Memories from the past: MAY 1987 My husband of 40 years is gone.
I am desperate! Without hope. I can barely think logically, as my thoughts whirl in circles.
My husband has been telling me in actions; now it is in clear words: he does not love me –
and he is GONE! This marriage of 40 years is DEAD, FINISHED, OVER.
How can I put my mind and thinking process together? I don’t even have words to pray, except for “HELP!”
The Holy Spirit hears my cry, and a memory creeps into my terrified and numbed brain .
“Psalms 23 is a spiritual antibiotic.” This is true, whatever the problem one is facing.
As I remember this lesson , I begin writing it down.
Directions: Copy out the words of Psalms 23 onto several pieces of paper. Put one of them on my nightstand, one of them on the mirror (or next to it) in the bathroom, one on the fridge, one in my wallet, one in my pocket.
Dosage: Pick up paper and read verbally (this can be done quietly or LOUD – dependent upon me) all of Psalms 23, thinking about the words. That is all… just read it verbally. Not to study – just read.
Frequency of dosage: every 4 hours or as follows – Early morn, before or when getting up Mid-morning Noon – during meal Mid-Afternoon Supper – during meal Before sleeping: I sit on the side of the bed while taking the dosage (so I won´t fall asleep.)
IMPORTANT! As with all antibiotics, when one starts feeling the results of medication, one wants to quit the medication. KEEP ON WITH THE DOSAGE FULL 30 DAYS.
When you start to feel better, do not stop dosage! If you miss a dose, pick up on the routine at next time due.
Patient can repeat this antibiotic as needed.
* * * * * * * *
I take the anti-biotic. In about two weeks I feel better: still in sorrow and anguish, but beginning to think more clearly and have more clear-cut goals. I think about stopping the dosage, but keep on. Good thing that I did!
By the end of the 30 days, God’s words in Psalms 23 become part of my daily life. They pass from my brain to my heart, soul and spirit; then they start changing me.
My primary focus is now upon my God and Lord; not upon my husband. That sheep Jesus is carrying – is me!
This was in 1987. It is now 2015. I´ve used this antibiotic many times in these intervening years. Each time, it changes my life, brings new understanding, always brings more spiritual health, which also affects the health of the physical body.
I’m sitting at the table in the kitchen nook. The sunshine is streaming in windows as I look out at our small back yard. I love this little corner of our home.
Crazy as it sounds, this little corner is my “retreat”, especially so at this time of the morning.
My three older children left about 15 minutes ago, going to school. My two youngest are still asleep, my husband has gone to class, and I am actually by myself in a quiet house – at least for a few minutes, and I an happy!
After clearing the table of family breakfast debris, my cup of coffee is ready, as I pop a slice of raisin cinnamon bread into the toaster setting on a corner of the table. My notebook, Bible and commentary are opened , taking up most of the space. I managed to squeeze a saucer in (the table is small) and it’s waiting for that toast to butter, then some honey and a slice of cheese. Ah! my breakfast is ready. I take a bite of that delicious toast, a sip of coffee, then open the commentary for the comments on the next scripture in my study on PRAYER. I read the verse, look it up in the commentary, then write the summation of my own thoughts in the notebook. I’m in the process of going through the New Testament doing this. It is rich! I’m learning so much… and simply by writing down my thoughts, they remain more permanent in my mind.
My coffee and toast are about gone (the coffee got a little cool as I was writing, so I had to put it into the microwave for 30 seconds, so I can enjoy it to the end .) I debate about another piece of toast, but hear some noises upstairs. The smaller children are awakening… I quickly pick up my study material and put it up high enough little hands can’t reach it. (This time I use the top of the refrigerator.)
Wiping my hands on my apron, I run up the steep stairway and start my day, praying as I go. I’m going to need His help: I’m so thankful I can talk to Him. . .I wouldn’t make it without these conversations.
Pray without ceasing … talking to the Lord all day. Much better than talking to myself!
Portland, Oregon 1966
Portland, Oregon 2015 49 years later
It’s morning and the apartment is quiet: a sharp contrast to most of my years as wife and mother. My husband didn’t sleep well last night, so he’s getting a little more sleep now. I’ve fixed my morning coffee, am sitting in my rocking chair, my computer on my lap, my journal beside me, and reach for my Portuguese Bible. I’m trying to read the Bible primarily in Portuguese. I want to continue improving in the language – yes. But the best part is that when I read the verses in Portuguese, it gives me an added depth of meaning/ a slightly different slant as I look at the words. I love doing this. I read more slowly, for I’m also learning more of the grammar as I read. I smile as I remember that, in the colonies in the U. S, the children’s reading textbook was the Bible. So my reading textbook in Portuguese is the Bible.
This morning, I go to Ephesians… oh! what a joy to read the promises that Paul states are ours. I still – after all these years – do not have a clear understanding of predestination that Paul writes about. I know the meaning of the word, but have read too many different opinions, and not yet clearly formed mine. Which is ok…
I’ve learned that reading the Bible is like peeling an onion. One understands (removes the skin) of the first layer, then returns and reads the same passage again, and one glimpses another depth (removes the second layer) then discovers more still there!
