Word Hiding & My Date With James

You have until midnight tonight (Thursday) to enter to win a Cecil Murphy scholarship to our Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference coming up in July. So, if you are interested in speaking, writing, event planning or any aspect of women’s ministry, scroll down to my last post to enter! My panel of judges (had to recruit some more of the speaker team due to the number of submissions) and I will choose the winner over the weekend and announce her on Monday.

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Last summer I was very convicted that I memorize all kinds of things, but scripture.

Give me an 80’s tune and I know most of the words.

My friends’ phone numbers? Why, I don’t use speed dial. I want to keep my mind sharp and ward of the ole’ Alzheimer’s.

I have big chunks of Broadway musicals committed to memory. Even plays from college in which I had a role.

Why then do I not have big chunks of the Bible committed to memory as well?

Oh, I have memorized several single verses over the years.

I even memorized Psalm 1 in college for a class and can still recite it.

Last summer, I worked on getting an entire chapter tucked away in my brain. It took a while, but I was able to recite it to my friend Whitney in its entirety.

Now beyond these, I have tons of what I call “sorta scriptures” memorized. You know, where if you start the verse, I can sorta finish it. Not verbatim and I can’t usually tell you where it is located.

I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years and I don’t make hiding God’s word in my heart a top priority.

What a shame.

So convicted did I become of this chosen weakness of mine that last year, during my main stage message at our Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference, I told 608 women that my new goal was to memorize an entire book of the Bible– James–by Christmas.

Gulp.

It meant memorizing and entire chapter every 4 weeks.

Talk about a grandiose goal.

However, I meant it; with every fiber of my being I meant it.

I started out of the chutes pretty well.

Chapter one was right on target.

But then life happened and school started and I had lessons to teach and speaking engagements to prepare for and devotions and magazine articles to turn in and a book proposal that needed to be entirely re-written and on and on and on….

By the week before Christmas, I was crammin’ like a mad woman trying to get it all down.

When Christmas morning arrived, I went out under the tree before anyone else was up and I attempted to recite the book of James as my Christmas present to Jesus.

I bombed.

Oh, I got about 2/3 of it right, but I had to look at my Bible when I got stuck for the next phrase and many of the verses were not word for word—a high bar I had set for myself.

It was then that I realized, like so many things in my life, I had turned this into a performance; a performance I must do perfectly. (we’ll talk another day about why some of us women feel we need to perform perfectly in order to be accepted)

I tried not to be upset but feared I failed miserably.

Later that night Jesus & I….. well we had a little talk.

Well mostly I sulked and He whispered.

He whispered one of the verses I had memorized many years ago:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Is it good to memorize Bible verses, chapters and chunks?

Yes ma’am…

Had I grown weary?

Oh yeah….

It was then that I realized it is not about performance. God is not looking for perfection but persistence and progress.

So, I got up and at ’em again.

I’m happy to report that I recently was able to recite all of James.

Oh not in the way I’d hoped–flawlessly from start to finish. But one big chunk or chapter at a time.

Then I’d pause, look over the next big portion, hand my Bible back to my hubby or son and recite the next section.

Now, I’m working on stringing more of it together—say two to three chapters— without stopping and refreshing my memory before going on.

And without having to have one of my guys give me the next few words to jog my memory. (Do you know how many times verses in James start out with “My dear brothers…” or something similar. It throws me off so many times!!)

Someday, I’ll post about the tricks I’ve come up with for tackling this project.

In the mean time, let’s answer the most important question about this whole affair.

Why in the world would anyone memorize scripture and what could that possibly have to do with what I am supposed to be talking about on Wednesdays which is weight loss & health?

Here, let The Word speak for itself:

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)

and…

“I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.”
Psalm 119:11 (ESV)

Scripture is our ally; our voice of reason; our centering tool allowing us to come to our senses and focus; indeed it is our weapon to wield.

It can keep us from making a sinful choice with dire consequences.

Or it can keep us from running to food instead of to God.

Or it can stop us from being stupid and snap us back into reality.

