As busy parents, is it even possible to find time to memorize God’s word? With our days filled with household and work responsibilities, it can be challenging. Find out how Katherine Pittman, a mother of three, somehow manages to make Bible memory a priority amid her busy schedule.
Or you can listen to the Memorize What Matters podcast on your favorite player:Listen to “How Can Busy Parents Find Time to Read or Memorize Scripture?” on Spreaker.
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Resources Mentioned in the Interview
Learn about some really great memory tips from Katherine Pittman in her book, “Write the Word on My Heart.” Make sure to also check out her website, “Write the Word Website”, for resources that you can download for free.
- Katherine’s Book on Amazon: In this book, Katherine Pittman shares several Bible memory techniques including methods that your children will enjoy!
- Write the Word Website (free downloads): This is the official website of Katherine Pittman where you can check out some really useful Bible memory resources.
- Slugs and Bugs (Bible Songs): This is a family music brand that produces Scripture songs.
- Every Last Word (Bible songs): This is a Scripture song project that produces word for word Scripture songs.
Interview Transcript: Katherine Pittman on Bible Memory
Josh: I first ran into Katherine Pittman when I was looking for resources online to help me with my youngest, my five-year-old son, to encourage and inspire him to memorize Scripture even at a young age. And she has so many great and helpful tips. She even has a book Write the Word on My Heart, which we’re going to talk about in this interview. But what I was really encouraged about, was just her passion to see her kids enjoy and memorize Scripture as much as she and her husband did. But her story starts back with her dad, back many years ago when she was a little girl.
Katherine Pittman: I was the kid that woke up at 5:30 in the morning and without fail would walk out. And the only person that was up in my house at 5:30 in the morning, usually was my dad. And always, I mean it is a crystal-clear picture in my mind, he was always at the rocking chair, with his Bible open.
And that was just a picture I remembered, but I think what he did, now if it were me, with my own kids, what I’ve so often done is said, “oh, will you, you know, go back to bed?” or you know, “don’t you want to get cozy here and fall back asleep?”
But my dad, just… he invited me to come and sit in his lap, like time after time, after time. And he would take out, he had a set of colored pencils right next to, you know, right next to his study chair and he would take them out and he would usually turn to the parables, in the gospels and he would usually walk through and begin to draw out the parable for me.
And it just became this like, treasure time, I would just wake up and, “oh if I get up now, I can go and sit with dad.” And I mean, later on, I kind of remembered the verse like, “Let the little children come.”
And we are, I feel like as parents sometimes we’re so quick to send our kids away because we need my time. And yet, the examples of the Lord in Scriptures and the example I really saw through my dad is that, children are not a bother, they’re not an inconvenience, they’re not something that you need to set aside. You just come and you bring them and you involve them in what you’re doing. And my dad, really did that well.
And so, yes, I actually still have those drawings, I just took them out the other day to show my kids.
Katherine Pittman: I don’t have all of them, but I probably have about 30 or 40, just cartoon parables that he illustrated. And I, yeah, it’s probably my most treasured possession from childhood. And it really was my early fascination with the Bible, because here my dad was like, showing me, you know, you’d go and sit in church, and “oh, I know that story!” And so, I think it was that first impression on my heart, that the Bible wasn’t just for my parents, it was also for me.
Josh: Yeah. And I can completely resonate, cause I’ve got one son that is, an insanely early riser. And he interrupts my quiet time, every time and if I don’t have the right attitude about that, you’re right, I could easily just send him away and say, “Josiah, go do your own thing, daddy’s got his own time right now.”
But I love that example that your dad’s set and it’s a challenge for me and hopefully for anybody else that’s watching to think like, you know, that’s an opportunity that you know, you can either take that opportunity or you could pass it off, but it is an opportunity, and I really like that. You know, one of the things, I’ve got your book right here, that I got.
