When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”
The Greek word used to describe Elizabeth’s unborn baby is the same word used in Luke 2:12 and 2:16 to describe the newborn baby Jesus and in Luke 18:15 to describe the babies that the people were bringing to Jesus to touch.
The Bible makes no differentiation between a baby in the womb and a baby that has been born.
Elizabeth also called Mary the mother of her Lord. Mary quickly went to see Elizabeth when she received the news from the angel that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She was most likely in her first trimester. The Jesus inside of her was referred to as Lord, the same word for Lord that was used hundreds of times in the New Testament to describe the man Jesus.
The Bible makes no differentiation between Jesus in his fetus form and Jesus in his full grown man form.
“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”
Old Testament Law also viewed the unborn as a life. Striking a pregnant woman was a punishable offense. If there was injury to her or the baby as a result, then it was a life for a life. In Num. 35:9-15 there is a law that says anyone who kills someone accidentally may flee to a refugee city. The life for life penalty was not in place.
So accidental injury to a pregnant woman or unborn baby was a more serious offense to God than other accidental deaths. Accidentally causing the death of an unborn child carried the same weight as intentional murder.
There are other scriptures that show God’s special care of pregnant women, babies, and children.
“He [the Lord] tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
Matt 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”
The formation of a human is not just the result of biological forces. God is present in the womb, crafting the new life Himself.
“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
God has a destiny for each child before they are born.
Jer 1:5 “And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Gal 1:15 “But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace…”
Scriptures Affirm the Purpose and Destiny of a Life Exists even before Conception.
Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”
Eph 1:4-5 4 “For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will,…”
Romans 9:10-12“Not only that, but Rebecca’s children were conceived by one man, our father Isaac. Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad, in order that God’s plan of election might stand, not by works but by Him who calls, she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”
Romans 8:29 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
The Bible is clear. Abortion is the murder of a life that God created, the ending of a purpose and destiny, and violates God’s special favor on pregnant women and little ones.
As a young teen I was asked if I supported legalized abortion, and I said no. Then I was asked about cases when the mother had been raped. My answer was, “Well, in that case it wasn’t her fault, so she should be allowed to get an abortion if she wants to.” I didn’t understand what abortion really was, what it entailed, or what it meant for the baby or for the mother.
At age 14, I had an incredible salvation experience where Jesus came into my heart, the scales fell off my eyes, and the entire world looked different to me. I started going to a non-denominational church, reading the Bible with awe and wonder, and learning to hear God’s voice.
After high school I spent a year with Youth With A Mission doing their Discipleship Training School and their School of Evangelism. I learned so much about God, the Bible, marriage, families, education, homeschooling, and abortion. We had a teacher, Bev Kline, who ran a ministry for pregnant women in crisis. They offered support, counseling, and a home to live in. This incredible woman told our class her story. She had had two abortions and spent many years under incredible pain and guilt. She found healing through Jesus and now spent her life extending that healing to others. She tried to talk to women considering abortion, to spare them the heartache she went through. Bev helped many women keep their babies and see them thrive in their new lives as single mothers. She helped others lovingly give their babies up for adoption.
She had found a purpose and passion in life and was filled with peace and joy. But she never forgot the birthdays of the two children she had aborted and looked forward to meeting them in heaven someday. Bev is still loving women by running Living Alternatives.
During that time I saw pictures of the small humans that had burns all over their tiny bodies because of saline injection abortions. I saw pictures of tiny legs ripped from a tiny torsos by forceps during an abortion. Abortion was becoming real to me. Here are some similar images.
The reality of abortion is extreme cruelty to the most vulnerable humans among us, not the “evacuation of fetal tissue.”
We also had another teacher who started a pro-life group. He explained how abortion was the same to God as the sacrificing of children to idols in the Bible. Some ancient cultures had this practice. Israel had a period of leaving the LORD and worshiping the idol Molech, and/or Baal who required that children be burned in fire to appease his wrath.
“They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal— something I never commanded or mentioned, nor did it even enter My mind. So behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the Valley of Ben-hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.…”
In America today we are too educated and sophisticated for idols made of metal or stone. Now our idols are called Selfishness, Convenience, Greed, and Fear and THOUSANDS of babies a day are being sacrificed to these idols.
This teacher also explained to us the procedure called “Partial Birth Abortion” which was legal in some states.
“Partial-Birth Abortion (Brain Suction) – 4 to 9 months of pregnancy
Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby’s leg with forceps. The baby’s leg is pulled out into the birth canal. The abortionist delivers the baby’s entire body, except for the head. The abortionist jams scissors into the baby’s skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole. The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child’s brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed.”
In the girls dorm at YWAM there were no TVs, computers, or phones. So I picked up a huge book about the origins of Planned Parenthood and read the entire thing (I think it was 400 pages long!) I learned that the founder, Margaret Sanger, despised both blacks and Christians. She lived a very promiscuous lifestyle. She felt that abortion was the answer to society’s woes: to set women free from traditional morals and of course those burdensome babies. She also said that abortion would be very useful in controlling the populations of the pesky lower forms of humans, mainly the Negros. As she began to market her idea, she used the slogan, “Every child a wanted child” and promised that a utopian society would surely follow.
As we can all see now, Margaret Sanger was a very false prophet.
Planned Parenthood started entering the schools and providing “sex education” which was supposed to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. Teenage pregnancies began to skyrocket, and it turned out the “sex ed” was actually creating more clients for her abortion clinics.
I knew a woman who had an abortion when she was young. It left emotional and physical scars so that later when she got married, she could not get pregnant. After much struggle and help from health care professionals, she was able to bring one miracle son into the world. She developed an abstinence based sex-ed course. She was invited into many schools.
I also learned from that book that 80% of women who had an abortion reported negative side effects, many long term.
It was becoming clear to me that abortion was devastating to the mother as well.
I have since learned that women who lose their baby before 20 weeks, whether through miscarriage or abortion, have a much higher risk of breast cancer and that risk goes up with each baby that is lost. On the flip side, for every month a women nurses a baby, her risk for breast cancer goes down. I have virtually no breast cancer risk after nursing my 10 babies. What does this tell me? God created our bodies to work a certain way and when we violate His design, there are negative consequences.
There are so many documented complications following abortion from increases in many kinds of cancer, poor general health, problems with future pregnancies, and on and on. The most concerning is the death rate in the year after abortion.
“According to the best record based study of deaths following pregnancy and abortion, a 1997 government funded study in Finland, women who abort are approximately four times more likely to die in the following year than women who carry their pregnancies to term. In addition, women who carry to term are only half as likely to die as women who were not pregnant”
What do you know? Pregnancy is actually good for women because God’s creation is good and He loves women. Pregnancy taken to the birth of a full term baby can actually protect a woman from DYING!
A year after YWAM, Chris and I got married and started having babies. We were learning first hand how our babies were being fearfully and wonderfully made by God who was knitting them together in my womb and bringing them through astonishing developments week by week. This was not a clump of cell. This was a miracle!
In quick succession I had a girl and two baby boys. My fourth pregnancy produced a beautiful baby girl, Ashlyn, who was diagnoses with a rare chromosomal disorder. Soon we realized that she was developmentally delayed and had unexpected abnormalities in her body. Yet she is such a vital part of our family. Most children like her never make it out of the womb alive. 80% of Down syndrome Babies are aborted in America. In some countries it is close to 100%.