But this little James memorization project has taught me something.

It really isn’t about word-for-word flawless perfection. (Although I am continuing to work on reciting the whole book without needing to stop for help)

It isn’t about just saying the right words in the correct order.

It is about internalizing the message of the meaning; about knowing the heart of God as He gave us these life-guiding words.

So sweet cyber sisters, what about you? Will you commit to Bible memory?

Not to pursue verbal perfection, but to do a little word hiding for those times in life when you need a dose of reality, a “snap-out-of-it- already” redirection or a “put down the brownie” voice of reason.

Although I haven’t quite gotten the entire book of James down from start to finish with no “cheats’ (as my boys use to call them when they were in a Bible memory program at our church) there are already so many messages of James that are resonating with me.

Like don’t show favoritism.

Or boast about the future.

Or use your tongue improperly. (ouch!)

Or how to get through trials.

Or how and why to pray in faith.

Or why we have fights and quarrels among us.

Oh sisters…..internalizing scripture is powerful.

Will you try it? Will you commit to memorizing something from now until the first of May?

We’ll check in with each other then.

No matter if you are a Weight Loss Wednesday gal or just a simple cyber friend, I promise you–you will be blessed.

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Okay WLW gals (or new ones who want to join us),  when you leave a comment, let us know how you week was. Mine was great. Although it included eating out three times and a fabulous coconut angel food cupcake I treated myself to for my birthday, I still saw the scale go down a tad.  How was your week?

Blessings,

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  • I have no idea why your blog showed up in my mailbox today except that your message was from the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your honesty and inspiration. The joy of the Lord is my strength!

  • What an accomplishment! Wow!~ I get goosebumps when I hear my girls, even my 4 year old recite scripture. We just recently finished the Beatitudes and even my 4yo was able to memorize the entire thing. it leaves me no excuses! Thank you for such an incredibly honest post about why we do things. I think God is working in you for sure.

    I did not understand how to enter the contest but would very much like to enter. Please tell me how! I have given up hope of being able to go to She Speaks and felt a tiny spark when I saw this link thru Ann Voskamps site.

    Blessings to you , His word, and your mouth!

