Image of a pile of memory stones

Every year as I was growing up, my family would take a summer vacation. It is one of my fondest memories from childhood. My dad would hook up the pop-up camper and off we would go into the unknown. Purchasing a souvenir became a much-anticipated tradition. It’s how my china dog collection got its start. I have over a dozen different breeds of dogs, some single and some dog “families”.

When my husband and I began camping with our own children, I started collecting miniature snow globes. Many of them are from beaches, zoos and other adventures. Some I have received as gifts from my boys to remind me of the places they have been. Each one is identified with the date of the trip.


When I was working, those snow globes lined up in front of my computer to brighten my work day with a sweet memory. Now that I am retired, they are in my curio cabinet on the shelf below my china dogs. The memories these treasures bring to mind go beyond just reminiscing about places I have visited. They also remind me of God’s goodness regarding all the blessings in my life in making those trips possible.


God commanded the Israelites to create a collection of their own to remember their miraculous crossing into Canaan. As the book of Joshua begins, God is preparing Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, they were ready to cross the Jordan River and enter the land of their inheritance. It was an important turning point for the Israelites: leaving their old life behind and looking forward to a future that would require them to remain steadfast in their faith in God’s promise.


As the Israelites approached a swollen river, God again demonstrated His power by parting the waters of the Jordan so the Israelites, along with the Ark of the Covenant, could cross the riverbed on dry ground. To commemorate this moment in time, God instructed Joshua to build a monument of stones, one for each tribe of Israel, taken from the riverbed by a man selected from each tribe. These stones were more than just a collection of rocks. They were a symbol to future generations of what God had done for His people; an affirmation of God’s promise to continue to go before them as they conquered and inhabited this new land.

And he (Joshua) said to the people of Israel, “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, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (Joshua 4: 21-24)


Have you considered taking the time to gather your own memorials to God’s faithfulness? As God’s people we often fail in our trust in God because we forget all the things He has done for us. Many of us have collections of things in our homes that bring us joy or remind us of times past. Let’s consider building our own collection of “stones” so that we may remain steady in our faith as we remember all that the Lord has done for us.

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