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There are days I feel like my heart is literally aching because I miss loved ones who have already gone home to heaven. Memories of them begin to flood my mind. If I close my eyes I can almost hear their voices and see their faces as if they were right here in the room. I cherish all those sweet memories.

I lost my Dad four years ago. Memories of him floating around the dance floor, telling corny jokes, taking pride in his work as a corpsman in the Navy, and doting on his grandchildren are all so vivid in my mind. I remember my grandmother, whom we called, 'Maw', who went home with Jesus about ten years ago. She was my alarm clock. In the mornings she would poke her head in and shout, "Rise and shine! Give God your glory, glory!" I miss the laughter in the kitchen sitting around the table sipping hot tea and listening to her stories of days gone by. My mother in law left this Earth to be with Jesus over 17 years ago. Greeting us at the airport to meet her new granddaughters will always be a treasured memory. I loved the game nights, staying up late playing cards, and of course eating her famous macaroni salad. Several friends have gone on to be with the Lord and oh how I miss laughing with them until tears rolled down our faces. I am so thankful for my memories.

God gave us the gift of memory. It can be comforting to remember happy memories from our past, especially of times with loved ones. Jesus said we would have hard days ahead, but He would always be with us. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 He is with us during those moments when we cry into our pillows at night, wanting so desperately to ask Grandma how she was able to go on after she herself had lost many loved ones. He is with us when we need to talk to our Dad and tell him, 'I love you' one last time. He is with us when we are wishing we could share another laugh or two with an old friend. He sees our needs and provides for them. I believe it's God who brings those precious memories to the forefront of our minds.

God also tells us to use the gift of memory to remember what He has done for us. He told the Israelites to remember how he brought them out of bondage and saved them from Pharaoh's wrath. Jesus asks us to remember Him. " And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 1 Corinthians 11:24. Remembering all Christ did for us gives us hope. When I'm feeling a little blue and missing loved ones, I am thankful for those memories of them. I am most thankful the Holy Spirit brings to mind all Jesus has done for me and continues to do through me. The memories of loved ones are precious, but how much more remarkable to know and remember how Jesus sacrificed His life for mine. My prayer is that my soul would be flooded with memories of Christ's surrendering His life for all of us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am in awe of how much you love me. You gave up your life for me. Thank you for promising to always be with me. When I miss loved ones, you are right beside me bringing me comfort. Thank you for the gift of memories and how they can bring comfort to my soul. Lord, let me never forget your sacrifice and love for me.

Bible Verse: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Jn 16:33 (NIV)

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