Bob and Carol Atha
As Pastor Mike preached about Joshua Stones/Memorials, we reminisced about God's faithfulness to us and the items we have kept over the years that remind us of what God has done for us over the years. One of Carol's favorite memorials, she has had for over 30 years. It is a Campus Crusade for Christ tract that she was given in college. One day while Carol was eating lunch alone in the Student Union at Ohio State, a girl approached her and asked if she could talk to her about her faith. She handed her a tract of the Four Spiritual Laws, which Carol stuffed in her purse and didn't read.
She carried the booklet around in her purse for several years. One day when she was struggling with what kind of person she wanted to be and where her future was going, she pulled it out and prayed to receive Christ. Even though the booklet is tattered and torn, it is Carol's reminder of how God used that girl to bring her to Him.
The early years of our marriage were filled with many years of financial instability. Carol had quit her job to be a stay at home mom and two years later Bob was let go from his job. We were faced with no income, no health insurance, and a lot of uncertainty. During that time Carol became the queen of garage sales. She would get up early on Saturday mornings and scour garage sales for clothes for our children or toys that we could hold for Christmas. At that time both boys played soccer. Carol remembers sitting at one of their games and admiring a Columbus Crew ball cap that another boy was wearing, all the time thinking to herself that there was no way that we could afford to buy one like that for our boys.
On the way home from the soccer game we passed a garage sale. It was later in the day and Carol usually would not have stopped because as a seasoned garage sale shopper she knew that the early bird gets the best items, but something told her we needed to stop. She did a quick glance around the sale and did not see anything of interest until as she was leaving she noticed some ball caps. There was not one, but two, boy's Columbus Crew ball caps just as she had seen on that little boy earlier that day. The price? 25 cents each! Coincidence? Absolutely not. God showed us that day that He not only cares about our needs but He also cares about our wants. Although the boys have outgrown their hats, we have kept them as a reminder of how much God really does care about all aspects of our lives.
Although Carol loved finding little treasures at garage sales, Bob was not as excited. He was frustrated that we never bought anything new. Since Carol was the person in charge of the budget, she knew that it would be a long time before we could splurge on something new. After another Saturday morning spent shopping garage sales, Carol came home to tell Bob that she thought that he should visit one up the street. Bob had never been to a garage sale but Carol encouraged him to go because she thought that there were some nice clothes that he might like and they appeared to be his size. Reluctantly Bob went. When he came home he had a big grin on his face and a handful of men's designer clothes. The man selling the clothes had become a body builder and could no longer fit into any of his old clothes, many of them brand new. Bob ended up with several dress and casual shirts and a designer sports jacket all for $10. That was over 15 years ago and Bob still wears that sports jacket. For Bob, the jacket is a reminder of how God cared for us and provided for us during that though time.
We sometimes need to be reminded of what God does for us. These items may seem silly to someone else, but to us, they are perfect reminders of God's faithfulness and how he cares and loves us.