I met a friend a few years later who took a special interest in Ashlyn. She even organized a fundraiser to help get Ashlyn the special therapy she needed. One day she told me her story. She was close to her due date with baby number 3 when the doctors realized that her child had some sort of problem, likely chromosomal in nature. They urged her to abort. Abortions in the third trimester were not legal in our state, so she and her husband traveled to another state. The abortion was preformed and she got a picture of her dead daughter. She and her husband had since divorced. Her older daughter was practicing self -harm.
I listened to my sweet friend and I heard a torture that I have never experienced in all the hardship of caring for a child who is physically and mentally handicapped. I wouldn’t wish that type of pain on anyone.
In the last year I have watched the movie, “Unplanned”, story of Abby Johnson who went from Planned Parenthood’s Employee of the year to a Pro-Life advocate. Please read her book or watch her movie. It explains so much about what it is like inside the abortion industry and what it is like to have an abortion. The turning point for Abby was when she was called in to assist with an abortion for the first time. It was her job to hold the ultrasound probe so the doctor could see the baby in order to suction it out.
When the suction tube came near the small baby, Abby saw it recoil and move out of the way. It tried to find a safe place but the little body could not escape.
“Beam me up Scotty,” said the doctor as the baby was ripped from the womb and ended up in a bloody heap in the machine.
Just a few weeks ago I was able to attend a Kick Off Rally for our local chapter of 40 Days of Life, the Pro-Life organization that helped Abby get out of the abortion industry. I met many precious Catholics who have been standing and praying in front of our city’s Planned Parenthood since 2006. They have pictures and stories of the babies and mothers they have saved from abortion. I was able to tour Little Bee, a mobile ultrasound unit by Undefeated Courage. They park in front of Planned Parenthoods in the area and offer free ultrasounds for pregnant women. Planned Parenthood always does an ultrasound for any client wanting an abortion, but only to determine price. The client is never allowed to see her baby moving on the screen, never allowed to notice the beating heart.
Four out of five women who receive an ultrasound on a mobile unit decide to keep her baby. She can plainly see that what is in her womb is a human child, HER human child.
I also learned about Rachel’s Vineyard, a local ministry that helps women heal from abortion. Their pamphlet reads, “One in Four Women will become a victim of abortion by the age of 45.”
Interesting, I had never thought of it that way. But now I understand why the woman is a victim too. She is being lied to by her culture, celebrities, media, lawmakers, educators, and her health care providers. Most of all she is being lied to by Planned Parenthood counselors who are trained to sell a product. They only product they have to sell is abortion. The pain, grief, guilt, and negative side effects are downplayed or never mentioned. Her baby is referred to as “the pregnancy”, “contents of the uterus”, or “fetal tissue.” She is never told that her baby is a real human baby, a life worth living, and a life worth saving.
She is never told that when God gives a woman a baby, it is His way of showing His favor and giving her His highest blessing. She is never told that babies are always a blessing and never a curse, that the child in her womb may become the best thing in her life.
I love to talk about pregnancy, labor, birth, and everything to do with babies and motherhood. It is my great passion in life! Women sense this and seem to open up to me. I have heard so many stories over the years! Many times I have heard a woman say,
On how I love to read! One of the pure joys of life! To sit down and read a good book uninterrupted feels like paradise. Lately I have been listening to audio books while I get my work done in the kitchen. I have to choose my books carefully, because I have so little time. I ask God to lead my choices and reveal truth.
Two books I have listened to recently have impacted me deeply and have guided my interpretation of this war we are now in. This article is about the first book.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This was a beautifully written story of normal people living during a time of growing evil. It centered on an orphan boy in Germany and a blind girl in France. Their stories were told simultaneously and intersected at surprising points. This was not a true story but seemed very historically accurate. It was not written from a Christian perspective and offered no true redemption at the end, but the characters were intriguing and the insight into human nature was compassionate and stunning.
The orphan boy, Werner, was destined to work in the coal mines that had killed his father, but he had a sharp intellect and an abhorrence to the mines. As he and his sister grew up destitute in the orphanage, “The Fuhrer” began to institute more rules and changes. They were told that it was all for their good, but the words did not ring true as conditions in Germany deteriorated. No one wanted to be noticed, to stand out in any way. To attract the attention of any Nazi official was to bring doom on yourself and those you cared about. Everyone complied with each new edict and kept their heads down. When it was demanded that all radios be handed over to the government, Werner decided that he had to destroy the very powerful radio he had built himself. It was too dangerous to keep it. His sister felt bitterly betrayed. She knew that the edict was wrong. This radio had brought them fine music and educational programs from as far away as France. It had been the only light in their dark world. In recent days it had brought news from the battle front, news that contradicted the State Approved News Stations they were allowed to listen to with the weak State Approved radios.
Because Werner’s brilliance with fixing radios became known to the local SS officer, Werner was recommended for the National Political Institutes of Education. This was where Germany’s brightest and strongest boys were sent to be trained to serve The Fuhrer. I found myself wishing that Werner would go, to become a scientist as he had always dreamed, to escape the dark chasm of the mines. Yet I knew that if he did, they would try to crush his spirit and steal his soul.
He did accept the invitation and found out soon enough what this new education was all about; the individual meant nothing, the State meant everything, and the State was being run by the cruelest men in the human race.
Meanwhile Marie-Laure was growing up in France with her father. She was learning to navigate Paris as her sight left her. Her father worked at the National Museum of Natural History and she was raised with all the wonder and delight of curiousity and good books. People were hearing reports about Adolf Hitler in Germany for many years, but few thought it would impact them. It didn’t seem as though France ever earnestly prepared for a war. When the Germans arrived, surrender came so quickly that I wondered if France had even put up a fight. I asked my husband and adult daughter, both of whom I consider almost experts of this time period. They confirmed my impression of France.
Did they have any idea what they were surrendering to? Had they any idea how their surrender would affect their own people and the other European nations?
Soon after, small contingencies of Nazi soldiers would enter each town and occupy. The German forces were so small that the people could have easily banded together and kicked them out. Not a single act of courage was displayed. The people just kept their heads down and tried to stay out of trouble. They handed in their guns. They handed in their radios.
I felt like yelling at them. “Stand up and fight! Don’t give up your country so easily! Fight with all you have! Fight to the death if you have to. Now is your chance! You will not have this chance again!”
How I longed to rewrite the story with wise leaders who had insight into the coming evil. I wanted to add French heroes with stout hearts full of righteousness and compassion, willing to fight for their liberties and the liberties of Europe.
How I longed to see every solider and able bodied person in France take whatever weapons they owned and stand their ground and say, “No Further! This is our land!”
The only courage that arose was the underground resistance, those few who kept their radios and risked everything to send intelligence to the Allies. Marie-Laure was one of those heroes.
In a lovely twist, Marie-Laure’s uncle who had been confined to him home with debilitating fear after he fought in WWI, finally stepped out in courage once he decided to join the resistance.
Still incredible darkness filled every day in both Germany and France, lasting well after the long war finally came to an end.
What have I learned from All the Light We Cannot See
We are in a similar time to the time before Hitler gained his vice grip over Germany and then Europe. We are fighting Socialism (which always becomes Communism) and globalism. (Confused about Socialism in America? Watch this interview with Dinesh D’Souza, author of The Unites States of Socialism.) We are fighting all the evil spirits that still shriek,
“The individual is worth nothing! The State is Everything! There is no God, no morals – only the Fuhrer!”
