Scripture Memorization

Last week was a bit rough and I’m not sure this one has been much better.

If you remember from my post last Friday we had this rabbit at our house that my daughter was pet sitting for someone, it ended up getting sick and I shared a post about patience and prayer with the hope that it was getting healthier. Friday night came and the poor thing declined rapidly and didn’t make it. So awkward having to call the family and tell them.

Then just when I’d been thinking Paige’s driving was also getting better (which is necessary as she turns 16 the end of September)…while in town one day she was inches away from smacking a post at Walmart while backing up, then pulled out in front of somebody when coming away from the bank, and two blocks later she stopped at a red light and then got ready to take off again (like it was a stop sign). All within a half hour. Yikes, this girl! Not sure I’m gonna be able to graduate her from the school bus to her own set of wheels!

Another part of my week consisted of me receiving a phone call with an unexpected job offer. I accepted right on the spot because I felt it was a God thing, then after two days decided it was probably not a good choice so I fired myself and felt horrible making the phone call to let this lady know I wasn’t taking the job after all. Humiliating.

On top of that I’ve been stressed over our house project (installing ceramic flooring)—it hasn’t been without it’s share of trouble. And I currently have my fridge, stove, and kitchen table all in my living room while we replace floor so the entire process feels unorganized, crazy, and really time consuming.

None of these things are over-the-top traumatic but with them stress heightens and vulnerability unveils.

As my heart has felt unsettled and my mind has drifted from peace lately I know how pertinent it is to stay connected to Jesus.

Two verses have helped steady my emotions:

Give all your worries and your cares to God for he cares about you. —1 Peter 5:7

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. —Psalm 138:8

I love the simplicity of those verses yet the deep comfort and certain truth they provide.

God longs for us to go to Him with our troubles, fears, and worries. He meets us in our place of discontent offering us compassion and hope as a remedy.

When I began having those feelings of weakness and doubt through my current struggles I was immediately drawn to scripture that I’ve memorized over time. These pieces of scripture have taken the edge off my fragile mindset as the Holy Spirit lays comfort on my weary soul.

The importance of scripture memorization became clear to me when I first started getting real about my faith in my late twenties. There were so many obstacles in my way at the time and goodness was God’s word such a guide as I traveled a new-to-me path. Since that time I’ve continued to learn new scripture and memorize it.

What I love is that even though difficulties can seem overwhelming and impulsive, God’s word is solid and sure, and it offers direction over the twist and turns of life. There is literally a verse to cover any difficulty we face.

Often times the Holy Spirit will lead and remind me of a verse I have tucked in my heart and I’ll rest in those words of peace. If my mind feels absolutely blank I’ll simply do a quick Google search typing in something like, ‘Bible verses on worry’ (or whatever the topic/concern might be).

Over time, as I’ve memorized scripture I’ve recorded them on paper and I’ll periodically reread the verses and references to keep them fresh in my heart.

Here’s an example:

She’s a bit worn and in need of a reprint but still efficient.

Since the verses are aligned in one column, and the references in another, I can fold my paper so I can flip back and forth making sure I’m recalling each of them correctly.

So I might look at the reference side only and choose Romans 3:23 and then I’ll quote that verse and if I need to double check it I can flip back to the verse side to be sure I’m right.

There are many different memorization tools (flash card style, games, apps, etc.)—some work better for one person than another.

Hiding God’s word in our heart is a lifeline to Him. It’s incredibly useful and a sweet part of our relationship with Him as well.

When the darkness rises it’s such a blessing to choose God’s words of encouragement to rest in. Our situation may continue in gloom for a time but the trial fades as we walk opposite of it’s direction and intently in His—eventually we see the Light of His glory brighten.

I will continue to reflect on His word in the midst of my frustrations and even after—and whatever it might be that you’re experiencing I pray you’d be sparked to do the same.

Sweet blessings!

Lessons from Grandpa Fred’s ‘Early’ Turn Signal

Every once in a while I reminisce back to the days of my early teen years. Often times that’s a mess of shame but there’s one memory that makes me smile or laugh out loud every time…

My best friend’s grandpa used to take her and I and another one of our friends to youth group a few towns away from where we grew up. I think her grandpa must’ve went to a Bible study group during that same time so it worked out pretty well.

The funny part about it is that he’d put his turn signal on in his classy white Lincoln Town car blocks before we’d ever get to the turn that lead to the church. I’d like to think it was because he was proudly but humbly letting people know where we were headed. Realistically that probably wasn’t the case — but either way (between sips of fruit flavored soda pop that he had treated us to) we’d quietly crack up because of his very early turn signal. I don’t think he ever caught on to our snickering…if so he never let us know.