  • I was a victim of sexual abuse and low to no self-esteem growing up. Because of the low self-esteem, I fell victim to assaults from men; both physical, emotionally, and sexually. From the young age of 7 until I was 18, life was confusing for me. I had my first son when I was 15 and felt really defeated and to some degree cursed in life. I trusted no one in life. I was mean and harbored a lot of anger, and for some reason hated women. I lived miserably for a long time. It was not until I became tired of living a life that lacked peace that I began to seek something different. Although I was raised in a Christian family, I had no idea that God was truly what I was searching for. I want to be the one that directs other women to peace and freedom. I am an example of what God can do if you believe!
    I decided that I was tired of myself in August of 1996….. I surrendered my life to God and it was on that day that my dream of speaking was birthed as well. As I began to thank God for his grace and redemption, I knew my life was changed. I received the gift of salvation in a church that allowed new Christians to “testify” about their decision to accept Christ and how your life would be changed because of your decision. I could not wait until it was my “time” to tell about what I was feeling on the inside. As the Pastor passed the microphone to me, the Holy Spirit definitely provided the words that I spoke after that. I clearly remember the eloquence of delivery of the things the Holy Spirit placed on my heart. It was a message to the youth within the congregation, although, I myself was not much older than many of them, I had their attention. I was not fluent in the scripture, but all the scripture I had ever heard when I was younger, came back to my remembrance. Obey your parents that your days may be long upon the earth…… Let the words of thy mouth and the meditations of your heart be pleasing unto the Lord….. As this dialog went on for approximately 20 minutes, it felt like I was only there for seconds. I shared many of the hurdles and obstacles that I had faced in my youth because of disobedience to my parents as well as to God. I remember so clearly my closing statement being “it does not pay to disobey.” As I gave the microphone back to the Pastor (who had taken a seat in the front row of the church), he reached out and hugged me and said to the congregation, “keep your eyes on this young lady, she is going to do great things in the Kingdom of God.” Even to this day when I think about that moment, I get chills all over my body.
    Although I did not realize it, this was my first speaking engagement, all orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. I never set out to be a speaker, but as I grew in my relationship with God, I realized that I loved presenting His Word to others, mixed with my own life experiences. It never failed that I would have ladies come up to me after Sunday School, or Women’s Bible Study and say how they were blessed by the words I had spoken.
    In 2001, my father started a church, Believer’s New Life Ministries in the small rural town of Kirbyville, Texas. It was all hands on deck. Our family became everything from the janitors to the media team; the prayer leaders, finance team, children ministry leaders, greeters, ushers; we were everything. The church grew very quickly, and with the growth came the opportunity to start a Women’s Ministry. My plan was to work behind the scenes assisting my mother, but as we planned and prepared for rollout of Uplift and Live Free Women’s Ministry, my mother said to me, “it’s time for you to exercise the gift God has given you. You will be over the women’s ministry and I will support you.” WOW….. I felt all of my insides fall to my feet and I’m pretty sure I turned a shade of green. Thoughts of defeat immediately flooded my mind, “you’re too young….. who is going to listen to you…. what do you have to say that anyone would be interested in hearing…. they are not going to come when they hear it is you speaking…. you do not have any scripture memorized…. This went on for the entire week leading up to the first meeting. I felt totally unequipped, unprepared, and defeated. As I came closer to the first meeting, my husband reminded me of that day in August 1996 and the words that the Pastor spoke to the congregation; “keep your eyes on this young lady, she is going to do great things in the Kingdom of God.” He reminded me of all the other aha moments that had happen between that day in 1996 and the coming week. He reminded me of what I shared with him, the purpose for my existence “to deliver information to others that will promote a positive change in their lives and the lives of their families. Through the Word of God, encourage others to believe in what the Bible says and use it to create positive change; to be an example through my life, my words, and my service of God’s goodness, grace, and mercy. Forgiveness and a good life are possible through Christ.” My husband had taken the last 5 years of my life and summed it all up, presented it to me in a nice package and told me “this is what you were created to do. Go do it! Uplift women and help them experience the same freedom you have in Christ.” Although that was my husband speaking, it was as if God himself was staring me in my eyes and saying, “I have you, you are not alone, let’s do this.”
    The following weekend was electric. I spoke about Esther and how she was chosen for “such a time as this”. The women were blessed. I was blessed more than they were. My mom was in tears, my grandmother was in tears, my aunts, cousins, all of them were there and they were in tears also. It was a life changing moment for me, and it was FUN!!! I enjoyed it more than anything I had ever done in my life. I was right back at that little church in August of 1996. It was at that point, for the first time in my life I felt “this is what I am suppose to do with my life. This is what I was created for!” From that moment on, speaking to women is what I have wanted to do. I looked forward to the intimate gatherings of the women.
    The following year, my father asked me to speak in a Sunday morning service. Again I felt like I was in the week leading up to the first women’s ministry meeting. The thoughts of defeat flooded my mind. And again, my husband was there to speak victory over those thoughts of defeat. That Sunday was also electric. After church there was a line of people that wanted to talk; even the men! I was exhausted and drained but at the same time, energized and excited.
    There were many opportunities that followed, and I loved every time I was able to stand before Gods people and deliver His Word. I founded a mentor program for young girls, Ladies of Purpose, to provide guidance to them so that they could live free from defeat and pain and live a life of purpose. This is what I want to do for life!
    In the past 2 years, I have moved to a totally different city and would like to learn how to professionally promote myself to gain speaking engagements. I have attempted to develop a marketing/promotion strategy myself, only to be disappointed by no response. At times, it has caused me to question God as to whether or not this is His will for my life now, or was that just a season in an area that was hungry for God’s Word. When I was in one of these moments, I was approached by the Women’s Ministry Leader at my current church, Fellowship of the Woodlands, and asked to lead More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. Again, I had another defeated moment, and again my husband was there to kick me in the butt. As I began to lead this study, I was again excited and felt a confirmation that this is what I was created to do. As I went through the study, I began to think, I have to know more about Lysa Terkeurst. As I searched the internet to find more information, I saw last year’s information on She Speaks and felt as if the angels were singing over my head. This is what I needed to move into the next season of my life.
    I should be selected for this scholarship because I have been chosen for such a time as this. I am attending She Speaks to fine tune the gift that God has given me so that I can present it clearly, precisely, articulately, and be effective to women around the world. I believe that God has called me to speak about forgiveness of the past and the freedom God brings to your life which enables you to live a life of peace. I believe that my message is for women and young girls. Life is good through Christ!