The words we are hearing are slightly different,
“Unborn babies are worth nothing, white lives are worth nothing, police lives are worth nothing, individual freedoms do not exist! You must yield to the Government to insure the safety of the masses! You must cover your faces and submit to vaccines! There is no God, no Bible that has any bearing on our society! Only what is Politically Correct!”
Instead of making us turn in our phones, TVs, and computers; they are attempting to control all the information we have access to. They would like us to turn in our guns and are working toward this goal.
The spirit is the same. We need to understand the times and have God’s insight into the future. And the results will be similar if we do not stand up and fight NOW! Now is the time.
A good guide to the times is Rick Joyner’s Word for the Week. In his word for Sept 15 he says:
Just as warriors run to the sound of battle, not away from it, patriots run to the crisis that threaten their country, not away from them. The future will belong to those with that initiative…
We must acknowledge that we are at war. We need a “clear trumpet call” so that those who hear it will mobilize. We need to understand that we would not be living now if we were not called to be warriors in this ultimate battle. If we are not called to be in the physical battles unfolding, we are called to be warriors in more effective ways to influence the outcome. The pen really is mightier than the sword, but if we are not called to write we may be called to speak. If we are not called to speak, we are called to stand. To stand is one of the commands Jesus gave to those who live at the end of the age. Standing resolutely for what we believe can be one of the most powerful messages of all.
The costliest war of all time, World War II, was caused by the delusion of weak leaders that they could appease the aggressive, bully spirit rising in their time. It was estimated that Hitler could have been stopped in 1938 by the Czech Republic alone, at the cost of between ten thousand and twenty thousand casualties. This number horrified the squeamish leaders of Britain and France at the time, so they decided to give the Czech Republic to Hitler thinking that would appease him. It did not work, as it never will with such aggressors, and two years later the war came anyway. In that two years, the Nazis had grown much stronger, and the cost of stopping him went to tens of millions of lives lost.
Appeasement has never worked to contain aggressors. Aggressors always come in the same bully spirit, and you can never appease a bully spirit. A bully will never be satisfied. The only way to defeat a bully spirit is to stand up to it. Many of America’s state and local leaders who are under assault from this bully aggression now are trying to appease it, and in just weeks it has multiplied its demands. Where will it stop? It won’t until our leaders stand up to it, but the cost has already grown exponentially…
So, let us keep in mind that at the end of the Book of Revelation it is the “cowardly” who are the first to get thrown into the lake of fire. There is no place in Christianity for cowardice.
How we each fight is a matter of calling. What is God calling you to do?
Don’t bow down to false gods of media, government, politics, pharmaceuticals, medical tyranny, humanism, or globalism!
Don’t keep your head down and try to survive another day.
Lift up your heads, because your deliverance is drawing near. (Luke 21:28)
Take up your Sword of the Spirit and your Shield of Faith and fight!
No one would want to be accused of being a homophobe or a xenophobe today! Yet being a germophobe has rapidly become so popular and politically correct that you could be persecuted if you are not “a person who has an abnormal fear of germs or contamination.”
This germaphobia that has come over the world is being instituted by “the world system.” We know this is not the Kingdom of God, nor does it operate with the wisdom of God. The wisdom of man dominates. Since the fall, the wisdom of man has been short sighted and selfish, usually touting “the greater good” while hiding selfish, harmful agendas.
“Both at the time and thereafter, the public and most fellow scientists found germ theory easy to embrace, perceiving Pasteur’s model of life and health to be not only ‘superficially plausible’ but also ‘financially exploitable.’ In fact, most of the big-name pharmaceutical companies that we know today got their start in Pasteur’s era, often by merging with chemical firms, united in their goal of developing and selling synthetic products to ‘selectively kill or immobilize parasites, bacteria, and other invasive disease-causing microbes.'”
A lot of people feel that pharmaceuticals are the wonder of our modern age with the United States being one of the top consumers. Yet the US is at the top of the list for degenerative diseases as well. It appears drugs have made us sicker rather than healthier.
Winkey Pratney warned that the Babylon in Revelations (who deceived all the nations by her sorcery), is in fact the pharmaceutical companies. In his book, Fire on the Horizon, he stated,
According to Scripture the power of Babylon is pharmakia, the word translated “sorceries” or “witchcraft,” the thing that gives this principality its world power. It is that which people have used from the first roots of rebellion as a substitute for the power and wisdom and provision of the living God. It is the word from which we derive the words “pharmacy” and “pharmaceutical.” What is the great economy at the end of the world? The one we have now: The power of Babylon is drugs…Legal pharmakia alone is the biggest industry on earth, a multitrillion-dollar business unlike any other in human history.
I read Fire on the Horizon years ago. At the time, I told myself to remember this book because it contained a recipe for something that I believed would one day save my life or my loved one’s life. It was a recipe for Master Tonic, a natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal remedy. This was included in the first Chapter titled “Outbreak” with headings such as “AIDS, Ebola, and the Coming Plagues of the Twenty-First Century”. In his twenty-year-old prophecy that is coming true today, Winkie warned of super-bugs that would be resistant to drug treatment. Yet, treatments like Master Tonic that came from the wisdom of God, are still effective.
He also warned that, “every biblical mention of drugs is in a context of despair, mourning, grief and danger. They are never connected to healing.”
The Germ Theory article also states,
“Many of the disease phenomena making news headlines these days underscore the deficiencies of the pharmaceutical model and reveal challenges that are the direct result of our take-no-prisoners assault on germs. For example, dangerous superbugs23,24 are emerging—largely due to overuse of “anti-everything” drugs such as antibiotics and antifungals—and are ushering in a potential return “to a world in which infectious diseases drastically shorten lives.”25 Some have estimated that drug-resistant pathogens will become a bigger killer than cancer by 2050.25 If the medical community were honest, it would be forced to admit that the model of disease that catapulted Pasteur to fame has played itself out and is pushing us to disability and death.”
It is time to move away from the Germ Theory that gives drugs their allure and power and explore another theory.
The Terrain Theory was developed around the same time by Antoine Béchamp. Béchamp’s various discoveries led him to conclude that our bodies are, in effect, “miniecosystems.”
When an individual’s internal ecosystem becomes weakened—whether due to poor nutrition, toxicity, or other factors—it changes the function of the microbes that are naturally present in the body, producing disease.
“In other words, microorganisms only become pathogenic after environmental factors cause the host’s cellular ‘terrain’ to deteriorate.”
Most of the world is adhering to the germ theory which leads us to believe that the COVID-19 virus is the enemy and must be destroyed at any cost. Anyone who might be a potential carrier of the virus is also a threat and must be controlled.
The problem with this approach is that it does not address the actual problem – why do some people get sick from COVID-19? Why do other people barely show any symptoms? Why do some suffer greatly? Why do some die after being infected? The answer to these questions is – it all depends on the health of each person’s inner ecosystem.
The answer to the COVID pandemic is to heal the body. The answer to any disease is to rediscover God’s wisdom for what brings the human body the most abundant health and life.
The answer certainly is not social distancing or isolation. It is not hospitals and medications.
I have read that 7 hugs a day make a person less likely to contract a virial infection. Living in community with close relationships with multigenerational family and friends (which includes physical touch) builds your immune system and leads to long life.
So while the CDC is issuing all types of warnings to keep you away from the dreaded germ and the media is working people into a frenzy of panic and paranoia, they should be educating all of us on true health and life.
This would help every person at every age in every country establish and maintain good heath for a lifetime, not just until the pandemic is over. It would protect you from chronic conditions and degenerative diseases as well. It would give you the life that God always intended for you to have without fear.
