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
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.”
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.
Our Miracle Wedding…
OUR MIRACLE WEDDING…
This is one of the most unusual and Special update letters I have had the privilege of sending to you all!
Some of you know this, and others may not. In a crazy turn of events and answer to many years of general prayer and 5 1/2 years of specific prayer, I married a wonderful South African man named Daniel Edward Nell on September 8th, 2018!
Our Love Story…(as Originally Printed in our Wedding Program)
Though we initially met at a board meeting in Kenya of
Afmin (now Emit), a ministry we both were involved with, our story together began 6 1/2 years ago. After being counseled by a friend and ministry leader Chris DeWet, to invite Daniel to go on the first En Gedi Experience to Israel (which he declined), Laurie was making a trip for En Gedi to South Africa in September 2012. To follow up with the En Gedi invitation, Laurie met with Daniel for an afternoon coffee, which turned into a late and delightful dinner.
Laurie and Daniel enjoyed each other, conversation and time together from the start. After 3 months of talking by Skype and a month of officially dating, Daniel came to visit Laurie in the US to meet her family in March 2013. Though it was a wonderful visit in every way, Daniel was not ready to enter into a relationship and shortly after the visit, he broke off the relationship.
In the aftermath of that breakup, Laurie was heartbroken with a lot of questions, especially for God, and she went through one of the darkest seasons of her life. In prayer and counsel in community, Laurie believed she was led to continue to pray that the Lord would restore and bring resurrection to the relationship with Daniel. This continued to be her place of faith for the next 5 1/2 years.
In a series of events not connected at all to Daniel, Laurie was called to engage in a ministry called Generosity Path in expanding “Journeys of Generosity” in South Africa, eventually including a move to South Africa in January 2016.
Laurie and Daniel did not see each other at all between April 2016 and January 2018. Toward the end of that time, the Lord had been speaking to Daniel separately about Laurie and after a series of “divine appointments” where they “ran into” each other several times, Daniel contacted Laurie on May 1st, 2018 for coffee. That coffee turned into lunch, which turned into dinner, which turned into today, September 8, 2018, our wedding day.
There are many incredible details that make up our story, and we are unable to share all of those in this short note, but our Love Story is a series of miracles and a living testament to the glory of our God and Father the King!!
Our wedding and marriage is proof that NOTHING is impossible with our God!
Here is a link to our relationship photo album online for any of you who might want to see pictures.
Stories of faith breed faith, and my prayer is that our story of God’s work in the “impossible” brings fuel to your own faith journey.
With great joy, celebration and increasing faith,
These last 6 years have been a school of faith in a deeper way than I have ever known before. In my journey with Daniel, the Lord spoke to me repeatedly so many different ways, asking me to continue to pray, believing that He had Daniel for kingdom work and for me even though there was absolutely NO INDICATION that this would ever happen. In fact, there was every indication that it would NEVER happen!
In 2013 (right after Daniel walked away and broke my heart) the Lord prompted me to keep a picture “journal” of God’s revelations to me, affirming my stand of faith every step of the way. Little did I know that it would be a collection over 6 years. If I would have known, it would have led to despair, I think. SO many times, I thought I was out of my mind to continue on with this journal, but every time I would pray, I just knew that I didn’t have the freedom to walk away.
The week before our wedding, I finished our book of faith–a collection of @ 475 photos in my picture faith journal–each one with an explanation of God’s speaking to me during the 6 years of my faith journey. What an amazing “Divine Review” with Jesus I had leading up to our wedding as I finished this book.
Here is a sample of the faith book pages…
He is SO faithful. He keeps His promises. His word to me never changed. He is the “promise maker and the promise keeper and He finishes what He began.”
What a joy to present this book to Daniel on our wedding day. It will forever be a “stone of remembrance”–of our God, His word, His faithfulness, and my/our school of faith.
There is great value in keeping record of our God, His word to us, and His journey to fulfillment of that word. Journals (of all sorts) have generational power to testify of the greatness of our God and inspire faith in others!! If you have never kept a faith journal individually or as a family before, it’s always a great time to start!
“How great is our God…sing with me how great is our God. How great, how great is our God!!!”
I LOVE to sing, not because I am good at it, but because the Lord constantly seems to be giving me a song…
Growing up at home, we only listened to Christian radio (A shout out for Evie, Amy Grant, Steve Green, Larnell Harris, and Sandy Patti! 😀) and classical music. Friends laugh at my limited music repertoire including only two genres–except for Barry Mantalo’s “Feelings” and “You write the songs that make the young girls cry.” Those were on the 8 track demo that came with our stations wagon. I secretly listened to it while Mom and Dad were gone. 😂”
I laugh, but I am actually grateful. The Lord speaks to me in song–in prayer times, in the morning, in the middle of a conversation. There’s a lot of music He has put in to draw from and very little “interference” music. I even found out a couple years ago, that my middle name “Linnette” means “songbird.”
In the last few years, I have seen Him speak to people in transformational ways through song. Last year on several occasions I sang something He brought to mind, and someone cried, another received a picture, or a sense of God’s love.
It’s not like I have a great voice. I don’t. There’s nothing to take credit for. It’s HIM!
Right before Christmas, I was at my church and a woman I have never met before from our prophetic team (people trained and tested by mature believers who have the gift of prophecy) gave me a “word.”
She said she saw me with a guitar, asking me if I sang. She continued by saying that she sensed that I was called not just to sing but to change atmospheres. 😳 WOW!!! Jesus has the power to change hearts/atmospheres, and He can do it through His songs!!
Shortly after that, I felt prompted to try out for our church worship team–for the first time in my life. Last Sunday was my first Sunday. What an incredible joy it was to look out over His body and sing–sing because He has called me to, because He wants to change atmospheres.
Our team in unity felt called to “sing” in the first service for healing. My friend with cancer and pain was at that service. She texted me Monday afternoon to say she had her first night of no pain on Sunday night, and it has continued.
That’s just one example, but praise Jesus that He has the power to change things–ANYTHING. Nothing is impossible with Him. He is my Father…The KING!
“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name…”,
Russians and Intimate Relationships…
What in the world Russians have to do with intimate relationships? Well, not much, except that they have them! 😀
I enjoy passing along resources that have inspired or impacted me. These two books are recent reads, and they did both!
Red Notice is a book of business intrigue, unbelievable corruption and amazing perseverance, and not only that, it reads like a first class novel, but it’s all TRUE! Higly recommend it!
Scary Close challenges treasured paradigms of relationships and self-protection. His style may be a stretch for some at first, but it is well worth persevering! Don’s vulnerability inspires others to take a closer look at the things that may hinder the type of relationship(s) we so desire. If you are a couple, you might want to consider reading it together as it is worth discussing.