I wish I could say I remember more about my time spent once we actually got to the church but unfortunately I was too self absorbed at that point of my life and probably present for the socializing more than anything.

Lately I’ve been substitute teaching over in that same little town where I used to hit up youth group and as I pull into town I can’t help but think about Grandpa Fred’s drastic turn signal antics.

It’s amusing to me that this memory comes to mind of all things and so I challenged myself to reflect and dig in a bit.

When driving, a turn signal serves as a warning for good purpose — for safety and protection.

The interesting thing is, that flashing signal before the turn is similar to the way God works. When we read His word, all throughout we see warnings and directions for our benefit, in effort to guide our lives before we step into trouble.

I praise God for that; it helps me navigate on the straight but narrow path.

There are times though when God’s warning signal is flashing and I choose to ignore or reject it. I fail to resort in putting His good word before life obstacles. When I deviate away I’m lost in twists, turns, and dead-ends.

In Psalm 25 verses 8-11 we read, ‘Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.’

Those words above remind me that scripture is the place to find instruction and guidance for my life, recognizing that I’m a sinner in need of His direction.

And then let’s check out Romans 15:4

‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.’

I love the inspiration packed into every one of those words.

When we consider the way the turn signal serves as a blessing for not only ourselves but others as well it pairs up with what we find as we read on in Romans 15…

Verses 5 & 6 have this to say: ‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Notice how Paul’s words here are portraying the idea that when we are obedient to the Lord’s ways it should show in our behavior towards others. Obedience for ourselves and looking out for others is a way to glorify God, sort of this positive domino effect objective.

The same is true with using a turn signal. The advantage in its use is that it’s causing us to be other’s-focused whether we’ve thought about it or not. It does ourselves well when used, but the benefit it serves to others is just as huge. There’s two-way gratuity in it. Likewise God’s word guides and protects us and then we have the opportunity to share that blessing with others.

Looking back at Grandpa Fred’s early turn signal habit does my heart good.

The whole point in that half an hour drive was to deliver a few wild (and for the most part clueless girls) over to youth group — and himself to Bible study.

At the time we may have been giddy with excitement about a turn signal getting clicked on blocks before the turn but in hindsight Grandpa’s focus wasn’t caught up in a turn signal at all. Instead he knew that the real destination was all about ‘driving our faith.’

…Just as though God’s word guides us with ‘signal warnings’ throughout — the real effort is to navigate us closer and nearer to Jesus and His likeness, with our final destination Heaven-bound.

A Solid Foundation

Last Saturday my husband and I ventured out to his great grandparent’s retired farmstead to cut firewood. Since I’m no Paul Bunyan I let Nate do the wood cutting and in the meantime I went and explored, (no worries I helped carry and load the wood later). This is probably my third time throughout the past ten years nosing around this particular property…but for me it never gets old. I feel like there’s always some new little nook or cranny just waiting to be stumbled upon or observed. And safety precautions….well out there you just have to enter at your own risk…

Seeing all the antiqued equipment and many dilapidated structures is proof enough that the work in those days was no doubt extensive yet the idea of it creates such a desirable nostalgic feeling deep within me.

Continue reading “A Solid Foundation”

Quiet Time Necessity

Sometimes when I substitute teach, my job assignment stretches beyond the classroom.

Recently I ended up in the school’s lunchroom to supervise bubbly elementary students. An extended squirming hand raised high let’s the adults know when attention is needed—usually indicating milk cartons are being stubborn and extra help is needed in opening them, maybe a kiddo wants permission to pass on their veggies, or he or she is ready to dump their tray once they’ve finished eating.

While I helped a few weeks ago, a hand went up and I walked over.

A little girl, probably second grade, looked up at me with sad eyes and I knew we weren’t dealing with regular lunch issues. I knelt down beside her and asked what was wrong. With tears welled in the corners of her eyes she spoke through pouty lips, “I want to sit alone right now.”

“Well why? What’s going on?” I asked with concern. Continue reading “Quiet Time Necessity”

A Thorn In My Flesh

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you know I openly share about past struggles and overcoming adversity through Christ’s strength. I’ve wrote about my failures and the reality of how I used to live one hundred percent in the world and not at all in God’s word.