Hey, I understand what is happening, I used to be a germophobe!
I loved everything clean and sanitized. When I only had one child, I could keep up with sanitizing all the toys and wiping down everything in the house with bleach water. I could keep my precious baby Areli from playing in the dirt or putting things in her mouth. I could take the time to wipe off every book that we brought home from the library.
After I had four more children, I had to let go of control.
It was an extraordinary day when I remembered to have the children wash their hands before they ate. They played in the dirt outside, and I don’t know WHAT they put in their mouths! However, we had begun to eat healthier foods and stopped vaccinating. I noticed that the children were healthier than Areli had been at their age. They didn’t get sick as often and when they did, they recovered quickly.
Now I have 10 children, and we continue to get sick less and less.
Nothing in our home gets sanitized anymore, but I am constantly learning about how to get rid of the toxic and obtain more of the health and life. And guess who has the strongest immune system of them all? Ashlyn! My special needs daughter who is missing a piece of her 6th chromosome, who is still crawling on hands and knees at age 16 and rarely washes her hands! Other children like her are on medications and have been hospitalized multiple times for respiratory infections that just won’t let go. Not Ashlyn! Even when the rest of our family is sick, she is still healthy. Why? I think it was because I did everything I could to build her immune system naturally.
And all the dirt and germs she has encountered just made her stronger.
I read a study that proved that children in large families have less asthma. Another study found that children in large families have less allergies. They are exposed to more at a younger age and grow stronger.
Cleanliness is still dear to my heart, but it is not the chemical, antigerm kind. It is the fresh air, sunshine, essential oil kind of clean. The Jewish people avoided many plagues throughout history because of the sanitary laws outlined in their Holy Scriptures. The United States is pretty good with most of these things. Clean, filtered water is always important as is good bathroom facilities and a separation from anything unclean such a human waste or dead bodies. It is also good to separate from anyone with an infectious disease, of course, but I am not afraid of the germs that they are carrying.
The Maker’s Diet is a wonderful book by Jordan Rubin who studied why the Jews were so healthy and outlines a healthy diet and toxin free lifestyle based on what he found. Other good resources for finding God’s wisdom for health is thehealthyhomeeconimist.org and westonaprice.org. They both adhere to the wisdom of ancient societies that experienced no degenerative diseases.
In the Old Testament if you touched the unclean, you became unclean as well. But in the New Testament, when Jesus touched the leper, it was the leper who became free of his infectious disease! We carry that same resurrection life inside of us if we are His followers!
The LORD is Jehovah-Rophe, the Lord who heals you. Blessing Your Spirit book states,
“He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’
The context of the name Jehovah-Rophe is not about healing the sick but staying healthy by following the principles that God gave Israel. This is preventive health through getting clean and staying clean.”
They are talking about following God and His wisdom:
eating clean food
living in a clean home
keeping our bodies, souls, and spirits clean from sin.
This means putting what is good and pure into our mouths, into our bodies, on our skin, and into our minds (through our eyes and ears). This is a struggle in a toxic world, but His grace is with us and His blood covers us and forgives us.
What promises belong to us if we believe in Him?
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all His kind deeds— He who forgives all your iniquities, and heals all your diseases,” Ps 103:2-3
“I will say to the LORD, “[You are] my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” He is the one who will rescue you from hunters’ traps and from deadly plagues.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. His truth is your shield and armor. You do not need to fear terrors of the night, arrows that fly during the day, plagues that roam the dark, epidemics that strike at noon. No harm will come to you. No sickness will come near your house. He will put his angels in charge of you to protect you in all your ways.” Ps 91:2-6,10-11
These are just a few of His promises for us! Let us trust Him in confidence and know that germs are just a small but integral part of this world that He holds in His loving hands.
Chris and I both felt excitement as the New Year 2020 was approaching. We had more hope for the future than we had experienced for several years.
Chris kept saying, “This will be a good and blessed New Year!”
I was hearing the same message in my own heart and from others in the body of Christ. Brian Simmons visited our church at the end of January, and his wife said that 2020 was going to be a year of redemption and a year of “a flying eagle company.”
I loved that word! I have been searching the skies for eagles for the past two years. In February our family took a day trip to Gifford Pinchot State Park. It was 55 degrees, sunny, and beautiful. The children were fishing, playing on the playground, and throwing football. I was sitting in the sunshine with my eyes closed, letting my mind wander. I began to wonder what 2020 had in store for us. Would Ashlyn get surgery to correct her scoliosis? Would it go well for her? Would we be able to take a family vacation? Would we experience prosperity this year? Or would an unexpected tragedy befall us? I didn’t know, but I felt safe in God’s hands. Peace surrounded me.
I stood and opened my eyes and there it was!
A bald eagle was flying right above us in the perfectly blue sky. It was so close.
It was my eighth eagle sighting. Eight is the number of new beginnings. That same week, God had given me three different chapters of Isaiah to read. These are the verses that jumped out.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.See, I am doing a new thing!Now it springs up: do you not perceive it?I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland…” Is 43:18-19
“From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today.” Is 48:6-7
“Pay close attention now: I am creating new heavens and a new earth.All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten.Look ahead with joy.Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight.” Is 65:17-18 (MSG)
LOOK AHEAD WITH JOY, God said!
All that has happened since February is something new and unexpected. I never anticipated this “pandemic” or how governments and people would respond to it. Yet I am still looking ahead with joy.
Our lives have been restricted. Many businesses had to shut down and many people can no longer work. We can’t gather or attend church in person. Yet necessity is the mother of invention, and I see inventions and innovations coming out of this time.
I see new perspectives, new systems and new ways of doing things. Businesses, our economy and our country could emerge from this crisis better and stronger than ever.
Most of us are told to stay in our homes with our families. Forced to be with our families: to eat together, talk together, work together, and experience every moment of every day together – wow! What a novel idea for most modern families!
I love having 9 of my children home with me every day. Reason # 1002 to have lots of children: you will never be lonely, isolated, or bored during a pandemic. Reason #1003: you have an instant party to celebrate any birthday or special day that might come around. (Reasons #1-1001 will have to be the subject of another article since they are too numerous and too wondrous to discuss here.)
Families are getting closer and stronger.
We are no longer taking our families for granted. They are our support network, our community, our church, and our greatest mission field. The family is God’s glory center, and it is the foundation for His next move, His next awakening, His next revival.
It seems as though our enemy has us trapped, yet all the enemy’s plans will be used by God to destroy him (Ps 54:5). Darkness is being exposed and the light is shining brighter than ever. 2020 is the year of clear vision and things are starting to come into focus.
It is becoming very evident who trusts in the Lord and who doesn’t.
“There is no peace for the wicked.” Is 48:22
“One who trusts (in Jesus) will not panic.” Is 28:16
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Pr 28:1
Many non-believers and believers alike are realizing that they need to repent. Many people are seeking peace and seeking God.
Many Christians are moving out of the ordinary into something new…a baptism of fire! We are letting go of comfort and happiness and pursuing the kingdom. We are moving away from self-preservation and learning about the wisdom of the cross; to lay down our lives to gain true life, to surrender ourselves to obtain true liberty.
I am praying along with Lou Engle that God would pour out his Spirit on us.
It will be something that only God can do and something we have never seen before!
How glorious for multitudes to turn to Jesus!
How earth-shaking when every Jesus follower confidently declares,
“The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim FREEDOM for the prisoners and recovery of SIGHT for the blind.” Luke 4:18
And then not just say it, but actually do it!
