We have learned a few things along the way in our journey, some from others and some the hard way through personal experience.
If our journey and learnings can be of any benefit to anyone else, we want to share it…
As a first and the biggest COVID tip, fear is our mortal enemy in this journey…in every way. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND, so if fear is my companion, I know it does not come from our Father. I know intimately the battle of faith over fear, especially in regards to the virus and ones we love, and it’s a battle worth fighting. Use your weapons of warfare–the Word of God, remembering His faithfulness in the past, thankfulness, praise, and vulnerability with others who will fight with you in the body of Christ.
Our King and Father rules with peace, even in the worst of circumstances, and I can tell you from my personal experience over the last couple months, that walking with Him in supernatural peace is a FAR CRY from walking with fear as a companion. We are children who are loved by the King. If He is for us, nothing or no one can be against us.
On to other practical COVID tips…
Daniel and I followed a protocol of vitamins and diet from our trusted doctor from the very first day. This regimen is designed to strengthen our immune system to fight, some of which we were already doing before as a part of healthy living:
- Vitamin C 3x daily
- Zinc 2 X daily (be careful with this one, as I became INCREDIBLY nauseous, throwing up, etc. I thought it was COVID, but it actually was toxic amounts of zinc for my body)
- Vitamin D 1x daily (this is another one to be careful with, as too much can also be toxic, but it really helps the immune system. 15 minutes in the sun is also good natural vitamin D)
- No sugar, processed foods or breads
- Much fruit, vegetables, “clean” protein and healthy grains. Not much red meat. No alcohol.
If you have symptoms add:
- Doxycyclene antibiotic
- Ivermectin on day 1, 3 and 7. Check with doctor for proper doses according to weight, and also verify the best ways of application based on liquid or pills. (I know this drug is controversial but some docs in Zim, USA, and SA are using it effectively as it helps control infection rate)
Though we followed this protocol and believe wise protocols helped in the process, we absolutely know God did a miracle in Daniel’s body, as there is no other human explanation.
The oximeter is a very good and necessary tool to have. It monitors the heart rate and oxygen level, which gives indication if the infection is moving to the lungs. The oximeter is pictured as the “feature” picture in this post. Check with your doctor as to the recommendation for a baseline oxygen level, but our doctor gave 92 or above as an acceptable range.
Daniel’s oxygen levels didn’t look absolutely horrible on the oximeter, but I could tell that he was deteriorating daily with his fever, his weakness and his shallow breathing. The important thing is that if the infection starts going to the lungs, DO NOT WAIT until it is dire to go to the hospital. Go to the hospital before things get to a desperate place.
Here is an “At Home” COVID guide given by my doctor, which was helpful with practical tips on eating, vitamins, breathing, etc as well as what to look for when deciding to go to the hospital.
Daniel came home from the ICU and I had instruction for his medicines, but not any other instructions on what to look out for. The first night home, I checked his oxygen and his heart rate, and his heart rate was extremely low. It scared me. In checking with our doctor, i found out that due to the steroids in the hospital, Daniel’s potassium levels were VERY low, which can affect the heart. We immediately started eating foods high in potassium to get his heart rate in more normal range–lots of bananas, avocados, potatoes, and other high potassium foods, his heart rate was more normal in range after 1-2 days of high potassium foods.
No one has the same journey. Neither Daniel nor I lost our taste or smell or had a sore throat, but we had weird symptoms–joints (me, the hips, and him, the elbow) that hurt for 2 days, keeping us up at night and then disappearing. I threw up and was very nauseous, and thought it was COVID, but it was actually a toxic level of zinc in my system. As soon as I stopped taking the zinc, the nausea disappeared within a few hours.
We share our experience, not as normal, but as just one experience, knowing that other people have very different stories. We hope that our journey might be informational and helpful to you if you walk it yourself or with someone else.
The Face of Jesus
The body of Christ–I honestly don’t know what we would do without people who are the face of Jesus to us in the midst of both celebration and crisis.
