.

I think this is why the Israelites were commanded to build alters of remembrance. You can look throughout Scripture and see how remembering the past alters our view of the present and the future. God told the Israelites to remember Him, to remember how He led them out of Egypt, how He had provided for them when they had nothing, how He had made covenant with their forefathers. They were told that if they remembered Him and His laws and covenants that their way would prosper and He would bless them.

There are also examples of what happens when we stop remembering the Lord and how He has provided for us and met our every need. When the Israelites stopped remembering how the Lord had provided manna and began remembering the rich foods they had forsaken in Egypt they became discontented with what the Lord had provided. When the kings did not remember the words of the Lord, they led Israel into pagan worship and abandoned the ways of their fathers.

All of this got me thinking, what do I spend my time remembering? I know that I am most content in the here and now when my time of reflection is spent thinking on the times the Lord has guided me with His sovereign and merciful hand. I am most content in Him when I look back and see how He has provided for me and how He has shown me mercy when I deserved none. I am most content when I am considering the peace and joy I experience now from trusting that His way is the best way for me, even when His leading doesn’t make sense or seem best.

I also know that times of discontent creep in when I put on my rose colored glasses and look back at times of sin in my life. Much like Israelites thinking about the food and riches they had left in Egypt, I sometimes ask of God, “You led me out of Egypt for this?” But it is in these times that, also like the Israelites, I have romanticized the past and have forgotten that while times seemed good, I was in bondage! When slavery looks good, we have taken our eyes off of the Savior.

So I will continue to scrapbook. My scrapbooks are my testimony of remembering how the Lord led me out of Egypt and into the great adventure of following Him to the ends of the earth for His glory.

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