One of the parts of the book, let me see if I can even show it here, for anybody else that’s watching. It’s like, you’ve got 30 verses that you’re going through with kids, and at the end of, you know, each verse takes a week, and at the end of that, there’s like this coloring page that allows kids or adults or whoever’s going through it, I guess, to create something that they can take with them. Cause it’s perforated, you could literally tear it out and hang it on a wall.
And that’s just it’s, I don’t know why, but that never dawned on me as something that would actually help in the memorization process. But not only that, but like, actually make it more fun for kids. And you know, even now, giving you something that you can pull out and show your kids that you did with your dad.
Katherine Pittman: Right.
Josh: Tell me, like, what was it, cause you’re a homeschool mom, what was it that really led to the development of this kind of curriculum and how you’ve done it? And if you want even explain the whole process, cause I didn’t go through the whole details of it, but of how you, you know, ingrain Scripture in, with your kids.
Katherine Pittman: Yeah, sure.
So, there were a lot of things, I mean, I have been homeschooling for about seven years now. I set aside Scripture memory for a while, when I first was a mom for some obvious reasons, just, you know, time is shorter and I had three kids in five years and I wasn’t quite sure how it fit in, how to fit that one hour of time in.
But at the same time, I was really receiving so much from the Scripture that I had memorized earlier. Like all the time, I felt like, that was when the Word… I think it wasn’t until I had kids and the Lord began bringing the Word to me, even though I was in it a lot less, I felt like, those first few years of having children, I understood the value and the preciousness of the memorized Word, like no time in my life.
And I say that like, I was a pretty thorough memorizer, before I got married and the first couple years. And I did all the index cards and I had the box and, but a lot of it was just cause I though Bible memory was cool. And also, serving with youth and with new believers, it is really valuable to have that, right? And to be able to just quote a verse as you’re talking to someone, instead of having to go look it up, it’s really useful.
But I had set it aside for a while, and then when I had children, I set it aside, but then the Word just really started flooding back and I found, you know, I was getting, I ran into postpartum depression and the Word was, like there. And I had dark thoughts and the Word was there and I’d be up late at night rocking babies and the Lord would bring these verses to my heart. And even not being in the Word and all of a sudden, I’d ask the Lord a question and there was an answer that was there, that was from a word I hadn’t considered for a long time.
And I was just… I think I just became amazed at how living the Word is, and how much the Lord really uses it. And that’s when I said, “I want my kids to have this.”
And so, at that point we had been doing some Bible memory with my kids, like we were trying to do Scripture songs and things like that, and I just said, I want my kids to have like, that regular, something regular, something consistent, some system or something where the Word really becomes a part of them. Because I saw, I was like living out the blessing of maybe, five solid years of memorization.
And, I think I had started because I thought it was a need but I didn’t realize how valuable it was until I was like, in that spot where I wasn’t getting the Word and the Lord was still feeding me. And it was like, I said, I want my kids to have that. So that was kind of like the beginning behind putting Write the Word on My Heart together.
At the same time, I guess to jump back to you first question, yeah, I wasn’t a lot of homeschool stuff, and so, I was like, is there a way they can copy Scripture? And then wait a sec, is there a way they can copy Scripture with a focus where the goal is to memorize?
And so, that’s where I started and then of course, probably we have most of us that have done Scripture memory have seen where they pull out a verse and I was, I taught Sunday school too, I teach Sunday school, and I’ve used that method with my class, where we pull out a word, we pull out another word. And so basically, I just was trying to combing all kinds of things at once.
Katherine Pittman: And so, it is a learn one verse a week, and it is trying to combine, copy work, which is a skill a lot of homeschoolers use. But also, you know, on day two there’s a few words that get removed, in day three a few more, until you get to day five. And the coloring sheet was kind of a nod to Deuteronomy 6, with that, you know, you have it, you fix it, on your doorpost.