As I was formulating this article in my mind, I randomly opened up my Bible to the second chapter of Joel. The entire book is just perfect for this time in history. What God highlighted to me was His response to his people after their fast. Tens of thousands of people all over the world have just finished a 40 day fast. Perhaps God is saying this to us right now.
“I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully…Rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you autumn rains in abundance…the threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. I will repay you for the years the locust have eaten…
And afterwards I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”
“That was the most amazing sight I have ever seen!” I thought to myself in wonder. The sun was just peaking over the horizon, I was just waking up, and God had just given me a dream.
In the dream I awoke at a time that I thought would be perfect for a quiet time, 4:44 am. I got up and started getting ready before I realized that the clock read 12:44, just a bit past midnight. After a short time the sun was up, even though it was the middle of the night. I went outside, heading into a forest to attend a prayer meeting. As I walked into a clearing…
I saw the most amazing rainbow in the azure sky. Its colors where deeper than a normal rainbow. Instead of making an arch across the sky, it twisted and turned like a ribbon.
I realized that the rainbow was made from brilliantly colored clouds. I rushed to the prayer group, excited to tell them to look to the sky. They had already seen the vibrant ribbon, because it had threaded itself through the branches of a nearby tree and cascaded toward the ground. As the magnificent cloud reached me, I noticed that it had lost its color and had dissipated, like fog. I walked back to the clearing and the sky had turned black with an approaching storm. Yet the rainbow ribbon was brighter than ever, with the deepest reds and blues and purples I had ever seen.
It was then that I awoke and thought, “That was the most amazing sight I have ever seen!”
I got out of bed and headed to the bathroom. I looked up at my mirror and saw the pages that I had taped there. They were important quotes and scriptures that I wanted to memorize. The first one was a quote from David Lebo from a prophecy he gave in 2019 titled “I am Setting My Eagles Free.”
“My eagles are soaring in this time. You will be caught up in a perpetual, never-ending state of soaring on wings like an eagle in the reality of Isaiah 40…You will not fear the storms in your life. An excitement will arise within you when you see the storms clouds begin to form.”
I did feel excitement when I had seen the black sky in my dream. I read another quote, this one from Rick Joyner from a recent Word of the Week.
“It has been said that the EAGLE may be the only creature in nature that actually likes STORMS. They have learned that if they approach a contrary wind at the proper angle, it will carry them HIGHER.”
I was reminded of another dream I had back in October.
I was working in the kitchen in a large facility that seemed to be hosting a conference. Rick Joyner rushed through the kitchen on his way to somewhere important when he stopped and looked at me.
“You are a good dishwasher. You deserve a raise!”
“YOU DESERVE A RAISE!”
Perhaps God was saying, “If you approach the storms in your life in the right way, I will take you higher. I AM going to RAISE you up in this time. I will take you to the next level.”
This is a word for the entire church, not just me.
The black storm clouds have filled the sky. Yet the rainbow (promises of God) made of clouds (His presence) are more visible and more stunning than we have ever know before. If we believe Him, we are living in His promises all the time.
As a child I would love to run out into my yard when it was a foggy morning. The thought of being inside a cloud was fascinating to me. However, when I ran toward a solid looking patch of fog, it would seem to disappear when I got there. Sometimes the promises of God can be like that. They are surrounding us, but we can’t see them. In my dream I was able to take in a panoramic view of this mysterious rainbow when I stepped into the clearing. I think this season is like taking a step back to get a better view.
Let’s open our eyes while we have the chance, while many “non-essential” activities are canceled and our routines are interrupted. Let’s turn off the TV and put our phones away and turn towards the Lord! Worship Him! Sing to Him! Wait on Him!
The first story I ever wrote about motherhood was titled, “My Children Aren’t Perfect.” It told about my original Glorious Vision of Motherhood. I believed that if I poured all my love and time and just the right bits of research, learning, and training into my children; they would be practically perfect. With each passing year the truth became more and more ruthless in wrestling my pride and ignorance. Finally I saw my Glorious Vision as what it truly was – a grotesque idol that must come toppling down.
When the dust settled, all I had were broken pieces of my dream and a tentative hope – that God could make something beautiful with my imperfect mothering and messed up children.
Now six years later I am confident that He is writing a masterpiece with my broken life! Of course He can bring eternal glory out of my flawed motherhood. Of course He can with yours! That was His plan all along, and our imperfections are just interesting details that add conflict and excitement to His story.
During the drudgery of dirty diapers, emotional outbursts, and broken car doors when you are in a hurry to get somewhere; it is nice to set our sights on something lovely. What does all our “day to day” hustle really mean?
When I was feeling so sick with my 10th pregnancy, God began to show me His Glorious Vision for my Motherhood. I had been sitting on the sofa for about a month. To pass the time I would try to read books. Still I would have to stop every so often to put the book down, close my eyes and just breathe.
“I am fine. This nausea will pass. I will not feel wretched forever. I just need to get through this day, this hour, this moment, this next chapter of my book.”
Then I would continue to read, to try and escape how I felt, and to enter into another life more pleasant than my own. Janette Oak books were always a good choice; interesting, sweet, and encouraging. Perhaps you have read her famous book that began her famous series, Love Comes Softly. I didn’t read the entire series, but I read one of the very last books, The Tender Years.
A scene at the beginning of the book captured my imagination. The original heroine, Marty, was now in her 80s. She was helping in the kitchen with all the daughters and granddaughters as they prepared a feast for a family reunion. One of her daughters urged Marty to sit down and take a rest, and she did so gladly. That gave her time to think about her many descendants that were all around her, romping in the yard, or in far-away places. Marty knew each one by name. She knew where they were and what they were doing. She knew their infinite value, carried them in her heart, and constantly remembered them in her prayers.
I counted each name she listed (which included children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all of their spouses). One Hundred and fifty! That was the number of her progeny. I was impressed and amazed! She and her husband Clark had 5 children. I had 10! Marty began to fade out of my mind and I imagined myself at 80. I was vibrant and healthy, excited about having most of the family home to eat around our huge tables and play around our large country home. I could have more than 150 in my brood, and I began to get so excited!
In the moment I was still feeling listless and weak. But my spirit perked up as I realized that someday I would get my energy back. Someday I would enjoy playing and learning new things with my children again. Someday even further down the road, it will no longer be me who is pregnant. It will be my daughters and my daughters-in-law. I will be able to help and encourage them!
Someday I will help cook and clean for them. I will snuggle newborns and chase after toddlers. I will babysit, read books, and do art projects. I will encourage my children and grandchildren and pray for them by name. I will rejoice with every wedding and every new life!
And while I am living my normal and mundane mom-life, my descendants will be slowly and surely taking over the world!
I closed my eyes and this is the vision that God gave me. Chris and I had grown together to become the trunk of a mighty oak tree. The more we press into God, the deeper our root system grows down into the fertile soil. We have sprouted 9 strong, tall branches that will produce many branches of their own. We also have a special branch that is smaller and more twisted than the others. Although she most likely won’t sprout any new branches, her life and her fruit are indispensable to our family. Together we are a magnificent tree, the kind that dominates the landscape and produces much fruit. The kind that offers shade to the burnt-out, rest to the weary, and shelter to the storm-tossed.
Like it says in Is 61:3, “we will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
This vision of the mighty oak gives me strength and encouragement on the hard days. I am living for the long term benefits, not immediate comfort. Lots of crap happens in life. Sometimes storms come and tear off the fruit. Sometimes the branches are in danger of being cut off. The floods come and threaten to wash us away. The droughts come and jeopardize our green leaves.
