The emotional and physical exhaustion was too much to bear. With a heavy head and arms hanging lifeless at my sides, I finally yielded and let my eyes close. For a brief moment there was dark nothingness. It felt so good. It was a glorious peace. Then as if some internal alarm within me began to ring out, I jerked myself awake.

As I grasped for consciousness, my left arm reached toward the floor next to where I was slouched.  I instinctively grabbed for my 2 year old daughter who was laying on a stinky suitcase covered with her favorite blanket. She moved her sweaty head to one side and let out a little whine. I swatted at the malaria ridden mosquitoes that buzzed about her damp hair. Whispering for the hundredth time “please Lord,”  I flicked off a millipede that had crawled up her leg.  Emotions rose, I could feel myself getting angrier as I reminisced over the events that had transpired during the days that led up to this moment. I verbalized my 310529_10150508264672652_1434171610_nprotests to a cruel world. It wasn’t fair.

Just a few weeks before, we were excited to be going on our adventure in the Philippine Islands. We intended on going to Mindanao, where Muslim Guerrillas had captured and beheaded missionaries just a couple of months before. Many felt it was unwise but we knew we had the Word of the Lord to take this journey and we would be obedient to His calling. We traveled by a large crowded boat to a small port on the Eastern seaboard. We were captured, released and after traveling hundreds of miles through the jungles we found ourselves in a quaint village near the sea.

For weeks we had been bathing out of buckets or even fully dressed in the torrential rains when there was no water to be found. We cooked over fires and lived just like those we went to serve did.  It was exhilarating.  We ate weird foods, even balut.

We prayed bold prayers and saw the Lord answer them. The lame walked, sick were healed, and the disturbed in spirit set completely free. Over 3,500 souls prayed for salvation. We all experienced the extravagant Love of the Father in new and wonderful ways.

Then came the mice. Dozens of mice every where, all the time. You could hear them in the walls and see them running along the corners of the huts.  All of the animals seemed to be distraught over something. It was like they knew of an impending doom. The mice crawled on our feet, and through our suitcases and on our sleeping bags at night. I pulled my sweet baby into my sleeping bag with me. It was miserably hot and humid but I did not care. Sweaty heat was better than the feeling of those tiny feet crawling over my sticky skin at night. Not to mention that I was concerned about them biting us.


“I’m from California Lord and You did not prepare me for this.”


John was so exhausted that he would unconsciously grab at the vermin when they crawled on him at night. He would toss them off and you could hear them squeak as they hit the walls. It was impossible to sleep.  Tensions mounted with each sleepless night.

Then Typhoon Ruby hit us without any warning and with all of her fury. The storm grew fiercer each hour until the eerie silence that happens during the “eye of the storm”. We naively thought the worst was over when the full blast hit. The bamboo huts were no match for the storm.   I do not know what was worse, the sounds or the sights before us.  Everything was decimated in a matter of minutes. Rain, hail, livestock and debris were churned up and tossed all over. We watched the nightmare from our host home which was the only brick home in the whole of the village.

As the storm weakened I cuddled my sleeping daughter only to discover that she was burning with fever. She was completely incoherent. She did not move when I pinched her. I panicked as I pinched her even harder. It happened so fast. There were no phones, no hospital and most of the populous that had survived had begun the arduous task of finding the wounded and burying their dead. We grabbed our things and began looking for help.

Hours later we found ourselves in a make shift clinic. They had no idea what they were doing and explained that our dear Brittany had “TV”. We thought they meant tuberculosis, for which she had no symptoms, but they assured us that our wee princess had TV. There is no such illness {well there is but that is besides the point}. The bridge had been washed out so there was no way to get to another town or hospital or even to the port we needed to be at for our voyage back to Manila.  Eventually with IV fluids and antibiotics, our princess seemed to get a little better.  I knew if we could just get back to Manila we could find her better care.

77A few days later, the bridge had been repaired and we were on our way to the port in a jeepney. Our ship was not there and a local villager told us that we must find shelter. The kind man brought us to a little enclosure in the middle of the jungle where he had family. We were greeted with rice and coconut milk. John and I were given a private space with a small cot to rest. We had decided to take shifts looking after our sick girl. John would sleep two hours on the cot while I kept watch over Brittany and then we would swap.

And so I found myself brooding over all of these events. I flicked small spider and another millipede off of my sleeping daughter. I took a dirty, stinky wet cloth to wipe the droplets of sweat from her precious brow. I began to cry.  Admittedly, I was feeling very sorry for myself.  I had completely forgotten all of the glorious things we had seen the Lord do and began to murmur.  Sound familiar?  The Israelites did the exact same thing in the desert a few thousand years before.

Jesus did not come into the world to save us from it.
He came to save us from ourselves.

 I looked at my watch and then at John snoring soundly on the small army cot. He had but two minutes left and then it was my turn.  Oh, how my body ached for sleep. I counted down, ten, nine, eight. I shook him rather roughly and told him in no uncertain terms that it was time for him to look after Brittany. “Just fifteen more minutes hunny, ” he replied.  No, we were not going to play that game.  It was, in fact, MY turn now.  He would simply have to comply with my wishes.  He rolled over in the opposite direction.

I tried once more to no avail.  Anger rose rapidly from somewhere within the darker spaces of my heart.  I could feel my arm draw back and my fist clench…

The next thing I remember was my dear husband looking at me in shock holding his nose.  “You hit me, you actually punched me in the nose!”  I covered my face in his chest and burst into tears. He graciously stroked my hair and apologized.  Why was he doing that?  I was the one who needed to apologize, I gave him a bloody nose!

Looking up I yelled up to the heavens,  “I’m from California Lord and You did not prepare me for this.”  That was not the first nor would it be the last time I yelled that out to the Lord.

I have wanted to share this memory for some time in hopes that others would learn from my mistakes.  I was found wanting here in so many ways.  The end result was an ugly mess.


We were obviously going through a lot and what made it worse was the fact that I had not kept a quiet heart during some of the more stress-filled moments.  I prayed here and there but as wave upon wave of traumatic experiences hit me, I became utterly exhausted.  I forgot some basic survival training from the Word of God.  Everything became overwhelming and I couldn’t handle it any longer.  I snapped.  The sad thing is that I could have prevented it if I had been obedient to the wisdom He freely gave us in His Word.

You see, Jesus did not come into the world to save us from it.  He came to save us from ourselves.  He knows we are weak and broken.  He knows what we can’t handle.  He longs for us to spend time cultivating our relationship with Him and we need to do that on a daily basis. We cannot conjure up the kind of strength we need for those difficult seasons of life.  Only through having a strong relationship with the very One Who created us can we find the strength we need to survive and thrive.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


I had completely forgotten these very important verses.
I had forgotten to rejoice always.  
I had forgotten that there were so many reasons to be grateful.
And I know if I had stopped to pray I would not have bopped my husband in the nose.

Stasia is mother to six beautiful children and wife to a dedicated, loving husband.  They have served as a family together on the mission field on four continents for nearly 30 years.  Stasia’s passion is to share in true colors the grace of God in her life.  You can read more about her and the ministry of the Women’s Bible Cafe here.  If this article has blessed you in any small way, please consider showing your support by clicking subscribe in the upper right corner.  Copyright© 2015 Stasia Nielsen All Rights Reserved