Share-Your-Story Friday. Holly from MI

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I heard Janet speak at my church and was captivated by the obvious Power available in the Holy Spirit as I immediately knew that God was calling me to memorize His Word in large portions. In months just prior to her conference I had already begun to memorize paragraphs and sometimes chapters in response to homework I was receiving during counseling sessions at the church I was attending. Though I was usually given 1 or 2 verses to memorize as homework, I quickly discovered that 1 or 2 was not enough. I wanted more, which meant context, which meant at least a paragraph, which often became a chapter.

As I heard Janet quote from Galatians, I knew I was witnessing the Power and Enablement of Holy Spirit. In those moments I also profoundly realized that the healing and wholeness that I was so desperate for in Christ, and was gaining through memorizing dissected portions of the Word, would hasten and grow if I would dedicate time and energies to memorize whole books. I totally comprehended her zesty plea to the ladies present—that the Holy Spirit poured out Godʼs Message, not in single or coupled verses, but whole letters with whole context to the churches.
I committed to giving my mind to Jesus, line-upon-line, chapter-after-chapter, to press on eventually to whole books.

God has brought me to so many tearful confessions of sin in this work. God has healed me and sustained me and transformed my mind.
I am so grateful that Jesus has given us the Provision of His Spirit and I know that it is the enablement and possession of this Spirit that has equipped me in this work. I also know that as much as I am a fragile vessel—this memorization has become the very means by which I gain clear and sober thought that is not full of transgression, emotions that are well-governed now-by-the-Scriptures, and activity that is pleasing to God.

Example: Usually I hyper-focus-memorize new material and review-review-review many, many hours every day, but last week exhaustion plagued me. Literally. But I did not realize this plague. My thinking, by Saturday, had become erratic and full of self- awareness. It progressed to the point of a barrage of words spoken aloud that fed hatred and self-loathing. Thoughts raced and crucified me. Emotions grabbed and captured me. My past haunted me.
I looked over at my bedside table wanting to just give up—Matthew Bible Memory Cards, Chapters 1-5, untouched in the week of my exhaustion.
I picked them up. Tears.
Slowly I clutched them to my chest and quoted chapters 1-4. More tears.
Exhaustion remained, but somehow released. My past got lost in a more distant, more awesome past. Love of Jesus, my Savior won.
“Holy Spirit please, I beg You. Give me Your Breath.”
Accurate Hope took hold and changed my whole atmosphere as I began, again, what I believe is my work—to memorize the New Testament.

18 comments to Share-Your-Story Friday. Holly from MI

  • Chérie

    My dear sweet sister Holly. How were you able to take exact feelings I’ve had, and so eloquently morph them into words. The accuser himself never gets enough of taunting us with our past. I read a book many years ago about a man who had his two sons memorize famous speeches by former politicians, judges, and philosophers. I’ve thought many times that I could’ve memorized every speech ever given and the accuser would still be berating me and I would then be chiming in mentally with my own accusations regarding my past. Obsessive worry and regret over and over like a broken record, as well as other mental and emotional ploys of the evil one. Now, I’m too busy memorizing, and these ploys are met with me quoting a chapter rather than going down a path of self-destructive thinking.
    You have begun a journey that may not get easier, but will get sweeter and sweeter. One of the verses that has become so important for me is Romans 8:16, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” When you quoted Matthew 1-4 (SO FANTASTIC HOLLY), your spirit was testifying with the Holy Spirit and negativity had no choice but to flee because you are the daughter of the highest court, the daughter of the King of Kings. 
    Woo hoo!! KEEP MEMORIZING! 

    • Holly Steadman

      Chérie, thank you for your encouragement! Truly the Word is our best engagement against the accuser and I am increasingly grateful that Holy Spirit empowers and enables us to memorize and own this offensive and defensive weapon. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. THEREFORE put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth… In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one… and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” I appreciate your discernment that the enemy of souls was on the prowl. On this exampled occasion it was God’s Word through Matthew that helped me restore self-control and alertness. I love that verse from Romans! Oh, how Holy Spirit does testify! “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us–that we should be called children of God!” Chérie, that is what we are!!! Hallelujah! And that really is the greatest aspect of Bible Memory. The knowledge and the witness within that brings us further and deeper in to knowing the supreme Maker of heaven and earth, the One who is and who was and who is to come–The Almighty. Honestly, nothing has brought me face-to-face with the Trinity, Father-Son-Spirit, so tenaciously as this hyper focused pursuit of Bible memorization. Sometimes I am just so aware that it is my very brokenness, this utter fragility of heart and mind, that He has allowed and is now containing within this commitment that begs me to beg Him for more, always more. I cannot get enough of knowing Him who loves me. Nor can I get enough of His Word as it brings me to One who loves me. Jesus is Lord–and how awesome He is!