I mean, and you see this where, you know, you see it when you come and when you go, when you lie down and when you get up. The word of God, I mean, when you read through that, you really get this picture of like, they see it, they see it where they go. I don’t know literally how it looks like, right? But you get this picture, like you’re seeing the Word. And I just think of like, you know, even a verse that your parents might hang up on a wall somewhere. You might not think about it but subconsciously, you’ve memorized it, and maybe one day, the Lord will bring that back, and like, “oh, that’s what that verse was!”
Katherine Pittman: So that was the thought with the even why I wanted to make it removable is because like, my son has them on his ceiling. He has a bunk bed and he just put them up on his ceiling but he’s memorized them. The coloring sheet, I wanted it to be something that the parents could refer to often. In our house, we have them hanging up like, on one of those strings. And I can just, as we’re in a moment of discipline or correction or some, I just, hey remember your soft answer or remember. And so, it just, it was just something tangible that we could refer to. So, that was a little bit of the how the book works, I guess and the story behind it.
Josh: Yeah. No, I love that. I mean it, I remember, you know, having taped those 3×5 cards onto, you know, like our bathroom or something like that. At our house in Thailand, we actually have, we’ll do those 3×5 cards and my wife has something at the front door, that’s kind of, it’s got those strings and we just have those, what do you call them? Clothesline pins. You know, that hold each of them.
So, I mean obviously, there’s a lot of different ways to do that but I love what you’re talking about especially with Deuteronomy where it is, you know, just making it not just something that you’re saying under your breath or reciting, but it’s like, it’s literally there in front of you as you go along throughout your day.
One of the things you mentioned that I think is really important and it’s something that I had to wrestle with, even with my own young kids, you know, I’m kind of coming out of that phase, with now he’s 10 and 5, so they’re kind of, a little more self, you know, they can entertain themselves a lot, and so, I’ve got a little bit more time, but it’s during that first five years and I’m just coming at it from a perspective of a dad, from a mom, I know it can sometimes even be, you know, so much more and so much more of a burden.
What would you say or how would you encourage a mom, who maybe, didn’t have the same discipline that you might have had for those first five years, but is now finding themselves in a moment where they are in kind of this desert place and you know, they don’t have hours and hours of time to devote to this? Is that something where you’re saying, hey, just get what you can or just sit there and read, or how would you encourage a parent in that position?
Katherine Pittman: Yeah. You know, I think many of us are familiar with that verse that “The Lord gently leads those who are with young.” in Isaiah and I think that was really my experience. But something that I think was a revelation for me, early on in motherhood, was that whatever I was doing, I could bring the kids into it.
I mean, we kind of, mentioned, talked about that a little bit earlier, but originally when I had kids like when I first had kids, I didn’t understand how this was going to work, because the only way I knew how to have quiet time was alone, just me and the Lord. And so, if there’s a baby there, or if the baby woke up at five in the morning and now wakes up every, you know, all the time, I really didn’t understand how that worked. And that actually, I was depressed for a while, like is this the end of my relationship with the Lord? Like, is this the end of my growing in the Lord? No, it was just the beginning.
Katherine Pittman: But I didn’t know that at first. But one thing I discovered, actually when my oldest was two, one thing we started doing is we started doing a daily Bible story. We actually read the Bible as a family everyday and we have for the last five years, I mean every weekday, but then, we just started with a Bible story, we had something with big pictures, it was the read aloud Bible story series by Ella Lindvall.
And we read one story a day and the Lord ministered to me through those stories. So, I mean, this is like, written on a five-year old’s level. And then, and I was like in tears, like, “oh, like, this is for me!”
And so I feel like, if you make a point to set a habit of doing some daily time with the Lord, even if you’re not, you know, yes, get what you can out of the Scripture, but if you can make it a habit to bring the kids alongside and cultivate that for this time of the day, we’re going to do something to do with the word of God. I think whatever you purpose to do, the Lord will bless it and he will speak to you through it.
That was really my experience.
