At the beginning of October my husband and I started memorising verses from the Bible with our kids. While this is what most Christian parents probably already do with their children, we realised, albeit a bit later than we’d hoped, that while we read the Bible with our children every night and encouraged them to dance and sing to their hearts’ content to Worship music (Twelve24 is our favourite) and while we taught them to pray before every meal and pray before they go to bed, we had subconsciously neglected to remind them to memorise scripture.
Growing up, my parents taught us very early on how to use scripture in our every day living. I can remember clearly times when we would wield cute sword as we practised using the ‘Sword of the Spirit’. And it really helped me a lot when I was younger. I remember at night being so afraid of the dark and reminding myself that ‘He has not given me the spirit of fear…’. Or my first night alone at boarding school remembering that ‘He will not leave (me) nor forsake me..’- memorising scriptures at times saved me from worrying about things that God asked me to hand directly to Him. A weapon that has been invaluable to me.
So when my daughter kept waking up at night saying she was scared, instead of remembering what helped me when I was in that situation, I contemplated buying a night light- or even sometimes would escort her back to bed amid reassurances from me that she would be fine and that she was safe- nothing wrong with both of those things, in fact I highly recommend reassuring our children whenever we get the chance. But what I realised the other day was that there was a way that was better than what we were doing; and that lay entirely in teaching her Scripture.
And so, we made a decision to begin to memorise key verses together that applied directly to our situation. In this instance, it was fear of the dark. And actually it was a lot of fun! we came up with a rap together and that helped the words sink in quicker and because the rap was easy to remember, she managed to recite it perfectly to me that day and the next day and the next day, until the day came when she was afraid in bed and as usual got up and came to our room.
But unlike the countless times in the past where I have just reassured her, cuddled her, sent her back to bed, this time around, while I still did all these things, I also took a minute to ask her what she felt Jesus said to her when she was afraid. And to my absolute delight she responded that Jesus wanted her to know that He had not given her a Spirit of fear- and when i asked her what that meant, she replied that it meant that she had the power from Jesus to fall asleep and not be afraid! I was amazed at how quickly this turned our night around, and how she hasn’t woken up since with a nightmare!
Recently, we have been going through a lot as a family; my daughter’s teacher spoke to us a couple of weeks ago and mentioned that our daughter was struggling to focus in school and that she was having to constantly remind her that she needed to listen. When I heard this, my spirit was grieved and I wanted to say so many things to the teacher but felt so much like God was asking me to continue giving Him this concern and to teach my daughter some powerful words from God. I felt in the moments that followed, God teaching me that only He had the final authority on what is spoken over my daughter and to come to Him, who knows her beginning from the end. So as much as I wanted to, instead of confronting the teacher, we chose to pray and this Friday, her teacher practically run out of the room to greet my husband with great news that our daughter was excelling so much that she’d written an award winning essay!
I feel that what has happened is as a direct result of prayer and practising speaking the Word of God over us and waiting to experience its power. One of the best outcomes throughout this was that God turned the teacher’s heart towards our daughter. No amount of discussing could have done that. And so from that first day, we have memorised a verse each week that directly applies to our situation as a family and particularly to our children. Tonight as we changed over the verses, as we do each Sunday now, I felt God instruct me to teach her that He has a plan for her life. And so we came up with another (very badly performed) rap and learned about the plans He has over us.
And I guess this has been the most surprising part through this new journey- I prepared to teach my children some powerful memory verses about being able to do anything through Christ or having no fear or knowing that God loved them so much that He chose to send His son for them- what I did not prepare for was for God to teach me so much through this time with my children. As I reminded them what His word says about their circumstances, He reminded me in turn how He is the Father that speaks over me, too; how he is the one who reminds us who we are in Him, what His plans are for us. He is the Father who even comes to teach me how to be a parent when I find myself lacking, lagging behind or just really tired. He reminded me how there is literally no circumstances of mine that he isn’t interested in and that he cannot speak into. Including issues with my child’s teacher.
Our daughter has had the best week in school. We have asked each day and got nothing but glowing reports. She has had a smile on her face on her way in and on her way out. And today at church, she stood with me and danced as we worshipped. I feel that He has settled her fears and in the process he has also settled mine. I often talk about how much I love to boast about my weaknesses. I know it’s probably not the best foot to always lead with- when we talk about our struggles as mums as friends or as wives…but I find God so close the most when I look at how weak I am. Because often times I find Him right there, next to me, lifting me up, speaking over me, teaching and instructing me. I fall right into His plan and His purpose and His future for me. And I rest right in His peace when I realised that He is enough and where feet may fail fear surrounds me, I find him calling me out upon the waters.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.