No doubt you've read many a post related to September 11 already. The encouraging thing is that it shows we don't have short memories about everything (I've heard it said that Americans tend to have short memories regarding many things, especially politically), though this is probably a memory that we all wish we didn't have to have.
Unfortunately, as Christians, we too can have short memories about some great things. We may "forget" because the pain of the past still hurts far more than what we feel it's worth recalling. Or we often tend to "forget" the good things and only dwell on the negative. I'm challenging you today to make an effort to make all those things a marker of sorts in your life, for the benefit of pointing others to Christ.
September 2001 has some powerful markers for me. Of course, I am forever impacted by September 11th, but there are a couple of days leading up to that that have profoundly influenced my life as well. The first is the salvation of a gal who was (and still is) my hairstylist. God had given me and other Christians opportunities to be a witness to her while getting our haircuts and color jobs. She was certainly seeking, that was obvious to us. But we were all anxiously anticipating the day she would see her need for Christ and make Him her choice. And then, it happened, and oddly enough, it happened about 2 weeks BEFORE September 11th.
I remember talking to her shortly after that date. She said she knew if the Spirit had not led her to Christ before then, September 11th may have made her heart more hardened and she would not have had His peace on that day. Ten years later....she is a most amazing woman of God and witness for Christ, still doing hair and encouraging those she comes into contact with. On a personal note, she is one of my best friends, and even better....she is my sister-in-law. I will ALWAYS remember September 2001.
The second story is related to the day BEFORE September 11th. That was a very hard day for me. It was the realization that things weren't as perfect in my marriage as I thought. It wasn't for the sake of something hugely immoral, but it was the realization of the track of debt that we were on, mostly due to medical bills related to our first year of marriage (when my husband was diagnosed with cancer). It was sobering and a revelation for us that we had to dramatically change our course of action.
Debt isn't its only problem in itself. The managing of it, or the poor attempts can bring up issues of trust and doubt in marriage in general, even if they are unsubstantiated. I recall that night quite vividly. How in this world would we make it through it?! But God is so faithful. It was the beginning of a "healing" per se and the birth of something so beautiful in my marriage....total trust and openness and finding true contentment with what we did have. Ten years later...we have such joy. Yes, we have very little debt, which is great in itself, but more than that, we do have that contentment. Our house maybe be small and our family is ever growing, but our children are learning to feed their hearts and souls with more than material possessions or even the desires for them. I will NEVER FORGET September 2011.
Coincidentally, for a class my husband is taking he recently had to write out a one page salvation testimony and a one page recovery testimony (the latter being something "fresher" that God has brought you through since salvation). I encourage you to go back and look at some things that have happened in your life and the lives of those close to you. Recall them and actually talk about them, especially with your children. As huge as September 11th was for all of us, if we don't continue to remember it, eventually there will be a generation for which it has no meaning. Similarly, if we don't take time to revisit salvation of friends and relatives as well as "recovery testimonies" our children will fail to see the spiritual struggles that we've faced and that God has been faithful to bring us through.
My hopes for the future of "Patriot Day" in our family is to take time to recall September 11th AND the days leading up to it.