This past April, my wife and I took our girls to Legoland to celebrate Spring Break. On our way there, we took the longer route because I wanted to show them several places that were part of my spiritual heritage.
I first took them by a store where I worked as a teenager—a company called Signs Now in Sebring. I loved working there. I went in to the job knowing very little about design, but they taught me and I became fascinated with it. During that time, I was able to work with several political campaigns where I was involved in helping them to come up with their branding.
In the spring of 1996, my parents told me that we were moving to Hobe Sound. If I wanted, I could move with them and enroll in the college since I was planning on going into the ministry. I was torn. I did have a call to go into ministry, but I loved what I was doing at the design company. I told my bosses the next day that I would be leaving sometime in the summer. The next day they called me into the office upstairs. They offered to pay my way to a local design school and assured me that I could find a place to live if I would stay with the company. I was shocked and immediately wanted to say yes, but I asked if I could have a few days to think about it.
I began to tell God that this was a good option. I could go to design school, learn a trade, and then go to college to study for the ministry. After all, most ministry workers that I knew needed secondary employment, and graphic design was a skill that I could use. I wrestled with God for days.
One night while walking around the lake where we lived, God showed me the path that I would be on if I accepted the design school offer. And it wasn’t pleasant. I felt like God was telling me, “Robert either you go to Hobe Sound now and study for the ministry that I have called you to, or you never will. The choice is yours.” While walking around the lake in Avon Park Florida, I committed to go God’s way.
Arlene and I drove the girls past the sign store, which has been out of business for years, and is now a flooring company. I told them that this was the place where I almost didn’t go the direction that God wanted me to go. Then I drove a few miles into the town famous for orange groves, turned into the community where I lived with my parents, and drove my girls around the lake. I showed them the spot where I said the final yes to God, and I have never been sorry.
Will it change their lives? I don’t know. But it changed mine, and I wanted them to see one of my spiritual markers—a place where I had built a spiritual memorial.
This morning I read In Deuteronomy 6:12 where Moses issued a final warning to Israel just before they entered the promise land. It reads “be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Given our propensity to forget, it is little wonder that memorials played an important role in biblical history. At the foot of Mt. Sinai, Moses built an altar of stones to commemorate God’s covenant with Israel so they would remember. Later In Joshua 4, the entire nation is told to build a memorial so they would not forget.
This raises the question for me, am I building memorials for my family? Am I creating opportunities to help my family remember spiritual victories?
My prayer today, and for the rest of my life, is that I will be more intentional about building spiritual memorials.