Joshua 4:1-5:1 (Part 3) – Do You Have That Laundromat Moment in Your Life?

Posted: May 30, 2017 in 06-Joshua
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Joshua 4:1-5:1 (Part 3 of 3)

Memorials to the Jordan Crossing

There are those watershed moments in our lives. Those moments that change everything that comes after. Sometimes, those moments seem insignificant at the time, barely worth notice. Later, though, when you reflect on those moments, you see that they changed everything. We have certain moments in life that changed the direction of our lives – sometimes on a dime, sometimes it was a gradual nudge in a direction slightly different. Do you have moments such as these in your lives? There are always places that these things occurred. When you return to these places later, there is something stirring about standing on that same ground. There seems something emotionally profound standing there on that same ground. That ground seems almost hallowed ground.


For me that moment was June 2007. For me that place was the laundromat at Pace’s Landing. It seemed insignificant at the time. But that laundromat and that apartment complex will hold a special place in my heart as that moment/place that I have to admit that it was a God thing. How else do you explain the laundromat at Pace Landing Apartments in Rock Hill, SC in June 2007?


Back in those days, now a decade and more ago, I was about 35 pounds lighter, less weathered looking, and much more of a wild child than I am now. Having been separated and divorced from my second wife for over three years by the Summer 2007, I had learned that the world did not implode because of my marriage to the idol that I worshiped, my second wife. I had learned that it was both alternately fun and scary to be single in my mid-forties. I was the first period in my life that I was not in a long-term relationship. I started dating my first wife when I was 14 years old and married her when I was six weeks shy of being 18 years old. I was in that relationship until I was 31 years old. My second long-term relationship began prior to the end of the first and through dating and marriage, I was in that relationship until I was 42 years old. It was not until that period from 2004-2007 that I was truly on my own. I was lucky enough to learn during that time period that I did not have to be in a long-term relationship to be happy. It was not necessarily something I learned by choice but rather by circumstances. I tried to have long-term relationships but I guess God was looking out for me. God taught me through circumstances that as a single person you don’t just have to accept stuff just to be in a relationship. Being in a relationship does not define us.


During those three years after the end of the second marriage, I had become pretty self-confident in my abilities to attract the ladies that I came across that I was interested in. I had become pretty good about striking up conversations with the ladies with a confidence that I never had before. My single life those years was both the most scary, lonely time of life but yet at the same it had great moments of fun, great moments of clarity, and of freedom that I had not known in my life up to that point. By January 2006, I moved to Rock Hill, SC to take a job in Charlotte. That was a momentous moment after living in Greenville, SC for 28 years. If I had been married to either of my first two wives, that would have never happened. That was a big deal by itself. Although I had dated around in Greenville between 2004-2006, there were no successful relationships and so why not? Move to the Charlotte area, it would be a change. It would be like when I was preacher’s kid growing up…a new town, a new adventure.


I had dated several women while living in Rock Hill so I was pretty confident dude at that point. It was that second summer there, the Summer of 2007, that I began to notice that new girl that I would see around my building or at near the community center for the upper complex in which we lived – the pool, the postal boxes, the pool house and the laundromat. Being a gregarious guy, I would wave at as we would pass. She was cute, seemed reasonably young, so I resolved that I would talk to her whenever there was more than just a passing in the parking lot or on the sidewalk.


That moment came in June 2007. I was checking my mail at the mailboxes, and I saw her in the laundromat. She was sitting atop one of the laundry tables in the laundromat room. You know those tables that are slightly above waist high where you can fold your laundry witout having to been down to do it. She was sitting on that table with her back against the wall. Legs crossed in front of her. Reading a book. So here’s my chance. She couldn’t slip away. There was only one way in and one way out of the laundromat. She couldn’t leave her laundry. I could talk to her and she would have to engage in conversation.


