Memory Wipe Out

I thought I'd repost this article I wrote almost two years ago...kind of needed to read it again myself, since my mornings are still like a game show. 

Sometimes I wonder what in the heck my kids are going to remember about me when they grow up. Are they going to remember how I tried to always point them to Christ, or are they going to remember how I constantly nagged them about picking up their socks and moving faster out the door?  Are they going to remember that I made spaghetti tacos for them when they asked, or that the yummy bread I promised to go with the homemade soup last night decided not to rise? With the New Year here, I’ve been reflecting on how fast my kids are growing. My oldest will turn 13 this year, her sister will hit the double digits, and my little boy will be 7. All the while, I still feel like I’m trying to figure this whole motherhood thing out.

Sometimes it feels more like a game show than real life. Especially in the morning. My goal is to make four lunches, feed three children breakfast, and make sure they are all clean, descent, equipped, and on time for school. But wait, there’s more! While trying to complete my tasks, the dog is going to be cutting me off at every turn. Like an episode of Wipe Out, I am will have to dodge laundry baskets, book bags, and left behind Legos before I can enter the turkey and mayonnaise level. There might be some leaping and spinning involved while I multi-task three different breakfast orders, go for the second cup of coffee, and send off my oldest and my husband with a kiss. The show turns to Fear Factor when I enter the children’s sopping wet bathroom, customized with gnarly toothpaste-crud on the sink. Next, we move onto What Not to Wear as my middle child swears that she can pull off shorts in the middle of winter. We compromise with jean shorts and zebra-leggings underneath (I know, Stacie and Clinton would die).

Eventually, I have to get myself ready amidst the process of reminding my son that he actually needs to wash in the shower (and eventually get out!) while belting out my human alarm clock warnings. Just when I think I’m getting things under control, I have to play Brain Surge (a Nickelodeon game show) as the children say, “Mom, did you remember to fill out my field trip form?” “Mom, did you sign my folder yet?” “I need to bring an empty cereal box to school today.” And there are also the academic questions as Zaidee, who said she completed all her homework the night before, decides to do a little last-minute studying. Meanwhile, I’m not even sure I know where my keys are. What will they remember?

Do you remember that moment when you realized the kids can’t recall that awesome vacation you took them on when they were three? I was devastated when I realized that my little girls didn’t remember living with Paw-Paw and Grammy for 7 months while our new house was being built; and that my oldest doesn’t really remember all the fun we had together watching daddy coach baseball. Of course I realize that although they lose many of these memories, we are building a relationship with all those times. Those building blocks may not be on record anymore in their memory, but they significantly contribute to the love that they know they have been given.

But now, as I’m getting older, I’m realizing I forget a bunch of those days too. I forget what age they were when they finally said “Mama” (thankfully, I wrote some of that down). I forget when they first had ice cream, and when their first belly laugh was. I forget too! Our memories are just so inadequate.

My three are not going to remember the mornings all that much. I barely remember anything about my childhood school mornings. In some ways I hope they don’t, because they might worry that I was really losing my mind. Maybe they’ll just take for granted that they got to school clean, descent, equipped, and on time. That will be awesome.

God knows about our depraved memories. Unlike me, he is totally competent in his loving care for us. And it is always his pleasure. He helps us to remember the love that he has for all his children through the gift of his written Word. He has also given us Sunday, so that we can have it preached to us while we gather together as a family. God knows we need to be resalinated, as Michael Horton puts it, by his Word, so that we can go out as flavorful salt to the world around us. God's Word actually creates what it speaks.

And, thankfully, although God is God and he can remember all the sin in our lives and all our imperfect blunders; when He looks at his children He sees Jesus Christ. We are so blessed to be living under the new covenant of grace. As I’ve been reading Hebrews, I’ve been reminded of this over and over again. As the author is explaining the insufficiency of the Old Testament animal sacrifices, he reiterates how they publically reminded the Israelites of their sins. Their sacrifices reminded them that they could not truly take away sins (Heb. 10:1-4). But wait! They also pointed to the One who could. In Christ under the new covenant, God will remember our sins no more (8:12, 10:17)!  It’s not like God can actually forget. His memory isn’t inadequate like ours. But since our sins are atoned for, he removes them as far from us as the east is from the west. He sees Christ's righteousness when he looks at us. It is as if he has no memory of our sin at all. This is a confession that I will hold fast to!

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11 Comments

Thanks Tim, I just love the

Thanks Tim, I just love the food comparison. Good point. I think about that when we read too. I don't remember everything that I read, but everything that I read is shaping me.

When you write "Those

When you write "Those building blocks may not be on record anymore in their memory, but they significantly contribute to the love that they know they have been given", it makes me think of nutrition. I don't remember every meal I've ever eaten, but I know the food I've eaten has equipped me (some meals better than others) for facing each day. Our love for our kids is kind of the same.

God's love is our true nutrition for our lives, spiritually and eternally. Thanks for re-running this and reminding me of that all over again, Aimee. It's like enjoying a good meal twice.

I actually do remember a lot

I actually do remember a lot of school mornings (some very vividly), and those memories make me very sad. I'm grateful that I can be here every morning for my kids, even if some days are crazy. I'm here for them as they're eating breakfast and I'm making their lunch, that is the grace of my Lord.

That was great! Even though

That was great! Even though God has perfect recall, He chooses to set aside the sin that He has forgiven us of.

Wow, what a trip down memory

Wow, what a trip down memory lane. It's hard to remember all that we forget. Thanks for reminding me. Great article. Really takes a real life concept and connects it with God's ultimate love for us. Makes you think, "if God forgives us, why do we have such a hard time forgiving ourselves and others?"

I think there is a sermon in

I think there is a sermon in there, Doc! Better drop everything and start writing! I love getting the dad perspectives. You men offer so much in your comments, and I love getting the perspective of parents with older kids. Such a good point about remembering the joy.

My twins are 16 now. Like

My twins are 16 now. Like you, I don't remember a lot of the details of when my kids were little, but what I do remember is maybe more important. I remember, distinctly, because I can still feel it, the feelings of joy I had watching the little ones playing and having fun and laughing. I don't remember the words they said, what they were wearing (my wife does remember that!), or who else was there, but I remember the joy I felt. And that is more precious than the details, I think.

Is there a sermon in there, somewhere?

"... belting out my human

"... belting out my human alarm clock warnings." What a great line, Aimee!

Now that my two are in college, when they come home for break I have to remember that they are perfectly able to get themselves where they need to go when they need to be there and that they are also perfectly able to handle the consequences of being late.

Tim

You have a way of painting a

You have a way of painting a very colorful picture with words ;) I'm sure all mothers can appreciate this article! I love being reminded how God sees us as righteous through His Son Jesus...it's so comforting. Our sins are not held against us, once we've asked for His forgiveness.
...and Brooke....you turned out great...all 3 of you..
I was not always the best mother, but the Lord answered my prayers for each of you...for that I am very grateful.

You are so funny. I love

You are so funny. I love picturing your facial expressions in your storys:)I can only hope those crazy mornings are not what my children remember! Mom tells me I was a terror in the mornings before school... would'nt eat or nothin'. I barely remember a thing, but she says she felt like the worst mother in the world by the time I was off to school. Sorry Mom.

Well, you just described my

Well, you just described my morning to a "T"! I think this is one of the reasons why I scrapbook. I have 5 albums (1 for each year) with very (genuinely in that moment) happy children at their birthday parties, T-ball games, Christmas mornings, beach vacations! In a way, I feel like I have a record of the fact that despite the pure chaos of the morning, after school and evening routines. That in the end we did laugh and have fun after all!