Jul 5, 2012

Thursday SHINE...

Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 4

The Soldier's Psalm

Hello there and GOOD morning to you!  This is Rebekah Vepraskas. How are you guys? Jill is away this week and she has asked me to prepare this blog post on an experience I have had with praying scripture, specifically Psalm 91 and Psalm 23.

Ok, so this is a doozy of a post, I think. Grab your coffee and your hoodie and hide on the porch for a little bit and join me on a journey with God. 

A few months ago, I got a call to see a patient in a North Georgia hospital, very far north, much further than I thought. On my way, I got lost, very lost. I was about 58 miles off course as I had taken the completely wrong interstate. When I realized my mistake, I exited and began trying to move from eastern north Georgia to western north Georgia, by way of the mountains. Ok, I know. Big mistake.

Before I knew it, I was on these small country roads, winding through the mountains, in the dark, it was about midnight. I began to feel very fearful. I don't scare very easily, so this made me even more scared and the path seemed to be closing in. It was so dark. The tree canopy loomed over the twisting road, weaving back and forth through the Blue Ridge mountains. My biggest fear was hitting a deer. I thought, if I drove off the road, no one would even know where to look for me. My husband and I thought I was going to Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC). I was actually going to North Georgia Medical Center (NGMC). So, he didn't know where I was and he was asleep by now. Oh, dear.

Next I encountered an area of the road where there were home made signs everywhere to "feed the deer!" Next I passed the headquarters of Deer Park Water on this little mountain road in the middle of no where. I was hyper vigilant. Searching the road for any sign of danger.

I don't think I had ever felt more desperate. I turned off the radio. I grabbed the steering wheel,  at the 10 and 2 position, and I held on tight. I began to pray Psalm 91 over my life and my car and my path. Then, I began to pray Psalm 23... over and over and over and over and over and over again.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leades me 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 prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

I broke the scripture down and repeated verse 4 over and over. I thought and prayed, "I have literally never leaned on you, Jesus, like this in my life and if I do drive off this mountain, it will surely be God's will as I am literally in despair and praying the 23rd Psalm like my life depends on it."

And, it did.... Finally, totally frazzled, I arrived safely at my destination. I then got another call to another rural hospital 50 miles away, through the mountains. I. am. not. kidding. UGH!! Again, I kept the radio off and prayed Psalm 23 over and over.  I then turned the radio on for just a second, thinking, "Rebekah, you are freaking out, relax." Immediately, a rabbit ran out into the road and I swerved. Clicking the radio back off, I never stopped praying again, even for a second.

The Lord delivered me from evil. I arrived safely at both hospitals, I saw my patients and arrived safely back home. THANKS BE TO GOD! I have told this story over and over again. I know it's hard to imagine being so afraid, but I was. 

Fast forward one week later, I am driving to a goodbye dinner for my cousin, John.  John is a Marine, who has been deployed to Afghanistan, serving in the special forces, Bomb Dog division.
Mary (my twin), our cousin John and Rebekah (me)
  • On the way, I felt very strongly the Lord reminding me of my journey one week earlier and Psalm 23 and Psalm 91. "John needs these verses," I began to hear, "share these scriptures with John." That night, while saying goodbye, I said to him, "John, I feel like I have to ask you, do you know Psalm 23 or Psalm 91?" When he told me that he didn't, I promised that I would get them to him.
  • In the Bomb Dog division it isn't a question of if John would encounter danger, it's when.
  • One day later, my sister in law mentioned on FaceBook that Psalm 91 is known as the "Soldier's Psalm." I had no idea. It is called this because in World War I, the soldiers of the 91st Brigade recited the 91 Psalm daily. This brigade engaged in three of the war’s bloodiest battles. Other units suffered up to 90% casualties, but the 91st Brigade did not suffer a single combat-related death. 
  • I wanted to get John and his unit some tangible copy of Psalm 91 to keep in their pocket for protection. I found instead, the most incredible ministry. Jill Boyce is a lady who calls herself Marine Mom... Since the beginning of the war in the Middle East, Jill has been making Psalm 91 bandanas. These are fatigue colored bandanas with the full Psalm 91 printed on the inside. 

