Old journal entries that record God’s personal messages are sometimes worth rereading. On March 10th, 2009, I recorded a vivid dream from that morning. Yahweh’s message in the dream helped me to walk victoriously through a trying time then. Recently I was reminded of the dream. It’s message is timeless.
Part 1 — I am looking at a landscape painting. It is beautiful except that it has a flawed sky, I think the sky should be repainted. Then a lady appears and is holding a crayon. She demonstrates how the crayon will correct the unsightly blemishes by making a few scribbling motions across the sky of the painting. She hands me the crayon, expecting me to continue. The crayon is light green in color. Written on the paper on the side of the crayon is the word “barley” and #153. I am to use this crayon to correct the flaw (the sky) on the painting.
Part 2 — Eric (my husband), Judy (my mother in law) and I are listening to a man speak. He tells us about two books. The title of the first book is a word, when interpreted means the same as the title of the second book. The title of the second book is “The Bait of Satan”. Judy looks puzzled and comments that she thinks the two titles are together in a Bible verse but does not know the meaning of the first title. I tell her that the two book titles mean the same thing.
Part 3 — There’s an antique mirror. It has a cloudy appearance because of it’s age. Then I see a lady in our basement snooping around to steal our treasures. — End of dream.
That morning I glanced down at my Bible as we headed out the door to go to church. I read,
“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins.” Isaiah 44:22
I could just imagine God holding a sponge with paint on it and blotting away the sins in my life. God blots out “like a thick cloud” the scripture read.
I thought of the painting in my dream with the flawed sky.
I knew the Holy Spirit brought that scripture to me. God was telling me that I had an issue with unforgiveness in my heart. I knew that the two books with the same title, “The Bait of Satan”, were about Satan’s trap of offense. We owned the book by John Bevere and although it had been quite a few years since I had read it, I remembered the message it contained. Satan uses offense as bait to trap us with bitterness.
In the third part of the dream there was a mirror… and a thief. I needed to look into the mirror of God’s word. We are to forgive others even as we have been forgiven. If not, we lose something valuable. Like the lady snooping to steal our treasures, Satan is out to steal our joy. He’s out to rob us of our inheritance.
I knew that barley and the number 153 had something to do with being an overcomer in God’s kingdom.
I knew that Yahwey was telling me that if I wanted to be an overcomer, I needed to use that barley crayon. I needed to blot out others’ sins like a thick cloud even as He has blotted out mine.
At the time there was someone very specific that had caused much offense to our family. I decided to overcome the offenses. I chose to completely forgive this person.
I recently learned more about “barley” and #153. I am reminded of my dream 7 years ago and the continual need to color my world with the green barley crayon #153.
“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
It’s Zoie’s birthday today! Ten years ago God delivered her into this world… And He delivered me.
￼It’s a miraculous story and a testimony of God’s faithfulness. I recorded it in a notebook 10 years ago. It’s difficult to share because of its personal nature. But possibly someone who reads it will be encouraged in their faith.
￼A gruesome picture is posted later. If you don’t want to see it, stop reading this and go read your Bible or something else instead. 🙂
It’s a picture of a placenta and an umbilical cord. But not just any ordinary placenta and cord. The placenta was larger than normal and you’ll notice an odd-looking, white-colored umbilical cord. There’s very little blood in it. Normally, an umbilical cord looks purple due to the veins of red and blue blood flowing through it — the red blood vein bringing oxygen to the baby and the blue (oxygen depleted) blood vein returning from the baby to the placenta. It’s the cord of life from the mother to her child.
Here’s the story of Zoie’s birth and of how God showed Himself strong on our behalf.
Early Monday morning, August 18th, in my 16th week of pregnancy, I woke up to use the bathroom and noticed a small amount of bleeding. Eric and I were greatly concerned. We prayed but the bleeding continued. My heart became discouraged. I had anxiety and feared the loss of the baby. At one point I was pretty certain that I would miscarry.
On the second day of this struggle, I was lying in bed reading my Bible. This scripture stood out to me:
“Comfort” … “And on My arm they will trust.” Isaiah 51:5
As I read it, I felt the Lord was near me. And I saw something. I saw myself as a lamb safe in a shepherd’s arms.
I also smelled a beautiful fragrance, unlike anything in our home. It smelled like a flower garden.