My value of community has always been high, and yet after walking through this last month and a half, Jesus has grown my appreciation for His body as He has shown his face to us in such significant ways through his people.
I want to tell you about some of them…it has given me a very practical picture of how to walk this journey with others as well…
With both Daniel and me sick and quarantined, normal things were challenging–shopping, cooking, cleaning, errands, and many other normal life things.
During that time, and almost from day one, we had friends who made and delivered meals. Some sent frozen meals while others brought meals they had made, but each one was SUCH a gift, and the care that it represented was so incredibly meaningful. One particular friend brought a meal which was so beautifully presented and it happened to be on Daniel’s birthday as well. We were blown away by His goodness. Just amazing.
We had several friends who asked if they could shop for us, and knowing that we had resources that we could draw on when we needed it was SUCH an incredible gift. One Bible study friend in particular who got us groceries had just walked the exact same journey—husband just out of the hospital and only just recovered herself from COVID. Such a gift.
Our dear connect group friends went TWICE to get oxygen when we desperately needed it. Daniel was too sick for me to leave him to go, and the oxygen company wasn’t sure they could deliver that day. I was overwhelmed in every way, and they called just then. I just sat and cried. My Father, knowing my weakness (the oxygen tanks were even to heavy for me to lift), provided, at every step.
When I was still in the E/R with Daniel, Ali asked me if I wanted her to fly home (she was a 2 hour flight away) so that I could stay with her while Daniel was in the hospital. Not knowing how long Daniel would be there, exhausted from many long and awful nights and not wanting to face the reality of Daniel’s hospital stay by myself, her offer was an oasis for me, bringing tears yet again. I was so very grateful.
When I arrived at Ali’s house, after a tearful leaving of Daniel at the hospital, I was greeted by roses in my room, snacks next to my bed and nutritious meals in the refrigerator, a gift from dear connect friends who had offered many times to shop and bring meals. They also sourced a bed for me so that I could sleep on the floor next to Daniel in order to care for him while also getting sleep myself.
Daniel was alone in the hospital with limited to no contact with even me. I was asking the Lord how I could be “present” with him in the ICU so he was not alone and would be encouraged to fight. I asked family and friends to write letters that I could deliver to the hospital. Over 60 of our friends/family wrote letters to him–meaningful, heartfelt letters! They were full of Scripture and song and amazing words of affirmation and were so incredibly encouraging to both him and me. It gave him courage and community in the midst of a very hard and sobering reality.
And prayer…we got texts, facebook messages, e-mails and daily phone calls from people from all over the globe that were praying for Daniel’s healing. We cannot begin to express our gratitude for the “prayers of the righteous men/women that availed much” on our behalf. We experienced peace in the midst of the storm, and a miracle of healing. This is the fruit of the prayers of God’s people.
Since arriving home, Daniel and I have been processing all that the Lord has done. We continue to pray for restoration in every way–body, soul and spirit. We desire to walk out of this time with every possible treasure that the Lord has for us.
We have seen the face of Jesus through His people and I believe we are different because of it.
50…the faithful Shepherd…COVID
50…I turned 50 on Feb. 7th, and our plans and God’s plans in celebrating that milestone turned out to be very different…
After a wonderful Christmas holiday with my niece and nephew in Mozambique, two days later, I wasn’t feeling well and went for a malaria and a COViD test. The COViD test was just a formality as I had just tested negative 4 days earlier, but much to our shock, the test came back positive, starting the journey of a lifetime.
Daniel tested negative at first and nursed me through my worst. However, I started seeing symptoms in him a few days later, which started a battle for me with fear, which is truly a BIG battle with this disease.
I was still sick myself, but the night that fear started coming over me, I spent a few hours in the middle of the night with Jesus, reading scripture outloud, praising and thanking Jesus, using my offensive weapons of warfare. I can honestly say that, though Daniel’s situation became very serious, fear did not grip me again after that night with Jesus.