  • I called my husband and asked if I could order them for John and his unit. He told me my story was too long and that he would have said yes without all my details. "But, the LORD is in the details!" I said. :)
  • We sent the bandanas, we sent a new Bible to John with the scriptures bookmarked and highlighted and I asked the Lord to bless it all and apologized to John in case he thought I was crazy with a capital K!
  • He and his unit have their Psalms 91 bandanas on their bodies. (Praise the Lord.) And, sweet John, sent me a photo a few weeks ago. It took my breath away. It was a photo of Psalm 23 from the wall in his dining area. It had the whole Psalm written out. He said, "I see this verse written on the wall and I remember you." In verse 4 instead of saying, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," it said, "though I walk through the Helman Province..." The Helman Province is the largest province in Afghanistan. I was so moved.

This is John and his bomb dog, Rico. Please remember them in prayer. :)

This whole experience taught me that: 

God uses anything for His Glory,
"The Lord's word will not return void." Isaiah 55:11
God honors praying His word.
He doesn't just want to reach me through my experience, He wants me to reflect His love to everyone around me. Even if it seems silly, initially.
He is desperately seeking us all. :)

So there is my long story, I hope you are encouraged by God's love, provision and details. He is awesome and I am amazed by His blessings.

With love and prayer, 


  1. i could hear this story over and over! psalm 91 has changed my life.

    the kids and I read it every single day. now, my kids even remind me if we have forgotten to read it that morning!

    thank you for this powerful post. it sure blessed me this morning.

    love you BIG!

  2. I love these stories about your wayward road trip ;) along with your cousin and the bandana!

    Like you, Psalm 91 and 23 have brought me great comfort, time and time again.

  3. Anonymous7/05/2012

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How awesome is this story. Thanks for sharing. I did a break down of Psalm 91 for my family earlier this year. You can read it on my blog Stayingintheword.com. Thanks for Sharing I loved it.

  4. Thank you for encouraging me, y'all! What wonderful scriptures that are living and breathing... That would have been a good story for a girl's sleepover! :)
    Sidebar: It is incredible to me the dedication and commitment Jill has given to SHINE and all of us this year. Our girl is ALWAYS checking in on us and encouraging us and loving on us. Even while she is in a full house, soaking in a good family vacation, she is still checking in, seeing to it that her posts go on and motivating us. The Lord has inspired her to lead and I am forever and always grateful for her obedience to Him. :) I love you girls!!!

  5. That's what makes her a shepherd...she's always feeding the sheep and the lambs...love this common "thing" we share Missy Jill!!

    And, Beka, I knew the stories...and hearing them again and together...my heart just soars!!! What a Mighty God we serve!!! I mean, MIGHTY!!!!!

    I love the picture of the bandana...I need one! I knew it had Psalm 91 on it ...but I did not know it was all written out...I am so visual...I needed a picture.

    I want them for my Women Who Pray...I think we Shine girls need them...

    I pray both the chapters...91 and 23...every day. I'm a changed woman since doing so!! Woo HOo!!

    The best was when I realized I had 91 memorized!! It came for me from the practice of saying daily...:D

    <3 Beka!! Love that you are my prayer partner! Love knowing you are praying for me...:)

    Aunt Teddi

  6. Oops forgot to say...love that you and Mary are my nieces...and Jill, and Erin...and Sarah...and all that would like to call me that. :)

  7. Anonymous7/06/2012

    Bek, I love this wonderful God-story. Thank God for the Word which is alive and powerful and so meaningful when we are crying out for his help and protection. It shows how important it is to memorize the Word. How wonderful that you heard and obeyed when the Father was directing you to minister to your second cousin who was leaving for Afghanistan. But God was not only concerned for John but for all those in his platoon. It is simply amazing and Only God. He is ever there for us but it is our utter delight when it is so obviously the Father directing through Holy Spirit nudges and memories of a night of terror to become such a blessing to others. I love this God-story!!!! Thank you for sharing and inspiring all of us.
    Blessings, Mom


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