There are times when Satan still torments my thoughts with shame or regret from my past—and it’s in those moments where I have to press into God’s truth, allow the Holy Spirit to remind me of memorized scripture, and spend time in prayer to counteract and push those thoughts away. I want so badly to not only push them away, but to throw them out, entirely…But I think of Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians 12:7b and it helps me sort out my ongoing battle, “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” -2 Corinthians 12:7b Continue reading “A Thorn In My Flesh”

Avoiding Fourth of July Freak Outs

I was running late, which is more normal for me than not, unfortunately. The kids had stayed the night at my mom’s and my girls and I were supposed to be involved in a running event that was taking place sooner than I cared to acknowledge.

It happened to be the Fourth of July and my attitude was on the edge of rupturing and popping with the best of any ear-piercing firecrackers.

When I’m running late I just get bent out of shape, and anyone around me reaps the negative results. This was one of those times—one where I felt ready to burst and far from control of anything reasonably manageable.

I rushed into my mom’s house to grab my daughters so we could quickly make it to the park where the race was to begin in ten minutes. My sass-tude finally caved and wildly flared when I walked in to everyone still sleeping!

Like a string of black-cats that had just been lit, I set fire with my words! “Why in the world are y’all still sleeping?!! We have to be there in ten minutes!! If you’re coming with me then get up and get going!! Hurry up!!!”

You know the saying ‘dynamite comes in small packages’…that was me right then—except I’d bypassed any caution tags and went full on explosive. Continue reading “Avoiding Fourth of July Freak Outs”

Worth More Than Diamonds

For almost three years straight I hadn’t been able to find my wedding ring — which didn’t really surprise me because I was always misplacing it for a few days at a time prior to that.

I’d place it on the bathroom counter or leave it on my mom or mother-in-law’s kitchen sink and it’d sit there for days until someone would pipe up and let me know they found my ring…again…meanwhile I’d be frantically searching everywhere it was not, hoping to find it!

At one point I even went extreme and had my husband’s first initial tattooed to my finger during one of the many times my ring was missing. Now I have the letter N permanently tattooed to my ring finger, which is fine…BUT I live in Nebraska (Husker nation) and I’ve actually had several people ask me if the N was for that reason….umm no….I’ll keep from further commenting so no sassy comments come out.

Last week I’d really been thinking heavily about my real, original wedding ring. I even ‘re’searched spots I’d already checked a thousand other times. Continue reading “Worth More Than Diamonds”

Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you Vivian from God’s Whispers of Truth for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I always enjoy reading your blog for sweet inspiration and encouragement!

Be sure to check out Vivian’s blog if you haven’t already. Click on the link above and then read her “my story” page under the menu option and you’ll be hooked—you’ll see for yourself what a brave warrior she truly is.

About the Sunshine award:

This award is given to creative, positive and cheerful bloggers by other bloggers as a token of appreciation and admiration.

Here are the rules:

• Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her.

• Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.

• Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

• Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.

• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.

I’ll answer the questions Vivian had for me first:

1) What is the bible verse/passage which you turn to the most for comfort?

I’m obsessed with Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength‘….probably because it was the first verse that spoke to my broken, lost heart at the time, it grabbed me and directed my attention to God, and still has a grip on me. It was also the first verse I memorized on my own without someone else’s input or influence. Continue reading “Sunshine Blogger Award”

I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 2)

Losing someone unexpectedly is one of the hardest parts of life.

There’s the ‘what if’ questions…

What if (he or she) was still here? What if I could’ve told them what I didn’t get to? Or what if I’d have been more present?

I wrote in PART ONE of this post that my dad, in his helpless, quadriplegic body, looked my mom in the eyes the day he died and said, “I’m so glad you’re the one taking care of me today.”

What if, like my dad, I looked at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty?

What if I focused on the sweet memories I have of my dad? What if I held onto the time I spent with him, rather than dreaming of times that never got to happen?

Well, what if???Continue reading “I’m So Glad You’re The One Taking Care Of Me Today (PART 2)”

Proverbs 16:31 Hair…Glory Found in the Grays

Last year (August 2018) I put out a post titled Get Real. I wrote about my colored-over gray hairs, and created a parallel in the way we sometimes cover gray areas of our life—making it appear like we have it all put together.

Okay, so while that post was meant to encourage authenticity in a person—to bring light to those gray areas…remaining open, honest, and real with others in an emotional sense—well for me, the words of that post (when I reread it) tangle me up on my increasingly graying hair, concealed under shades of dark hair dye…complete dishonesty with myself and anyone else who’s been fooled by my false-dark tresses.

Why in the heck would I encourage honesty and openness, when my hair color isn’t even real?! Continue reading “Proverbs 16:31 Hair…Glory Found in the Grays”