Success, failure, & stones

Did you ever see Elizabethtown? Kirsten Dunst plays a stewardess who connects with a passenger and helps him in his grief process. When I think of her character, Claire, I think of this quote:

"You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you're still smiling"

Yesterday was a success, but there was failure in it as well. I was on cloud nine for two-thirds of the day and great things were happening! Then I read something that knocked the wind out of my sails. I’m determined though to “stick around.” I’m determined to muster the courage to keep trying even if it means I keep failing big. I also want to remember this moment. Well, actually I don’t want to remember it at all. I want to brush this incident away and forget it. However, if I did that I’d also be brushing away the way friends encouraged and supported me literally all day, even before the failure surfaced. I would be minimizing the way God is using me despite these closed doors.

Joshua 3 & 4 gives the account of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. Joshua is leading the people and it has come time to cross the Jordan River. He tells the people that the Ark of the Covenant, where God resided at this time, will go before them and be proof of the victory they will have over the Canaanites. The priests carrying the Ark stepped foot into the rushing waters of the Jordan. When they stepped in the water, then the water subsided and the entire nation crossed on DRY ground! The Bible clarifies that this was at the time of the harvest and the Jordan was overflowing at this time. This wasn’t just a little bit of water God moved; this was close to Red Sea proportions yet again! A leader from each of the 12 Tribes walked across first while the priests held their position in the middle of the dry river. The 12 men grabbed one stone each from the dry river bed and crossed to the other side. The Israelites then all safely crossed over, and then the priests finished crossing. As soon as their feet were on the other side safely, the Jordan River began flowing again as normal. The stones were set up as an altar in Gilgal. Why? Joshua 4:21-24 says,

And he 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.”

The stones were placed as a reminder. A reminder of what had just happened, but also of the pattern of faithfulness. Did you catch verse 23? It reminds us that the Jordan River crossing was similar to the Red Sea. God doesn’t rescue us just once. He has a pattern of redeeming the ashes, rescuing the burdened, and paving a way where there is no way. It’s important to remember the ways God has provided. It’s imperative we seek out “stones of remembrance.”

Going back to the quote from Claire - I don’t want to just make people wonder why I’m smiling. I want to have a testimony I proclaim of His faithfulness. I want to focus less on the failures and disappointments and fix my eyes on the dry ground God so graciously provides when we follow His path.

So I’m going to go make some Keto-friendly chocolate chip cookies, eat a couple (and maybe a couple more because its been an emotionally tough past 18 hours) and brush off my skinned-up pride and keep pursuing the things God is calling me to! I’d love to hear from you… what are some “stones of remembrance” you have? Have you gone through something hard and seen God come through in big ways? I’d love if you comment below! If you know someone who needs this encouragement, share this link.