  • I believe I have been called to share the truths of the Word of God with other women. I love to read but had never developed the practice of reading my Bible. In the last few years God has been doing a “new” thing in my life. Through participating in a Bible study the Word of God took root in my heart and started to produce an appetite for more. I’ve discovered that I love the poetic cadence of the Message; I am enlightened by the added detail of the amplified. The King James takes me back to my childhood, but not matter the translation, the word has ignited a hunger in my heart for more. I am excited about each new revelation and I want to share this passion. Because you see, I’ve discovered a pattern of behavior, it isn’t unique to me, I have witnessed others catch this burning passion as they open themselves up to the Word of God. The Holy Spirit reveals the hidden things of God to all who will seek Him in His Word. I would love, love, love to participate in the She Speaks Conference. I so long to have the confidence that would come with being equipped to speak. As a quiet, shy individual, (like Moses) I question God’s call to me to speak, I don’t have great people skills, and I totally lack confidence in myself. But one thing I am confident of, is the Holy Spirit’s power. God has shown me that if I am a willing vessel and if I do all that I can, he will show up. So even if I am able to attend and gain the skills for public speaking, and others are blessed, I will always know it will never be because I am a skillful speaker but rather because the Word of God that I would be sharing is alive and active. My prayer is that God be glorified.

    I feel called to teach the Word of God. It is like a fire in my bones. The more I take in the more it fills me to overflowing. I am passionate about prayer and praying scripture. I love understanding the names and attributes of God. The all encompassing “I AM” of God. Studying love would have to be one of my rock solid foundational truths that have transformed my life. Learning how the word of God brings deliverance and freedom from the battle that rages in our minds is something that is relevant to any age group. I am currently leading a Bible Study for ladies and lead an intercessory prayer group at our Church. I feel called to share the truths that have transformed my life with young adults because that was a time in my life where I hit some major detours in my walk with God and I would love to walk along side and help young men and women avoid the wrong turns in life. I’ve discovered some powerful weapons that have helped me in winning the fight by utilizing prayer and the promises and commands of God. Christians today wonder why they aren’t living very victorious lives, I believe it is because they haven’t learned to take up their spiritual weapons and are going into battle every day unequipped or under equipped for the fight. One of the things I felt called to do as a child was the mission field. Not going to Bible School was one of the wrong turns I took. I believe God to be full of redemptive power and that one day I will go to a foreign mission field, but in the meantime, I head the outreach ministry at our Church and have a heart for children around the world. I don’t know what the next step for me will be in my “run” following Jesus but I am determined to follow hard after him. I have followed the progress of Proverbs 31 Ministries and am excited to see the enlargement of the territory for the ministry. Praise God! I refer to your devotions to any and all who might be blessed by them. I am excited by the blogs (they are so visually beautiful) I am inspired by the she cooks and she reads arms of the ministry. I have shared with young women about your site for them and I have participated with Wendy’s on-line Bible Study. So, I would like to thank you all (Proverbs 31 Ministry) for all that you have sown into my life already. I would love to participate in the conference and meet some of the ladies that I already think of as friends but I pray that God will lead you all in the selection of the winners. I know He knows exactly who should and will be chosen and I pray for divine wisdom for those making the selection. I just wish Raleigh was a little closer to Charlotte and I’d stop by and meet you all any way! So if I am chosen or not, sweet sisters in the Lord, keep doing what God is calling you to do. You all shine!!! I am praying for you and the conference. I know God is going to show up and bless your socks off! :]
    Thank you for the opportunity to be considered for a scholarship to the She Speaks Conference. Beth

