Do not fear… Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life… He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death. Rev.2:10,11
Looking back on the two years we spent in Texas, I can see several reasons why God had us there. One of the reasons was Brooke … and Ada.
It was late summer when Brooke and her family came for a visit from Minnesota. She and her husband had a very troubled marriage and they had learned about a ministry in Texas that they thought might help them. They visited the church for a week, staying at an apartment on the church campus. One evening we invited the young family to our home for hamburgers. As I visited with Brooke, I came to see what a deeply hurting person she was. I shared with her some of the wonderful things that God had done in my life and tried to encourage her to pursue Jesus as her Savior and Shepherd.
The family returned to Minnesota and soon made plans to move to Texas. They were desperate for help and it seemed to them that was the direction they should take. A few people from the church went up to Minnesota to move them and soon Brooke and her husband and their 4 young children were living on the church campus.
Our friendship grew. We saw each other at church and met often at a nearby park. Our children fed the ducks and played together. She’d share her struggles. I’d pray with her and each time point her to Jesus.
Brooke was pregnant with their 5th child. They had no money. She asked if I would help them have a home birth. I told her that I would pray about it. God had led me to help with another home birth, and 6 of my own children were born at home. But I did not want to take on something like this unless God was leading.
This was a very difficult situation. The marriage was very unstable. The husband was threatening to leave Brooke in 2 weeks… just like he had done with the other 4 births. He had left her on each one of them without telling her if he would be back. And with all 4 of her births, Brooke had been rushed to the hospital for emergency cesareans. The doctors told Brooke that she could not have a normal birth because her uterus would burst. So here Brooke was with her husband threatening to leave her again. And She did not want another cesarean.
Brooke called often, at times crying so hard it was difficult to understand her. I’d pray with her, talk with her, and soon she came to put her hope in Jesus to help her and lead her.
I was asking God if He wanted me to help with the birth. My natural inclination was to have nothing to do with this birth. I believed that God could do anything. But I also knew that presumption was dangerous. I knew that in a home birth, a couple needed to be in unity — both submitted to their Heavenly Father. I needed to clearly hear from God.
As I was seeking God about this, I had a dream in which I was holding Brooke up. I knew that the Lord was having me support her with my friendship and by praying for her… supporting her through her marriage struggle when no one else seemed to believe her.
As her due date drew closer, I believed God was leading me to be at this birth. He gave me a love for Brooke and the baby as if it were myself that was pregnant and about to deliver my own child.
On Feb. 10th, I received a phone call from the husband that Brooke was in labor. The contractions were 7 minutes apart. My family and I rushed to the church campus. When we arrived, the contractions slowed to 10 minutes … then 20 minutes apart. Then they stopped altogether.
Eric (my husband) and I, together with another couple from church, spent the rest of the afternoon praying with Brooke and her husband. We prayed while our children played… in the snow! It had began snowing hard and they were building a snow man and snow forts.
We prayed with them for unity in their marriage and forgiveness with each other. It seemed to me that God was using this seeming delay in the birth to accomplish His purposes in their lives — forgiveness and healing.
Later that evening I stayed while my family went home. I continued to worship the Lord with the two of them. The peace and presence of the Lord was there — finally. It was midnight. I went home to sleep.
The phone rang at 10:30 a.m. the next morning. Brooke was having contractions about 20 minutes apart and her husband said that I should come in an hour or two. As soon as I hung up, I felt an urgency to go right then. God quickened to me Malachi 3:1. He was speaking the word “suddenly” to me. Eric and I gathered up our younger children and headed to the church.
It was a beautiful drive. There had been a heavy snow fall — 11 inches! That was very unusual for Texas. Tree branches were down everywhere, broken under the weight of the heavy snow. Everything was beautiful and glistening in the sunlight. To me it seemed to be something special from the Lord.
We only lived 3 miles from the church so it did not take long to get there. As I walked into the building, the urgency grew. Brooke’s husband had just stepped outside the door of their apartment and sent their children running down the alleyway. He was shouting for them to get Mrs. Marshall (me).
I ran to their apartment and found Brooke in the bathtub. The tub was filled with bloody water. The baby’s head was crowning and she was ready to push. We helped her out of the tub. She had little strength. I stood behind her and held her up with my two arms under her arms. I thought of the dream God gave me of holding her up.
Immediately the baby’s head was out. It was black. By now there was coagulated blood pooled all over the floor.
Resisting the thoughts that came with what I was seeing, I fervently clung to Jesus, whispering His name under my breath. The baby slipped out with the next contraction. It was limp, lifeless, and black. There was no breath or movement. Silence. It’s umbilical cord was limp and without a pulse.
Brooke cried out, “Is it dead?”
Something within me screamed,”NO, LORD! You led me here. Brooke’s trust is in You. You are FAITHFUL! YOU are LIFE!”
I felt the gift of faith rise up within me. I spoke “LIFE!” And told the couple to speak “LIFE”.
Almost instantly, the baby’s right arm flung straight up into the air and fell back down. She then took her first breath. And then began to squirm and wiggle a bit. She turned from black to blue to pink. How great and powerful is our God!!!