Ephesians 5:2 says that Christ has given Himself for us as an offering to God for a sweet smelling aroma.
I had just been thinking about how the Holy Spirit is present with us to be a Helper. It’s one of His covenant names – Yahweh Shammah– He is present. Jesus said that the Father would send us the Holy Spirit as a Helper.
“But the Helper, the HolySpirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things…” John 14:26
On the third day, I was again lying in bed. I cried out to Yahweh. He heard and answered my prayer.
Psalm 34:4 “This poor man cried and the LORD saved him out of all his troubles.”
I picked up my Bible and opened to Zechariah 9 . As I read, I felt authority over my baby and my life. The Holy Spirit brought life with Verse 12.
” Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.”
Faith rose up in my spirit and the Lord led me to declare this day for the bleeding to stop in the name of Yahshua.
The bleeding stopped!
That evening, I gathered the children and told them how God had healed me. I read Isaiah 51:5 “And on My arm they will trust”. I told them about the vision of a shepherd holding a lamb in his arms and the comfort I felt… as though I was that lamb.
Twelve-year-old Anna jumped up and ran to get something. She brought me a picture.
” Do you remember this?” she said. “I showed it to you when you were doing laundry the other day.”
I remembered Anna coming to my side and saying something to me as I loaded up the washer. I had glanced her way and briefly acknowledged her. I remember not wanting to be bothered at that moment. I remembered the anxiety I felt as I loaded up the washing machine.
But I didn’t remember what the drawing was.
After she left, I remember staring at the water filling the washer. As it poured in, my tears poured out to God.
Anna normally didn’t sketch pictures. It was very unusual. Sitting on the couch that evening, we looked at the drawing together. This time I paid attention. She showed me her mistakes in the drawing. She thought the fingers were too short. I thought it all was beautiful.
A few weeks later, I told a friend about the bleeding. She told me that bleeding at 16 weeks was a symptom of a condition called Placenta Previa. It is when the placenta attaches to the uterine wall in the wrong place. Instead of being high, the placenta is low and grows over the cervix. Without a cesarean, both mother and baby die because the placenta ruptures as the baby tries to come out. The mother bleeds to death and the baby suffocates due to lack of oxygen.
But I knew that my Healer had healed me.
And I knew that our Shepherd was leading us.
“And those who know Your name (Provider, Righteousness, Healer, Peace, Protector, Shepherd, & He is Present) will put their trust in You; For You, Yahweh, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10.
“The Name of the LORD is a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are safe.” Prov.18:10.
The pregnancy continued on as normal… and we moved to Chile. That’s another story. Life was full of challenges and discouragement was at the door, yet I felt healthy.
In Chile, I was on a hunt for a humidifier. The city we lived in did not have clean air. Our neighbors frequently burned their trash and the smoke would smog up our bedroom. I wanted clean air during my labor. I thought I’d get more oxygen in the air by pouring hydrogen peroxide into a humidifier. But I could not find a store that sold humidifiers. Chileans didn’t use humidifiers and had never heard of them. And Amazon.com didn’t deliver to Chile.
Eric and our children would often get out their instruments to play. The song Breathe especially ministered to me.
This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I I’m desperate for you
And I I’m I’m lost without you
This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
your very word spoken to me
And I’m, I’m desperate for you
And I’m, I’m lost without you
And I’m desperate for you
And I’m, I’m lost without you.
I’m lost without you.
I’m lost without you.
I’m desperate for you.
I suppose the words of this song ministered to me because I felt pretty desperate for God. I felt very dependent upon Him, which is where I needed to be spiritually. Possibly it was one of the reasons He moved us to Chile.
I was due the end of January. Being in the Southern hemisphere, our seasons were opposite. It was a beautiful warm summer day when my water broke on February 6th, eight days after my “due date”. We were downtown Talca walking. I told the children that the baby would be here any time!
The day passed and there were no contractions.
On February 7th, I noticed a little bit of fresh bleeding along with the leaking water. I understood how the Israelites must have felt at the edge of the Red Sea. I had a Red Sea before me and pharaoh’s army behind me.
I was desperate for Him. I was lost without Him.
That day came and went… still no contractions. I was getting very uncomfortable and slowed way down. This gave me time to focus on scripture.