I introduced myself and probably said something suave and debonair. I told her who I was, “My name is Mark Bowling. You know Bowling like the game.” And of course being that I have had this name since birth, how you often explain the spelling of our last name is that you use the hand motion of launching a bowling ball down a bowling lane. Bowling like the game! But for all my suaveness and debonairness, she shot me down. She was less than impressed, it seemed. She was not melted by my boyish charm. Wow! Shot down. By three years into this single life, I had found that if I at least got a chance to have a conversation with a woman I could turn on the charm and at least make an acquaintance if not a chance at a date. But she just shut me down. Dead silence after she gave me an not much more than obligatory response to my presence. Awkward. Must retreat. Turn around and leave. Thinking to yourself. What a stuck up gal she is!


Looking back. Having the God-guided urge to go talk to that woman in the laundromat at Pace’s Landing upper complex that summer day after work was the start of something that changed my life’s direction and hasn’t stopped changing it to this day. I need to go back to that spot. To that laundry table and erect a moment of some sort. Just going to that laundromat now a decade later would bring back memories of that moment. Walking around that apartment complex would flood the mind and soul with memories. It is a mental marker of God’s hand in my life if I have not gone back and placed twelve stones, or any kind of monument there.


The idea of marking the momentous moments of God in our lives was what came to mind as I read through Joshua 4:1-5:1 for the third of the three times that we will look at it. Let’s read the passage this morning together:


4 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”


4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”


8 So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9 Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been[a] in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.


10 Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.


14 That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.


15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law to come up out of the Jordan.”


17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”


18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.


19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”


5 Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they[c] had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.


In this passage, we see that the memorial of 12 stones was be a constant reminder of the day that Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. Their children would see the stones, hear the story, and learn about God. Do you special dates or special places that mark God’s momentous moments in your life, those moments that changed everything? Do you take the time to share those momentous moments with your children (and grandchildren, if you are lucky enough to have them yet) about what God did for you in that time and in that place? These momentous moments and places can be opportunities for you to share God’s providence in your life – such as the moment/place of salvation, a moment/place where He answered your deepest prayer, a moment/place where He supplied what you needed. Retelling your story will help keep memories of God’s faithfulness alive in your family.


Getting back to that laundromat moment now after having read the passage and having gotten the meaning of it. You may wonder why the laundromat at Pace’s River Apartment Community’s upper community is such a momentous place for me. It was, yes, indeed, the place I met Elena. My gal for a decade now. My wife for the last seven of those years. She shot me down that day. Not impressed by the Bowling like the game introduction. Not impressed by how suave I was. Not impressed by how debonair I was. Shot down.


Most of the time during my single days when a woman would not give me the time of day, I would walk away and say some expletives about the women’s heritage and forget about it. However, with this girl. I knew where she lived. She lived not only the same building I did but on the same common stairwell. She lived two stories below me. Thank God I did not take no for answer this time. I preceded a couple days later to bring a bottle of wine and knocked on her door. Even though she did not initially want to let me in, I was able to convince to let me in (a miracle considering she did not know me from Adam’s house cat). We had a couple of glasses of wine and she proceeded to tell me why I should not date her (one divorced, remarried, and now separated on the way to a second divorce). So what, girl! That’s my story too. Normally, I would have given up and moved on and just spoke nicely in passing after that, but it was a God thing.


I was like CHALLENGE ACCEPTED at this point. After a month or so, we started hanging out regularly and just getting to know each other. We became best friends first. We became lovers later. We became boyfriend-girlfriend later. We became cross-country – me in California, her back in South Carolina. She moved to California. We married in 2010. All because I did not give up and move on. It was a God thing. These blogs if you have been following me any length of time are filled with evidence of how Elena has been a profound impact on my life for the good. She has been so good for me. Ain’t no telling where I would be right now without her. I am thankful that God guided her into my life. And I know it was a God thing. How he orchestrated me to Rock Hill to meet her after 28 years in Greenville. How he orchestrated her after the breakup of her second marriage to that same apartment complex. How He made me notice her after she moved in. How he gave me my laundromat moment. How He made her a challenge to me rather than just throwing up my hands at the pitch and miss and a reduction in my batting average. How me made me persistent. It was a God moment that day in the laundromat where I introduced myself as Mark Bowling. Bowling like the game. The ice was broken that day – albeit very slightly. It was a God moment. There in the laundromat. We must go back one day and mark the moment and mark the ground.


The rest is history that can be traced back to this moment.


Amen and Amen.

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