I have been keeping this bookmark in my One Year Bible. Because it's there, I see it everyday. To be honest, I am not sure where it came from or whether it was originally given to me rather than given to one of my siblings. Nonetheless, the Lord uses it to remind me that He has been faithful to me since I was a child.
At some point in adolescence, I looked around and became convinced that my own faith and early experiences with Christ were inferior to those of my friends who got to go to church more often. That lie kept me at a dangerous distance from the God who was wooing me, that distance allowed sin in my life to become full grown, and that sin gave Satan a lot of power to devastate. This bookmark is a rare, precious artifact to me, proving that God's presence and His word were there with me in my earliest years, even my earliest years that are quite bereft of Sunday School picnics and Easter photos.
Now I know that the truth is my faith was always precious to God. He saw my love and enthusiasm for Jesus when I was at church, as often as I got to go. He loved me tenderly even in my ignorance and sin. When I doubted Him and strayed from the path He was leading me down, He was the shepherd who left the ninety-nine and sought me until I was safely back in the fold. He was willing to clear totally new paths for me to get to Him.
As I grew into womanhood, He showed me that He was also the faithful lover, loving me with a pure love like Hosea loved Gomer. He taught me to savor His pure, wholesome love and love Him back.
And, in recent adulthood, He has been the vine-dresser pruning, painfully at times, the sin that took root early in my life. Sins that used to dominate my life have disappeared and the good things He planted long ago have started to flourish and bear fruit instead.
So this bookmark often serves to remind me of all the ways that God brought me through real inner and outer hells of my past and that He is still carrying me on.