After my post about memorizing scripture in January, I received an email from a busy wife and mother named Cherie who told me she had been memorizing scripture and had now memorized 32 chapters in total, and was on her way to memorizing more.
Cherie was willing to share her story, so here it is. In this post she explains how she started and the benefits she has received from it. On Wednesday she shares her methods for memorizing scripture. If you are a busy mother, be encouraged that it is possible to learn the word of God well, in spite of your hectic schedule. Like anything worthwhile, it takes consistent effort, but it is possible.
My pilgrimage into memorizing large amounts of Scripture began two and a half years ago. At this moment in my journey, I’ve memorized thirty-two chapters, and of these chapters, five are books. I can recite them all accurately and plan on memorizing much more. Having been raised by a mom who knew the benefits Scripture had to offer, the Bible was always a huge part of my life. It never occurred to me however, to memorize a chapter—let alone a book—of the Bible, although I knew every word to hundreds of songs. Those hundreds of songs—regardless of how wholesome they were—posed a problem for me as I struggled constantly with music stuck in my head. I know this happens to everyone from time to time, but this was an every hour and every day occurrence for me. It got seriously stressful when we adopted our first child in ’98, and the daily music around the house became: Barney, The Wiggles, and Veggie Tales. There’s not a word in the English language to describe having a Barney song stuck in your head for five weeks straight.
Two and a half years ago, I taught AWANA. Over and above the required scripture memory, I gave my students extra challenges throughout the year for which I would buy small prizes. They loved this, and at year end I prayed God would show me a larger challenge to leave them with. Coming across the last part of Romans 8, the words jumped off the page. Romans 8:31-39—nine verses. Using a large colorful font for their 10 year old brains, I printed it and attached it to a note about “THE ULTIMATE ICE CREAM PARTY” if they met the challenge. Well, if they were going to memorize it; what kind of a teacher was I—if I didn’t? I taped a copy up above my kitchen sink. I clearly remember looking at that sink and thinking, “I do so many stinking dishes, I betcha I stand a better chance with it there.” Sure enough, with all that time at the kitchen sink staring at those nine verses; I memorized it in less than two weeks
Then the most astounding thing happened. That super annoying, repetitive, loud music in my head? (Whatever song it was that week) I felt like someone had reached inside my brain and turned the volume down to level one. A bizarre serenity came over me, which I hadn’t known before. Searching through my Bible for something else to memorize I came to Ephesians 3 and again; the words jumped off the page. Up it went in front of my kitchen sink. Realizing the kitchen sink wasn’t the only location for daily mindless activities, I found myself taping up copies in various places. Above the dryer where I fold boatloads of clothes, above the counter where I prepare meals, the bathroom mirror, the wall of the walk-in closet, the side of my ironing board, and where I sit when we do schoolwork. Everywhere I went, there my Scripture was. It was a sort of unplanned Deuteronomy 6 kind of thing. Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (NIV)
Memorizing Ephesians 3 in just under a month, I spent several days reciting it to myself whenever I had a chance. In case you weren’t aware God has a sense of humor, here is a bit of proof for you. At church the following weekend, the Pastor made a cross reference from Colossians — where he was teaching—to Ephesians 3. He began reading the second half of the chapter and a sort of explosion went off in my head. He was reading what I’d been memorizing that whole month. A feeling like electricity shot through me, and I had to stop myself from jumping up from my chair. That was it—I was completely hooked. I knew I’d found something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. How strange that since memorizing a single verse isn’t so difficult—we don’t put that much effort into it. Memorizing a chapter is easier, because you have to work harder, and you dedicate yourself more.
In case you think I am a princess with nothing else to do—think again. We adopted two children from birth—both with unique needs and learning issues. They are now thirteen and seven and we homeschool them. Our youngest was taken by police from his birthmother for “severe neglect”. His issues are complicated and exhausting. Along with his weekly therapies, I am slammed with responsibilities, yet because of the method I stumbled on—I memorize WHILE I am a mom, wife, homeschool teacher and homekeeper. I don’t memorize so I can spout off to people what I’ve accomplished and truth be told, I rarely mention it to those outside my family. I will quote a verse to someone only if it is a very clear prompting of the Spirit.
The spiritual benefits of memorizing are immeasurable, but I’d no idea that memorizing large portions of scripture could give psychological benefits and emotional serenity. (Try adopting two kids with the unique needs mine have—you will need serenity—trust me) We all have moments where we’re involved in daily mindless activities. (I call them DMA’s) If you’ve filled up these DMA’s so much that you are on the phone while driving, listening to your iPod in the shower, watching TV while folding laundry, and listening to talk radio on your commute, perhaps you could redeem these DMA’s, and fill them with something much more fulfilling. Once I realized the unbelievable happiness and serenity memorizing Scripture gave me; I lost interest in TV, the radio and the like.
I hope this helps someone wanting to start the greatest adventure ever, since they met Christ. May your memory be blessed as you fill it with Gods Word.