We then waited on the placenta to be delivered. It was slow. Brooke was weak. She wanted to rest in the bathtub so we helped her back into it. I bundled up the baby and set her to the side.
Normally, I like to immediately nurse my own newborns. But Brooke was in no condition to do that. She passed out, still bleeding in the tub.
I knew she wouldn’t die. I saw God’s faithfulness just minutes before and I felt this peace and confidence that God would be faithful again for Brooke. She had put her trust in Him.
Her husband grew very concerned. Brooke was either sleeping or unconscious, and loosing blood. I told him how Brooke had shared with me that he had cursed her with death several weeks ago. I told him that he needed to repent. He broke down crying and repented. Brooke then woke up.
It took a few hours until everything was cleaned up and stable enough for me to go home. Brooke was in bed resting and the baby was nursing. She was 7 lbs. They named her “Ada”.
As Brooke and Ada rested, I drove home. Through the snow. Exhausted. Exhilarated!
At home, I checked my email. I get a daily email with scripture. That day’s scripture was Revelation 2:10,11.
Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life… He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.
I noticed that Rev. 2:10 and 2:11 happened to correspond with the dates of Brooke’s labor and delivery (2/10 and 2/11).
I was exhausted and I pondered this as I lay down to rest. I marveled at how this was the very same scripture that God had spoken to me after Zoie’s birth (my 8th child born while we lived in Chile).
Zoie’s and Ada’s births were similar. Both were in February. Both were miraculous.
I had placenta previa with Zoie’s birth. There was coagulated blood and a limp “whitish” umbilical cord without blood flowing through it…without oxygen flowing through it… just like Ada’s.
As I lay there, I heard the Lord’s still small voice say, “Ada & Zoie” — “Crown of Life”– “Ada means crown and Zoie means life”. I already knew the meaning of Zoie’s name (Life of God). I got up and google searched the meaning of Ada. I found the meaning, “Crown, ornament, nobility or royalty”. Their names combined meant “crown of life”… just as the Holy Spirit had spoken.
The couple had chosen the name “Ada” on their move down to Texas from Minnesota. They had seen an exit sign to Ada, Oklahoma. It did not appear to be a well thought-out way of choosing a child’s name. But God had a purpose — just as He has a purpose for each one of our lives to bring glory to His name.
And again, God’s still small voice spoke, “A double witness.” The Lord was telling me that I had seen two witnesses of resurrection life — two witnesses of God’s faithfulness — two witnesses of the promise of resurrection life!
In the days that followed, the Lord confirmed this in several ways. It was so alive.
I read an old journal entry of mine dated Feb. 11, 2008. My daughter had a dream while we still lived in Chile. She dreamed that I had a baby girl that we named “February” because she was born in February. The baby wasn’t Zoie because this baby was born a few days after Zoie’s birthday which is February 8th. This baby was small with dark hair and blue eyes. That was the dream.
Ada fit that dream perfectly. Ada had dark hair and blue eyes. Amazing since both of her parents had brown eyes. And she was born on February 11th, a few days after Zoie’s birthday. Also amazing to me was that the date of my daughter’s dream — February 11th — was the same date as Ada’s birth.
After the Lord burdened me to help with Brooke’s birth, I began to feel emotionally like it was my own pregnancy and baby. Ada was figuratively my baby named “February”!
Another daughter also had a dream a year before Ada’s birth. She dreamed that I had twins. Two baby girls. One was large, blond, and bouncy — full of life. (That’s how Zoie was at birth). The second was smaller, with dark hair, and looked black with no life. (That’s how Ada was.) Then the second baby came to life and I had healthy twin baby girls.
Both my daughters’ dreams matched Ada’s birth. How prophetic. I could not see it earlier. I had thought the dream strange the year before. I had thought that perhaps I’d have another baby girl born in February, or even twin girls. But God was telling us about Ada’s birth. The dreams confirmed again to me the miracle that I witnessed. Ada and Zoie were two witnesses of God’s faithfulness and His promise of resurrection life. A double witness.
And then there was the number eleven. We had 11 inches of snow in Texas on February 11th. Eric measured the snow with a ruler that day.
One of Brooke’s struggles was with not feeling forgiven. She struggled with knowing that God could speak to her. It had been so drilled into her that her relationship with God could only be through her husband since he was her head. He told her that she was unsaved, that she was going to hell, that only he could hear from God for her, and that his words were God’s words.
God showed Brooke through the beautiful snow that she was forgiven. He vividly spoke to her, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18
There were many more things God was speaking about the number 11. A friend called and said, “Do you know what God says about the number 11?” God had been speaking to her that we are living in the 11th hour, and about Revelation chapter 11, which is about the two witnesses. Yes! The two witnesses who died and rose again… resurrection life.
God so emphasized this truth to me during that time in my life.
This experience of Ada’s birth and how God spoke to me afterwards so solidified in my heart and mind this truth: If we abide in Christ, we can face death or martyrdom with a solid hope of our physical body being resurrected and glorified one day.
Just as Jesus spoke to Martha just prior to raising Lazarus from the dead, so He speaks to us today.
I AM the resurrection and the LIFE! He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. Jn. 11:25
I want to be a part of the first resurrection. How about you?
[T]hat I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Phil 3:10-11
But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Rev. 20:5-6