“Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.” Prov. 3:3
I wanted to share with you some things that have been around my neck and written on my heart lately:
For many years now, I’ve loved unique necklaces. But, these days they’ve become less about a fashionable find, and more about reminders to me of love and faithfulness. A couple of Mother’s Days ago, we were in the throes of this new journey of autism, and my husband gave me a simple necklace that says “HOPE.” I’ve gotten a few more prized necklaces from that local designer, and whenever I put them on, they mean something to me very profound that causes me to pause. One says “BLESSED,” and another says “BELIEVE.”
My husband gave me another precious necklace for Christmas that I’ll cherish, designed by a friend of mine who makes personalized handstamped silver jewelry. It was inscribed: JOSIAH. Zeph. 3:17.
When we dedicated our son at 4-months old, Zephaniah 3:17 was the verse we chose as Josiah’s “life verse.” It says,
“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
I loved that verse. Little did I know that it would take on even more meaning as the years progressed. We truly would need a God that was mighty to save and that was even more crazy in love with our son than we were. In the Hebrew, this verse translated gives the image that God literally “spins around” with joy over you and sings and shouts over you with joy! As I go forward to face the days ahead, I will bind that image around my neck.
In the months leading up to our son’s birth, we poured over the books of baby names trying to find the right “one” that had a decent ring to it. It was finally by chance that I heard the name “Josiah,” and it clicked instantly. My husband Joe liked it too, and we had it. Also drawn to the meaning behind names, I was inspired by what the name “Josiah” stood for in Hebrew: “the Fire of the Lord.” Later, when autism would come in and threaten to douse my son’s passion, range of emotions, and personality, God reminded me of his name. When I say Josiah’s name, simultaneously in my mind, I am declaring over him, “Fire of the Lord.”
It was about 8 months ago that I came across yet another meaning of the name Josiah in Hebrew: “whom Jehovah heals.” I took that promise and I wrote it on the tablet of my heart. I made up a little song that I sing to Josiah as I rock him with a “mash up” of those promises. “Josiah is whom Jehovah heals…The Fire of the Lord is in you… the salvation of God is for you… receive it now.”
When the circumstances of life rage around me, there are things that I need to have in place to remind me of God’s promises and hope for a future. These are things that become familiar and defining for life, so they can be recalled in the thick of the battle.
MY NOTE ON THE MIRROR
So, I have my necklaces. I have Josiah’s song. I also have a card that is stuck to my bathroom mirror. I was very low one day and had shed a lot of tears. I somehow found myself in Jeremiah, and I came across a verse that just leapt off the page at me. I personalized it, and put it where I would see it each morning:
This is what the Lord says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for YOUR WORK WILL BE REWARDED, declares the Lord. Your child will return from the land of the enemy (autism). SO THERE IS HOPE for your future, declares the Lord. Your child–Josiah–will return to his own land.” Jer. 31:16-17
MY PROMISE NOTECARDS
Then, I have my “card wheels” and the journal that I have kept over the last year or so. I wrote every Scripture out that pertained to what I’m believing for in regards to Josiah, myself, my family, and healing. It is a quick roladex of who God is, what he said he’d do, and who I am in him. In fact, if you want to make your own, I’ve captured most of those Scriptures and prayers under ”Daily Soul Nutrients.”
THE SONG THAT REVIVES MY HEART
Finally, a couple months ago a friend shared with me THE SONG (“He Loves Us” by Jesus Culture) that has just spoken to my heart. I watch or listen to it when I need to be reminded of the love of Jesus that is not just some nice notion, but it is sustaining and it is FOR me. I love the line, “when all of the sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory…”
I wouldn’t say I’m a deeply sentimental person. But, there are some things that just must be tied around my neck and written on the tablet of my heart until they become more true to me than my current reality. Trust me, this supersedes religion and denominational differences, whether you are expressive or quiet in your faith, are questioning or are believing to your toes. It’s more about asking yourself what it will take for God to invade your life and get to work at making you whole again. All my stacks of books about biomedical treatments and the steady stream of autism newsfeeds cannot reach my heart like Christ’s love and promises can. And I’ll forget and base my beliefs on my feelings if I don’t have these reminders on my neck, in my heart, in my ears, before my eyes.
What are yours?