  • How was my week? BIG emotional day March 11th! I think I used up my quota of energy, so had none the weekend, but partially functioning by Monday. Attended Wed. nite Bible Study, not as prepared (perfect???) as I wanted, but gain so much from the involvement, it’s important that I go. And, what a change! What a boost; better than the best car charger one could buy! Oh, how I dislike the ramifications of sleep deprivation that rears it’s ugly head with Fibromyalgia. I can handle Pain Management, I can persevere the exercises provided by Physical Therapy, and plan for the wax and wane featured in the Chronic Fatigue. I have faith that eventually I’ll find a solution for the erratic sleep patters; consistently my prayers are peppered with requests for that restorative, healing sleep. God knows that I’m doing the best I can. Joyce

  • Wow, how shocked was I when I read this after I just printed out the book of Colossians to begin memorizing yesterday.

    Thank you for your transparency, there is hope for me yet:)

  • Oh Karen, how thankful I am for your transparency and authenticity. Wow. I was sitting there among the 608 women you spoke to, and I can attest you meant every word. But like you, I can relate to life getting in the way of my godly motives.

    I’m so thankful you are persevering and following through, because without that it would be hard to internalize anything. These are the days when we need to know His Word, cling to it, SPEAK it.

    Though I can’t be at She Speaks this year because of finances (barring a miracle), I wish I could do so just to hug your neck and tell you how much you have spurred me on in the faith.

    Thank you for this raw, honest, INCREDIBLE post.

  • Oh Karen, how thankful I am for your transparency and authenticity. Wow. I was sitting there among the 608 women you spoke to, and I can attest you meant every word. But like you, I can relate to life getting in the way of my godly motives.

    I’m so thankful you are persevering and following through, because without that it would be hard to internalize anything. These are the days when we need to know His Word, cling to it, SPEAK it.

    Though I can’t be at She Speaks this year because of finances (barring a miracle), I wish I could do so just to hug your neck and tell you how much you have spurred me on in the faith.

    Thank you for this raw, honest, INCREDIBLE post.

  • My week went really well! I went to Hearts at Home last weekend and was able to stick to my healthy eating plan by bringing my own food along. It kept me from grabbing something unhealthy when I was hungry. I also have been exercising regularly. That is a big step for me! I weigh in on Saturday so not sure yet about my weight.

  • Thanks for your post, Karen. While I have been memorizing Matthew 5 with my family, I agree with the “grown weary” phrase. I need to recommit to hiding God’s word in my heart for myself and for my family! (BTW- we are 5 verses from the end!)
    Um, how was this week? Well, ironically, it was bad (my eating was careless and stupid.), and then my husband was in a car accident. Ugh. Praise God, however, for He scooped down into my utter mess and picked me up! I am so happy to say that the last three days I have eaten according to my plan. More important than that, I have once again dug into the Word and am finding my peace in Jesus.

  • Hi Karen
    Thanks for your message today. The scripture from Galatians was meant for me. I went to WW today and gained 1kg. Although I haven’t been for nearly 2 months I thought that I had been healthier than that and was even hoping for a small loss. However, now I feel encouraged to memorize this verse and grab hold of it for the coming week!
    I love the idea of a notebook for verses to memorize – anything with stationery is great! :-)
    Have a great week and THANKS!