Daniel had incredibly high fevers, and after 10 days of following a strict COVID protocol and administering many things at home, he was worsening by the minute. In the middle of the night, I knew we needed to go to the hospital…and soon. He really did not want to go, as the hospital is the last place anyone wants to be in this season (bless the amazing staff who are serving so sacrificially there)l The ICU’s are full with desperate cases with no visitors allowed, and hopelessness can abound in these wards, but after a night of singing and praying over him, when morning came, we headed to the ER.
When the ER doctor saw Daniel’s arterial oxygen level, they immediately admitted him to the ICU. Due to the realities of the COVID situation, we waited from 9am to 5:30 pm in the ER for a bed to come available for him, as the hospitals are full.
Some of the stories of the intimate presence of Jesus in the midst of this journey are below. We got a front row seat to God’s miraculous power in our lives, and I also believe that Daniel and I had the unique privilege of carrying the hope of Jesus into the hospital and the “darkness” that is so prevalent in these times.
As the word got out, MANY started interceding for Daniel, both locally and around the world, and Jesus heard our cries. From one day to the next we heard unbelievable progress. And by the miraculous grace of Jesus, given many heartbreaking stories we have witnessed here, I brought my husband home from the hospital 4 days later , still with a long way to go to complete healing, but with story after story of God’s faithfulness and miraculous power.
Jesus…the name above ALL others…the power of Jesus to heal, to deliver, to bring life, to meet us in the valley of the shadow of death, to bring hope where there is none, to eradicate fear, to provide in unbelievable ways–these are the things that we are celebrating in the midst of recovery.
And 50…I have never been so grateful (the picture above was my “drive by” b-day party with Daniel 1 week out of ICU). My Father gave me incredible gifts….His presence, an intimate knowledge of Him in the valley of the shadow of death, unbelievable friends/family support and the life of my precious husband with whom I hope to serve Jesus until we are very old.
Great is your faithfulness to us, Jesus, and we lift your name higher than any disease, any situation, or any trial we may face.
“I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” Psalm 118:17
Angels in the ER
I want to share two of MANY stories of our Father and the way His presence has been intimately known in every part of this journey. I thought it might bless you today. I know it did me…
I had the most amazing experience …in the E/R where we were waiting for a bed for Daniel.
Daniel was pretty non-responsive as he was so sick, but I was sitting on the edge of his bed and had been praying over him and then just started singing “It is well with my soul” in our little room, head raised and hands on Daniel.
All of the sudden I heard another voice join in in an African language and then another one, harmonising with me. (which made me cry and much harder to sing, I must say). Daniel opened his eyes to see. Two precious nurses joined me in the room to sing “It is well with my soul” in their own languages and then we continued with “How Great Thou Art.”
Moments where heaven touches earth as we are petitioning our Father with everything in us. This was precious to me—just another message to say “He is with me/us. He knows, and He rejoices in our praise in the midst of the storm.
Right after singing with these beautiful women, the guards in the parking lot came in and asked me to move my car, as it was parked in front of the E/R. I left Daniel for a few minutes, and though I was cheerful and encouraging when I was with him, when I went outside, I cried.
I was looking for a parking space, and I saw one beyond some barriers, and started heading that way. In South Africa, there are often parking attendants who look after the cars. One of them approached me, telling me that I couldn’t park behind the barriers. I explained the situation to him, and he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Ma’am, God is BIG, and all is going to come right with your husband.” Then he proceeded to let me park there.
I went to the parking lot two other times, and each time he reminded me how BIG God is and that everything was going to be okay. I cried every single time, knowing he was speaking truth to me at the Father’s request.
Jesus has his servants everywhere, and they are so often what the world would call “the least of these.” This man was doing a lowly job that day–watching over cars–but Jesus put him there, and he was on important kingdom business. To me he was a beautiful servant of the King–a messenger of my Father. He spoke my Father’s words with my Father’s heart. How very, very grateful I am for this man. He may have been an angel, I don’t know, but he may have just been an ordinary man, filled with an extraordinary Jesus.
