From the Archives:
Well let me tell you that staying back at the hotel sick on my vacation in DC was NOT on my agenda. But, when I finally felt well enough to at least get out of bed I decided to make the best of it and come downstairs (into some type of civilization) and write to you.
It has been quite a week and yet I keep thinking of all the things I still haven’t seen or done (which is why today has been so frustrating). But then I remember all of the things I have seen and done and I realize that even if I left today, I would leave changed.
Throughout the week I have been pondering a few questions. One, who am I becoming? Two, who is our nation, and my generation becoming? (I will ponder the second question in a later blog)
I have listened to story after story at the Holocaust Museum, at the National Archives Building, Arlington Cemetery, of people who have stepped up at the right time, in their story to make history. One girl, Sarah, wrote at the end of her life that she would be 23 next July but instead she chose something more important. She chose to help others escape the claws of the Nazis and in the process was eventually caught and sentenced to death. She never made it to her 23rd birthday.
I will be 23 next month… July…. and I can say with certainty that if you read my journal you would not find anything but pages of me talking about me and my struggles, me…me…me. Where at 23, Sarah knew what was more important and chose that path instead of one that would be self preserving.
Then there was Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis the wife of George Washington’s grandson. Upon marrying Mr. Custis, who had a plantation home (now Arlington House in Arlington Cemetery) with many slaves, she immediately began working on educating the slaves and also trying to convince her husband to free them. Even though others probably saw her actions as bizarre or not of her station, she did it anyway. She took a stand and later, in her husband’s will, the freedom of many of their slaves was included.
And then our founding fathers. Of course some of them were skeptical that declaring independence was the right choice for their newly formed union but they did it anyway. They took a stand and today, 236 years later, our nation stands tested, tried and still remains true.
But, let us imagine if one of these people had made a different decision. What if Sarah decided that it was too dangerous to help rescue Jews and had stayed home, where it was safe. She might still have died at 23 but it would have meant the ultimate death of thousands more, the thousands that she was supposed to save. Or what if all those buried in Arlington Cemetery had decided freedom would still be theirs even if they did stay home. They might have lived longer but we might not still be in a free, democratic state. Or what if Mary Custis had decided to treat slaves as many other plantation wives treated their… “property”. Those people would never have learned to read and write or learned about the Gospel, which Mary used as a teaching tool.
So today, let us ponder this first question, who am I becoming? Am I choosing to take hold of my story and follow God in making eternal history? We can honor and thank those who have sacrificed all day long. But wouldn’t they rather us remember them by making our own sacrifices? One of my favorite quotes is by Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
But, let us not look just to other good men for our guides, let us look to our God, to His sword of Truth. I challenge you, as I am challenging myself to begin memorizing the following scripture. It is popular but it is essential to how God has called us to live.
Read: Ephesians 6:10-20.
My verse to memorize this week will be:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against all the devil’s schemes.”
(The reason I picked this verse is due to the truths that it reminds me of. 1. That our Lord is Mighty and we can be strong because of His might, not our own. 2. To put on the full armor which God has provided for us. You can’t put on armor that doesn’t exist, but God’s armor does exist, we just many times ignore our faith, the Holy Spirit and His Word. 3. That we can stand firm against evil if we do as God has instructed.)
So who are you becoming? I would love to hear your thoughts. Or share stories of others’ sacrifices that have inspired you to take hold of your own story.