Monday, November 29, 2010

Come, Heal With Me (Week Two)

We begin with the 23rd Psalm.

We begin, specifically, with the first verse:

The Love is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

Notes taken from the book (God's Psychiatry):

As the sheep in David's flock laid down in the fold, night after night, able to find sleep without care, so can I. They (the sheep) do not worry about tomorrow. What they know is simple: today, I was cared for. Tomorrow, I will also be cared for.

Mother's notes in the margins:

Wealth? Tithes?

My Notes: Mother believed in tithing! She was taken care of financially by her mother and father until she married my father. From then on, she was taken care of by him.

Like so many women of her era, Mother made homemaking and mothering her full time job. Every morning, we were served a full breakfast, hot, right off the stove. The house was kept immaculate. One of my favorite old photographs of Mother shows her with a broom in one hand and a dustpan in the other. The expression on her face reads, "Beware dust and grime! I'm on the warpath!" Homemade cookies awaited my brother and me every afternoon after school. When my father walked in the door at the end of his workday, he was greeted with a kiss, followed by a hot supper on the table no latter than 6:30 p.m. Mother loved what she did, and she did it well.

But, in 1979, after 24 years of marriage, my mother and father separated (they would not divorce for another five years); Mother had to step into a new role, that of employee.

Finding work in a small town is not easy, especially for a middle-aged woman without "skills," but she managed. Between a part-time job and the sewing she took in (along with spousal support), Mother was able to eek out a living. She shared with me often that, "If I make $3 hemming a pair of slacks, I put 30 cents in the offering plate on Sunday." She also shared, "I don't know where the money is coming from, but God is providing for me." Eventually she went to work for the Board of Education, full-time, but never making more than just a little over minimum wage.

When Mother died, her "checkbook" proved two things:

1. She tithed faithfully
2. God faithfully provided.

On the way from Asheville, NC (where Mother died) to my hometown (where she would be buried), my brother said to me, "Not to be nosy, but what are you going to do with your half of the money?" Part of me thought, "What money?" But another knew that Mother had been tithing ...and ...investing. It had all come together to work out very well for her.

Now, Mother did not live as someone who had the amount of money she had. She didn't over-spend nor did she want for anything. God always provided.

And, she trusted that He always would. Now, I hope to carry that tradition forward with my own children. I hope they, too, can one day look at my checkbook and see how I tithed and, subsequently, how God held up his end of the bargain.

This is also not about how much money was left to my brother and me in Mother's will. This is about God's provision to Mother and how her trust in Him (proven by her tithe) always led to that provision.

Mother also wrote: Put your name; and, Personal.

My Notes: Mother knew something more valuable than any monetary inheritance can give me; belonging to our Heavenly Shepherd is personal. When Mother spoke of the Lord, tears came to her eyes. When she heard songs of praise and adoration lifted up to Him, she wept openly. She loved Him so much, she quivered whenever she felt His presence...when she prayed...when she sang hymns. If Mother did not love her Lord, no one ever has!

The Lord was most definitely Betty's Shepherd.

The Lord is Eva Marie's Shepherd; Eva Marie shall not want.

Now, you try it: The Lord is [INSERT NAME HERE] Shepherd; [INSERT NAME HERE] shall not want.

God has not left me alone to face a lifetime of tomorrows without Mother, lonely and grief-stricken. God will provide all the encouragement, friendship, and laughter that went to Heaven with her. All I need.

He--because of mother's faith, shown in her tithing--has blessed me financially. If I have learned anything from her at all, I can look forward to a future continuing in ministry and not wearing a blue vest while repeating, "Welcome to Wal-Mart" (Not that there is anything wrong with that!) to a parade of shoppers.

So, today I will concentrate on these words: The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

What about you? How has God shown you, through your grief, that He is indeed your
Shepherd? How has He provided for your needs in the midst of your heartache?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Notes I took after reading Section One of the book (God's Psychiatry, by Charles L. Allen)

"Psychiatry" comes from two Greek words:

1. psyche: the person
2. iatreia: treatment, healing, restoring

David, the beloved Psalmist, wrote that the Lord "restores his soul."
This is God's Psychiatry.

When we look at "the person," we must think of the whole person: mind, body, and soul. A doctor can heal the first two, but only God can heal the soul.

The author of God's Psychiatry, Charles L. Allen, begins the books with "How to Think of God," using the 23rd Psalm. Allen tells the story of prescribing to a successful but unhappy businessman the prescription of reading Psalm 23 five times a day for seven days. In reading it, the man was to concentrate on the words.

