“Mama, read to me,” her little voice says. When I glance at her, she quickly tacks a, “Paleeaassee” on the end of her question.
I stare at her tiny face and feel a bursting of joy. I have work–both writing and housework–but these moments are so short, so few. I leave it all to take her hand and sit on the couch and read storybooks.
Our favorites right now are a collection of Babylit books– Great Expectations, The Secret Garden, Little Women, and the one that makes us all chuckle the most, Pride and Prejudice. I read everything set in England with a very poor British accent and her smile is giant every time.
When I can’t put off the work any longer and nap time doesn’t quite cover the time I need, she gets to watch her “Animals movie“. And every time she watches it, she needs her special snack, which consists of a few mini marshmallows, a small handful of sugar-free chocolate chips, and raw pumpkin seeds.
The pumpkin seeds make me laugh because I had a bag of them in the back of the cupboard that I pulled out to throw away because they’d been there for about five years. She saw them and asked for some–and loved them. The next time we were at our local bulk food store, she saw a package of them and said, “Oh, here Mom.” then plopped them in the cart.
She carefully takes care of her babies before sitting down to watch her movie. Propping them up in the rocking chair with blankets and binkies. “You watch Animals with me,” she says, then pats them gently.
We also visit the barn each day for chores and she helps feed the chickens and the sheep. She helped with the pigs when they were smaller but now she gives them a wide berth. The lambs, however, are favorites along with the cats. She pets everything in reach and still braves a few chicken hugs although they’re a little more ferocious now that they’re grown. Chicks were much easier to snuggle.
You’re probably thinking, “This is all sweet, but why are you sharing it with us?”
The reason is simple: because for years I wrote about the mundane little things that God used to build ebenezers in my life. And I want to testify that He’s still building them.
Remember what an ebenezer is?
We find the word in the Old Testament book of I Samuel. It’s a place, but the Hebrew means, “stone of help” and after Samuel leads the Israelites in a battle against the Philistines that was impossible by human standards–but God comes through for them and gives them victory–he builds an alter and names it Ebenezer.
It’s a place of remembrance.
Like a sign that says, “Hey, friend, don’t forget that God was present! He helped you! He didn’t forsake you!”
And that’s what these stories about my two-year-old are–they are me building an altar of remembrance so that when life gets confusing and dark and I am questioning everything, I can see and remember.
God saw me. He saw me when I was childless and hurting. He saw me when I had adopted children that I delighted in while I was still curling in a ball at night and crying over the babies who never came home.
And He sees me now when I am aching over more lost babies and the sorrow that miscarriage etches into my life.
We share these testimonies, we tell our stories, and we remember.
God is our help, our Ebenezer, our living hope.
Are you marking your own story with ebenezers? Are you testifying to the ways God has been your help?
Now is the perfect time.
Look at the little, the mundane, the glorious, the miraculous–look at it all and ask for God to reveal His hand. And when you see it, mark it in your mind. Remember it.
For God, in His goodness, has not forgotten us. He is still Emmanuel, the God who is present with His people.
The God who shows up, over and over and over again.