Surprised by a joyful discipline

Welcome to Tending Tuesday!

This week I want to introduce you to Jodie Cooper. She is an incredible sinner saved by a more incredible God. After years of painful misunderstandings about the Christian life, a crisis in her marriage finally led her to understand the gospel and it’s power to change lives. She now produces kid’s books and resources that connect faith to our daily lives, helping parents to disciple their families at home. You can find her books plus plenty of free gospel centered resources at her website (listed below).

Here is how Jodie tends her way by the Word…

Twenty-twenty brought many surprises. Last year I had the joy of falling into a new spiritual discipline that has now become a treasured part of my life.

In the throes of lockdown, my three year old son and I were sitting in our house, going a little crazy. He has a very long picture book, filled with fun rhyme and captivating illustrations of its woodland characters – a special favourite of his. He picked it up off the book shelf and bought it over to me.

Not again! I thought. I told him he could read it to me this time. And to my great surprise, he turned to the first page and started to do just that. I was shocked.

He of course couldn’t read but had committed the whole book to memory. Word for word.

After the shock wore off I started to think about this incredible gift he had, of paying attention to and memorizing such long sections of text. In that moment I decided that we needed to put it to better use.

I shut his book and grabbed my Bible. I opened to Psalm 1. We made up fun actions together, then practiced reciting it, call and repeat style, for as long as he could stay interested.

I really enjoyed the process.

That night at dinner, we recited it to his Dad. We practiced it together every day, helping to cement it in our memory banks. On a long car trip the following week we started on Psalm 2.

I enjoyed it so much that in my morning devotion time I started memorizing Galatians.

This new, accidental, spiritual discipline has surprised me. I never thought I could enjoy the process of scripture memory as much as I do.

I’ve been surprised by the new relationship it has given me with God’s word. It’s hard to explain. But the act of memorizing, of turning the passage over and over in your mind and being able to come back to it at any point in your day-hanging the washing, putting the kids to sleep, driving to the shops-has been like unearthing new treasure to me.

I have noticed things that I never did through simply reading these passages or following a study on them. And the things I’ve noticed have hit me like a ton of bricks.

In Galatians, Paul’s love for the people there has blown my mind. He said that he loves them with the very affections of Christ Jesus. Now that is not something that you can just read and move on from. That simple statement weighs heavy on my soul.

It brings into light the fact that my relationship with believers is not what it should be, that Paul’s attitude towards sharing the gospel and suffering and those who partner in the gospel with him are so far from my own. But it wasn’t until I took the time to slow down with the Word, that the weight of this truth hit me.

The wisdom of aging, watching my children grow into young people, has helped me to reflect on the formative power of the things we choose to feed our souls with.

What we feed our souls matters.

Worldly influences are obviously dangerous. But beyond that, rushed, pre-prepared devotions can be like junk food to the soul. They will not sustain you.

I know, because I tried to live off them for years, finding no satisfaction for my hunger. In 2021, I encourage you to spend time slowing down with God.

Read. Meditate. Memorize. Spend time walking-not running-in the cool of the day with Him. Let the word of God dwell richly in you, and allow your soul to be fully satisfied, as with the richest of foods.

Get a fun freebie from Jodie HERE.

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