As a girl, I vividly remember my mom having bible devotions with my brother and I to starting the morning off. During the sweltering hot days of summer, we longed to run outside and play with friends early in the morning before the sidewalks blistered our bare toes. But we had one strict rule in our home: No one left the house to play until after devotion time. My mom would drop whatever she was doing at the moment, and pull out her well- worn Bible that was full of bookmarks and highlighted verses. She would sit between us on the couch, and place the Bible in our laps. We each had to read a chapter aloud. I'd zip through my chapter, read each verse quickly, and then roll my eyes and groan internally as my little brother began to read. He was only a year younger, but I was convinced that my reading skills were far superior to his because I was a grade level above him. Time was wasting, and I had important things to do outside. He would drone on and on, and Mom would occasionally help him sound out the big words. As luck would have it, he seemed to always have to read the chapters with lists of family names in them...."Now these were the names of the descendants of Israel....The sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon,Eri, Arodi....blah, blah, blah." I had very little patience for all of this.
After my brother finished his chapter, we would work on scripture memorization. My mom had very specific verses that we were required to put to memory. Not fluffy little kid sized scriptures, but meaty and complex verses that were full of profound meaning. Power scriptures. Although she could not be with us while we were at school, she wanted to make certain that we knew that God was with us every moment of the day. And God was much more powerful than Mom and Dad, and loved us even more than they did. She chose verses that we could turn to in times of distress or uncertainty.
A verse to help us remember to turn to God for direction:
"Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." Jeremiah 33:3"
A verse to help us when we were scared:
" Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you." Luke 10:19
A verse to help us to remember to forgive each other and not let a root of bitterness enter our hearts:
" Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger" Ephesians 4:26
We were young children when we learned those verses and many more, yet my brother and I can quote them to this very day. My mom calls it "canning scripture". When we memorize God's words, we save them in the back of our minds until a day when we need to remind ourselves of those truths. Then the Lord recalls them from our memory, and we can use them to help us navigate tough times in our lives.
After reciting our Bible verses, we would have a time of prayer, and then we were free to play the rest of the day! There were times that I loved our devotions, times that I loathed them, and times that I felt like they didn't really matter. Yet, our time dedicated to the Lord each morning remained a constant fixture through the years. I had no idea that my mom was helping to form a firm foundation of faith in my life, and in the life of my brother. I couldn't see past the simplicity and constancy of it all. I was probably more interested in learning something profoundly amazing with quick results that would be evident to all around me, while my mom was more worried about taking her time to carefully build the basis of our faith on solid ground. Looking back, I'm so thankful she took her time to lay the foundation carefully. I'm still amazed at the total recall of scriptures, understanding of hard truths and development of good bible study habits that still help me to this day. Everything she taught us is still relevant in our lives today.
And oh have the tables turned. Now I'm the one calling my three children in to have our morning devotions with God. I have to force myself not to chuckle when my son gets impatient with his little sister's slower reading. After all, I've been in his shoes. I help my daughter to pronounce the words, and then expound on the scriptures meaning, just the way my mother did for us those many long years ago. I help my kids to memorize scripture and ask them to recite it during situations that apply. It all feels very familiar to me, and yet surreal that I'm now the one doing the instructing. Now I feel the weight of the responsibility to help my own children lay that firm foundation of faith. Now I understand that the process is not a sprint, but a very long marathon. I can't slap the foundation down in a few sporadic bible lessons from time to time, but I must be diligent to have a regular, daily time of learning with my kids.....even if they roll their eyes. After all, momma knows best.
I'm a whole-hearted homemaker who adores my family, and has an insatiable urge to write about the random everyday events of our life. We raise kids and cattle, and love our simple life in the mountains!