The word of God promises us that if we draw near to Him, then He will draw near to us. God was using this time for me to draw near, –very near — to Him. And during this time He spoke scriptures that gave me strength to make it through the test ahead:
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him…”Ps. 91:14
“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence and his children will have a place of refuge.” Prov. 14:26
“For theeyesofthe LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” 2 Ch.16:9
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. ..Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crownoflife.”Rev. 2:10
Finally, I had regular contractions throughout the night. I did not sleep. My heart was beating with anxiety and it did not let me rest. That next morning the contractions came closer. They were still easy and not painful. But I was very tired from not sleeping. I would tell my heart to be strong and courageous. But I felt exhausted and dreaded the labor. I lacked the energy to eat the frozen raspberries Eric brought me.
The night before, the LORD had told me to rejoice despite the circumstances. I determined to do just that.
Then I had a breakthrough experience as I began rebuking the fear in the name of Jesus and rejoicing in the Lord. I looked out our bedroom window and shouted to the distant Andes Mountains, telling them to praise the LORD!
I felt a burst of strength and energy. I even jokingly asked Eric if I should go and run around the house. That’s how strong I felt… quite amazing as I had been exhausted. But I felt delivered from a spirit of fear that had been plaguing me throughout the pregnancy. I no longer had an anxious heart. It was like a dark cloud looming over me had parted and the sky was now clear. God had given me the strength to endure what was to come.
About noon, I began bleeding more during contractions. This is serious because the placenta can rupture as the baby’s head starts down the birth canal. If it ruptures, both the mother and child are in mortal danger. But I had peace in my heart that the LORD was in control.
I went to relax in a tub full of warm water. The contractions continued and got closer together but still were mild in strength.
The contractions were mild until about 2:00 P.M. Then I went into transition.
I heard the LORD tell me to get up and squat to deliver the baby. For some reason, I felt stubborn and resistant. I was so comfortable and thought that maybe I could just deliver in the nice warm water.
But I felt His unction again. This time urgent and stern. I recognized my stubborn resistance and decided that I better obey immediately.
With Eric’s help I got out of the tub, walked over to the bedroom and squatted. Immediately, the contractions shifted into high gear. They grew very strong and back to back. With the second push, the head was out. I pushed again and out came the baby — crying hard. Zoie was born at 2:17 P.M.
Right after the birth, a large amount of congealed blood plopped on the floor as I stood up. It was thick and coagulated. A portion of the placenta was torn and was hanging out.
Eric called to Anna who came running into the room. She held the baby while Eric got me up onto the bed.
Normally, blood is flowing through the umbilical cord and it continues to pulse for about 10 minutes. Normally, we wait until it quits pulsing before we cut it. But there was no pulse. There was almost no blood in it. Instead of being thick, strong, and purple, it was limp and white. Eric tied and cut the cord quickly as I was still having strong contractions.
Then Eric helped me to the bathtub as the warm water helped dull the pain of the contractions. I continued to bleed. I had never had difficulty delivering a placenta before. But this time it was very difficult. The placenta was retained for about an hour and a half. Just before the delivery of the placenta, I cried out, feeling as though I could not continue. Shortly thereafter, I delivered the placenta. It was twice the normal size and had ruptured.
Eric caught the placenta in a large deep bowl. Then he took a picture of it because it looked so huge and strange to him.
Matthew heard the cry of a baby and headed up the stairs to see the new arrival. As he stepped up to the doorway, he smelled a strong scent of blood.
I lost a lot of blood and was very weak. I stayed in bed for 5 days afterwards because every time I tried to get up, I’d start to pass out. All the red streaks in the whites of my eyes disappeared and my bulging veins were flat.
Zoie Kay Marshall was perfect. She was born at 2:17 pm on February 8th, 2006 and weighed 4 kilos and was 51 cm long.
She acted and looked like a normal infant in spite of the fact that she quit receiving oxygen from the umbilical cord sometime before delivery. We don’t know for how long she went without oxygen from the cord. We did not realize the magnitude of the miracle until several days after the birth. We were talking about the picture of the placenta that Eric took. It was so large and filled with blood. And the cord was so white. As we looked back on the situation we realized all the more God’s strong hand of deliverance for both of our lives. We can also look back and see why scriptures on “life” and “Christ who is our life” were standing out to us the few months before Zoie’s birth. God was her cord of life!