Mother's Notes in the Margins:

In the margins, Mother wrote:

23 Psalm
Writing n existence (I take this as "the most powerful writing in existence.")
7 days.

From My Journal:

Mother's prescription for God's healing of my wounded soul, I think, is to read the most powerful 118 words ever penned. Allen says the words are powerful because they send a positive, hopeful, faith-approach to life.

I need that.

"A man is what he thinks about all day long." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
"Change your thoughts and you change your world." (Norman Vincent Peale)
"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)

Beginning today, I change my thoughts. I shift in thinking about what I lost in Mother's passing and start thinking about what I've gained in the Lord. What I've gained because she was my mother. What blessings her life bestowed on mine.

She was with me the first 53 years of my life. In that time, I received so much more than I could ever repay God for. I thank you, Father! Thank you that you gave to me such a WONDERFUL Mother! A godly example. A gift to all who knew her. Help me to start with that. Instead of seeing what I lost, I must look at what I had when I had it. Such a treasure. I will not wallow in the pity of losing her but rejoice in the gift of having had her for a time.

Come Heal With Me:

What have you lost that has left you feeling so empty you sometimes think you cannot breathe for the losing of it?

What about the "having it" was so special? What treasure was within?

Thinking more about the treasure and less about the losing, what treasure are you then left with?

For the next seven days, read The 23rd Psalm (see below) at least three times a day, five if you can. Don't just run through it. Say it slowly enough that the words penetrate your very core. Think of this recitation in terms of a prescription from your doctor. If he told you, "Take three times a day," you'd place the pill bottle somewhere so you would not forget. Do the same here.

Until Next Week,

Eva Marie Everson

Psalm 23 (New King James Version)

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Today marks my mother's 75th birthday. I had planned a huge surprise party for her. In January I talked with a caterer friend of mine who lives near Mother. I started informing family and friends from back home. It was supposed to be a surprise, so I asked everyone to stay on the hush-hush.

The surprise was on me, I guess. Mother unexpectedly went to be with Jesus in May, six months before her 75th.

To say I didn't see it coming is an understatement. But Mother was more than ready. She'd been commenting to family and friends that she was so ready to "go home." I think she was discouraged with the world in general; she didn't like what was happening to our country, she hated the lack of commitment she saw from those who called themselves Christian, and she was saddened by the state of the church in general. She was ready for Jesus to come to her or her to go to Him.

She got her wish, but I was left with, "What in the world just happened?"

We were together the day she became ill. She literally collapsed into my arms. When I looked into her eyes so close to mine, I saw nothing. I remember thinking "This can't be happening" and "I've got to get help" all at the same time. I screamed her name over and over, hoping that if she was slipping away, she could hear me well enough to fight and stay with me.

And she did. For a little while. Then came the day when she leaped over the mountains skirting around Asheville, NC (where we were) and into the wide opened spaces of Heaven. She was free of the world's troubles...and I was left, with my brother, to wonder why.

In October, while continuing to clean out and sort through her things, I found a book she'd been teaching her Bible study circle of women from. It was an old book, dating back from the 50s. It was filled with the author's wisdom but it also held little treasures: her notes written in the margins.

The book is titled GOD'S PSYCHIATRY. I remember seeing it in my childhood home since ...well...childhood. I never opened it, I don't think. I supposed I didn't think I needed psychiatry (which I'm sure could be debated...). But I have to say now that the title is misleading. This is about recognizing the wounds of life. This is about making sense of it all. This is about healing.

The book was written by Charles L. Allen (1913 – August 30, 2005), a Methodist pastor from Atlanta. It was published by Fleming Revel, ironically who I am published with today. It's not a big book and it can still be found on Amazon. It takes the 23rd Psalm, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Beatitudes and breaks them down, line by line, to promote emotional healing.

What I want to share with you is what I'm learning from the book, from my mother's notes, and from my own journaling as I progress toward understanding and healing. So, beginning tomorrow and then once a week, I ask that you join me on this journey. Whether you've lost someone to death, are in the process of loss of any kind, in the midst of emotional wounds so deep...

Come. Heal with me...

Eva Marie Everson

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Life of a Tekton

One of the things I particularly enjoyed about being at The Nazareth Village was watching the ins and outs of the tekton trade. Jesus was a tekton, as was his father Joseph. A tekton is someone who is a craftsman, whether with wood or stone.

The ancient world was not without its resources. For example, tektons of Jesus' day developed their own "power drill":

They developed a way to press the oil from olives:

Not an easy day's work, to be sure.

The men were not the only ones contributing...not by a long shot! Among the many daily tasks, their women worked laboriously over the loom: