Hey, can I let you in on a little secret?
Yes, you. Right here, right now.
I have a pretty good memory, for the most part. I can recall so many details from conversations and places and events that happened ten years ago. I can remember sights, smells, tastes, emotions, all so vividly.
But there is one thing that I can so easily forget…and that’s goodness.
Not goodness in the world, I don’t mean that. Look up random acts of kindness on Tumblr and they’re right there. Goodness isn’t too difficult to find in people’s actions, even when this sinful world’s in chaos.
But sometimes…I forget those simple truths I’ve known for years. Sometimes, I forget the goodness of God.
Sometimes I forget that He wants only what’s best for me.
Sometimes I forget that His ways are higher than mine, even when – no, especially when I’m in the midst of pain.
Sometimes, I forget that even when the world is falling apart, there is One who holds the reins, and will make all things new again.
I’ve started this tradition for myself. It was birthed out of a love for Sharpie markers and fantasies of washable tattoos when I was twelve…and yet here it is again, staring me right in the face.
I now have these pens, black and inky, smoothly gliding over paper and skin, and when I find myself forgetting the promises of God, I write them on my hands.
Sometimes the reminding words are simple. Like love. Hope. Joy. Peace.
Sometimes these reminders are found in phrases that say “don’t forget the good,” as I penned yesterday. Some phrases say “give thanks.” Or “grace is here.”
And other times, they’re simple little symbols – a heart – a cross – a teardrop – sparrows – a moon. Little icons that remind me of love, of hope in the Cross when things seem bleak, of the One who holds my tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8), who cares about me as He does the sparrows (Matthew 10:29).
As humans, we’re emotional creatures, and me especially – when things are dark and dreary, it’s easy to look to feelings rather than promises to put our trust in.
I’ve done it so many times, looked to those things that change for answers, when really, I need to be looking at the Unchanging One.
The other night, I was gazing at the moon, and thought of God. We see all the different sides of the moon – we see the banana-boat moons, the almost-full moons, the half-moons, and the no-moon skies right before we see a glimpse of it again.
And isn’t that often how we see God? We see Him in different lights day after day, season after season. We think we’re seeing different things, we think God has left us, or that He cares about us less.
But as we know with the moon, it’s not the moon that changes. It’s always there in the sky, always round, always waiting to give us light. We know better than to say the moon changes night after night, because we know that it’s our perspective that’s constantly changing.
So why is it any different with God?
Why do we doubt Him, when it’s simply clouds keeping us from remembering His steady goodness?
Why do we question His faithfulness when we can still fight to see a sliver?
And why do we disbelieve He’s there when we can’t feel Him?
I’m so guilty of this, I truly am…and that’s why I have my pen-marked remembrances. Why I mark up my wrists and fingers and palms with seemingly-random words, with moons, and birds, and short phrases.
And a few days later, when I’ve been reminded once more of the Truths set before me, the water begins to wash away the ink. I take rubbing alcohol and slowly wipe my skin clean, a new slate for the next remembrance.
Because we all forget, sometimes.
So read, read the Scripture. Fix your mind on Truth, and find your way of remembering.
Remember the goodness of God…even when life is not.
Remember the One we can trust…even when there is no one else to trust.
Remember the love found in the Cross…even when love seems far away.
Remember the unchanging nature of God, like the moon…even when the rest of the world seems to shift and crumble.
Remember the steady faithfulness found in God Himself, day after day, one tumultuous emotion after another, in the joy-filled and devastated moments alike.
Because He, ultimately, is the One worth putting our faith in.
19 Replies to “My Ink-Stained, Remembrance-Filled Practice”
I relate to this so hard. It pains me to think that I remember details so clearly but sometimes not the goodness of God. That’s definitely something I need to work on, definitely something I need to give to Him!
Also, I just want to say that your words are beautiful, Amanda. I’ve been following your blog for awhile and I read the posts, but I think I hardly ever comment? Anyway. You have a really refined gift for writing and boldly sharing God’s love. Keep it up. ❤
Thank you for your comment, Emily! 🙂 And oh, your compliments mean the world to me. THANK YOU. I’m so glad you can relate to my posts – it’s so cool to hear I’m not writing to an empty room, you know? ❤
Gorgeous and amazing piece, Amanda. Wow… ♥
Deuteronomy 8:2 – And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, [and] to prove thee, to know what [was] in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
Isaiah 12:2 – Behold, God [is] my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH [is] my strength and [my] song; he also is become my salvation.
Ahh, you’re so kind, Angela!
Thanks for sharing those verses! They’re great. ❤
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I can totally relate to this post Amanda. I actually do some of that myself very often. Haha I like to write on my arms a lot too. Although I normally just use a normal pen. Of course it’s not always very readable but hey at least I know what it says 😛 Thank you so much for that encouragement though! I was very refreshed by reading that. ❤ hugs ❤
Hehehe, I was totally writing this thinking “If I’m the only one who does this writing on herself thing, it’s gonna be pretty weird to everyone reading…” Thank you for YOUR encouragement! It truly touches me so much. ❤
*gasping for breath* Wow. This. THIS IS GOLDEN. Confession: I actually draw on myself occasionally also. (although it’s typically about 94% less deep. ex when you have to act out the word ‘zebra’ during charades) But now I’m inspired to go write something on my arm… WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME AMANDA *goes off to find sharpies*
Your comment made me both laugh hysterically and also very happy. 😀 Golden and inspiring are nice compliments. YAYAY.
An excellent post, Amanda! I might have to take up this practice myself…
Thanks so much, Rosalie! 😉
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Wow, this hit me so hard!!
You are really gifted with words Amanda!
I do often draw little symbols/words on my wrist in Micron pen, sometimes to remind me to be happy or of something I’m looking forward too, but I love the deeper perspective.
I have also used it as a scripture memorization method, put the initial letter of each word and repeat the verse a few time throughout the day 🙂 simple but effective.
Once again, Love this!!
God bless you!
“Our greatest fear in life should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter”
Oh my goodness, Faith, thank you so much. ❤
Ah, such a great idea! Thanks for sharing. 😉 I've done it for scripture memory in the past also.
Wow, what a post, you’re so talented and God has totally blessed you with a gift for speaking to hearts!
Wow…your comment meant SO much to me right now – I’m seriously floored. Thank you. ❤
Aw, good! It’s all true though! Hope you feel as blessed as your righting is!
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“it’s easy to look to feelings rather than promises to put our trust in.”
Amanda, God’s given you a gift with words! Every time I come to your blog (and I’m afraid I haven’t been blogging much of late. Hopefully that’s changed) I’m uplifted and simply amazed at the wisdom God’s given you! Your picture with the moon… WOW.
And funny thing, I’ve been writing on myself too, to remind me that I am His, not anyone/thing else’s. Maybe I’ll do it a bit more now 🙂
Hannah, thank you SO MUCH for such kind words. Ahhhhh. WOW. ❤
Ah, so cool! 😉 I love that I'm not the only one who writes on herself as a reminder! Love that – reminding yourself that you are His.
Wow, Amanda. Yes, it is so easy to forget about the goodness of God, and I know that I have been guilty many times of forgetting, even at times when I ought to be remebering his goodness more readily than usual. I usually don’t write on my hands because it can be distracting when I’m playing music, but I usually have at least one scrap of paper with some sort of scribble on it in my pocket. Although even at that, forgetfulness can come upon me and this was a great reminder, as well as the fact that you said it beautifully.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Marja. I so appreciate it! And I completely understand how having marked-up hands while playing music can be distracting, haha. 🙂