Over the last few days, photo and Facebook memories have been reminding me of my husband’s sudden cardiac arrest that took place two years ago on November 29, 2020. For those who may be reading this who aren’t aware of what happened, some kind of electrical issue sparked an arrhythmia, which then caused his heart to stop during Bible class. I stood frozen as I watched friends try–and fail–to find his pulse. In my mind, I can still see him lying motionless on the floor at the back of the auditorium as our friends shocked him with an AED and began CPR (that continued with EMS workers for more than an hour.) He was unconscious and in critical condition for several days, but it was God’s will for him to live, and I praise God that he is well today.
Almost as much as I remember that traumatic mental image, I also remember peace. My heart said, in words I could never actually speak, “God, please let him stay! But I know that if he goes, it is good for him! To live is Christ and to die is gain!” My mind remembered, “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his godly ones.” There is no way to convey how I felt that day. I could not imagine my life without him, but the knowledge that no matter what, John would be okay…in fact, so much better than okay, gave me a peace that simply defies understanding. I had God’s word almost bubbling out of my heart and into my mind during those days. Of course I had fear, but that fear was calmed by God’s peace.
What does this have to do with writing scripture?
To answer that, I need to go back to December of 2019. For my mother’s Christmas gift that year, I had created a book for each of us to write scripture. Because John and I were away from her for half of the year, I wanted for us to be able to share and stay connected daily (I am not gifted with staying in touch, regrettably!) I thought if we could write and study the same scriptures every day, and then compare notes, we’d enjoy that connection. Most of that year we wrote the Psalms. We wrote about the lovingkindness of God and how he bends down to listen to us. Over and over, we learned about the nature and character of God. We had put Him in our hearts.
We finished writing the Psalms in October of 2020 and went on to other passages that I had planned and thought would be comforting to my mom. We wrote portions of First John, of the confidence we could have in God. We wrote “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world,” (1 John 4:4). On November 14, 2020, we wrote that “perfect love casts out fear,” (1 John 4:18) and on November 21, we wrote “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us,” (1 John 5:14.) Remember – these were passages that I had pre-selected almost a year earlier. I planned for Mom’s comfort, yet little did I know how these scriptures would comfort me.
On November 30, the day after John’s heart event, the passage I had already scheduled for us to write was Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” I cried while I wrote those words. God was nearby! He was a warrior for John and for me! I was scared, but my Father was not.
On December 1, the scheduled scripture was 2 Corinthians 4:7-10: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” I was reminded that in this life, we will experience afflictions. But He will protect us. No matter what, God saw us, knew us, cared about what was happening, and He comforted us! I sat at the kitchen table, writing, waiting for the time when I could leave to see John. This was the day that the doctors planned to attempt to awaken John from his sedation, and I might know whether or not he had suffered any brain damage. My son, Jacob, took the pen out of my hand and wrote at the top corner of my page: “God knew what this day was.”
On December 2, it was 2 Corinthians 4:11-14: “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you…He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you…”
On December 3, 2 Corinthians 4:15-18: “For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God…for momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…”
It was uncanny. I don’t know all that I would like to know about providence, but I felt that providentially, God gave me exactly what I needed—from His word—to have peace in Him. I was so thankful that I had continued the writing throughout the year. I was so thankful that I continued writing during John’s heart event, because I was treasuring in my heart those precious words and promises from God.
Today, in many ways I am reluctant to dredge up memories of what happened. But on the other hand, I am so grateful that I had put so much effort into putting God’s word in my heart that year, and I absolutely know that it gave me strength, peace, and even the ability to provide comfort and strength to John. It is so empowering to have had this experience and to have seen how the word in my heart could bring such peace.
I want to share that strength, peace, and comfort with everyone…which is why I am so passionate about sharing this project with whoever will pick up Bible, paper and pen.
This coming year, we will be writing through Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Romans, and Esther. There is so much practicality in all of those books. I know every word is from God and will be helpful. His word will give us all confidence, peace, hope, instruction, discipline, and guidance.
Look at our beautiful cover! My sweet friend, Chantelle Swayne, shared her beautiful artwork for the cover. I hope you’ll go see her other work on her facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/artbychantellemarie ) or on her website (https://www.artbychantellemarie.com/ ). Her color, her creativity, everything she designs makes me smile and feel happy!
An exciting and convenient new option is to have it printed through TCI Graphics (https://www.tcigraphics.com/ ) which is owned by Jim and Deborah Meinsen in Springfield, Missouri (https://www.facebook.com/tcigraphics ). They are New Testament Christians and will be happy to help print your personal 2023 Scripture Writing book and can also take care of group/congregational orders. If you call them at 417-865-6805, they can let you know the different print and binding options (that will be much easier and cheaper than ordering from Office Depot or Staples.)
But please remember, you don’t have to have a physical copy. My sweet friend SeowHui Ho (from Singapore) once again blessed me by compiling the daily writing assignments into a two-page checklist. You can write on your own spiral notebook, scrap paper, notebook paper. You can download it onto your tablet into a note-taking app (like GoodNotes or Notability) and write on your tablet or iPad. I want this endeavor to be available to anyone without the necessity of spending money.
I looked today at the statistics from the blog where I’ve posted each year’s scripture writing project. There have been over 22,000 downloads of the various formats! That is so encouraging to me! People in the United States, in Canada, the UK, Israel, Singapore, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Ireland, Malaysia, France and even CHINA are involved! Every bit of glory goes to God…it is HIS WORD. We plant and scatter seeds and He will give the increase.
Writing scripture may seem like simple, too-easy Bible study. Is there such a thing? It can be simple. It can take less than ten minutes per day. But it can also be deep, rich, complex, and edifying. In fact, I know that if you put effort into it, what you gain from it will change your life. Do you need peace? Do you need to push the “reset” button on your life and be centered and grounded in God’s truth? Are you wanting to grow in your knowledge of God and His word? All of these things are accomplished in writing the word of God. I hope and pray you’ll join us.
2023 Write On My Heart Every Word – complete file plus the checklist are below: