When I was 7 years old, one day after school my father gave me a small box wrapped in brown paper sack, with what looked like a poem on it, and some little drawings of flowers and hearts and such.
“What’s this, Daddy?” I asked him.
“It’s a present for you, baby,” he said. “But before you open it, you have to memorize the Psalm written on it. It’s the 23rd Psalm from the Bible, and everyone should know it by heart.”
“Okay!” I said, and ran off to study and memorize the Psalm that he had written on the gift.
Well, it didn’t take me long. And to this day, 40 years later, I remember the words of the 23rd Psalm, but of course don’t remember what the present was that he gave me. (I think it was a puzzle.)
Here are the words to Psalm 23:
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for Thou art with me,
Thy rod, and Thy staff,
they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou annointest my head with oil,
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
This is the first Psalm I ever learned, and the first Scripture I ever learned. I began reading the Bible quite a bit after that, fascinated with the stories of Noah and the Ark, Joseph’s coat of many colors, and the Proverbs of Solomon. I especially liked the ones that told me how children are to love and respect their parents, and of course, how a woman of God should act, loving God and loving her husband and family. *I* wanted to be a wife and mother someday!
Shortly after that I was baptized, on July 12, 1981, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, in the Snake River, by a fire breathing, hard preaching Pentecostal preacher. And so at the tender age of 7, I gave my life to the Lord Jesus.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.