March 19, 2012

Gifts, Blessings, Fears, and Prayers

Yesterday was a great day for our family.  We got to honor Sophie, along with our church family, for her amazing feat of scripture memory.  From a book the church provided, Sophie was able to memorize: all 66 books of the Bible, The Lord's Prayer, Prov. 3:5-6, Psalm 23, Matthew 22:37-39, John 15:12-14, 1 John 4:7-8, The 10 Commandments, Eph. 6:1-4, Psalm 117, Psalm 113:1-3, Psalm 95:1-7a, Psalm 100, all the verses for the "wordless book" (Rom. 3:23, Rom. 6:23, 1 John 1:9, Psalm 51:7, John 3:16, and 2 Peter 3:18), 1 John 1:5-9, and Luke 2:8-14. (And I have to admit here that as I was typing these I had to look them up because I couldn't remember them!).  What a gift of memory God has given our sweet little girl!!!!  What a blessing this scripture memory has been for us.  In case you weren't at our church is the testimony I gave (at least something like this):

Kevin and I always knew memorizing scripture is a vital part of the Christian life and something we wanted to teach our children, as well.  However, we both also knew neither of us was as diligent as we should be ourselves, nor did we really think our kids were old enough to do it or know where to start even if they were.  Then came Family Quest.  It was amazing to watch Sophie, at a mere 3 ½ years old, learn a new scripture each month, and be able to do it at the same rate as the kids twice her age.  What an encouragement…and slightly embarrassing that even at that age she remembered them much better than we did!  It was even more exciting this year when the Family Quest team brought back the “little white book” of scriptures to memorize.  Sophie was eager for the challenge of finishing this book.  We started working immediately.  I had no idea what a blessing this would be to our entire family!  Each morning as we finished our family Bible time we would work on that week’s verse.  Seeing her face light up at being able to finish an entire verse was priceless.  But, even better was being able to teach this to her as a team with my husband.  As I am sure that most of you could guess, memorization has never been my problem, and at times, that was all I was really doing…rote memorization so she could check off another scripture.  But, what a blessing it was to watch as Kevin never let an opportunity go by to use those teachable moments to explain to her what each verse meant.  Each night as we put her to bed, we would review the verse and Kevin would again talk with her about the verse meant.  It has also been a real joy in those weeks she stays with us for the worship service to watch her face light up when she recognizes a verse Bro. Jeff reads or that the song she is singing is the verse she learned last week!   Just last Monday we started a journey to memorize the Sermon on the Mount in a year by learning 2-3 verses each week.  On Tuesday, shortly after she went to her room to work on her devotional book, I heard her yelling, “Mommy!  Mommy!”  Thinking something was horribly wrong, I rushed to her room, only to discover the screaming was just her excitement over the fact that the verses she was studying today were the same ones we had started learning the day before!

Amazingly, just seeing Sophie learn these verses and watching her grow, even just a little, as she learned them, was not the only blessing in this process.  Of course, you can’t teach her these verses without learning them yourself.  And, come to find out our sweet, crazy, can’t sit still little boy was listening the whole time.  Just by listening to Sophie learn her Family Quest verses, Ethan actually learned the verse EVERY MONTH this year.  He’s not even three, yet, and I have to admit that the first three he learned we never even tried to teach him, thinking, again, he was just too young and too antsy to learn them.

 Learning these scriptures has also changed the way we are able to discipline and reward.  Whether the behavior has been good or bad, we can have her recall a verse she has learned and see if her behavior has lined up with what God expects from us (we’re really glad that first unit of Family Quest was on obedience!!!) and she can then reason for herself whether it was a good or bad choice.  Even Ethan has been able to do this to some extent.  God is so good!

We are continuing to work with both Ethan and Sophie on scripture memory and look forward to seeing how God uses this in their lives in the future.  I know that right now they may be memorizing because we are asking them to or because they want that piece of candy from Miss Larinee, but we praise God with each verse for the promise that His word will not return void.  We pray that He uses this to draw our children to Him.  I promise you that if you will put forth even the smallest effort to help your children do this, you will see blessing after blessing.  And I promise, it isn’t as hard as you will tell yourself it is.  One of Ethan’s favorite verses was learned by singing it to him while we brushed his teeth each day.  Yes, it’s that simple!  So, if you aren’t sure where to start, see Mr. Doug for a white book and he’d be more than happy to give you one! 
We have been so humbled by our sweet Sophie in this area.  Sad to say, but if I weren't helping her to memorize scripture, I am pretty certain I wouldn't be memorizing any at all.  Oh, Lord, help me to see my need to have Your word in my heart at all times!
This week our church is starting 6 weeks of prayer walking.  We have been asked to spend the next 6 weeks prayer walking the street we live on.  I have to confess, there is nothing in me that really wants to do this!  Well, I don't mind praying and I don't mind walking, it's the going up to my neighbors, talking to them, and getting prayer requests from them that I don't want to do.  This will sound horrible, but it is soooooo true: I have no desire to know more about my neighbors or for them to know me.  But, this is also true, they need Jesus every bit as much as I do.  But, to be honest, I would prefer for God to send someone else to share with them.  I am fine right where I am.  Oh, but God doesn't like to leave us comfortable for long, does He?  So, here we go, on another adventure, though this time I am much more reluctant to follow.  Lord, change my heart and attitude toward my neighbors.  Fill me with your love for them.  Fill me with an urgency to share You with them.  Lord, show me how to make Your holy and precious name known to those who live all around me.  Use me, Lord.  Mold and change me to be one who follows You, no matter what.  May I count all loss, save knowing You.  Lord, make me willing, heart and soul, to do whatever You ask of me.  Give me boldness to declare Your name and words to share Your message with those on my street.  Change this city one home at a time!

1 comment:

  1. I so wish we would have known about this recognition and tried to make plans to have been a part of it and so Sophia could know how proud we are of her and shared in this time with her and her church family. We are so proud of her and the young woman that God is shaping. We love you Sophia and pray that all you have memorized will be in your head and your heart for all of your life. Grandma and Grandpa