  • Thank you, Karen, this is a great post and much appreciated. I am looking forward to more of your techniques. :-)

  • Loved your post today Karen. I’ve been convicted for a while now about memorizing scripture. So far I’ve memorized 5 and know lots of partials as well. Just like someone else said, I put them on sticky notes and have them everywhere. Also, when I was journaling my food (I’ve stopped and can’t seem to get at it on a regular basis again) I would put scripture that I liked in there. I would put K-Loves daily scripture down every day. I also have a book that a friend bought me for Christmas that has scriptures broken down by category which I love refering to. I lost a quarter pound today. Surprised I lost at all, so I was happy with that. We’ve booked our vacation tickets to No. Ireland and Rome for next summer and I want to lose 20 more pounds which will only require 4 per month. So far I’m on track, but having motivational problems!! Maybe something a good scripture memorization could help me fix!! Have a blessed week.

  • Thank you for the challenge Karen! There’s a verse from Romans 12 that I felt a tug for me to memorize since this August! I’ll commit to memorize it by May 1st.
    This week was good then on our day off I bought ice cream and had more than one serving. Next time I’ll go out for ice cream or just buy enough for one serving.
    I gained one pound.
    Thank you Liza for sharing the Praying God’s Word App. I bought it and like it!

  • Thanks for your post, it brought home to me that I need to dig a little deeper into the Bible if I want SOMETHING to stick!! Great challenge which I will take on:-) only lost .4 Sunday at weight in..bummer, but I’ll take any loss. Away last weekend and this one coming so eating out takes a toll. Thanks so much for your message today.

    Kathy C.

  • Hi Karen! Thanks so much for your post! I was one of the 608 women at She Speaks when you announced your goal to memorize the entire Book of James. Your message that morning was so incredibly powerful and honest – it really spoke to me! I could relate in so many ways and I have thought about you and the message you shared many times since then. While I may have a few verses and “sorta” verses tucked away, this inspires me to memorize longer passages of Scripture. Thanks again for being so real.

  • Hi there I am going to comet with you. God has been dealing with me on that anyways. My week has been a little rough I do good at work but when I get home there goes the problem of the mindless eating. Pray for me and I will pray for you.

    La Lu

    Robin

  • Thanks so muchfor this message. I really do love scripture I just lack the desire to open the bible daily Like I know I should. I will definitely take on this challenge to memorize a book or even just a chapter for now. I love the book of James so I’ll probably start there too.
    Thanks, Sarah.

  • What a great challenge Karen. I love the idea that Jolene mentioned about keeping a notebook of scripture to memorize and working your way through it. I think that is what I will do. When a scripture hits me I will write it in a special journal and work toward memorizing them.

  • Thank you for sharing how God is using Scripture memorization in your life! I also have been memorizing chapters (and once a book) of Scripture. At first it was to say I could do it (accomplishment), but then, God worked in my life to really make it come alive. Psalm 103 has been a favorite memorization that I have recited during difficult times in my life. My favorite verse: 8 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abouding in lovingkindness.” NAS
    Thank you for your encouragement!!

  • I love and identify with your “sorta” scripture. However, I am at a point that I want and need to intentionally draw closet to God. I surround myself with scripture on sticky notes, but have resolved to stick these words in my heart and mind instead. Thanks for being the brave one to admit this reality first!

  • I love the honesty in your words!
    I have also been unsuccessful at my attempts to memorize scriptures. Turns out for me, it is a pride thing. It sure is impressive when people can spout off a chunk of scripture, and it seems that by this stage of my walk I should be able to do the same.
    It became VERY apparent to me that God wanted me to spend some time in James. So, I have been really digging into the book of James and trying to find ways to apply it to my life. I am choosing a small portion to memorize as I try to apply it. The scripture that stood out to me that I should try to memorize? James 1:19-20 (NIV)
    “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
    The funny part of that? Look at KLOVE’s encouraging word for the day.

  • Great challenge Karen – I also have a lot of “sort know” verses tucked away like you. I was a Bible Quizzer in middle and high school and am so thankful for the scriptures I memorized then – I can still quote many of them word for word to this day. I am pondering what I want to memorize by May. I love that scripture you used from 2 Timothy 3. I have a friend who keeps a notebook of scriptures she wants to memorize – then she works on them one at a time. This might be a good time for me to start just such a notebook.