I am a servant of the King as well, and I want to have the same awareness of kingdom business that these nurses and this parking attendant had, speaking words of life and light when Jesus gives me opportunity.
Precious. Beautiful. Jesus. So grateful.
Dancing with the Beast…
A while ago, the Lord gave me a picture…Beauty and the Beast dancing–the Beast (Him) in his blue tuxedo and Beauty (me) in her beautiful yellow dress…It is the picture from which dreams are made….
The Beast, in all of his ferocity, frightening strength, and majesty has singled me out and asked me to dance. He calls me “Belle”…His “beauty.” I accept the dance because I am mesmerized and awed by his presence.
He leads me out onto the dance floor, and I can hear the beautiful music of the orchestra fill the air, stirring my senses. He takes my hand and we start to dance. He begins leading me in a beautiful, graceful waltz, but instead of following His lead, I stop, stomp my foot and insist that he lead me in a fox trot. I am sure that He intended to dance a foxtrot with me. After all, I was right there when I consented to the dance and heard the music start.
So, instead of being the picture of beauty and grace for everyone around to see, I end up tripping all over the floor as he faithfully leads me in a waltz while I still try to dance a fox trot, convinced that the fox trot is REALLY what He wants me to dance. The picture loses the “dream” like quality it had at the beginning. I start to get angry and upset and begin to even question His ability to lead.
With the gentleness that He alone has, He cups my face in both of His hands, looks me right in the eye, gently reminding me that my beauty and grace come with my submission to His lead. He specifically designed the dance to show off my beauty, but even more importantly to display His own majesty and power. Everyone around witnesses His glory and the joy of the dance when I follow in step with Him.
This picture has marked my life…
One of the dances He initiated with me was a “single” dance, and it was a LONG one. I spent some time stomping my foot on the dance floor because of some of the painful, hard steps in that dance, sacrificing some moments of potential beauty and grace. Now though, as I look back, I am so very grateful for the lessons, the sorrows and the joys in that dance. My leader knows…
These days, our dances have a different rhythm–marriage, living in a foreign country, challenges, joys. There are times when I still stop and question, when he holds me tighter to keep me from running into others or when I try to anticipate the next dance and get ahead of His lead. With each of my false moves, He patiently and lovingly embraces me in my questions and stumbling…His grace….
I am sure of only two things in this season–the dance of this moment and the Leader of my dance. My beauty and His glory are brightest when I submit to being led into new, unexpected places by One who alone knows how to get me there.
Warfare and Orphans…
We were cleaning out storerooms in the US, and I came across a box of books. Dressed to Kill was a gift given to me at least 10 years ago. I put it on a shelf, and never read it. However, having just come through an incredible season of spiritual warfare in South Africa, my desire to learn was significant. WOW!!! I cannot recommend this book enough. It is biblical, practical and very insightful with pictured illustrations of the Roman armor that Paul saw everyday while writing Ephesians 6 about the armor of God. An incredible tool! Here’s a brief description…
“Rick Renner’s book Dressed To Kill is considered by many to be a true classic on the subject of scriptural warfare. The original version, which sold more than 400,000 copies, is a curriculum staple in Bible schools worldwide. Now, in this new, beautifully bound hardback volume you will find: * 512 pages of reedited text * 16 pages of full-color illustrations (exclusively available in the print version. Not available in eBook). * Questions at the end of each chapter to guide you into deeper study In Dressed To Kill, Rick explains with exacting detail the purpose and function of each piece of Roman armor. In the process, he describes the significance of our spiritual armor not only to withstand the onslaughts of the enemy and but also to overturn the tendencies of the carnal mind. Furthermore, Rick delivers a clear, scriptural presentation on the biblical definition of spiritual warfare – what it is and what it is not. He stresses, “Your unbroken, ongoing fellowship with God is your absolute guarantee that you are constantly and habitually dressed in the whole armor of God.” When you walk with God in deliberate, continual fellowship, He will enrobe you with Himself. Armed with the knowledge of who you are in Him, you will be dressed and dangerous to the works of darkness, unflinching in the face of conflict, and fully equipped to take the offensive and gain mastery over any opposition from your spiritual foe.”