  • Mark Zinke

    Thanks for the encouragement. I so relate to your early scripture memory as counseling homework. I started similarly, the man discipling me introduced me to some memory verses. He encouraged me to me memorize 1 verse a week. This new task, passing the bible through my mind, work so well – gave me so much hope, that in a short time I had memorized the 60 verse set and had to get more. Like you I too transitioned into memorizing bible books.

    I also relate to your “tearful confessions.” Daily I find myself reciting a passage and seeing something in it that I need to do (or not do) and then asking God to help me live right. In addition I daily find myself praising and thanking God as I recite passages.

    Your realization that scripture memorization has become the means to your ability to think clear sober thought, uncluttered by sin and self has become my understanding too. I usually see this truth combined with the experience you note in your final paragraph. Often its something like this: I find myself not feeling to good and notice I’m thinking self focused thoughts – be it self pity, anger, discontent, lust, mean thoughts, the list goes on. To address this, I push myself to recite Psalm 119. I say push myself because when I’m thinking about self I’m not usually too eager to think about God. It takes a couple of verses and I am confessing and thanking God. It always works the same.

    Peace, Mark Z.

    • Holly Steadman

      Peace to you too, Mark. It really thrills me whenever I hear that someone has gotten counseling that (1.) gives homework, because real growth happens outside of the counseling session and that (2.) has Bible memory as a part of the homework. This just opens the counselee to the Holy Spirit as foremost Companion and Counselor.
      “Passing the Bible through my mind.” Love that! Amen! Agree! And one can’t get too much or enough of that!
      I think sometimes people can misunderstand the Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit in memorizing large portions of Scripture. “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword.” It really does cut into us. It really does deeply penetrate every aspect of us. By its very living, breathing Essence (God-Breath)… as we are seeking Him in it, we cannot merely learn it rote. It brings us to confession, and also as you said, “praising and thanking God.”
      Psalm 119 (a perfect description of Bible Memory Spirit/self impact) is on the agenda here, along with so many other O.T. passages, after the New Testament! 🙂

  • Lise Anderson Brocious

    Holly, Thank you so much for sharing your story. What an incredible enouragement to see God work through you. I love it that this committment “begs me to beg Him for more, always more.” Memorizing has brought me too a hunger to know Him more and more. After not being able to memorize more than a single verse I now find, like you, that memorizing a chapter is not enough. Praise God that He does this work and sustains us and gives us joy from it.

    • Holly Steadman

      Lisa, thank you for your kind words. Often, just prior to working on new memorization or review-review-review, I speak to our God aloud and say, “Give me Your Breath.” I love the Text in 1 Peter that says, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.” That just makes me tremble in a good, good way. I tremble at the Text because it IS possible. And I also just have to admit–so many times when I speak my own words they fail.
      God’s Word does not fail. Every prophecy will come to be experiential fact.
      I’m so very glad that He causes us to hunger, and this work does satisfy, yet even in satisfaction we want, as you said, “to know Him more and more.”
      It’s so beautiful that the Holy Spirit has transitioned you through His Power and Enablement to now memorize beyond the single verse and even beyond the chapter.

  • Chris Gray

    Thanks for being so transparent and real in your testimony and encouragement to us all! God’s Word is alive and active stirring us to confession, worship, intercession and supplication. Loved this article I read about meditation on God’s Word by George Mueller:

    Keep on keepin on in the strength of The Lord in hiding His Word in your heart and may The Lord richly bless you as you continue to bless others with fountains of Living Water.

    God bless you Holly and thanks again for taking the time to share your story with us all!

  • Holly Steadman

    Transparency can be so hard, but it is the Word of Truth that makes us willing to be real. It is funny, I did have some concern that I had been too transparent–too real. And now, so grateful that the Lord moved me to be willing.
    Thank you so much for the George Mueller link. Wow. So perfect regarding Bible memorization.
    He says, “Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental, communion with the Lord.”
    I’m so grateful that the Lord brought Janet to the church I was attending. And that she, in the Power of Holy Spirit, provoked me!
    I will never be the same.
    And. That. Is. A. Good. Thing.

  • Richie Malone

    Holly, how inspiring! God’s words are our sword and shield and you took this to heart as you reached for your weapon in your example to ward off negativity with the only thing you knew would really work, scripture. As we press on and memorize more, God does take us into himself more and make us desire him more. I am delighted that you are discovering this way of life and I am cheering you on. To know the entire New Testament is quite an ambitious goal and I am sure, with the Spirit’s help, you are on your way! Thank you for opening your heart to us. I can so relate and I am sure many people who are reading this and not commenting are thinking the same thing.