I know that as long as we press into God, our roots will always tap into His water, His life, His Holy Spirit just like in Jer 17:8 and Ps 1:3. Those roots are the anchor that keeps us steady and firm.
I got through that difficult pregnancy, got through the difficult labor, got through the difficult recovery and have begun to get my energy and enthusiasm back. I have been able to enjoy my jewel of a baby girl while at the same time joyfully anticipate the future babies that my own children will have in the coming years.
God took this vision one step further for me recently at church. I had my eyes closed during worship and I was thinking about all the trials we had endured and were still enduring. Then I saw our family as a mighty oak tree again – tall and strong and green. I saw our roots go deeper and then deeper still with each hardship. This continued until the roots hit molten lava.
The lava traveled up the roots and soon the entire tree was ablaze. Yet it wasn’t consumed as a normal tree would have been. It was like Moses’ burning bush; still vibrant, still alive, yet on fire. What a sight to behold!
Then I remembered that I had been asking God to put fire in our hearts. A fire for Him that would never be quenched. A fire which would burn away all other “gods”, which would give us zeal and energy to pursue Him to our dying breath. A fire that would continue and even increase down through the generations.
It seemed like God was saying, “If everything that comes your way in this life causes you to go deeper with me, your prayer WILL be answered. It is happening even now.”
A fiery, flourishing, expansive tree reaching the whole earth with its branches heavy laden with fruit – that is God’s Glorious Vision for my Motherhood.
It is a vision I consider worth living and dying for. It is a vision that I know that I can’t accomplish. I have very little control over who my children marry, how many children they have, or the length or quality of their lives. I can’t anticipate the wrong choices, the tragedies, or the sorrows that may come. Nor can I imagine the intensity of the triumphs and joys.
Yet I know that God will accomplish His purpose for us. It is HIS vision! And if I am able to make it to 80 and take in with my own eyes the powerful world-changers I helped to bring forth; it will be all His doing!
Perhaps you don’t have as many children as I do. Perhaps you have more. You might even have a beautiful menagerie of spiritual children, adopted children, God-children, or step-children…charming, amazing, and exasperating children! Each family tree is unique and one of a kind. Each has a special purpose. Have you asked God to show you His Vision for YOUR Motherhood? Go ahead…I dare you!
Areli, Aria, and I had a wonderful time in Texas. When we returned home I was still living in the wonder of the love that God had shown me there. I tried to process it, understand it, find scriptures to support it, make it part of my every thought, and believe it in my every cell.
A very curious thing had happened in Texas. Aria had refused to nurse. I thought that perhaps it was because I didn’t have my usual nursing pillow and everything around us was different. I did get a few good nursing times with her in our hotel room…when she was totally asleep. Surely she would resume nursing normally when we were back home.
Within a few weeks of returning home, Aria stopped nursing completely. I couldn’t coax her, though I tried and tried. It was totally fine of course! She was 15 months and eating all kinds of wonderful food.
I just thought I had more time, time for her to be a baby, time for her to need me, time for us to snuggle. All of a sudden my time was up.
A week went by and my nursing pillows were still out, my bedroom was still in disarray with pillows stacked on the loveseat in the just the right way for nursing.
“I need to put the nursing pillows away up in the attic. Now is my chance to make my room pretty again and get rid of all these random pillows.” I thought.
The thought made me want to cry. I didn’t want to be done nursing! The sorrow hung with me and it was stronger than when my other babies had weaned. Perhaps it was because with the other babies, I knew in my heart that God had more babies to give me. This time I do not have that assurance. I could be done nursing…forever.
I really did feel that the timing of this was from God, that He wanted me to go deeper with Him. So I allowed myself to feel the pain, to explore the pain, with the help of the Holy Spirit. I realized that I was only eating for one again. It didn’t feel important anymore what I ate. Do I really deserve the best food and supplements? Just me? I am not as important as Aria. In fact, if I am severed from my children, am I valuable at all?
I realized with sadness that I was not, at least not in my own estimation. Being a mother of many children was never my aspiration growing up. Being a mother at all was sometime I had given very little thought to. But after I married Chris, we both realized we loved children and we thought would like to have six. God blessed us with more children than we had imagined, and I grew to love this destiny that God had for me. I had found my meaning and value in it.
Then all of a sudden I saw a picture of myself in my mind. It was just me, just Anne, floating in an empty universe. No husband, no children, no past, no future, no accomplishments, no good works. Just Anne.
“Did Jesus really die for just me? Does He love just me?” I wondered.
My resounding answer was, “NO! How could that be?!”
Of course I knew that theologically He loved just me. Plus He had personally shown me His love! So why was it so hard for me to believe it? I went through the next two days pondering this question, filling with self-hatred, teetering on the edge of despair and depression.
I realize now that I should have taken the focus off my own feelings and my unworthiness. I should have been praising God, trusting Him, and speaking out the words He had spoken, even if I didn’t feel as though I believed them.
Again God led me to the empty universe. There I was. Just me. Again the question, “Did Jesus die for just me? Does He love just me?”
“No, I am so unworthy!” I answered. The emotions that surfaced were so deep, so raw. It was as though they had been buried for a long, long time. They reached back to a time in my life of which I have no conscience memory, yet stemmed from an event that I have recently became aware of. Compared to the sorrow I was now feeling, all my previous emotions had been superficial. Finally God had reached down to the root of the matter, the original wound to my spirit, the original lie that I believed.
He had gently pulled off all the band aids that I had so clumsily put on just to keep living. Old and infected scabs were being scrapped away and the wound was fresh and bleeding.
“I am not worthy! I should not even be here. I do not deserve your love.” I told Jesus.
Jesus answered back.
Always Jesus answers me this way, but I do not always hear.
Always Jesus answers YOU this way, whether you can hear Him or not.
Can we open our ears and try to hear?
I love you.
I love YOU!
I have always loved you.
Before you existed, I loved you.
I have loved you for every moment of your life.
I will ALWAYS love you.
You cannot change that.
You cannot cancel out my love with your disbelief.
This chorus from the song by Chris McClarney kept playing through my mind, over and over. Pretty soon I was singing the song to God as I was getting ready in my hotel room. I was preparing for the second day of my amazing, miracle trip to Texas. A few months earlier my daughter Areli had invited me to the YWAM base in Tyler, TX to attend her graduation ceremony. She was graduating from the Discipleship Training School, the same school I had graduated from 25 years earlier.
My first reaction to her invitation was to laugh! How could I leave my family and spend the money for plane tickets to travel to Texas for a weekend? It just wasn’t economical or logical. Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea. I would need to take Aria who was still nursing and too little to be without her mama. I would need to find someone to provide personal care for my special needs teenager before school and before bedtime each day. I would need to make sure the rest of the children were taken care of and make sure they had meals to eat. I would need to find an amazing deal on a plane ticket. God would need to provide a miracle of extra money!
I didn’t say anything to Chris at first because I thought he would shoot me down. He works long hours and I hated to ask him to handle things at home while I was gone. I just couldn’t stop thinking about this trip!
When I told Chris about it the following day, he was more excited about the opportunity than I was!
“You should go! It would be so special for you to return to your alma mater! I think you should go,” he said.
I was so surprised! What an amazing husband I have! I started praying that God would put all the pieces together. Areli started praying. Areli’s friends and leaders started praying. Within a month and a half God had worked it all out. Aria and I were going to fly to Texas on Thursday and return home on Sunday. We were even able to change Areli’s return flight home to be the same as ours.
