The line reaches halfway across the front of the church, bustling with people. Mothers carry their babies on their hip, one hand holding colorful cards with verses…lips moving as they silently recite to themselves this week’s verse. Children stand and fidget, eyes closed, verses scrolling through their minds. Fathers listen to their sons recite, then take their turn…it’s a scene we see every Sunday morning at church between services: Memory Madness.
At home, we gather each morning before school begins. We pray, read from the Word, and then the cards come out. Little book-mark sized strips of cardstock, some laminated, in different bright colors litter the table. Each card contains ten verses to memorize, one per week. We start the day reciting the week’s verse, taking turns around the table. Youngest has her own card, the same theme with shorter verses, more manageable for young memorizers. We go around the table, once, again. Then we recite last week’s verse, to make sure it’s stuck…and every few days, we go over verses from previous weeks to brush up on those, too.
Later in the day, at dinner, we pray over the food. Then, Hubby pulls out the Bible and reads the Proverbs for the day. We discuss them, think about them, apply them to what is happening in our lives. After dinner, the Memory Madness cards come out again. We work on the verses as a family, memorize them together.
We carry the cards, one in the car, one in my purse, one in Hubby’s wallet. We pull them out when we’re stuck in traffic, when we’re waiting in line, when we have a long drive. The cards have become a part of our life, these stacks of dogeared cardstock mark places in our Bibles, previously memorized cards are kept in the back of a drawer secured together with a paper clip, they turn up frequently on the kitchen counter and occationally they are found in the wash. Some day, when the kids are grown and have families of their own, the cards will bring back memories of those mornings and evenings spent together in pursuit of memorizing the Word of God, writing it on our hearts.
And yes, some weeks we lose track and yes, some Sundays we frantically memorize in the car and yes, some Sundays a few of us are unprepared, or are working back in Sunday School and don’t make it in time to do our verse. But we catch up, we do. Middle Child has made it a personal goal to never miss, and she will make it rain or shine to that Memory Madness line, no matter what.
At the end of ten weeks of reciting verses, the challenge begins. Can we Mad Smash? Recite all ten verses in a row, with no prompts? I am amazed at how hard my kids work toward this, and at how they succeed. Youngest, who struggles so with the written word, will work so hard and even though I wonder at times if she will make it, she always does. Ten verses recited!
I am very thankful for the Memory Madness program at our church. The emphasis on memorizing scripture is a blessing, and the program offers a challenge that families can work on together. It also offers rewards: points are earned with every verse, and extra points are earned when you “Mad Smash”. The points can be redeemed at a Memory Madness “store,” where prizes are purchased. It’s amazing how valuable a cheap, plastic toy becomes when it represents weeks of work, committing the Word to memory!
There are times when we memorize verses apart from Memory Madness, and I am excited to try some of the memory aids mentioned in this post by Ann Voskamp, and others that bloggers have shared in related posts. But it is a real blessing to have a church program dedicated to challenging families to memorize the Word together!