    Chris, I followed the link above and read about George Mueller. I know this guy. I read his biography a few years ago and was floored by the way he lived. This excerpt lines up exactly with what I know about him. Here was a man who fed on God’s word and depended on it fully. Thanks!

    • Holly Steadman

      Richie, yes-yes-yes, Scripture works! I love the truth of your words, “God does take us into HImself more and make us desire HIm more.” He is good that way. And how very much He does desire this intimacy with His children.
      Thank you for cheering me!
      I am so incredibly encouraged at the genuine responses to my story.
      As the Lord enables–I will complete the New Testament. It is actually quite hilarious–when I started, I planned on doing it in 1 year. After many months into the journey, I switched to the 5 year plan. Now? LOL, and with great joy, only the Lord knows!
      Every line, every verse, every paragraph, every chapter, every book is just what I need in-the-moment(s) of every single day and week and month and year that He has planned. Truth is: I LOVE every single Text memorized BEST as I’m memorizing it. And also, every single Text reviewed.
      The days are quickly coming when it will be a necessary dependency to know the Word of Truth and to walk by faith and according to His Spirit as George Mueller did. May we train now for the heavier spiritual battle that is coming. Even my wrestling that brought me to tearful reciting of Matthew 1-4 was training. And the good, good news is: JESUS WINS!

  • Leah Plemmons

    Such a delight to find your story here– and to know you personally!!! I heard Mrs. Pope on Mr. Gary Chapman’s program a few months back and was inspired to begin memorizing again. It’s not quite as easy as when I memorized as a child, but it is amazing how that when I make it a priority and ask for God’s help, the words STAY and SPEAK!

  • Holly Steadman

    Leah!!! Dear, sweet woman of God! I am thrilled that you heard Mrs. Janet Pope a few months back and she inspired you as she did me! And so happy you are memorizing again!
    I am certain that your memory work will get easier the further you go. The best part is, as you say, “the words STAY and SPEAK!”
    Speak those truths over that chubby, little darling grandson when you see him!!!
    P.S. John-Mark got baptized!!!
    (for everyone else–JM is my son, 15)
    I am hoping to hold coffee house atmosphere Bible memory meetings soon, and will definitely let you know the specifics. It would be so wonderful to see you again and to have Him join our hearts together in this way!
    God is so good, Leah! So-so good!

  • jean

    I’ve been “thinking” about memorizing more bible verses, but never seem to do it. You’re story has been inspiration to me.
    One of my favorite “go to” bible verses is Phil.4:8 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things…….When I’m in need, I remember these words in Gods word, and that’s what keeps me focusing on Him. He is all of that and more….

  • Holly Steadman

    Jean-This “thinking” you are doing about memorizing is in fact that verse. It is true. Noble. Right. Pure. Lovely. Admirable. Excellent. And praiseworthy. I have written your name down and will pray for you every day for 40 days–that Holy Spirit will help you do it. It is so beautiful that already He helps you when you are in need. Me too!
    How good and kind our God is to have supplied us with His Spirit and His Word.
    I was continually pursuing rescue as much as I was also often in self-destruct mode, even as a believer in Jesus Christ. Memorizing the Word of Truth has been the ONLY persistent, ongoing, dependable, secure, unfailing Help to retrain my brain, and then to captivate my passions, and then progressively to regulate the things I do.
    This I know:
    Jesus LOVES to make something divinely beautiful of a human mess.
    He is Lord.
    And oh-how-He-LOVES you.
    Oh-how-He-LOVES you.
    He LOVES you.
    I will be praying for you Jean, today all-the-way-through April.

  • Shari Blodgett

    Holly, thank you for sharing your heart–and so transparently–as to how Scripture memory is changing your thinking in a powerful way. The Lord is doing such a work in your heart! I love how the Lord does that! Memorizing Scripture has been for me so life-changing in the area of my thoughts–to lift my thoughts (about myself/fears/etc.) to Christ (Who He is and what He has done). “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6

  • Holly Steadman

    Shari, Thank you! I am with you in the life-changing aspect of memorizing Scripture! And I’m so, so grateful that the most powerful aspect of the good work in each of us is His to perfect and complete, as the verse you shared says. Love that verse! Thank you!

  • I am also plagued by those thoughts if I am not memorizing (I had a difficult week this past week with neglecting putting the Word to heart, and I felt it, oh – I felt it!)

    Press on, sister! 🙂

  • Holly Steadman

    Jennifer, thank you for letting me know I am not alone in this extreme desperation that can only be met in the saturation of the Word! In the Lord’s grace I will press on. And you too! –That we may be regularly, habitually un-plagued. 🙂