I was astounded that God would do this for me! I had never traveled without Chris since we had gotten married. I also had never traveled with a baby by myself before. I was nervous but so excited! I felt that God wanted to speak to me on this trip. I got some friends to pray for me, that God would encounter me and Aria and Areli.
Now it was Friday, and I was in Texas. The two flights the day before had gone better than I had expected. Aria was much easier than I had hoped for! I had gotten a bigger and better hotel room than I was supposed to have. The weather was gorgeous! I was meeting such wonderful people.
“Take me from where I’ve been into something new.
I’m giving up control.
I need a breakthrough.”
I continued to sing this chorus. I was trying to worship God while I prepared myself and Aria to attend the base worship service that morning. I was feeling so thankful and so happy, yet I became aware of another nagging feeling. What was it exactly? Guilt? Anxiety?
I realized that I wanted to do everything right on this trip, to make the most of this short time. I really wanted to be an encouragement to every person I met and to share with the students my perspective of the school 25 years later. I didn’t feel like I had done that at all.
I was about to walk out the door to head to the Paris Fellowship Center for worship when I heard God say, “You don’t HAVE to do ANYTHING. Just rest and enjoy.”
It was startling how those simple words changed my outlook. All of a sudden I felt at peace and ready to enjoy my vacation.
The worship was so simple. Just two women singing, one of whom was playing a guitar. The spirit was sweet and I felt God’s presence. I was also aware of a familiar feeling. The sensation I used to have when I attended base worship 25 years ago. A self-consciousness that wondered how others would judge me when they saw me. Was I being too demonstrative in worship? Was I being too reserved? Did I look like a tired, out of shape, middle aged mom? Or maybe someone would think I looked young enough to be Areli’s sister? These thoughts caused a low-grade stress that was so distracting yet so normal. I thought I had left this type of insecurity behind years ago, but it was still with me.
I just wanted to worship God with my whole heart, without thinking about myself. All of a sudden I felt as though the space above me opened and I could feel the love of God pouring over me without blockages, without filters. I had never before felt His love this strongly, this purely.
“You could do everything wrong for the rest of your life and my love for you wouldn’t change. I created you because it made me happy. I delight in you!”
I felt free of stress, worry, and all pressure to perform. A weight had been lifted from my shoulders that I never knew was there. For the first time in my life, I felt fully FREE, fully LOVED!!
This was the answer to ALL my problems! This was what I had always strived to achieve but never knew I already had!! It was hard for me to believe because it went against my ingrained thought patterns.
I felt the open heaven close slightly.
“Oh no! God, help me to hold on to this! Don’t let me lose this awareness of your love!” I prayed as worship came to a close.
I still felt His love more than I ever had. I remained peaceful in the freedom He had just given me. I enjoyed the rest of the trip in the afterglow of this experience. There were certain things I knew were true about me.
I was a dream in God’s heart before He made the world. (Eph 1:4, Rom 8:29)
He brought me into this life because He wanted me. I made Him so happy! (James 1:19)
I brought Him delight before I knew right from wrong, before I ever tried to please Him.
Jesus died for me. He won the victory for me. He won every victory. It is already done! (1 Cor 15:57, John 19:30)
The redemption of God is stronger and bigger than me. Bigger than anyone. Bigger than the world and bigger than the devil. Bigger than my mistakes. (Is 65:17-25, Col 1:20)
I will spend eternity with God in joy and joy and more joy.(PS 16:11)
I can rejoice now! (Phil 4:4)
I don’t need to worry about anything, ever! (1 Peter 5:7)
His love is unwavering. (Jer 31:3)
I knew that believing all these truths was the key to actually being able to accomplish my purpose on this earth and love others. I could never do it by trying hard. The work of God is this, to BELIEVE! (John 6:29)
While I was in Texas this seemed easy to believe.
“God has answered my prayers and has given me my biggest breakthrough! To simply live in His love!” I thought. I was excited to return home and live in this revelation that I had known before in my head but now understood in my spirit. Living in His unconditional acceptance would finally slay the fear of man and insecurity that had always been my close companions.
However, you can’t live on the mountaintop forever. Eventually you have to keep going and encounter a valley. And with any new revelation there is always a test. Why do I forget that there is always a test?
Heaven and hell both press in to demand an answer to this question, “Do you truly believe what God has just told you?”
I wish I could say that I passed the test, but that was not the case. I found that my biggest breakthrough could also lead to the darkest valley I had yet encountered…
When I first heard I was going to Nepal for my DTS outreach, I was so excited. Some of my excitement waned as we started doing research on the nation. We found that Nepal is mostly Hindu with only a small Christian population. Laws are in place that do not allow for public preaching of the gospel. This made me think that we would not be very welcome in Nepal, and I did not expect to meet many Christians.
As we continued to meet and prepare as a team, God started to speak to my heart. I knew we were supposed to go. I decided to trust that God would keep us safe and provide ministry opportunities.
After over 30 hours of travel, we arrived in Kathmandu. Everything was so different! The streets were full of vehicles, people and animals. Rising over the noise of traffic was the sound of the Nepali language. The smell of car exhaust and street food filled our noses. There was so much to look at.
Our first week was spent in Kathmandu. We went to prayer meetings, performed our skit, shared testimonies, did prayer walks, and helped tear down a brick wall. The entire week was full of new experiences and getting stretched in different areas. One of the ways that happened for me was when I gave my testimony in front of Seminary students. I went up to explain our skit and what it meant to me.
I was super nervous and wondered what I could give that the students did not already have. I simply prayed for God to speak through me, and He did!
Our second week was to be spent in a smaller town many hours from Katmandu. We got all of our stuff onto the roof of a van and started our long journey. Only 1 hour into the trip, the van started to make disheartening sounds. I looked up at the front and saw the driver pounding on the dashboard. This could not be good. Finally the van came to a complete stop and would not be coaxed any further. The driver finally told us that we would have to wait for a new van, which would take a few hours. This was the perfect opportunity for us to get discouraged, and I was tempted.
However, God used this situation to show us how He can turn situations around. We got to take a mini hiking trip and saw a beautiful view of Nepal. We happened to stop on the mountain top and could see for miles. The view was the mixture of jungle and flowing rice fields. Not only that but when the van finally did arrive, it was larger and newer then the original!
The next day we were served breakfast by our host family. They watched us eat with expectant faces. I had never experienced this before, and I almost felt uncomfortable. However, I forgot this feeling as I ate the delicious food that had been carefully made for us.
The place where we slept was a long building made of bricks. Outside was a place to wash dishes, a shower (made of sticks and blankets), and two squatty pottys. None of us were used to this way of living, and it was not easy. I had never felt this dirty in my entire life.
Every person that I encountered in Nepal had so little (compared to the normal American family), but they always gave generously and with a smile on their face. This inspired me to live with more gratitude.
While we stayed in the smaller town, we visited many local believers. Every house would be full of people, excited to meet the team from America. The greeted us warmly and served us drinks. Selected members from my team would give a message, testimony, or Bible story. After sharing we would pray with those who expressed a need.
I loved every part of home visits. I especially enjoyed getting to hold and love on the children. Through every little moment, God showed me that He loves the Nepali people more than I could ever know.
