With a newborn in my arms and a spring sports schedule that makes me want to take a nap at the very sight of it, I gathered our three older boys around the calendar to help them prioritize what they want to play.
While flipping through the pages of the calendar, one of my boys exclaimed, “Look Mom! Mother’s Day is coming up!. What do you want this year?”
Several ideas immediately came to mind! There are a few items I would love to get for the house. There are a few cute outfits I’ve been eyeing at my favorite store in town. And I still have my eye on that paddleboard that feels like a must-have this summer.
But just before I opened my mouth I was reminded of something I was told several years ago by an older and wiser friend named Annesely who has already raised three boys into adulthood. She said, “When my children would ask me what I wanted for my birthday, every year I would tell them the same thing: ‘Please, don’t buy me something. Instead, pick a Bible verse, memorize it, and recite it to me on my birthday. Writing God’s Word on your hearts is the best gift you could give me.’”
And so, rather than rattling off the items from which my husband and boys could choose, I asked, "Hey boys, do you know what makes me happy?"
They had several ideas. "Watching us play sports." "Seeing us be kind to each other." "Eating ice cream with us."
All very true! But I wanted to dig deeper so I asked again, "But do you know what makes me even happier than those things?"
I had a captive audience now, so I continued, "Being your mom is the greatest joy and privilege in my life. Watching God work in your lives as He grows you into the men He created you to be brings me crazy joy. I love who you are and I love who you are becoming ........... So the greatest gift you could give me for Mother's Day would be choosing a Bible verse that you want to memorize, storing it in your heart, and sharing it with me on Mother's Day. That would make me the happiest mom on Mother’s Day.”
Scripture memory isn't a foreign practice in our home. It’s something we aim to do with our boys regularly so I wasn't suggesting that Mother’s Day should be the one time each year when they memorize Scripture.
However, we haven’t been as committed to the practice as I’d like, so this was a good opportunity to remind my boys why it means so much to me to see them hide God’s Word in their hearts.
Like all structured spiritual practices, Scripture memory is not about obedience to the practice itself. And the purpose of Scripture memory is not to put another notch in our holy belt so that self-righteousness and dry religion can take root.
Rather, Scripture memorization helps keep our hearts intricately woven with God’s. It gives us immediate access to the love and hope and comfort that his Word provides. It empowers us to fight sin. We hide his Word in our hearts so that we may stay close to his heart.
"I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees."
So what's the best way my boys can honor and celebrate me on Mother's Day? Do what makes my heart the most happy! Draw closer to the heart of God.
I can't wait to see which verses they choose. And who knows, maybe I'll still ask for that paddleboard too :-)
Happiest Mother's Day, my friends!