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The Lord put this great lady in my life. She is one of my mom’s best friends. She worked in my youth group for years, took me to summer camp, helped plan my wedding, camped out in the hospital waiting for Morgan to be born, and told us the last time we were home that she has printed off every last update we have ever written over the last 18 years!
My memory is fuzzy now, but I remember several summers that she challenged us in the youth group to do all sorts of things, and she gave us “points,” a sort of credit for each accomplishment, and it all worked toward our summer camp trip. Some of these challenges were taking notes in church and memorizing verses. And being the teens that we were, we scoured the Bible for verses that were short! A verse was a verse, right?
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)—we all memorized this one!
Memorizing a verse isn’t the end-all to knowing God’s Word, but it is a start. Understanding the meaning of the verse and applying it to your life really begins to hide in your heart.
“Pray without ceasing.” I remember thinking about this verse as a teenager. How can you possibly do anything without ceasing?
A few years later I became a mom and realized that praying without ceasing is a necessity for survival! No, really—growing up and realizing how hard daily life is causes you to face the fact that you can’t do everything on your own, and you have to depend on something. We can’t live this life alone, and I find that prayer is a default. We as believers in Christ can cast all of our cares (another memory verse—1 Peter 5:7) and our burdens on Christ and depend more and more on God and less and less on ourselves.
Just the other day I watched from our little jungle airstrip as a plane took Morgan out to the coast of our island. They have scary TV shows about how our mountains are among the “worst places to be a pilot.” (Reassuring isn’t it?) This was only the first of five flights he would make before he reached Florida. Most of those flights, including the two flights across the globe, he was going to make on his own.
We have flown so many hours over the last 14 years that I wish I had kept a log. I don’t care for flying, yet we do it all the time. It is how I get to the grocery store! But my prayer is always the same, “Lord you and only you can take us to ______. I am trusting in you.”
Some people trust in planes, and some people trust in pilots, but I have to choose to trust in the Lord my God. So in the middle of the night as Morgan boarded the flight that would take him to another country, I prayed the same prayer I have always prayed for our family: “Lord you and you alone can take Morgan home. I am so, so glad I can trust him to you.” It is still nerve-racking as a mom, but we pray and keep praying each step of the way.
Those verses that we hide in our hearts as young people play a part in our sanctification. They pop up in our memories, in our circumstances, and they become part of how we view the world. I am thankful for the women in my life who made it a priority to teach me God’s Word.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).
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