Markie was at a small gathering at a friend’s apartment when she heard another guest say something that caught her attention. "Being from South America, I didn’t know English, so I decided that I would write down parts of the Bible word for word in English to learn the language,” she said.
Hmm, thought Markie. Using the Bible as a way of learning a language. She was intrigued.
Soon after, she decided to give it a shot herself—reading the Bible and writing each word by hand. She read a word at a time, never reading ahead, and then wrote each word, feeling the pen gliding slowly on the page, feeling each turn, tip, and loop. The words of God, she thought to herself.
It had the desired effect that she had hoped for. As an easily distracted person, she found that she had finally gained the focus she had always hoped for. Her interest in writing, or absorbing each word, was starting to become one of her favorite things to do in her day. The problem was, when she started too late in the morning, her time spent writing competed with the issues of the day—kids leaving for school, phone calls, things that needed to be done around the house.
So she moved her start time to 6:15AM before the day started around 7AM. The low lamp light and near silence of the morning created the perfect backdrop for the slow, just-audible scroll of her pen to bring to light the breathtaking images in Scripture, things she never stopped long enough to see before.
“When I wrote down the words found at the beginning of Esther,” says Markie, “I was seeing the banquet that King Ahasuerus hosted in the garden of his royal palace in a way that I hadn’t before. Suddenly, I wasn’t just seeing it. I was walking the palace, looking at everything.”
There were white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars; and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise, and white and black marble. And they served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the generosity of the king. Esther 1:6-7
In the Book of Luke, when the shepherds were out tending their sheep on what would become Christmas night, Markie was struck by: And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid… And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:9, 13-14
Recalls Markie, “I wasn’t reading a well-worn story anymore. I was bathed in the light that lit up the night like no one had ever seen—like I had never seen. I get the sense the pitch black of the night literally—and audibly—broken in two by the power of God’s glory.”
But now that she was experiencing the Bible in a way that was changing her, she craved more time with God and being in His presence. So she began to set her alarm for 5:15AM to get in at least two hours of reading and writing God’s words on what has become stacks and stacks of notebooks. And even with a regimen of two hours a day, it still took her a full seven years to complete the Bible. And then she went back to Genesis and started again.
“God has been so good to give me many unexpected surprises as I write His words—like the fact that I copied down Revelation word for word just before copying down Genesis on my second go-round. With the two books back to back, I got to see how much they point to each other. I now see the Bible as circular rather than linear.”
And so, each morning, for the rest of her life, Markie will wake up before the sun and begin the journey of lovingly writing each word that is offered up for our feasting. “I feel like I’m learning a language too,” she offers. “I’m learning the language of God.”