I have a shelf of “favorites”–books that have impacted my life that I want to reread from time to time. The Autobiography of George Muller is one of those. His faith and perseverance demonstrated over YEARS while working with orphans as well as other kingdom endeavors is truly mind-blowing. I was inspired all over again to trust my Father, to walk by faith, and to believe and ask Him for BIG things. Another highly recommended read. Here’s a brief description…
“What can be accomplished in an ordinary man who trusts in an extraordinary God? George Müller discovered the endless possibilities!
These excerpts from his diary allow Müller to tell his own story. Join him on his journey from a life of sin and rebellion to his glorious conversion. Share his struggles and triumphs as he establishes orphan homes to care for thousands of English children, depending on God’s response to his prayer of faith to supply all things. You will learn how to:
- Pray in faith and receive answers
- Seek God for direction
- Find the ultimate purpose for your life
- Rest in God’s loving care
George Müller’s unwavering, childlike dependence upon his heavenly Father will inspire you to confidently trust the God of the impossible in every area of your life.”
A Divine Tale…
Once upon a time there were two women…two countries…and one BIG God…
Michelle (middle top) came into my life through my friend Celeste (left top). Michelle was hungry to see more of God, as is Celeste. So, four of us started meeting together, seeking God for things He alone can do–healing and transformation.
On a Thursday morning last November we witnessed firsthand the redemptive nature and power of our Jesus as we heard Michelle’s story…
Michelle had been a practicing New Age Medium for years. As she rose higher and higher in the New Age movement, she started channeling spirits and sharing that channeling with others. She was studying one of the “spirits” on the internet when she saw the word “demon” and “demonic” in association with that spirit. She thought her work in the New Age was her service to God, so the fact that her activities had any association with the demonic was a complete surprise and shock to her.
In September 2018, in the midst of her confusion and questioning, she bought a Bible with the intent of proving false what she had just read about New Age and the demonic. She studied, read, researched and prayed, trying to prove that New Age was really of God, In the midst of her Bible search, she met Jesus, changing everything for her. Though no person was there to teach her or lead her to Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God were her teachers. Michelle KNOWS Jesus in ways that many people don’t know Him after a lifetime of discipleship and teaching. I was blown away by her wisdom, maturity and knowledge of our Jesus. Her Bible was one of the most well-worn Bibles I have ever seen.
As a New Age Medium, Michelle had an international following of about 150 people, and she began sharing what she was learning from the Bible with these followers. Thirty of these people decided to become followers of Jesus as well. It sounded like New Testament times!!
One of theses “followers” was Mateja (bottom right) from Ljubijana, Slovenia. Just like Michelle, Mateja wanted to be discipled and learn more of Jesus. As Michelle shared this with us, I thought of my dear friends Josh and Kristi Patty (bottom left) who serve with Josiah Venture in Ljubljana.
We contacted Josh and Kristi, and it turned out that they lived 15 minutes away from Mateja! Mateja only knows 1 person in South Africa. Josh and Kristi only know 2 people in South Africa, but God’s amazing plan was to connect them through South Africa, and they are all experiencing the incredible joy of God’s power and a kingdom work as they meet together.
The things that Mateja and Michelle are learning are being passed on to the others that have come to Jesus out of the New Age Movement–some in South Africa, some in Slovenia, and some in places all over the world, types of people that would never have a chance to meet or share Jesus with.
God’s stories, His plans, His connections and His ways are just AMAZING…How I love Him and His incredible “Divine Tale.”