“Zoie” means “the Life of God”. The breath of God had sustained her. He was providing her with air. “This is the air I breathe!” The crown of “LIFE” — the Zoe life of God. On His arm I did trust and He showed Himself strong on my behalf!
I could not help but worship Him as I looked out the window and gazed at the distant Andes, wanting the mountains to also sing to our Creator!
Shout to the LORD all the earth let us sing. Power and Majesty praise to our King! Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name! …Nothing compares to the promise I have in YOU!
Today, Zoie is a healthy, energetic and talented little girl. She enjoys playing the violin and loves to read. Last month I heard much about the characters in Little Women. Zoie also loves playing with the baby goats on our goat farm.
One more special thing…
Earlier in the pregnancy, back in Kansas, I desired to have a girl and name her Zoie. Eric thought I was going to have a boy and wanted to name him Aaron. This saddened me because I was really hoping for a “Zoie”.
Before we told the children that I was pregnant, 10 year old Abigail told us she had a dream that I had a baby. The baby in her dream had a girl’s name but was wearing boy’s clothes. That is exactly what happened!
In my attempts to follow my husband, I had given away most of my baby girl clothes and had brought mostly baby boy clothes with us to Chile. I only brought ONE girls’ outfit! (in the photo at the start of this post.) So, just like in Abigail’s dream, we had a baby with a girl’s name dressed in boy’s clothes – but only for the first few weeks!
The LORD is truly our deliverer and our refuge. And those who know Your name (Provider, Righteousness, Healer, Peace, Protector, Shepherd & He is Present) will put their trust in You; For You, Yahweh, have not forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10.
Arising at 3:00 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, Eric and I left for Berlin. It was chilly out and raining. It was going to be a long time away from home, away from our children. Partly I was excited about the new adventure, partly I was already missing the children. We drove to the airport in the dark, in the gentle rain.
Throughout our travels, the number 27 caught my attention and seemed special to me, although I couldn’t figure out why.
I thought that perhaps it was because it paralleled our first day in Europe??? (the 27th of November)
I took this picture while walking to a bus station in London. Eric and Anna were blocks ahead of me. Talking to myself, I told myself that I really liked the number 27. I think all that travelling was getting to me. 🙂
We returned from our trip late — almost midnight — on Dec. 22nd. We drove home from the airport in the dark. Again in a gentle rain on a chilly night.
It was a busy time with visiting relatives home for the holidays. A few days later as we sat with our children, they shared with us how together they had memorized Psalm 27. I asked why they had chosen that particular psalm. It had seemed rather random to them, possibly because they had been discussing the movie “Gods and Generals” and that psalm was quoted in the movie.
One verse humored them:
“When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.” Psalm 27:10
I think it was that particular verse that caused Psalm 27 to be their scripture of choice to memorize together. They had greatly encouraged me to go on the trip with Eric and had not felt forsaken in any way. Yet the verse made them chuckle.
It was interesting to me that the number 27 had stood out to me during our travels and that God seemingly led our children to memorize Psalm 27 while we were gone.
Pondering this coincidence, I then noticed the date on my phone that evening — Dec.27th.
Also I realized the duration of our trip — exactly 27 days.
I am determined to also memorize Psalm 27 and meditate on the promises of God’s protection.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the LORD will take care of me.
Teach me Your way, O LORD,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!
10 years ago our family moved from Greensburg, Kansas, to Chile, S.A. I have felt impressed to record how the LORD led us on that journey as a memory for my children and for anyone else interested in reading about it.
The LORD is My Shepherd
Go now… or after the baby is born? That was my heartcry before the Lord. I was convinced that God was telling us to go… but when?
For years Eric and I had had dreams of a coming storm. We thought that the dreams might be prophetic of a coming destruction to America. That thought lined up with the David Wilkerson newsletters we had received since 1990. Had those newsletters influenced our dreams? Or was God speaking to us through them!
I had awakened one night with my heart racing, startled from a dream of 3 tornadoes headed straight toward our home. I wondered if I should wake up Eric to tell him that I had yet another tornado dream, this one more real than the others. Fully awake and my heart still pounding, I heard an intense call out from down the hallway. “STORM! STORM!” My son, Joey, was talking in his sleep. God had my attention. A storm was coming.
