Looking Back
Shirley Johnson Parker

What era of life are you in? High school, college, young married, new mom, a house full of children, stressed mom, aging parents, caregiver, single and happy, Retired!!!

As I look back on each of those eras, I see the common thread that makes my walk down memory lane a wonderful and happy trip. That thread woven through all those years is God’s Word. I lived with my grandmother in my early years when my parents divorced, and she introduced me to God’s Word. She helped me grow up believing that God loves me and will never leave me. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

I clung to that verse into my teens and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Through all the ups and downs of life, through the hard lessons and the easy ones, God spoke to me through His Word. His promises followed me as I leaned on Him and desired to follow His instructions. When I failed at times and veered away, He steadily wooed me back through His Word that I had “…hidden in my heart.” Psalm 119: 11

Through the years, I journaled and wrote out my prayers. Looking back over the many years, His Word was the steady, unchanging giver of peace and understanding that I always came back to when in need. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

During one of the challenging years of watching my nineteen-year-old son endure thirteen months of cancer treatment, I read Psalm 91 repeatedly to feel God’s peace. I practically lived in the Psalms during those days.

Another favorite is “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 and “Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn our ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.” Psalm 102:1-2

Looking back, I am so thankful for God’s Word and His love for me and for you.

*** Additional verses that were continually on my lips:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

I prayed these verses for all three of my children through the growing up years. Ephesians 3:16-19

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Let’s talk about it:

  • Can you recall a time when the Holy Spirit reminded you of a verse in a specific situation?
  • Would you commit to choosing a verse each morning to meditate on throughout your day?
  • Self-challenge: Suppose all our Bibles were removed. What verses can you recall from your memory bank?