I can see John Wayne in my living room. Sitting at my kitchen counter, working on my lap top, I’ve got an unobstructed view through to the living room. There stands The Duke with a rifle in his hand, a pistol on his hip, and a Santa hat on his head.

Don’t worry. I know Mr. Wayne is no longer with us – and Elvis is not in the dining room. This John Wayne is a life-size cardboard cut-out with an easel on the back to keep him standing.

This realistic oddity recently helped my family commemorate my husband’s fiftieth birthday. My husband – whose name just happens to be Wayne – has been a fan of the Western movie star since he was a boy. In fact, one of Wayne’s favorite stories to tell is about the time he came within six feet of the Hollywood legend at a football game. Their eyes met and Mr. Wayne gave my Wayne one of those two-fingered salutes from the tip of his cowboy hat. He gets goose-bumps on his arms and a silly grin on his face with every telling.

Wayne’s birthday is over but The Duke still stands in the living room. No one in the house has suggested we move him. For a season it reminds us of the man who is both husband and father of our family. It represents his childhood, his hobbies, his likes and his character. John Wayne reminds me to appreciate my husband. Strange statement, but true.

We humans have short memories and tend to take things for granted. Sometimes we need concrete reminders. The children of Israel needed permanent visuals to remind them of God’s great activity in their lives. When He parted the Jordan River so they could enter the Promised Land, God directed them to stand twelve large stones in the middle of the river as a lasting memorial. When their children asked about the standing stones they were to tell them the story of God’s provision.

Years ago, Wayne (my husband, not John) and I heard Henry Blackaby call these physical reminders of God’s activity “spiritual markers.” Since then, Wayne and I have collected a number of items that serve to remind us of a specific event or season where God allowed us to be a witness to what He was doing. Otherwise I’m afraid I would forget. What about you? How do you remember God’s activity in and around your life? Do you have any “spiritual markers?”

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