A year or two passed. We were trying to listen to God and follow His leading. We moved to an old farm and tried to get more “prepared“. It was hard work and we were not sure how much we really could prepare. A few more years passed.
Our son, Matthew, had 4 tornado dreams 4 nights in a row – each tornado dream contained a specific detail – a wide tornado, it turns at our fence-line (the border of our property), the wheat in our field is just starting to turn golden (springtime), it’s evening.
Eric had dreams also… an airplane crashing into the middle of Greensburg and destroying it… reminiscent of 9/11.
In another dream, he was looking out his office window to the west and saw a massive tornado headed straight toward him. When Eric had that dream there was no way to see very far to the west. Next to his office building was a very narrow alley and a large brick building. That large building blocked any view out that west window. But now, about a year later, the building’s roof had collapsed and the building was torn down. Now, one could actually see to the west. Was God telling us to go now?
Seven-year-old Bridget had a dream of a loud siren sounding and all of us loading up our 15 passenger van to go.
I had discussed this much with God. Eric was busy with his law practice and title company. We had recently totally remodeled our old farm house and finished our 1800 sq.ft. addition. I had a grand, organized school room! I was pregnant with our 8th child. It made no sense for us to go now. I told God, ”But I am comfortable.”
But comfortable was not God’s will for us at that time.
I picked up a notebook out of a box that Eric had hauled down from the chicken coop. A loft above our chicken palace stored old notebooks and other “stuff”. Eric was cleaning out, getting ready “to go”. As I was arguing with God about being nice and comfortable, I opened the notebook and saw notes I’d written from a sermon years before while living in Charleston, South Carolina. I had written in large print. “It is dangerous to be comfortable but out of the will of God.” “Like Jonah, asleep on the ship to Tarshish… comfortable, but out of God’s will. Or Samson, asleep on the lap of Delilah…comfortable, but not doing God’s will.”
Okay. I got that. Being comfortable was not a good reason to stay on our farm.
But what about Eric’s work… just leave it all? How would we provide for our growing family with 7 going on 8 children?
I knew one of God’s covenant names was “Jireh” — that the LORD would provide.
The children and I had studied the covenant names of God, made posters, and done a skit about it for our homeschool co-op devotion. Eric had played his guitar and sang Proverbs 18 as the children acted out our skit.
Prov.18:1 “The Name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe. But the rich man sees his wealth as a strong city.”
We had made colorful signs of the covenant names of God with glitter glue. We had a sign for “Shalom” = Peace, one for “Roi” = Shepherd, one for “Rapha” = Healer, and so on. The signs were all beautiful and glittery on large poster boards. We also made some signs with the word “Righteous” written on them. The younger children hung these signs around their necks labeling them “Righteous”. They (the righteous) ran for safety to the refrigerator box (painted to look like a Scottish tower) with its colorful signs of the covenant names of God sticking out all over it.
Joey and Anna pretended to be the bad guys pursuing the little “righteous” ones that were running for safety to the tower of God’s names. Matthew was the rich fool in the skit, standing behind his walled city that was about to collapse.
(I had to digress on that sweet memory.)
I had thoroughly meditated on the covenant names of God. He was our strong tower that we could run to and trust in!
But this was a bit radical. Leave everything and go… to Chile?
Eric had his job here in Greensburg. Eric’s mom lived in town and had been widowed the year before. It might be difficult for her if we left.
The farm was a healthy place to raise our children. We had horses, chickens, and goats. We had a go-cart, trampoline, and swimming pool. My dad had built a special play house for my daughters.
And I loved our barn. The children had a rope swing in it. Matthew had built a hay house in it.
My heart was tied to our earthly treasures.
God continued to nudge us.
During the night, one of our goats escaped from her pen and tried to eat the grain stored in a large trash can. She was pregnant and fell head first into the trash can. We found her dead the next morning because she couldn’t get out of the trash can.
It was a sad morning looking out toward that big red barn.
As I gazed out the window staring longingly at the barn God asked me to give up. I heard Him say, “Greedy for grain… greedy for gain!” That pregnant goat was a picture of me. I was greedy and wanted to keep my “Pottery Barn” barn and Eric’s good job. I wanted my comfortable life and my organized schoolroom so my children could grow up right and serve God!!! But God spoke to me about that pregnant, greedy, dead goat. I was pregnant. I was greedy.