Dealers of Hope…
Returning home after Christmas, the desperate condition of South Africa hit us all over again–no electricity hours a day, corruption at the highest levels of government, incompetency in state owned enterprises, a suffering economy, and crime, just for a start.That was even before we add in the Corona virus
For me personally, the beginning of the year has held significant health challenges, relational challenges, business challenges, and other challenges of life. Many different things that, if I let them, can cause fear, hopelessness and despair
In it all, Jesus keeps repeating to me, “I HAVE NOT given you a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love and a sound mind.” II Tim. 1:7
He has called me to be a “dealer of hope.” Fear comes from my flesh, the enemy or the world, but NEVER from my Father, the King who reigns and rules over ALL things. Whether it’s fear of a virus, fear for kids, fear with safety, fear in health, fear with finances…it NEVER comes from Him. God’s currency is faith, never fear.
Fear, though sometimes obvious, is at other times disguised. I find my self using “nice” words like: “being concerned,” “using wisdom,” “worrying just a little,” “wanting the best,” “being safe,” or “being prudent.” Jesus is rooting these disguised fears out of me, one by one, replacing them with His peace.
His peace is a clear measures of my base of operation–fear or faith. Fear never brings peace, but trusting in the Prince of PEACE and His leading always does.
I also am asking for greater understanding of His love these days, as “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18
One of the exercises that we did at our women’s Bible study in January was to read outloud together every verse in the Bible on hope. I have included it here for those of you who need encouragement like we do. “Our hope is built on Nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
In the midst of all that is happening in our world these days, I pray that we who know Jesus will be “dealers of hope,” grounded in His word and presence, coming with a spirit of Power, Love and a Sound Mind, even when the world all around me is freaking out!
Negotiations…at home…at work…
If you are like me, you might think that this book has very little to do with you, but…we might want to think again!
My husband (who is in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions) has been reading this book and talking about it for months, and after watching his enthusiasm, I finally decided to pick it up.
I’ve only just started the book, but I’m already hooked.
Starting with real stories of an incredible FBI hostage negotiator, the book unpacks how to truly understand people in order to enter into effective negotiations (or discussions about things that need mutual agreement)–at home or at work.
Worth a read 😀…
In this new season of marriage (to an amazing man, I might add 🤗), the Lord is stretching and growing me in significant ways, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Though I could share many different facets of “learning,” the one that is top of mind is the recent gift that my Father gave me on Easter Sunday morning….
Over the last month, I wrestled with a lack of peace and some uncharacteristic agitation in both my thinking and actions. I was tired on a regular basis (thinking it was jet lag from a trip back to the US) and I truly couldn’t seem to get to the bottom of it. In that place of confusion it seemed to me that circumstances and interactions with certain people were causing my agitation. However, the truth was that I needed a revelation from Jesus of my own heart–the part of my heart that I could not clearly see.
The Saturday before Easter, I was so discouraged that I finally started asking Jesus to help. I know He was just waiting for me to ask so He could pour His grace over me. I went to sleep that night, and about 2:00 am he woke me up. As I was laying there, I received a revelation of two words–“scorn and disdain.” He told me that I was fighting a spirit of “scorn and disdain” and that they were rooted in pride and that I needed to repent. Wow!! I knew I didn’t come up with that!
I cannot tell you how grateful I was (and still am) for the gift of repentance. I truly didn’t know what to do or where to turn, and in His absolute love for me, He showed up with the gift of His conviction and repentance. I almost couldn’t wait until morning to confess, repent and be done with this thing!
Easter Sunday morning dawned clear and bright and I had the amazing gift of celebrating the reality of the cross and the power of repentance that was bought through Jesus’ blood as I kneeled with my husband before my Father the King and repented, receiving grace…His amazing and unlimited grace.
Joy, energy, clarity of thought and peace returned instantly after my repentance, and it was only then that I realized how much energy had been wasted in living with the sinful mindset that I was operating in.
Repentance…what a gift…one that I want to receive and embrace every time as an amazing gift from my Father who loves me more than I can even imagine.