And we did use children’s Bible until we had exhausted about every children’s Bible I could find, and then, we started in the Word, after about five years when my oldest was seven. So that was, also, we used music a lot. There are so many good Scripture songs. People out there right now, probably people are familiar with Slugs and Bugs, and Seeds Family Worship. We started on Steve Green, I think he’s like, the original Scripture song guy. And there’s a group I discovered recently, called Every Last Word, and they’ve done actually recorded like really long chunks, but they actually musically make sense, and they’re really good.
But there’s so many groups out there and that’s something that I felt like, I could have playing in the background. I was actually, it was helping me memorize, actually, and it was useful to me. So, it’s like, yes, songs were really helpful and just cultivating that time and knowing that I can still keep this time and I just include the kids in it and the Lord will meet us. And I think there is great blessing when you purpose to give the Lord some part of your day with the family.
Josh: Yeah. Now for you guys, when you are intentional about that time, is that like is that a set time during the day that everybody knows, okay, at this time, it’s the 10 o’clock hour, we’re going to start, or does it kind of fluctuate throughout the day?
Katherine Pittman: It is, for us it’s right after breakfast.
Katherine Pittman: And you know, we’re a homeschooling family, so that’s a privilege that we have, that I realize not everyone has. But I’ve heard of people that do it around the dinner table. I think, one thing my mom did, actually, I was public school the whole way through, but as soon as I got home, my mom would take out a Bible lesson, and we would talk about it, for a little while, like while we were doing snack or something. I don’t remember if that happened every day, but it happened and I remember that.
The Bible lesson came out when I first got home from school, so even if you’re not a homeschooling family, I would encourage you to keep. I think the same time is helpful. You don’t have to, but I think, the same time is helpful, and I know when my kids were little, you know, I actually got that question form moms, like how do I even find time for me or to get in the Word?
And I just encourage them, use the first free five minutes that you have.
Like, it might be that you don’t get that, until the baby goes down for a quiet time at whatever, but at some point, you will have five minutes. And if you give the Lord the first moment, like, if you don’t give the Lord the first moment, you might not get another moment. But the Lord knows and I discovered that also, like, I used to think, oh, I need 30 minutes. But when I became a mom, I realized, the Lord actually knows, if I genuinely only have five minutes. Now if I wasted that time, like you know, on the phone or whatever, that’s different.
But, if I genuinely only have five minutes, and I come and I give the Lord that first five minutes that I have, it was like, wow, the Lord just beats you or he brings some of the Word to life, is because you’re honoring him with your time and he knows that. And I think he just blesses that. So yeah, the first free five, that’s what I used to tell moms.
Josh: That’s beautiful. Is your husband there with you or is this just you and your kids?
Katherine Pittman: So, on the weekends, he is, he’s not on the regular day to day, but one thing we do, is we kind of save our questions for dad. So, this has been something that’s been helpful to involve dad into the quiet time, because I know that’s kind of hard, right, if you’re the dad. And we’ve tried doing things around the breakfast table and sometimes we’ll get a little portion while dad’s still there, but usually, we like to linger over the Word and that’s best done, you know, probably after dad’s out the door.
So, every day as we’re reading through the Bible, usually there’s a question, not every day but often, there’s a question and I’ll say, oh, let’s save that one for dad at dinner. And so, around the dinner table, I’ll kind of remind one of the kids, oh yeah, what was that question you had? And then, we get to bring up the devo again and talk about the Word again and bring him right back into it. So, that’s been kind of, something neat we’ve done.
Josh: I really appreciate that, Katherine, because I mean, there are times when I just, it’s not for lack of desire, but I’m not necessarily present at the times when something like that would be happening, but I still want to be. Or I can imagine, even in some cases where maybe there’s one spouse that has a greater desire for this, than the other, there’s still a way that you can bring in both spouses without necessarily both having to be there at the same time. And I like that idea of like, okay, well let’s save a question, you know, that we’ll talk about that at the dinner table, that’s really cool.
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