But… no, Lord, I won’t be a stubborn goat. I will follow You as my Shepherd!
Tears flowed with surrender as I sang.
Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering, though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name. You give and take away, You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, LORD, blessed be Your name.
Now committed to the path that the Lord would choose for us, I wanted to know when… now or after the baby is born?
That night I had a dream. A shepherd, dressed in homespun woolen shepherd’s clothes, urgently beckoned his sheep to come follow Him. I then saw that I was that sheep. I woke up, my heart pounding rapidly with such an urgency to follow my Shepherd and go, NOW!
God had a plan. He wanted us to KNOW His voice more clearly, to KNOW His name as Shepherd and Provider. He was training us to follow Him more closely, with instant obedience and full dependency on Him. Our safety wasn’t going to be found in a place or location. Our safety was going to be found in knowing Him and obeying His voice.
This is Too Hard
My journal entry dated 6/10/05 reads:
I am feeling nauseous, knowing it’s for a wonderful purpose. Yet my emotions once again slip into feelings of “This is too hard”.
My journal entry went on to say how Matthew 25 was my reading for the day…
“The wicked and lazy servant with one talent was afraid. He saw his lord as a hard man.”
I was feeling the same way as the wicked and lazy servant described in scripture. I was pregnant and feeling nauseous and my LORD was telling us to leave everything and go to Chile. I wanted to be His servant…..but this felt too hard.
I read how Satan’s ambition was for Job — and us — to not see God rightly in our trials and afflictions. Satan doesn’t want us to see Him as a God of Grace… because if we did, then we would become fruitful. Satan wants to make us unfruitful.
In Matthew 25, the five-talent and the two-talent servants were fruitful… each 100 fold. They were completely obedient. But the one-talent servant could not find God’s grace to obey. He was afraid. He had fear… not faith.
1 John 5:3,4 says that His commandments are not burdensome. Matt 11:30 tells us His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He says that He will supply us with the strength to accomplish whatever He asks of us. He will give us grace.
The 100-fold servants entered into the JOY of the LORD. The reward for obedience is JOY.
Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have it’s perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
The trial will mature us if we trust in His grace to take us through it.
God wanted to mature us. He wanted to prune us so that we could be more fruitful.
In the few months that followed, we sold stuff, gave away stuff, and packed up a 20 ft. container with items that we thought we would need for life in Chile.
Yes, it was hard… but not too hard. We found His grace as we obeyed Him…
On October 10th, 2005, we flew to Santiago, Chile. It was my daughter’s birthday. The flight crew sang “Happy Birthday” to Anna. The move was an exciting adventure for her and her older siblings. Her younger siblings were sad to leave their home on the farm.
We arrived on the 11th of October. A missionary family that we had met over the internet greeted us and helped us get settled into our new life.
There were many challenges.
We did not speak Spanish.
Finding a house that was large enough for our large family was difficult. We finally found one in the city of Talca.
Fleas were all over Chile. Everyone had dogs and it seemed everyone had fleas. We were attacked by the fleas. A new routine was set of thoroughly vacuuming the entire house and washing all of our bedding — daily.
The fleas bothered me and my two youngest children the most. I did not sleep much because of the intense itching.
Discouragement set in. It seemed we would never conquer the fleas.
God began to speak to my husband about discouragement.
God had been speaking the same scripture to me. Just like the Israelites, God was leading us by a hard way to test what was in our hearts. The Israelites complained and they were bitten. I was complaining, and I was getting bitten.
With my discouragement, I had started doubting. I was tempting Christ with my unbelief.
“…nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents.” 1 Corinthians 10:9
Seeing the parallel and feeling God’s conviction, I repented of my doubting and complaining.
The fleas stopped.
Now our floors were covered with small black ants. Our floors were black. We had to wipe the ants off our feet as we climbed into bed.
The ants did not bite us. I noticed that the fleas were no longer a problem. The ants were eating the fleas, their eggs, and larvae.
I was thankful for God’s deliverance from the fleas! I was learning what it meant to tempt Christ. And I was learning about overcoming discouragement.
After our 8th child, Zoie, was born, we moved from Talca to Villarrica, a town in Southern Chile.
On the morning of May 4th, 2007, Anna woke up feeling a heavy burden for her grandma, “Grammie.” Anna prayed for Grammie throughout the day, praying for her protection but not having an understanding of the burden she felt.
