Share-Your-Story Friday. Susie from OH

For several years, I had struggled with my faith—not in Jesus, but in Scripture. As someone who had been hurt by the Church, I didn’t feel confident that the Church had rightly protected and passed on God’s truth. The more questions I asked, the less satisfying the answers felt, and the more I felt myself floundering for solid ground. In God’s grace, He led me through some wilderness before eventually meeting me in my need by relieving my burden of doubt.

In the wake of that relief, cancer struck, and I found myself in another wilderness of chemotherapy, radiation, and a rather grim prognosis. It became imminently more urgent to rest on God’s promises, but I found that in those years of skepticism and doubt where I neglected God’s word, I didn’t quite remember what God’s promises were.

At the beginning of 2013 (in the midst of my chemo treatments), I stumbled across Ann Voskamp and her scripture memory challenge. As I read her thoughts on memorization, I knew that was my next step. I knew that I needed the Bible living inside me.

So, I started with the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Three chapters, a lot of familiar words. I started to learn them. Precisely. And the better I knew it, the more it blazed relevant in every situation of my life.

I entered my season of gluttony on God’s word. Shoving it in my mind, hoarding words, working them over in my brain again and again without analysis—only consumption. Annie and I, before every nap time, reading and hearing, bringing words into life.

After Matthew, it was the book of Philippians. Then, a few chapters in John. Now I’m in Isaiah 43, and I want to stay there forever. For me, it’s whole chunks of Scripture, not scattered verses. My goals will be a minimum of a chapter, but hopefully strain for the whole book. (Except Isaiah. With four kids and a baseball-sized chunk of my brain missing, I cannot manage the book of Isaiah.)

I’ve fallen in love with these words. I don’t understand Isaiah 43 at all, but it is beautiful and it is alive and it’s living in my heart and I can’t speak it without worship. Frankly, I don’t care what it means—I just know it’s God’s.

And God gave it to me. And I’m never letting it go again.

“when you pass through the waters, God will be with you;
and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

(photo credit: Shannon Perlow)

20 comments to Share-Your-Story Friday. Susie from OH

  • Chris from TX

    Dear Susie, What a blessed delight to read your story and God glorifying testimony! Thanks for sharing with us and I pray the Lord will continue to fill you up and pour through you to others His Living Water. Yahweh Rapha – Our Lord who heals is able to heal you – and I pray He will – Ephesians 3:20-21. I am sure you shine brightly for Jesus…….. “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Psalm 19:8

  • Lise Anderson Brocious

    Susie, thank you for your encouraging words and your willingness to share your story. I love “And God gave it to me. And I’m never letting it go again.” I have such a hard time explaining to others that I don’t memorize by my own ability. God really does give it to me and once He has given it to me and blessed me with that glimpse of Him I don’t ever want to let it go. Praise God for giving us the desire and hunger for Him and then doing the work and giving the blessing!

  • Shari B

    This is beautiful, Susie. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love what you said about Isaiah 43,”and I can’t speak it without worship.” What a beautiful work the Lord is doing in your heart through His Word!

  • Ginger

    Thank you Susie for sharing your story! Every story is such a blessing and a testimony of how God meets each one of us right where we are. When we cry out to Him He delivers us. God bless you!

  • Donna

    The Spirit in me was making my heart beat so strongly as I read your words. God is so glorious that He would allow bad things to happen to us so that we would find Him and allow His Word to heal us. I wish I knew you. I would hug you and talk bible!!!! I love God’s Word so much and I adore the way you called it your “season of gluttony on God’s Word”. Eat on Sister!!! My love to you!

  • Susan Turner

    Susie, what a powerful story. I love how you describe it as “gluttony on God’s Word.” Gluttony in which God would approve I am certain : )
    I also love that you don’t understand it all and that it is beautiful and you don’t care what it means. This is freeing to me – not to have to understand every word but that it is God’s and that is good enough. God bless you, Susie.

  • Sue Bond

    Susie, This is so beautifully written. In your few words, not only did my eyes tear up but I also laughed out loud! I laughed at your “season of gluttony on God’s word” only because that is exactly how I feel too yet never found the way to say it. I love, love, love reciting His word and through it, worshiping our God who sits on the throne.
    Thank you for sharing your story and your heart.
    May the Lord richly bless you and your beautiful family!

  • Hi everyone, Just letting you know that Susie is out of the country for a few days. She will either check in when she is able, or she will comment when she gets home. So check back in.

  • So many beautiful thoughts here! I have a problem with gluttony in God’s Word too, I can’t seem to limit myself to work in one chapter, or even one section! I don’t always understand what it means either, but I’ve decided to live in that tension and LOVE His Words regardless!