One of the facts of reading God’s Word is – every time I read it – I learn something new. I smile – after all these years, I’m still peeling that onion.
Comfort, strength, security, challenge – always something new. And now, I have Bible versions on my Smart Phone, so I can read the Bible at night in the dark if I wake up. Reading it quiets my mind, giving me rest.
The stability I have in my life – through all of the times of hecticness, joy, grief, laughter, beauty, weariness, change after change after change . . . the stability comes from God’s Word (His love letter to me) and the privelege of conversing with Him, day or night.
Have you discovered this?
Would you like some ideas from what I’ve learned?
Did you know you can use Psa 23 as a spiritual antibiotic?
Do you know how to read Proverbs so you can acturally absorb it?
Just leave your comments, ideas and or questions in the comments.
We are standing, sweating and frustrated, in the midst of a laughing crowd of Brazilians watching our funny antics. How did we ever get into such a situation? It was like this.
The house we are renting is on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte, a city of about 1 and a half million.
The area is fairly new, so we live on a rutted dirt street, with many empty lots, some with bits of garbage scattered, all full of tall dry grass.
We like the house and our neighbors, but we now have a serious problem. We’ve been invaded with fleas – MANY FLEAS.
Since there are no markets close to us, and the occasional drug store doesn’t carry flea powder, we are going to have to go downtown; about a 45 minute bus ride.
This morning we get up early to walk five blocks down the dusty dirt road to catch the bus. We hope to beat the heat and it is still pleasant as we leave the house. However, when we climb into the packed passenger bus, the heat is waiting for us. We hang onto the overhead hand bar as more and more people get in. The term “sardines in a can” – I am living it.
The ride seems interminable as the bus sways through the heavy traffic. My husband and I speak very little, for when we open our mouths and the English language comes out, heads turn, looking for the strange sound. It’s embarrassing and simpler to keep quiet, observing, listening, thinking.
We finally reach our destination in the center of town and clamber down the steep steps to the street. The sidewalks are crowded, so we pedestrians are constantly dodging each other, but at least we can move! I am feeling droplets of sweat on my arms, inside of where they bend at the elbow. I look around to see if I can find a temperature sign somewhere. Nope. But I know it’s getting hotter.
We arrive at Lojas Americanas, a large store with “popular prices.” It is always full of people, and today is not different. The two large entrances gape open: the multiple steel pull-down doors at both entrances are rolled up and anchored, allowing the crowds of people to move in and out and, hopefully, for breaths of fresh air to enter. The oversize ceiling fans turn rapidly, hopefully to help move the air. But too many people with body heat, too expansive an area for the fans to work well, too small of aisles, and today’s heat turns the inside of the store into a sweat shop.
As we stand outside waiting for a break to go in I think: oh! Those poor clerks!
We step into a break and are carried by a jostling crowd down the small aisles, merchandise piled all around us. We come to where it looks like we’re at the correct area, step out of the flow of human bodies to stand close to the counters, searching for a clerk. He comes up and asks us how he can help us. My husband starts to ask for flea powder. He remembers the word for powder pó but his mind then goes blank. What is the word for flea???
He looks at me, my mind isn’t working either. Both of us reach into where we carry our small pocket dictionaries, and neither one of us has one!
Panic hits. We have to resolve this now. How do we mimic a flea???
People stop and stare. Our area becomes impassible as a crowd gathers, laughing at these two Americanos, going through crazy gyrations. More and more people come up, craning their necks to see what is happening. I’m thinking if we could only charge admission for this. . (Now, tell me, how would you mimic a flea hopping up your arm??? Does that make you chuckle? Then you get my point.)
I want to cry, from embarrassment and frustration, but won’t let myself..
As we are going through more antics (with no success except laughter), behind me I hear ENGLISH! I turn. A small, older, totally unruffled gentleman is standing there, saying; “Perhaps I can help you?”
I want to throw my arms around him and kiss him, but I restrain myself to a smile and a “Yes, please!”
We explain our problem. He smiles and asks: “Do you mean “pulga?” PULGA – THAT WAS IT!.
The crowd around us starts to dissipate as our free show came to an end. We thanked the gentleman, turned to the clerk and my husband asks him:
“Vocês têm pó para matar as pulgas?” (Do you have powder to kill fleas). The clerk smiled, “Sim!” “Quantas?” (How many do you want?)
He was surprised at the definite answer. “Oito!!! (Eight cans)
After all, there were a lot of fleas in the house, we needed to have a reserve stock of flea powder for the future, and neither one of us wanted to return to this store any time soon!
Until today, I sometimes wonder how long we would have been there if that gentleman had not come up.
The scripture held true:” When you call, I will answer.” Thank You, Father!….. I wonder it that was an angel? Either way, for me, it was a miracle!
Lessons learned: We never again forgot the word pulga. We always kept our pocket dictionaries with us (today, one would use their smart phone.) We learned how, once again, to laugh at ourselves. . . which is great for humility!
And yes! We got rid of those nasty fleas!
– Voni Things I’ve thought about since: I’m afraid this happens too many times in our spiritual lives. Do you see a possible comparison here of not knowing, not prepared, no back-up resources?Sweating and frustrated.