That evening a massive EF5 tornado swept through Greensburg, Kansas. It came from the southwest and turned on the edge of town (just at the edge of our old farm) It plowed its way down Main street and with 200mph winds, it destroyed 95% of the town.
We heard news of the tornado the next day. Grammie was safe.
It all made sense to me then. Gone were the nagging doubts that we had been on some bunny trail. The Lord had been speaking about this to us. And we had followed our Shepherd.
Just like Matthew’s 4 tornado dreams, the tornado was wide. It turned at the edge of our property. It was early May, just when the wheat is starting to turn golden. And it was in the evening (9:20 p.m.).
Our farmhouse, though on the edge of the tornado, was greatly damaged
and was later bulldozed down. If I had hung on to my big beautiful
barn, I would have lost it anyway.
Notes in my Bible say, “Be certain that you are always where God wants you to be or you put yourself in jeopardy.” It references 2 Samuel 11, the account of King David’s choice to remain in Jerusalem and the temptation and sin that ensued.
I opened to these notes today and sense the Lord emphasizing this truth of seeking His direction for our lives and that doing so may well keep us from trouble and tragedy.
Eric led our devotion this morning with Ps.119:106 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Yesterday I read a blog post titled “Summer of Preparation”. The author is of the opinion that this summer needs to be a time preparing spiritually and physically for the days ahead — to be focused on being ready for a national disaster. Summer is normally connected with recreation and vacations. But the writer was warning that we need to be watchful and preparing.
Some of that writers thoughts paralleled a dream I had the same morning (May 12th). My dream started with events that we have planned for early June where some of my children are signed up to attend a music camp. As the dream progressed, I was out in a field where people were involved in outdoor recreational activities. A 1950’s pearl white car was circling the field for fun and the driver was somehow managing to throw a basketball back and forth with someone else standing in the field. The atmosphere was one of people taking vacations and I was having thoughts that we should go to Yellowstone National Park for a family vacation since it was close by. (I have never had a desire to take a trip to Yellowstone, nor do I ever think about Yellowstone, nor is it close by — but that was what was in the dream.)
As I am planning in my mind to take a family vacation to Yellowstone, suddenly the white car that had been circling the field was right in front of me and about to run me over. Suddenly, I am in a crevice or ditch in the ground and the car drives over me. My heart is beating rapidly and I am relieved that I am still alive. But I am trapped under a thick layer of dirt and have only a small space of air above my head. I think that perhaps I have only enough oxygen for one last breath and I am wondering if I will be able to climb up and push through the layer of soil that is above me. I wake up at this point and my thoughts are that God is warning that we are in a time not to be pursuing recreation and vacations without His guidance.
I am also wondering if God is speaking something about Yellowstone in particular — a warning about Yellowstone blowing sometime in the future? In my dream, the earth was split. An earthquake? Like I said, I never think about Yellowstone.
As I shared my dream with my children during this morning’s devotion, I had a thought that the 1950’s pearl white car was the attitude of “Let the good times roll”. The 1950’s was a time of prosperity in America. Many Americans still believe that life in America will continue with the same prosperity and ease as it has had in the past.
Our children still plan to attend the summer music camp. But we will not be planning any summer vacation trips without being certain of the Lord’s leading.
In 1995 we began a scripture memory program with our young children. We had small note cards with a picture of a clue word on one side and a corresponding scripture on the back. It was a wonderful tool for memorizing favorite Bible verses.
This was our second memory card:
With much enthusiasm, my young children repeated, “It is butter! …. to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” Psalm 118:8
On the back of the card was the scripture.
Daily we were quoting it as we added more memory cards. Daily we were saying, “It is BETTER to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”
I was hungry for God. This scripture fed my spirit and helped my faith to grow.
This scripture, the very center verse in the Bible, became my cornerstone scripture for our walk in trusting the LORD as Healer.
My husband and I had taken a leap. We were on a journey with the LORD. A journey of walking with Him as our Healer. He had been leading us — step by step —
That journey began in March of 1991 when we chose scripture instead of drugs.
Psalm 103:2,3 “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits; Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.”
Proverbs 4:20-23 “My son, give attention to my words, Incline your ear to my sayings, Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh, Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
As a family of 10, we have had many trials in the past 24 years. But through them all, the LORD has been faithful. And we can gladly say with our trust in Him that it is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man!