In Chitwan we got to stay 3 days at an orphanage. This orphanage is home to around 200 children ages two to tenth grade. When we came into view of the gates of the property, we could see the faces of the children gathered to welcome us. As soon as the van came to a stop, we were surrounded. They greeted us with the smiles and hugs. They then took our hands and led us to where we were to stay. A sign that said “Welcome Texas YWAM” was hung over the door.
At 7 o’clock we went to their daily worship time with the children. I loved watching as every single child worshiped Jesus with their whole hearts. One of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. Before heading to bed, my team and I got to give all two hundred children a goodnight hug.
The next day started at 5am with worship with the founders. The founders then shared with us about how they started the orphanage. It was not an easy road and they encountered many trials. Many things came to destroy what they were doing and to hurt the children. Despite all of that, God had protected and blessed them. As they spoke I was amazed at their bravery and endurance.
The rest of the day was spent doing a program we had prepared for the children. We started with everyone together so we could perform some of the clown skits we had prepared. There was lots of giggling and clapping.
We split the children into two groups: youth and elementary. I was put with the youth. We shared a testimony, a Bible story, and played a game. What impressed me was the sportsmanship and joy they had towards each other.
After lunch we had the youth do intercession with us. Intercession is when you ask God for what to pray for and wait for Him to speak. He can speak in words, pictures, or even a Bible verse. I explained this to my group, and we then waited for a few minutes. When I asked my group if anyone got anything, I received blank stares. I was a bit discouraged, but I decided to do something else. I asked if they would like to pray for their country. They seemed to perk up at this suggestion. I started praying and then was joined by a few other voices. We still had some time, so I asked if they had any questions for me. They asked me about my family and life back in America. They seemed very surprised and delighted by my answers.
After my group was dismissed one of the staff at the orphanage (he had helped me with translation) told me a bit about Nepali culture. He said that it is unusual in Nepal to share things in a group setting. That was why the children did not want to share during intercession.
This made me realize that I had no reason to be discouraged. Their culture is just different than mine.
That night we had one more worship night with the children. The children had prepared dances for us. We hugged the children extra-long at bedtime because, we knew we were leaving the next morning.
When morning did come, all the children surrounded us as we made our way to the van. As we passed each child, they gave us a hug and a homemade card. The children followed the van. As we left the property, the children ran along the top of the wall. We all cried as we watched the orphanage fade into the distance. The children had loved us like family, and we did not feel we deserved any of it.
It was very hard to leave. As we rode to our next destination, we read every letter we received. I loved reading the sweet messages writing in broken English. I would never forget the wonderful kids that welcomed us with open arms.
Our leaders told us that the next two days would be for resting and team building. We would be doing that by trekking the Himalayan Mountains.
Slowly we started to ascend the mountain in the rain. We encountered steep stone stairs that had become slick. By this point, my shoes were soaked through and I could hear them squish with every step. A little further up I heard someone cry out in alarm. One of my teammates had encountered a leech. This was even more terrifying then the possibility of falling down stone stairs. I made sure to check myself every couple of minutes for those little creatures.
After going about one third of the way, we stopped to rest. I was very thankful because I felt like my legs were going to turn into mush. I looked up and noticed my teammates were looking behind us. I followed their gaze and was pleasantly surprised. I could not believe how far we had come. You could see the little village we had started, and miles beyond. The rain made it that much more magical. We all forgot our wet shoes and tired bodies, if only for just a moment.
Finally we had to continue on our journey upward. The stairs continued and got steeper. It felt like was hours before we reached the top. Finally we saw where we would be spending the night. It was a cute collection of little cabins and a central restaurant. We changed out of our wet clothes and joined everyone in the restaurant for dinner. The building was very simple and had a traditional woodstove in the middle to keep it warm.
I got up very early the next morning to see the sunrise. I put on my sweatshirt and went outside to see if anyone else had decided to brave the cold. As I walked toward the grassy clearing, I was surprised to see most of my team already waiting. It was still pretty dark so we all huddled together and waited for the sun. It slowly started to peak over the tips of the mountains.
I had seen some very beautiful views, but this topped them all.
The sky turned from grey to yellow to orange. The colors illuminated the clouds clustered around the Annapurna Range. It was beautiful, and the mountains seemed so far away. Once the sun was mostly up I heard someone exclaim in excitement. I turned, and then I saw it! The Mardi Himal Mountain clear as day. I could see every detail of the snowy peak. This huge mountain had been behind our cabins the entire time. It had been too dark and rainy for us to see it when we arrived.
After we descended the mountain, we headed to our next destination in Pokhara, a guesthouse called Beth-Eden. It was a cute little compound full of charming little gardens. There was even a tree house! We spent the rest of the day resting.
The next day we headed out to help build a local church. We learned our first task would be to move a pile dirt to a new location. We were given old rice sacks to carry the dirt and got right to business. As the hours wore on, the new pile of dirt got bigger and the ceiling beams were almost fully covered in paint. The sun was beating down and sweat was starting to drip into my eyes.
The next day we came to finish what we had started. What we found out was that most of what they had for us to do, we had finished the day before. We decided to stay and help with whatever else we could. We finished painting the windows, clearing the floor, and putting up the ceiling beams.
We were able to come back the next day and take part in their service. I was able to share the story of the women who Jesus healed from bleeding. I then explained that the women was healed because of her trust in Jesus and His love for her. Then Emma (one of my teammates) came up and gave her message on trusting God. Everything seemed to come together so perfectly, and it seemed to be what that church needed. They were very encouraged.
The next week we ran an English camp, children in the morning and youth in the afternoon. I enjoyed preforming as a clown and hearing the giggles and squeals fill the room!
The third night all of us got invited to stay at different homes. Some of the youth had invited us and we gladly accepted. Kena (One of my teammates) and I stayed with a family that had all of their children in our camp (all the daughters were on the red team with Kena and me).
The house we stayed at was a simple three room house made of brick and mud. The main room housed the stove and eating area. We were greeted warmly by the parents and given the seats of honor. As we sat watching the mother cook, some other relatives came to see who the new visitors were. A few of them asked for prayer. After we finished our prayers, we were served our dinner. We were given plates with a generous helping of rice, chicken, soup, and cucumbers. The food was delicious and I knew that lots of care was put into the preparation. I ate until I could not eat anymore. I asked if I could help with cleaning. I was kindly refused and shown into one of the bedrooms. There Kena and I watched TV with the family until it was time for bed. The bed that Kena and I shared was a raised board covered with a thin cushion. All the children slept on one bed so that we could have somewhere to sleep.
This family did not have anything fancy, but they were more than willing to give up their bed so that we would be comfortable.
Our last two evenings of the camp we went with some of the youth to pray over their houses. They had requested that we come and bless them and their families. This made me so happy because many of the youth were the only Christians in their families.
We were warmly welcomed into each home. Many of the family members came up to us requesting personal prayer. We prayed for peace, strength, and even healing.
One of my team members prayed over a man’s eyes and they were healed!
Overall doing the English camp was an eye opening experience. It was not easy, and we were not experts at teaching children. None of that mattered because all we had to do was to simply be, and let God work through us. That was one of the many things that God taught me while in Nepal. I don’t have to make things happen or know everything. When I completely trust and give up control, that is when people are impacted.
Nepal seemed dark from a distance, but got brighter the closer I looked. I believe that Nepal will turn into a light for the Nations!
A note from Anne: This experience has been transformational for Areli, stoking the fire of God’s love for the entire world in her heart. She is asking God to provide the funds for her to be able to return to Youth With a Mission in January to continue her training. Would you like to be part of this miracle for Areli? You can contribute at Give Send Go. Thank you!