    Isaiah 43 sounds beautiful – I’ll have to check it out! I memorized Isaiah 55 last month and it was wonderful, you might want to have a look :).

  • Sarah Whitworth

    As the tears stream, I can’t begin to express what your words here mean to me. Thank you so much for this most beautiful description of power of God’s word. Your example pushes me to start today. With much appreciation!

    • Hi Sarah, So glad to see you on the blog. Welcome to our community of memorizers. I hope that you will come back and find great encouragement and practical help in your journey of memorizing Scripture. We have stories every Friday, and other posts every Monday and Wednesday.

  • Jim Moore

    I came here off of Ann VosKamp’s weekend multi-vitamins. I have never been good at anything I have tried to do, but have been given a lot of gifts. One of those gifts was a class with an 88 year old man at church. He would talk about things, and weave in scriptures, quoting them accurately, and usually remembering about where they were. One young woman finally asked him how he did it. He said that he committed his life to Jesus at the age of 7, and at that time, he decided that he should read through the bible once a year. At first, he didn’t understand a lot, but the word can wash us (Eph 5:26), so he let it wash him. Later, as he became interested in the bible, he studied it, prepared for classes, etc, but always continued just to read it once a year. That was a real encouragement as I started out. And, though there have been times where I have grown bitter that God’s promises seem to be for everyone else (and I stopped reading), God still blesses my reading (or listening, as I have a long commute to work). Somehow, I know He is near. So this is just to say that memorization has never worked for me, but God’s word, however we get it, never returns to Him empty. Hallelujah!

  • Dear Susie,

    Now that’s beautiful! You are brave! Thanks for sharing your story!

    And I thought you’d like the song “When You Walk Through the Water” as performed by Allison Durham,

    The song is based on the Bible verse you shared! 🙂

    God bless you! 🙂



  • Vickie

    Thank you Suzie from Ohio, I’m Vickie from Ohio and I too was encouraged by Ann Voscamp regarding scripture memorization. I started with Romans 8 and added Philippians 4 and now am working on John 1. The large chunks of God’s Word work for me because I believe verses are place together for a reason. The meaning of each verse communicated by its placement with the preceding and following verses teach me so much more every time I recite them. As I continue to hold on to them He never ceases to amaze me by showing me something new and I so feel Iike it is an act of worship to speak His words back to Him. As days go by and experiences occur, those scriptures He has caused me to commit to memory come alive because they are the answers to my questions, doubts and fears. I do not have to understand the answers because the power and comfort of His Word is always enough. Thank you for the article because I was afraid that the way I felt was a little weird. To be a glutton for His Word surely can’t be a bad thing. God bless you!

    • Hi Vickie, So glad you visited our community. There are over 100 of us who are also memorizing passages and books for the same reasons you mentioned. Memorizing verses that go together takes us deeper into God’s Word and shows us things we don’t see when we just memorize one verse. Blessings to you and I hope you will come back. We are here to encourage and lift each other up on the journey. Janet

  • Mema Jeanne

    Alexis, I just listened to the song! Thank you; I’d never heard it, but I got “God bumps” when she sang out “I am the God who lifts you up, and I’ll never let you down.” Oh! How I know that truth!!! I’ve joined in on Ann’s Mini Vitamin week-end and was touched by this memorizing scripture gal, Janet. I too am memorizing scripture this go round with Ann. Last year, I did the Siesta memorization with Beth Moore, and two years before that–one verse a month with Wendy Pope. Having God’s Word in my heart and mind makes such a difference in my daily life. At times I forget the exact words, but I just get my cards back out or look in the Scriptures. I plan on putting my name on Jane’s blog site. I am a grandma of 3 beautiful, of cours, grandchildren, but my name came from ” six sissies” from around the US who stay in touch through email, prayers, and a love for our Savior.
    Mema Jeanne

  • Mark Zinke

    Susie, You remind me that when I turn to God, when I talk to him reading and mostly reciting his Words, He is quick to assure me of his presence. Isaiah 43:1b – 2 is one of the most assuring passages I know: Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name – you are mine. This is the hope of Jesus – the gospel. The mighty God purchased us and we are his. He is mighty creator and maintainer of all that is. He makes mountains and babies and wind and planets and we are his. He will be with us in the fire and the flood. He will not let us go. I am so glad you know God and can rest in his securing ownership. Peace, Mark Z

  • Suzie,
    Our Bible study group is studying Isaiah this year. What a journey through His Word you are on! I hope that you continue to devour His Word as you fight to be a mom, wife, cancer fighter. Prayers for you sister.