I had a dream this morning (1/14/15). In my dream, I see a music instructor and a violin. One of my children picks up the violin to play, but it has broken strings and can’t be played.
Then I see that my daughter Abigail is about to give a recital. Her violin instructor is accompanying her. But they are not playing their violins. Rather, they are both playing pianos and singing.
Abigail is singing soprano and her instructor is singing alto. They are singing a song that I am vaguely familiar with, perhaps from my childhood. The words and tune are clear, “…walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain…..”. In a high soprano voice, Abigail holds out the word “high” as they sing the final line “hold your head up high…”.
We applaud. I am amazed at how well she held out the high note singing the word “high,” and I begin to wake up.
It was a beautiful dream. I believe God is speaking something to me through it.
Anyone that knows my daughter Abigail knows that her life has pretty well revolved around playing her violin during the past few years. The broken violin at the start of the dream along with her playing piano and singing for a recital instead of playing her violin seems to be speaking about some type of disruption or change coming soon.
It speaks to me of seeming disappointments. Things we hold very dear to us in this life may be broken and replaced by something else.
Something higher. Something better.
An emphasis on “hold your head up high” speaks to me of setting our gaze Heavenward. When Abigail sang this line and held out the word “high” for a long time, it was beautiful. There was joy and gladness in our hearts.
At our family devotion time I shared my dream and sang the portion of the song that I heard in it. Abigail recognized the tune but did not know the lyrics. She had played it a few months ago in the Salina Symphony for a concert. And her string quartet is also planning to play an arrangement of the song for an upcoming event.
I googled the song and found the lyrics and history.”You’ll Never Walk Alone” is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical ‘Carousel’.
The song is often sang as an encouragement in the midst of a difficult time. It has been sung by many singers over the years. Something interesting I read is that the song was sung by Barbara Streisand at a surprise appearance at the close of the 2001 Emmy Awards, in honor of the victims of the September 11th, 2001 attacks. And again it was sung at a concert marking the first anniversary of 9/11. It was also sung for the inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20, 2009.
Here are the lyrics:
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”
When you walk through the storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
The song was written for a musical based on lies. The main character in Carousel committed suicide. He was allowed to return to earth for one day to fix the mess he had made – a story based on lies.
The song itself is beautiful and represents hope in the midst of a storm. We will never walk alone as long as we are walking with the LORD – Yahweh. Hope in anyone or anything else is a false hope and probably based on lies.
Jesus Christ/ Yahshua Messiah is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.
A storm is coming. We have been expecting it for years. As believers in Jesus Christ, let us fix our eyes upon Him and set our hope fully in Him.
As we walk through the coming storm, let us hold our heads up high, and trust completely in our Savior.
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
I’ve been a homeschool mom for over 22 years — over 24 years if preschool counts. But we didn’t officially consider ourselves homeschooling until my firstborn was in kindergarten. That was 1992. We knew God was leading us to home educate our children, but it was such a new idea… a strange idea to most. We set out with few resources and little support.
Facing me every day was my fear of failure. Fear of my inabilities to properly prepare my children in what they needed to succeed in this world. My fear of failure was huge. But one thing gave me hope. It was a promise from the LORD.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. (Is. 54:13)
I hung on to this promise over the years. When I felt like quitting, the LORD often reminded me of His promise.
Still, oftentimes I felt defeated by this giant of fear of failure.
Once, when I felt especially discouraged, the LORD corrected me. I came down with a very painful sore throat. In seeking the LORD for His healing touch, He brought me to a passage in His word. “Their throat is an open tomb.” Ps. 5:9. The Holy Spirit convicted my heart.”Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” He told me that I was speaking death to my homeschooling. My throat was an open tomb. I repented of my attitude and words of death that I had been speaking about my homeschooling. And the LORD healed me. Instantly. My horrible sore throat was gone.
Over time, I chose to agree with what His word says instead of agreeing with my own negative thoughts of defeat… thoughts about my homeschooling, thoughts about health, thoughts about life. Agreeing with His words.
After 22 years of homeschooling, I can see the LORD’s faithfulness. He has been faithful to lead and guide — to provide opportunities for my children. He has taught them. And taught me. And when we keep our eyes on Him, great is our peace.